Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Last 2008 Post

I am done, well almost done with school for the year. I have my final drawing critic tomorrow where I will get my grade for the semester, but the classes are done. I had the last Color and Design class on Monday where we did the final critic's for that class (I think I have an A) The computer class was done last week, and yesterday I had my final drawing class. We did more figure drawing so I have more nude figures for you to look at. There aren't any guys this week though, only females. And for the most part the poses were a bit more standard. I think the instructor was able to spend more time with the CD figuring out what he wanted to give to us to draw.

I also have images for you from my Drawing homework from 2 weeks ago. I really like the 2nd drawing and feel I did her quite well. The pity is that I did the drawing on newsprint so it won't keep, but still I really like her. The other is ok, but even though she took twice as long to do I feel she doesn't work as well.

My last picture for you this year is my Drawing final, we had to do a self portrait, I used a photograph taken by a friend about 30 years ago. I think I did a fairly good job, hope the instructor thinks so. It is pencil and I know he would have preferred charcoal, oh well I semi did it to please me so it is pencil. It took a while to finish to my satisfaction. It doesn't take that long to lay down the basic image, but to get all the shadows and details the way I want takes a bit. I tend to sit and stare at it, decide what needs fixing work for a bit then stare some more. I like the result, but it isn't quick.

Sorry for the photo quality this week. We are having an overcast gloomy day so had to use the flash, which makes it harder to get a good photo of the art work.

So long until Next Year, sending seasons greetings to all my friends (and readers) Hope the holidays are good to you,

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Color and Design Final Project

Just a quick note this morning, this is my Color and Design final project. We had to do something with eggs. I browsed on-line for all the pictures I could find with birds and eggs, and then just eggs in a nest. There aren't a lot of pictures of nests with birds in the picture. Probably because most fly away if you get too close, and you have to be relatively close to take a picture. I sketched six of the pictures as possible finals, but when a fellow student suggested that I make a quilt for the final project I selected the one of the pictures with just the nest, eggs and a few leaves for my final project. The size is relatively small since I needed to get it done quickly, 9 x 11 inches. I found a hand marbleized fabric in the stash that I decided was perfect for the base of the nest, and picked fabrics from my hand dyed stash to go with it. I used a satin stitch machine applique to sew down the pieces. Shadows under the eggs are fabric paint, also on some of the leaves. The white highlight on the eggs and some of the green on the leaves is from shiva paint sticks. I used a fiber for the reddish stem, and zigzag quilted over it to hold it down. I am still contemplating whether I should add some more embellishments to this, lighter threads to simulate the light straw (grasses) the robin used in its nest, but I am going to leave alone for a bit and think about it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

FFFC Challenge #27

Even with all the homework I have been doing for classes I managed to finish my small quilt for the 27th FFFC Challenge. Our Challenge this month was to work with values, light lights, dark darks and mediums. The second part was to work either close up or a distance view. My original idea was to do a close up of a windmill, or wind turbine. So I started an internet search for pictures that I could use to design my quilt. I looked at lots of pictures and even downloaded a couple before I came across an image of pinwheels. You remember pinwheels don't you? made out of paper a stick and pins, they spin in the breeze and are fun. When I saw them I though oh my I could use some of my Japanese fabrics for that. So I changed my mind about the subject of my challenge piece and went with 3 pinwheels. I drafted out 3 different sizes, created templates, picked fabrics from the stash, for the pinwheels all Japanese fabrics, and for the background purple hand dyes. Fabrics are machine appliqued down. I used shell buttons from my button collection as the centers of the pinwheels, and added beads along the inner bright fabric edges. I used Black beads for the two smaller pinwheels and white beads for the center larger one. I was going to add some additional background embellishments, either more beads or some fiber but decided to leave it as it is for the moment. It was machine quilted.

If you feel strongly one way or the other about additional embellishments let me know, I am interested in hearing opinions on this. I am calling this one Spinners. The approximate size of this quilt is 16.5 x 14 inches, a bit larger then I usually work.

2nd Week December

Well this last week is almost the end of this semester at school. I have the final critic in Color and Design on Monday afternoon next week, my final drawing class on Tuesday and my drawing critic on Thursday. On Friday I fly out to Chicago, so I am not sure there will be a blog update next week. Maybe Wednesday if I can manage to get myself organized.

I finished the Computer graphics final on Wednesday this week, burned a CD and turned it in. For anyone reading who is a MAC lover I apologize, but right now I have no love for I MAC's at all. It destroyed my extra credit project, making my photo shop file go poof, and then it didn't like the blank CD I brought to burn my files onto. I will take my PC over that MAC any day. I had to borrow a blank from another student. I was not a happy camper. My final project was a brochure, and not really something I can post here since we didn't even print it. The purpose of the project was for us to demonstrate that we knew how to use the publishing program to do various tasks. I think I did OK.

This week in Color and Design I finished my last regular project which is the line value drawing that is below. It is really supposed to have been done in pencil but I and several other students did them with ink. I used mechanical pens with different nib sizes, the outlining black was done with a very fine point and I had to do lots of lines, a pia but I like the way it looks so it was worth it. Then I spent the rest of the week on my final project for the Color and Design class which for me was to make a small quilt with eggs as the concept. It is almost done, but not quite so you will get a picture next time I update the blog. I spent my time in Wednesday's class drawing the basic design so that on Thursday I could jump right into the project.

By the way the drawing is rectangular, it is off in the photo because I took it at a slight angle sorry.

Lots of pictures for you this week from my drawing class, first are the 4 drawings I did for homework 2 weeks ago. The were supposed to be quick studies about 10 to 15 minutes each. I think I spent a bit longer on each, so it took me over an hour to get all 4 done. I quite like two of them, as they actually sort of look like the person I was drawing. But 2 aren't as good. I will put the better two first then the not so good ones.

These two aren't too bad

His mouth/nose aren't right, and I am just not fond of her.

In drawing class we have moved on to the whole figure. We don't have a live model this term, we will in Drawing II next Term. So the instructor brought in a CD and projected photos of posed models for us to draw. I think we did 7 poses total, but I am only going to show you 3. We did 2 poses for the male, one the front version of what I uploaded, I decided to leave that one out. And there were a couple of poses of women that I either didn't draw well, or aren't what I want to post so you only get 2 of the women drawings I did.

I had a problem with the charcoal on the rear hand of the seated woman, but other wise I am pleased with her.

This is our male model, we did the same pose from the front. They airbrushed out details but still I think I will pass on uploading that drawing for you. He had lots of muscles and a skinny butt.

That's it for this week. My other project for the week was the FFFC group challenge. I have it done but will post it separately.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

December Already

How time flies, first week of December has come and gone. With it more classes and a cold for me. The cold I could live without, but it isn't as bad as it could be and I am happier to have it now then later in the month. It did make my drawing class on Tuesday not much fun but I survived and have some drawings to show you. We did more portrait work on Tuesday, and looked at a lot of self portraits by various artists. Can you guess where this is going? I get to do another self portrait, this one for my drawing class and he wants more shading so I will probably do this one with charcoal, but I don't think I will use the vine it is too soft and smudges too easily to do really nice work to keep.

I did use the vine charcoal for the studies we did in class, first we again did each other. While there are a lot here there are still a couple I left out, one where the instructor was giving me some suggestions and another that I just don't care for all that much. Still here are the rest of the ones I did.

Some aren't too bad, and almost look a bit like the people I was drawing. I think I am getting a bit better. Just have to do more of this. Please keep in mind that these are approximately 10 minute studies, so they are sketchy and the vine does really smudge easily.

Our last study was of my friend the roman bust, which I did earlier in pen and ink. Here he is in vine charcoal.

Last image for this week is my last stamp for my color and design class. This one was my sports figure. It was supposed to be a person but the instructor is giving us some latitude so I just did Olympic Sports, in this case gymnastics.

OK, I am going scream, I just realized that I spelled Gymnastics wrong on the stamp. Bother now I have to decide if I want to fix it or leave it. I know I should fix it, and this stamp isn't very complex so it shouldn't take all that long to replace. I have to think about this for a bit. Though since I now realize the problem you don't have to leave me notes about it.

My other activity this past week when I have the energy for it has been working on my next Challenge for the FFFC group. This one is supposed to be either a close up or a distance view using various fabric values, dark dark, light light and mediums. I have mine designed, though it isn't that much of a close up still it is a closer view then I usually work. I have the background pieced, and pieces are glued down waiting to be sewn. Not sure if I will finish in time (deadline is noon this coming Sat) this month, but hope to get it done before I leave for vacation.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving week

I can't believe we only have a couple more weeks of school. But it is true. All of my classes are starting to wind down a bit. But there is also pressure in a couple to complete final assignments before we reach the end of term.

Last week was the first week for a bit that I had all my classes. I had been missing drawing on Tuesdays for various reasons. This week in drawing we started drawing faces. We had a bit of a lesson on how to draw faces and the standard shapes that heads usually are. We also received some handouts. Then we started by drawing a couple of pictures that the instructor provided. I am not going to show you those - they aren't bad but they aren't that good either. Then he had class students sit on a dais and pose for approx 10 minutes while we all drew them. I am only going to show you 4 of those, the ones I think are OK. None of them are wonderful, but these sort of capture the person who was sitting. My instructor tells me that I am making everyone look too young, I have a feeling it is because the kids in the class all seem young to me. The last image is of our instructor, and I also having him looking a bit young, I think he is in his 40's in reality. Ah well I am just not that good just yet with the quick sketch of people. He had me do a stint on the dais but fortunately he didn't do a class critique so I have no clue just how bad they made me look. Just as well I think.

In color and design I finished two more stamps. These are for the famous American and the National Holiday requirement, all I now have left is the sports figure. Another portrait image for the famous American, but this one I think really works. However it took me way longer then 10 minutes to do. Homework for drawing is to do 4 more faces, but he has asked us to only spend about 10 minutes one each one so it shouldn't be too difficult to do. Actually for me doing them in the short of a time frame is a challenge.

My last image for you is a photo of the second landscape that I was working on for my drawing class. I was going to turn this one in instead of the pencil drawing, but didn't have it done in time. I finally finished working on it last night. Well I think I am done with it, I may go back in and darken a few areas after looking at it for a bit, but I am inclined to call it done at this point.
This is from a picture I took in Lowell, MA a couple of years ago when I was attending the Lowell Quilt Festival. I am not sure what the foreground structure is, a walkway over the river I believe, part of the Historic park I know.

On a final note this past week we here in the States celebrated Thanksgiving, I had a good one visiting with friends. I do hope that everyone here in the States reading this also had a wonderful Turkey day, and didn't get too stuffed with food. Now I have to start thinking about Christmas shopping.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fast Friday Fabric Challenge #26

Well better late then never I suppose what am I talking about? Why my quilt for the Fast Friday Fabric Challenge from October. I have finished this just prior to getting the new challenge for November which we will get next Friday. This challenge, number 26 for the group, was to do something using perspective in monochromatic colors with our theme. My theme is Structures, which for my first challenge I used houses. This month I decided to go with an outdoor structure and decided to use this picture of a bridge on the Chicago lakefront that I took of my family a couple of years ago.

I decided to try and be as minimalist as I could be and I wanted to use non-commercial hand dyed fabrics. I went through my stash of hand dyes and ended up using the blues which seemed a better color choice then some of the colors that I actually had a better selection of. I didn't have quite enough light colored blues in the stash so ended up using one commercial fabric for the water in the front and a light batik for the sky. But I think the print I choose even if it is a commercial print works with the concept.

Above is the sketch I drew the of the scene leaving out the family, I didn't think they would work well in monochrome, and would make things to busy. I then used the sketch to create the templates I needed for the top. I used freezer paper for the templates which I ironed onto appropriate fabrics. The pieces are then machine appliqued to the background, and then the top was quilted and bound. Sure sounds like it should have been faster then it was, but school work got in the way, not to mention I was having a problem decided how to quilt the bridge so it sat for longer then it should have. I finally got the bridge quilted yesterday and it was then fairly quick to finish the rest of the quilting, trim, tuck threads away and apply and sew down the binding. So here it is. The blue accent lines on the bridge and breakwater were done with Tsukineko fabric ink which I used to give some additional visual lines instead of using more different fabrics. It is approx 12.5 x 13.5 inches. As always comments are welcome.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

12th week of school

Just a quick update. The only finished drawings this week are two stamp designs for my color and design class. I have to do a total of 5 stamps. I think I have mentioned the stamp project before, but am not sure if I mentioned what the 5 different stamps have to use as their themes. So just for review the 5 themes are, Famous American, Famous American Artist, Federal Holiday, National Monument and a sports figure. The two I just finished are for the National Monument and Famous American. I chose Petrified Forest which is also a National Park for the National Monument, and Emily Post as my Famous American. My designs are 5 by 7 inches. The Petrified Forest is a combination of a couple of photo's I found on the Internet, foreground is from one photo and the background hills are from a different photo. This stamp was done with colored pencils and ink for the lettering. I used Photoshop to layout the letters in the font I wanted then drew them onto the stamp and inked them in. Emily is from a photo of her that I found on the Internet. One of the weekly News magazines had run a short article about her, but the photo they used was of a much younger Emily and I preferred this one which was a bit more modern, besides I really liked the hat she was wearing. If you want to see the photo I used click on this link, the photo is about half way down the page.

She is done with pen and ink only, I chose blue ink instead of black to add some interest. Early US stamps were engraved and only use one color of ink because the presses at the time could only hold one plate, so to imitate that process I just used the one color. Two stamps down, three more to go. I will have a drawing class next week so may have more to show. We are moving on to some figure drawing, should be interesting.

Hopefully between now and next week I will manage to finish the quilting on my challenge piece which I have been ignoring because of school work. I am pretty much up to date with school projects at this point so should be able to find some time to get that done. Will post pictures of that when it is finished.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mid November 11th week school

I am trying very hard this week to get my brain around the fact that it is November and Christmas is only one month away. I need to get some plans made for the Holidays, and am having problems getting myself in gear. Hopefully everyone else is doing better then I am.

This week I didn't have my drawing class so I don't have a lot of images to show. However that said I did take my at home time to finish up my Shoe project for the Color and Design class, the image directly below is the original drawing of 20 shoes. They were supposed to be sketches but I did a bit more detail then that because I didn't want to find the shoe to redraw it onto the cold press board. In the end I had to dig out some of the shoes as I didn't have as much detail as I needed. Still it was easier to draw them the second time around so it wasn't to bad to do them that way.

Sorry the image isn't great, but it is pencil on paper which is tricky to photograph, and I had to use the flash on the camera because we have a rainy overcast day here in MA and without the flash the image is blurry.

Here is the finished project, which I rather like, pen and ink with some gray on a Cold Press Board. Lots of details in this so it took way to many hours to get done. Still it is a piece I feel I can show off if I need to so I think it was worth the effort.

In computer graphics we are finishing up our software learning with In-Design Adobe's publishing software which is taking over in a lot of shops from Quark Express. I have an exercise that I need to complete and then we will be move on to our final project. Wish me luck. As always comments are welcome.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Nov 10th week of school

Another week of school has come and gone. This week in school we started landscapes. The one I did in class is below. In my opinion the photo makes it look better then it is, I wasn't very happy with this one.

I think my problem with it is that I was using ink, then I went to ink with a brush and was having an issue getting the right tones. I also had a problem getting the building/church with the right perspective so didn't start inking it until later in the class. This is not a technique that I feel I have a handle on, guess that means I should do more of it. It is too much like watercolor which I never liked to do.

Last Tues was my last drawing class for a while, this next week we have no class because of Veterans Day (Holiday) and the following week is a day the school is taking off for students to meet with their advisers so they can set up classes for the winter term. Since I am not enrolled in a degree program I am not sure where I stand with that one. Oh well, I will find out.

Our homework for drawing is to do a landscape. I have done mine in pencil which I have posted below. I may do another as I can't decide if I like this one or not. It is done with pencil, but I did spend a fair amount of time on it, and used different pencils so as to get a pretty good dark where I needed it. It is from a photo I took in our local park a couple of falls ago. Without color you can't see that the leaves are turning, which is why some of the background trees seem so light.

I also have pictures for you of my homework from 2 weeks ago, these were ink drawings, two with just black and white, no shading, and the third a silhouette of a football player that I found in Sports weekly. The missing part of the foot is because they cropped the picture and I didn't want to guess. The other two images are from photo's the instructor provided for us to use for our drawings.

I rather like the football player, he is really quite graceful

In Color and Design class I am still working on my shoes, though I think I have figured out what I will do for the other two stamps I need for my next project - Memorial day for one, and Lenard Bernstein for the last. I have been thinking about my final project, but find I want more details about what we are supposed to be doing. Another student is working on her project, which I think isn't a good idea just yet but that is her.

In Computer Graphics I am working on my final project. The instructor has been going over how the project needs to be laid out in class and I am taking notes. But more importantly I attended A Quilters Gathering in Nashua, NH this past weekend to take pictures. I now have a bunch of pictures to work with and need to look at what I have to decide how to use them. I did print contact sheets so I have thumbnails but really need to know what we are supposed to be demonstrating with this project so I can think about how I want to use the images.

Oh yes, I enjoyed the show, lots of great quilts and I was fairly restrained at the vendors, purchasing some fat quarters and a book on machine quilting.

Still haven't finished my challenge quilt, but I am working on it and a lot of the quilting is done. Today I cut the strips for the binding so that is one chore out of the way. Maybe some time next week I will be able to update the blog with an image of the completed quilt.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

November, 9 week of school

Only have a few pictures for you this week. I am working on a couple of other class projects but they aren't at a stage where I want to take pictures. I did finish my portrait, so have two pictures for you from my Color Design Class. Not sure how good they are, one is done in pencil which doesn't photo well and the other on thin tracing paper. The technique was to mark 1/2 inch grids on the tracing paper then fill in the squares with different pen strokes to reproduce the portrait with values. I am glad it is done, it was not a lot of fun to do.

I think the pencil portrait works better then the ink. I had trouble translating some of the values well. Oh well it is done for what it is worth.

In drawing we were doing perspective, both one point and 2 point, at least for class exercises, then we moved out to the hallway and drew the hall in one point perspective. Below is my drawing, in pencil so the photo isn't wonderful. I didn't get my starting rectangle small enough (at least I think that is the error), so by the time I got to the opening where I needed to put doors the opening ended up too large compared to what it should be. Oh well otherwise it works. My homework is to do another perspective drawing, but he wants us to use deep space, and I don't have any deep spaces in my apt. so I am trying to think of where I can go sit and work for a few hours - I will probably tomorrow afternoon. Wish me luck.

My last image for you is actually 3 cards that I created and printed the other day. They use the ink drawings that were my drawing homework from 2 weeks ago. My instructor in the Color Design class though they would make good cards when I showed them to her, so I played around with Photo Shop on Thursday and created these. They are kind of fun, but I want more drawings to work with, so I have started a 4th and have an idea for a 5th drawing, more flowers of course.

On the quilting front last Friday we received the next Challenge for the FFFC group. I have been working on my quilt, but it isn't finished yet. I got involved with cards, and working on my shoe project for Color and Design. I was also doing research for my Color and Design Stamp project that is coming up. I have made major progress with the shoes, finished drawing my 20 and am in the middle of transferring 18 of the designs to a cold press board to be inked in. However all the work on class work means that the challenge piece isn't finished. I have it designed, the fabrics cut out and am in the process of machine appliquing the pieces down. Hopefully I will get that done today sometime, and get the quilting done so I can work on borders.

Friday, October 24, 2008

School 8th Week

I just finished the 8th week of school. I am finally making progress on the portrait project for color and design, since I have been working on it at home in the evenings. I have also started drawing shoes for the shoe project. We are supposed to draw 20 views of shoes, so far I have 5 done. Can you tell that all of the Color and Design projects tend to take a long time to do?

In Computer Graphics we are moving onto Quark Express. Had a test on the tools on Wednesday. Since I don't have Quark at home I don't think I will be focusing much of my energy or time in trying to master it, although some of the publishing industry is still using it, some book and newspaper publishers I have heard. Still many others are starting to move the Adobe's InDesign, which is Adobe's publishing program that works a bit more seamlessly with Illustrator and Photo Shop. Since I have the full suite of Adobe CS3 I think I will focus on using InDesign.

Oh yes in the Computer Graphics class we had to pick a theme for our final project, I am going to do a brochure on the Eastcoast Quilters Alliance fall Show which will be held in Nashua, NH, in a couple of weeks. I should be able to get some pictures there that I can then edit for the brochure. I may also borrow some images on-line. Since this is a project that won't even be printed I feel that in this circumstance I can borrow, though if I thought I would publish it I wouldn't. Note that the final project will be too large to publish here in any case. I may print it and show just a picture of the cover, but we will see.

Drawing class this week was was doing silhouettes and just black and white high contrast drawings, no shading at all. We used black markers and boy do they stink. The instructor had to turn on the fans and open the windows to keep us all somewhat functional. Still by the time I left I had something of a headache. I won't be using the markers at home, I think I will use ink and brush or pen instead on my homework. Below are the drawings I did in class:

The image is from clip art, I think I don't have him leaning quite enough so he would probably fall on his butt if he were real, but otherwise isn't bad for a first try.

Basketball player this time, and he isn't too bad

This is my high contrast drawing, her head should be tilted up a bit more but otherwise I like her.

I started a 4th high contrast drawing, but didn't get that one finished. May work on that one later, though it will need to be done with marker since I started it that way, so it is more likely that I won't finish it.

My last image for you this week is the homework I did for 2 weeks ago. This is a white chalk on black paper drawing. The image is from a photo in the October 2008 issue of 'Smithsonian' magazine. The article is on the Italian sculpture Bernini. I used the photo of the bust of Costanza Bonarelli, the wife of one of his assistants, whom he was having an affair with at the time of the portrait. I worked very hard on this image, and I feel it turned out quite well.

Last note for today is that the Fast Friday Fabric Challenge group has issued the 2nd challenge for this year. We are to use Monochromatic colors, and perspective in our design. I think I know what I want to do, doing it though will keep me busy along with all the other work I am supposed to be doing. I need to go sort through fabrics and see what color will be best. I plan on using my hand dyed fabrics, either the Cherrywoods or the Primrose Gradations that I have on hand. I may also sort through the batiks to see what else will work, though batiks with patterns tend to not be monochromatic, they are more likely to use 2 colors so those won't work. I am planning on using a photo I took in Chicago a couple of years ago. It is along the lake front, and has some high value contrasts which should make it work well for this design. Since my theme is structures, there is a bridge, some buildings in the background, and the lake breakwall.