Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More Color-Pattern Class projects

In Lesson 2 of my Pamela Allen class, the assignment was to choose a painting, and reproduce it in fabric using the complementary, or opposite color scheme.  The blacks remain black and the whites remain white.  This exercise has caused much moaning, groaning, and gnashing of teeth among a group that thought they knew all about color!

I chose the painting House in a Garden by Picasso.  I thought it had simple shapes and not too many colors to deal with.

I got the lesson done and passed, but it was very frustrating and took all weekend. Blogger wants to rotate the pictures so I will skip adding them at this time.  It helped to convert the photos to grayscale to compare values.

Then, for part 2, we were to compose an art quilt in just two colors of our choice.  This was much more fun.  My brain is already in Hawaii, so I made an undersea garden in blue and green.

This one will take awhile to stitch because it is all just laid on top of one another, including the fibers. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Colorful Valentine

With all the art journaling I have done over the past year, is it any wonder that my Valentine for Charlie looks like a journal page?

This was done mostly in felt-tip pen. The moon and stars are painted with silver Lumiere paint. I splattered some drops from the brush across the sky in addition to the larger heavenly bodies.

One of the adventures we have booked for our upcoming trip to Hawaii is a trip up the Mauna Kea volcano.  We will see the sunset from the top (altitude 14,000 feet), and then descend to a less chilly elevation to watch the stars with telescopes.  The company will provide parkas and gloves for the trip to the top so we don't have to drag our winter gear to Paradise.

I have actually started packing and organizing already- most unusual activity for me.  I am getting so psyched!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines' Day!

Today is Valentine's Day.  My sweetie and I decided not give anything but cards this year.  We have a rather romantic trip coming up in just four days which will be our Valentines and Anniversary and about every other occasion!  (Hint:  Aloha!)

Would you like a virtual Valentine's Day quilt show?  I will trot out my most appropriate quilt for Valentines' Day...a painted shadow trapunto wholecloth I made several years ago called "Something Girly."  Also known as "Trouble!"

Here are smaller versions of a painted trapunto quilt.  The first one is "Heart's Delight."

 The next one is "Ring of Peace."  These last two were each donated to a charity auction.

Here is "Second-Hand Rose," made from an embroidered linen skirt I got at the Goodwill thrift store. It has some very shiny Tinzl and lots of flowers and beads.

I had forgotten all about this one.  I made it as a prize for the Pink Artist Project.  It was inspired by an article in Quilting Arts magazine.  The lady who received the prize in the drawing had just buried her husband.  I got the most wonderful letter from her!  Sometimes things are meant to be.

Here is one I made for my granddaughter Lily's room. It's called "Cute as a Lilybug."  There are lots of Swarovski crystals shining on this one.

And here is her quilt on the bed.  It's called "Carolina Lily," of course!

I hope you have a special day with someone you love!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Daylilies Art Quilt

For the third part of Lesson One in my latest Pamela Allen art quilt class, I was to use the same palette that I used to create the Kirchner color study, and make my own composition.

Kirchner, Flowers, Still Life

This was my first attempt.

I realized after taking the photo that the background at the top was too severe and should not be dividing the space exactly in half.  I was going for a "path of light," which is something I also have been working on in my watercolor paintings.

Leave it to Pamela to point out that the pale gray background did not work to portray the light.  I used a dark blue as a background behind the flowers on the right.  She said that in the light, the dark blue would become a pale blue.  Here is her "tweaked" version.

She converted the white blank space to a window, which would be a source of light.  I had not even imagined this as an interior still life.  But doesn't that solve the problem?  So then, I remembered the principle of phototropism.  Flowers lean toward the source of light.  So I redid the flowers, too.

I am pretty happy with this piece, and will probably stitch and quilt it.

I bought a pair of hiking sandals to take to Hawaii.  They are Keen Whisper sandals. You can't tell in this sunlit photo, but the straps are a pale lime green! 

 I thought I better try them out before we go, so I took Kasey to the sprawling Joyner park in Wake Forest.  I had to wear socks because it was only about 45 degrees F.  It was a gorgeous sunny day without a cloud in the sky.

This park is a former family farm.  There are acres of paved trails that wind through grassy fields, around a pond, along the woods and a creek, and into the old farm house and barns. 

There are many ancient oaks.

Along one section of trails, there is a wonderful low stone fence.  I noticed a pair of bluebirds sunning themselves on the warm stones.  Here is the male.

As we walked along the trail, he kept moving farther down the wall, until he finally flew to this small tree.

And he kept moving just ahead of us.

In the vast open spaces of this park, they have provided metal benches with interesting shapes.

When I took grandkids Lily and Avery to this park, they didn't like it because there was no playground.  But it certainly is ideal if you want a beautiful place to walk or ride your bike.  I think Kasey would like to go every day because of all the trails and the new smells.  She has her nose to the ground all the time, and snorts like a pig rooting up truffles.  There is a lot of construction at the other end of our street at home.  She got hold of a chicken wing left over from someone's lunch the other day and chomped the whole thing down.

Last night I took her out the front door for "last call" about 11:30 PM.  I was astonished to see a herd of nine deer crossing our yard, one at a time.  Kasey took off after them, but came right back when I called her.  She is a good dog despite her proclivity to eat garbage off the side of the road.   I have never had a dog that would come back until it was good and ready.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Yesterday it was Part 1 of Lesson One in my Pamela Allen online art quilt class. In Part 1 we selected an artwork and attempted to translate it into fabrics.  I loved this exercise!

In Part 2, we take the same fabrics and make an abstract composition with the colors in different placements and proportions.  This was harder than I expected!  I ended up with this.

Since the original had a vast white background and a dominant blue shape, I used only a tiny snippet of white and a small piece of navy as an accent.

Abstract art is the opposite of representational.  It's not supposed to look like anything real.  I kept seeing objects as I moved my shapes around.  Oh, well, the next exercise will be a still life or landscape or something that is supposed to be representational.

One of the members of my Anything Art bee, Ruth-Ellen Flanagan,  is an excellent photographer who participates in a 365-day photo challenge.  Theme #10 was Art.  Guess what she chose for her subject matter?

Yup, that's my kitchen table full of watercolor supplies behind the beautiful beginnings of her first watercolor painting.  She even featured Yours Truly on her blog post about our art day.

And, yes it did snow last night.  This morning it is quite pretty, and the sun will soon be melting away the dusting of snow.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pamela Allen Workshop Number Four

I guess I am a groupie.  This is the fourth consecutive February that I have participated in online art quilt classes with Pamela Allen of Canada.  Many of us have continued on through all of the sessions.  You know that speaks well of our teacher!

This one is called Pattern and Color in Fabric Art


Fabric as an art medium has unique features that make each work of art characteristic of the genre. Whereas a painting's texture, color relationships and patterns must all be created from scratch, fabric comes in a ready made and infinite variety of color, texture and pattern. This class will concentrate in making maximum use of this unique characteristic. We will explore color combinations that resonate in their subtlety, or sing with unusual juxtapositions. We will explore textural simulations as well as actual almost 3D effects. We will cut up and recombine stripes, bold patterns or linear patterns to create new forms. All the while we will be making reference to other works of art as inspiration, and discussing our own WIPs to solve compositional problems. I will be critiquing each person's work, and hope lively discussions amongst yourselves will stimulate ideas as well.

There is a new lesson each week, and as in the past, each lesson  has several different projects.

Week One started just like last year's, which was one of my favorite activities.  We were to choose examples of artwork that we like,and try to find similarities or connections between the choices. Then, part one is to pull fabrics that are similar to the hues and values in one of the paintings.  Make a fabric study of one of the painting you chose.

Here is my chosen painting, from the North Carolina Museum of Art here in Raleigh.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner,  Flowers, Still Life, circa 1935.
Here is my fabric version.

Nothing is sewn or even glue-basted yet. This exercise was supposed to take no more than an hour, but I think I spent three hours composing the study.   It is just sitting on a white fabric background and a piece of batting. I really like it, though, and will probably quilt it at some point.

Next up:  take the same fabrics that made up the palette for this piece, and do an abstract composition  using the  fabrics but in a totally different configuration and proportions.

Finally, we will use the same fabrics again, but in our own composition.  Whew!  Lots of work.  the best part is when all the students post photographs of their fabric attempts, and Pamela critiques them.  She will take our photographs and tweak them in a photo editing program.  Using our own fabrics, she will add shapes or improve values to show us what a difference it will make.  And all in a good humor and with a helpful attitude. 

If you would like to see the other artwork I selected, here they are, all from the Art Institute of Chicago which I visited last summer.

Braque, Landscape at La Ciotat

Cezanne, The Bay at Marseilles

Miro, The Two Philosophers

Vlaminck, Houses at Chatou

Marc, The Bewitched Mill

Monet, Venice, Palazzo Dario

A secondary benefit of this exercise is the art history lesson gained from everyone's posting of their artwork and stories of the artist's lives.  I always learn about artists unfamiliar to me and enrich myself by visiting their paintings online.  One is Mary Fedden of Great Britain, who is still painting well into her nineties.  Like the Kirchner still life that I selected, her paintings often consist of a still life in front of a window with an exterior landscape.

Many of her still life paintings contain an image of an iconic cat. 

That is so funny, because Pamela has been telling us since Workshop 1 to avoid placing kitties and other cutesy objects in our art quilts.  We have heard this so much that we are planning a secret student revolt with a cat in everyone's quilt.

The one I like of Fedden's is this very busy one, with lots going on in her living room.

Although it was sunny and not real cold today, it may snow tonight.  Me no wannee!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Watercolors With Friends

Yesterday, my art quilt group met at my house for a fun day of playing with watercolors.  My kitchen became an art studio!  I drew a simplified version of the hollyhocks painting I did in a class with Karlyn Holman.  Fewer flowers and leaves.

This is my pre-workshop sample.

The girls were all very receptive to trying this new medium.  We watched a little of Karlyn Holman's DVD, and used her techniques to add collaged Thai papers and sanded watercolor stencils.

I have done a similar painting four times now, and each one looks different.  Here is the one I did yesterday at the meeting.

I was proud of the girls!  Here is Roberta's painting.

and here is Tama's unfinished painting.

Everyone had their own take on the brightness and values of the colors.  It was fun, and we may have a few new fans of watercolors in the group.

While we were eating lunch, the mailman rang the doorbell.  A package from Cheap Joe's Art Stuff arrived with some fun art supplies.  My husband and I are going on a fabulous trip to Hawaii in just ten days. This will be an early celebration of our fortieth anniversary.   I bought a watercolor travel journal with Arches paper.

 And the cutest little travel set of watercolors and the water brush pen.

I don't know how much time I will spend journaling or painting while we are there, but I will have a few supplies handy if I get inspired between MaiTai's.
I have been very inspired by the travel sketchbooks from artists like Suzanne McNeil and Alisa Burke.

Here is Suzanne showing the art journal she created during a trip to Mexico.  I got to see this in person when I met her at Jerry's Artarama's Art of the Carolinas last November.  What a beautiful memory book!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pretty Morning

Yesterday was cold, rainy, and gloomy.  Today we woke to a sparkling, sunny morning.  The sunlight was streaming through the trees behind our house.

That's much more like it!  Kasey's golden hair absolutely glows in the sunshine!

Today I've been getting ready for my Anything Art Bee to come over for our Monday meeting.  They wanted to try out watercolors.  I made a simplified version of the hollyhocks painting on smaller paper.  Hopefully they will all be able to get this smaller painting done, with the help of hairdryers to dry the paint.

It still looks complicated, but I hope we will all get finished during the day.  If not, we'll have a Part 2!

Now, on to the Super Bowl!  Charlie and I are having our own private party with another roast beef cooked in the smoker.  Last time we were able to make many meals off of that roast during the week.  More time for making art!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Whacky Ladies Quilt Bee- More Charity Quilts finished

Last night the Whacky Ladies met at Mary's house.  Several people brought the completed quilts that they started at our Sew-in Day in January.  It is so much fun to see these projects rolling in!

Irene tackled a hand-quilted patchwork Trip Around the World that we found in my friend Marcia's mother's stash.  It was too small to be used as a baby quilt, so she had to figure out how to add quilted borders.  Mary had the perfect fabric to make a border for the front side.

The back has a colorful map, so Irene devised a scrappy border in bright colors.

I think it turned out to be a delightful quilt!  This will be donated to the Capital Quilters' Guild Quilts for Kids programs.  These are donated to neo-natal intensive care nurseries, or sometimes other worthy causes.

Mary finished the frog fabric quilt that she started at the Sew-In.

How cute is that with those fun frogs leaping around?

At the meeting, Kathy brought a bag of fabrics donated by her church members to make charity quilts.  One of the "fabrics" was actually an indigo African dashiki-style shirt.  Mary cut it up and made this fabulous quilt.

I am honored to be part of such a talented and generous group of quilters!