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.