Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nature Drawings #6

I managed to spend a bit more time last week doing some drawings, including some rather aimless sketches. I won't inflict the sketches on you as I am not quite sure where I am trying to go or what I am looking for. I am looking for a design idea but you couldn't tell it by the results.

First image I have for you isn't wonderful, some areas aren't right but I didn't want to spend more time on it so this is it, a cat cleaning its paws.

Photo from Cat's Magazine

Next is a milkweed pod after releasing all its seeds. I rather like how this one turned out. Not sure if I should consider this part of my Nature Drawing studies. My next exercise there is to do shadows and toning, which I did do on the milkweed pod, but the book suggests doing a solid object, like an onion or other veggie. So I may get some fresh veggies at the store and see what I can do for next week. This is from one of my photos.

For the next drawing I was working from one of the downloaded photos I found for drawing chipmunks. I really liked this one with a little guy eating some berries.

Last image for this week is a drawing I did from a photo in National Geographic. It is from one of the Cannon Ad's, I love using their photos for sketches. They usually have interesting animals with good compositions. This time it was a couple of Parrots. Birds can be tricky trying to get the feathers so that they feel like they have texture.

That's it for this week. I have a new quilt challenge to work on. I think I will go back to a smaller size, they are a bit quicker. So not sure what will be in the update for next week. As always comments are welcome. Wishing those who celebrate a Happy 4th of July and for our Canadian neighbors a Happy Canada Day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nature Drawings #5

Last week I finally made a point of getting out to some waste fields and picked some wildflowers to sketch. The book exercises (Nature Drawing) wanted me to sketch the flowers with a fair amount of detail from different viewpoints. Studying the flower to see how the petals look when the flower is viewed from the side or the top etc. So the first image is of an ox eye daisy from 4 different views.

Not too bad, but I wasn't feeling in the mood to do a lot of fine detail work, so they aren't as good as they should be either. The pen and ink drawing I did last fall of the black eyed susan's is better. But then the black eyed susan's don't have as many petals as the ox eyed daisies do so they were a bit easier to draw.

I had picked a variety of flowers so then I did one page of sketches of some of the others. Just an aside, I am not in the habit of picking wild flowers, and I certainly wouldn't pick any native or endangered flower no matter where I found it. Most of my flower drawings are done from Photo's. However for this last study exercise I needed to be able to view the flower from different angles so I needed real flowers. Most of these are your standard (for here in MA anyway) Alien plants not native. These will spring up in just about any waste field, so I consider them available for picking.

left is I think a knapweed of some sort
Top right - Spring Vetch
bottom right hoary alyssum

After the flower drawings I decided I needed to do some portrait sketches, magazines often have photo's of their article contributors so I used 3 of those to do the sketches below. Didn't spend a lot of time on them but all in all I was pleased with how they came out.

From June 2009 Discovery Magazine

Other than these sketches my main focus last week was working on some quilting projects. Nothing new finished, just making progress with several projects and trying to do those last finishing details on a couple of the small quilts I recently finished, like putting on hanging sleeves and labels.

Hopefully I will have more images next week.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Finished FFFC Challenge # 31

Cozy Cottage
Size 15 x 16.5 inches

I have been playing catch up with my Yahoo group (FFFC) challenges. Last night I finished Challenge # 31. Since we are on Challenge #33 I am still behind. I know I should have done 33 first but I had a beginning design for 31 so decided to go with that one.

Our challenge was to use highly saturated colors combined with diluted or muted colors (tones) for the color element, and to use planes & masses for the design element. I know I managed the planes and masses, the house with its one point perspective, and the hills in the background are the planes. Not so sure I met the challenge when it came to the color use, some of the greens may not be toned enough, though the blue greens I used for the distant hills and the grey for the sky and house are muted colors. The red for the trim around windows and the door is a bright highly saturated color so those parts work, as for the rest... I leave it up to you to decide.

I had fun with this challenge using all sorts of embellishing techniques to give me a look that I wanted. The base of the quilt is layered machine applique, with the lowest green pieced to the upper section.

The house I drafted in Illustrator using one point perspective, then I printed it out and used freezer paper to create the templates. I tried the house in various positions on the background but ended up liking it slightly off center to the left so left it there. I used a white glue to put it temporarily in place then machine appliqued all the pieces using a satin stitch. It was looking a bit naked so I decided some bushes would be nice, but didn't want to do flat fabric ones so after looking through my fiber stash I decided to create my bushes with Solvy and fiber.

First I placed a strip of heavy Solvy in a small hoop, then I placed various fibers on top of the Solvy arrainging them so it would look like there were three bushes in a row, then I dampened some additional strips of Solvy and placed them over the top of the fiber solvy sandwich to hold the fibers in place. Then I let it dry.

After the sandwich was dry I free motion sewed the stems of the bushes, enough to keep all the fibers in place but not so heavy that you can't see the fibers. Then I took it out of the hoop, trimmed away the extra solvy and soaked the rest away. The next step was to let it dry. Here is a picture of the dry finished bushes before being sewn down onto the quilt.

I made two sets of these, after all a major element of design is repetition and I wanted two of these bush elements.

I felt the sky area was too bland so I added clouds using shiva paint sticks, two shades of grey and a bit of white. I added details to the windows and the open door area with pearl cotton. The bushes were attached by the use of pearl cotton size #5.

I am calling this one Cozy Cottage, after all the lights are on, the door is open welcoming visitors. I should probably have some smoke coming from the chimney but I didn't want to use more paint for it so I think I will leave it as it. As always comments are welcome.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Drawings Mid June

Well so much for working from my Nature Drawing book. This last week I allowed myself to digress. Not so much tired of nature drawing but the next study I am supposed to do is a flower detail study and I wasn't in the mood to go out and get flowers. I could have used the cyclamen blossoms but didn't want to use those either so I went back to working from photo's I have saved out of magazines for the purpose of being drawn.

First is a portrait of an Asian man from a National Geographic article. I Spent a lot of time on this one and like how it turned out. But I had to do a lot of rework, so I can tell I am out of practice and really should be doing more portrait studies.

Next I did this sketch of a horse and rider, the original picture was an Ad for something, and included another horse and rider. I was using a harder lead for this so the image is a bit faded.
I don't think I quite have the proportions right on the front of the horse and I know that front hoof isn't quit right. But I didn't want to spend more time on it.

Last image is another sketch, this one of a man and a wolf. He is obviously someone who is studying wolves, I believe this is from a Smithsonian Magazine Article. I didn't spend a lot of time on his face which if I want to make this a bit better I will go back and do. However I sort of like the sketchiness of the wolf head in his arms so I don't want to rework it too much.

So not a lot of drawings this past week, instead I have been working on a FFFC Yahoo group challenge quilt. Have it quilted at this point, but it needs some hand embellishments and binding. Hopefully later this week it will be finished and I will get pictures and upload something to the blog about it.

Per usual comments are welcome.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Nature Drawing #4

I meant to do this update yesterday, but with one thing and another I hadn't gotten the next exercise for my Nature Drawing finished. So I drew it last night. The subject is one of my house plants, a relatively small Jade plant that I started from a cutting last year. The exercise that I was supposed to be doing was the plant study drawing, but I think I will consider it as the studies for the next two exercises also, proportion and shape, and foreshortening as I had to do both with this plant. I did one detail sketch, a gesture drawing, and one that is more or less from memory.

Jade plant detail

The gesture drawing is on the left, and the memory drawing on the right

I may not have gotten to the book exercise until Sunday, but I have been doing other sketches. To continue with some animal studies I was working last week from chipmunk photo's. You can see an example of what I was doing below, one page out of the couple I did.

What was keeping me away from the drawing pad was trying to do some clean up/de-cluttering around my apartment. Like many I have way too much stuff. Toward the end of last week I decided that it was time to try and get all my beading supplies put away. I haven't been beading since last summer so really there was no reason for them to be out and about cluttering up my living space. There were also some magazines that it was time to go through, glean what I though would be useful in the future and then get out of the apt. In doing this I found an image of a CA fox which I used for this drawing.

I think all my dog sketching helped do this guy.

I also spent some time working on the sea gull drawing, it is coming along but not quite ready for display. My next Nature Drawing exercise is to draw a flower. I am either going to have to go raid someones garden, buy some flowers in the grocery store or pick something in a field. Course I suppose I could always draw my one of the miniture cycliman blooms. I have a red minture cycliman plant that is blooming like mad. Hard to believe now that when I purchased this plant it looked like it was dying. They had neglected the poor thing at the store where it was being sold. I was able to get it at a discount, but look at it now.

That's it for today's post. My goals for the week are to work on my Challenge quilts, (I am way behind) draw my flower exercise, and work on some more finished drawings. Everyone have a good week, and don't forget that comments are welcome.