Friday, December 31, 2010

Sketchbook Project Dec 31

Christmas Un-wrapped

Nothing like a deadline to focus the brain. As you can see from today's post I am still working away on my Sketchbook project drawings. There are still a lot to complete before the deadline, but there are fewer then there were. As you can see I am going for simple rather than complex, and I am trying to make drawings that don't require much in the way of research. Props from the kitchen work, and are fairly easy for me to get my hands on. Course it would help if I were a better speller, just realized that I should have 2 p's in un-wrapped. ACK, well maybe I can correct it before I send in the book.  This was inspired by Christmas and all the left over paper and boxes. I was the only one in the family who made fabric bags this year, so there was still plenty of wrapping paper and ribbon being tossed around. I will leave this years bags for my sister to use next year, and I will make more for my gifts, eventually we should really reduce the amount of paper wrapping.

Pop Corn Surprise
I did have to do just a bit of research on this one. I haven't seen boxes of Cracker Jack for ages, but remember buying it as a kid. I wasn't all that fond of the pop corn inside and even when I was a kid the prizes weren't very good. Don't get me wrong I loved pop corn, but preferred mine freshly popped with real butter on it. In fact for years it was our Sunday evening dinner, pop corn and milk. The whistle isn't the right size to have been in the box, but hey it is my drawing and I can do what I want, right?

Is it soup yet?
My sister and I will eat fairly large meals for lunch when we are out and about, either shopping or museum visiting so supper is often just soup and maybe a sandwich. So I was inspired to draw the page above. The drawings aren't my best, but it is done, so I am not going stress over it.

Tea Time
I am a tea drinker, never having acquired a taste for coffee. I thought a tea bag with a cup of tea would fit in with my theme. My first though was to have a small pile of loose tea, but decided to just go with a cup of tea instead. My sister suggested the clock showing 4 o'clock, tea time.

Enough, I need to get back to my drawing. Still I don't want you to think that I am spending all my time drawing. Monday this week my sister and I visited the Chicago Art Institute, and on Wednesday we went to the Field Natural History museum. I had the camera with me on Monday, but left it home Wednesday. When I get home next week I may share a few photos and write a bit more about the museum visits, both were most enjoyable, if exhausting. Until next time. I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year, may 2011 be a wonderful, productive year for you and your family.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sketchbook Project, 3 More pages

Hope everyone has been enjoying this Holiday season with family and friends. I am visiting my sister in Chicago. The weather since I have arrived has been gloomy, I don't think we have had one sunny day. We did get sun part of one day, I think it was Tuesday, but for the rest we have had clouds with occasional snow. The snow hasn't amounted to much, but I am getting tired of the gloom. Still inside has been warm and cheerful.  I am looking forward to some forecasted sun and visits to some of the Chicago museums next week. I may post pictures.

Santa was good to me and I now have some new toys to play with after Christmas, pastels, Inktense pencils and a new sketchbook. In the meantime I have been focusing on working on my Sketchbook project pages. Today I am posting images of the 3 pages I have finished in the past few days. I will to have to speed up production if I am going to get this book finished by January 15th, but at least I have been making some progress.

The bees above I had sketched out months ago, but never finished drawing, I am semi pleased with the results, I think the honey comb could be better but... Oh well.

Below are the next two pages I finished. Not wonderful, I am not spending a lot of time researching these or even really planning them, so I am sure there are errors, still done is better then not done.

Coming Home, the last page finished so far is based on the small wall quilt I finished a couple of years ago that I called Cozy Cottage. There are some differences but it is pretty similar.  Text could also be reversed and called Home Coming - depending on how you want to think of this. I think I have an idea for the next page then I will have to put my thinking cap back on.

That is it for today, comments, and/or questions are always welcome. I will be updating the Sketchbook site with these new images when I get back home in January.

Monday, December 20, 2010

December pre-Christmas

No Drawings today or tomorrow, the artist whose studio I go to for the drawing sessions also sings, and the group he performs with is singing tonight, a Christmas performance I gathered. I doubt that I would have gone anyway, I have to pack and get things ready for my Christmas trip. In the meantime I have been sewing. No drawing since last weeks session. Above and below are two photographs of what I have been putting together. Potholders, I know not very exciting, but it is that time of year. So I have these 6 finished. Actually I only finished 5 in the past week, the 6th I did earlier in the year. Centers are all hand pieced 6 inch blocks that I did ages ago. They are finished off with batiks from the stash.

 I have also been working on the latest FFFC group challenge quilt, it is further along then this photo would indicate but it isn't finished so I thought I would post an in-process photo. The colors are a bit washed out as I used a flash for this photo. I was in the process of machine appliqueing down all of the pieces on the top. It has now been quilted and I am sewing down the binding. I need to add some hand stitches to the applique pieces, then it will be done. The challenge for this month was to use a single shape, mine is triangles.

That is it for today. But I want to take the time to wish everyone Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas. I hope that all of my friends have a happy and joyful holiday season, and can stay warm and dry despite the crazy weather that comes this time of year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Last Dwg Session 2010

Last night I attended my last Studio long pose session for 2010. There is one more session for the year, but that will be Monday the 27 and I will be away so will miss it. Anyway above is the drawing I did last night. The foot isn't right, my excuse is that I couldn't see it. Scott placed a heater for the model right in front of me, and while I could have moved it, I don't usually like to do that, after all she has a right to be warm. Besides I had plenty of other areas to focus on. At least this week she looks like she is sitting on the couch.

No other images today, I have been busy sewing Christmas stuff, and working on the layout of a Challenge quilt. Not sure if I will get the challenge quilt done. I have been auditioning fabrics, changing positions of shapes, changing the fabric used in the shapes and am not sure if I have a final design yet. It is a good thing that freezer paper templates can be used more than once.

This morning I had this brain wave, that folks might be interested in seeing some of the in-process stages my figure drawings go through. We take at least two breaks during the 3 hour session, so it would be simple for me to make a photograph of the drawing at the start of each break. Just have to remember to take my small camera along. The photo's won't be the greatest since I will have to use flash to illuminate the drawing but they should be viewable. Course since I won't be attending a model session until next year you will just have to wait to see how that works out.

Until my next post, stay well, and remember that comments are welcome.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Projects

I have been busy working on Christmas stuff, presents I am sewing for my family, bags to wrap those presents in, and as you see above a tag to identify who the gift is for.

I belong to several Yahoo groups and on one of them there has been a lot of discussion about making fabric bags to wrap Christmas presents in. They are reusable, and over time cheaper then buying wrapping paper. I have a stash (just a small one) of Christmas fabrics and almost no Christmas wrapping paper left from past years, so I decided that I would make bags this year to wrap my gifts in. I can either leave them with my Chicago relatives for them to use next year, or I can bring them home and reuse them myself next year. They are so easy to  make that I have made around 9 or 10. They are just flat strips of fabric (I have been using fat quarters, or half yards) folded in half, sew along the bottom, sew up the side, leave a gap in the side sewing about 1 1/2 inches from the top which is about 3/4 inch long. Then fold down the top on the inside and stitch it down to make a casing for a ribbon or whatever you want to use to close the bags.  See photographs below for some of my bags and one "wrapped" gift.

The top image is the name tag I created for these wrapped gifts to indicate who they go to. I used Adobe Illustrator to design the tag, and stopped when I liked it. They are printed on Bristol board so are heavy and shouldn't tear off before Christmas morning. I used a small hole punch to create the hole that I can pass the ribbon tie through. Not very fancy but I think they look as nice as some of the sticky tags that can be purchased. They were sort of a pia to print, the printer doesn't really like the heavy Bristol board but I managed to get enough printed that I should be all set.

I have decided to join another Sketchbook Challenge for 2011. This is a blog created by artists on the Quiltart list who will post a monthly theme that artists who are following along will use to create pages in their Sketchbooks and then post to their blogs or to I think a Flicker account. Since I don't have a flicker account I will probably just post to this blog.  I should get a new sketchbook for this project, but will probably wait until after Christmas to do so. Anyway visitors to my blog should notice the new block identifying my blog as a participant in the Challenge.

I have also been attempting to make a Facebook page for Katwalk Designs, not sure I have succeed with that or who I should ask to "like" it. But it is a way for people to link to me on Facebook without becoming Friends and being subjected to all my game activities.  I will explore this a bit further next year.

Enough for today, per usual comments are always welcome I am always interested in hearing what my visitors have to say.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 6th Drawing Session

Above is last nights drawing. I am semi pleased with it, I don't think she looks like she is lounging on the sofa in my drawing, not quite sure where I went wrong, because other wise I think the figure works. I had a hard time with her face last night, it was slightly angled away from me which makes it a bit of a tricky view. That's OK, I need the practice and I think in the end I managed to get it right. I also had issues with the hands as usual. However I think the foot works as a foot, it might be a bit large but otherwise is OK. This isn't the best photograph, I will have to try and get a better one at some point. We have sun today but I waited a bit too long to go out to do the photograph so had lost the sun on the front porch and had to lighten the photograph in Photoshop.

We had a smaller group last night then we have had for the past couple of weeks, though it ended up being larger then it looked like it was going to be as folks dribbled in. In the end we actually had six artists (including Scott), though when the session started there was only 3 artists and the model.

Because I had a few issues with the drawing I didn't do any pen work last night. But I thought you might like to see two photographs that I made yesterday. When I was out on the porch photographing the finished challenge quilt there was a squirrel in a tree making loud chattering sounds. Because the squirrel was basically on the same level that I was I took the opportunity to photograph it. See the photo below.

 After a making a few photographs I glanced down into the street to see what the fuss was all about. A cat had paused in the middle of the street and was looking up at the squirrel. Obviously the squirrel felt the cat was a danger and was warning the neighborhood.  I managed to get this single photograph before the cat took off across the street.

Both photos are cropped but there are no other manipulations. That is it for today. Comments are always welcome.

Monday, December 6, 2010

FFFC # 50 - Winter Crows

Above is my quilt for the FFFC October Challenge which was Challenge #51. The challenge was to write or select a Haiku poem and then create a quilt to illustrate the poem. I made a pretty liberal interpretation of the poem I selected. My poem was written by Basho, a famous Japanese poet.

A Desolate Scene
The end of autumn
And some crows
Perched upon a withered branch.

I found this poem in a book which I have had since childhood called Little Pictures of Japan. The book is mainly illustrated poems, some Haiku but some not, with a few short stories, mainly folk tales from Japan.

Before I even started sketching this design I went looking for reference photographs. Some of trees I found in photos I have been making over the past few years. For the crows I found several different photos on-line that I combined to create my drawings.

Below is the drawing I ended up with for the branch that the birds would be "sitting" on. Though I decided that one crow wouldn't be sitting, but coming in for a landing. I fell in love with the landing crow image and just had to use it.

The next image is a composite of 4 in-process photographs that I took of the making of this quilt. First is the layered background fabric with the tree limb templates laying on top. The background fabric is from a large piece of Skydye fabric that I had in my stash. Probably purchased at Houston Quilt Festival several years ago, and it was the perfect fabric for this quilt.

The next image shows the tree branch templates ironed onto the grey batik I used for the tree branch. The next image is of the top after I had machine appliqued the branch and the crow images to the top. The last image shows the top after I had done the machine quilting, but before I finished the hand embroidery/embellishments to add the crow legs and feet, and to quilt the crow bodies to the background. I used pearl cotton for those embellishments and King Tut quilting thread to quilt the background. The tree branches are not quilted which gives them a sort of 3-D look since they puff up a bit. My next step was to add the binding and sew that down. Then I added the 3 dried leaves and the branch that the leaves were attached to. This branch was done using pearl cotton. The leaves were machine stitched down.

There was an additional step that I don't have any pictures of, that was adding shading to the tree branches using Shiva paint sticks. The shading was done after I had attached the fabric to the background but before I attached the crows. I used a stiff stencil brush and was careful to not get the paint on the background fabric. The paint was allowed to dry for a couple of days then I heat set it with a hot iron. The crow fabric is actually the back side of some black print fabrics that I had in the stash. I didn't want the visual distraction that the print side would have given so I used the back.

At this point I am not sure how I feel about it, I am just happy that it is done. I am sure that in a few days I will have some ideas of things I should have changed. In the meantime comments are welcome. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November 29 Drawing plus

Hope everyone here in the States had a good Thanksgiving. That you were able to celebrated in a manner that you enjoyed. I visited with a friend and her family and enjoyed good food in a sufficient quantity, but thankfully managed to not stuff myself. I sort of wish I could have brought home some leftover turkey, but with the crowd that was there there really wasn't much left after everyone had eaten. Ah well my sister will probably have Turkey for Christmas so I will get to indulge then.

Above is last nights drawing. It was a good session with again a largish group, but thankfully no surprise power outages. Scott seems to have pulled in some additional artists who are hanging around. I was in a slightly different position last night, almost directly in front of the model. I think I like the drawing though I am concerned that I may have made her head a bit too large. Ah well, there is always next week. I am getting faster with these drawings, and found time to do the pen and ink sketch below.

This isn't very good, but I though you might enjoy seeing it anyway. The problem is that I can't erase pen, and I am still making errors when I start a figure drawing. Pencil lets me erase until I get it right, though I am not doing quite as much of that as I was originally I still need to  make corrections to my figure each week before I settle to doing the detailed drawings. Anyway I am trying to be more playful with the pen and ink work. As accurate as possible but I also want to do some exploring as to how to use this medium to draw the figure.  Not even close to where I want to be just yet, but I will keep trying.

Below is a drawing that I have been working on for several weeks. It is pen and ink done with my technical pens. Very few drawn lines most of the work was done using the stipple technique. The ATC I posted a couple of weeks ago was a sneak peak and some of the designs used in the border.
The outer border is based on some Art Nouveau borders in my Dover book, except for the dragonflies in the corners. Those are based on real dragonflies that I downloaded reference photos to create. The center section are wild iris done from another reference photograph. I thought about using color pencil on the iris and then decided to leave them black and white. I can always change my mind but I don't think I will.

Time to design another drawing to work on. Though right now I have do clue what I want to do. I am sure something will come to me soon. Otherwise I really need to get my last challenge quilt done. I should have had it done last week, but got sidetracked with Thanksgiving and reading and... So that is it for today's post. Per usual comments are welcome.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November 23 Session Drawings

 Above is last nights graphite pencil drawing. Not sure how I feel about it at the moment. She was wearing red gloves and I have been tempted to add some red colored pencil to the image but probably won't do that. Once done there would be no way to remove it if I decided I didn't like it.

There was quite a crowd last night, nine total, most were first timers (I think, at least I haven't seen them at any of the long sessions I have attended since June) After the low attendance at the last couple of sessions Scott is probable trying to get more folks to come and help pay for the model.  Though with the pose we had last night having so many folks made getting a slot a bit tricky. The area to the left of the model (the viewers left) had a view where the artist couldn't see her face only part of the back of her head and the far right wasn't so hot either, too much up close foot. One woman did work to the right, but she left out the foot. Actually it was rather a nice drawing.

We did have some excitement around the middle of the session, the lights went out, they almost immediately came back on but some of the lights were very dim. It was especially noticeable because one of the dim lights was the spot that was lighting the model. Scott ran around switching breakers on and off, unplugging the heaters (there are space heaters to keep the model warm) but nothing seemed to do any good. So he switched the outlet that the spot light was plugged into and we went on drawing. Then the lights went out again and stayed out for about 10 minutes, so we just took a break. The outage was not just the studio, but the local (at least) area. We figure there was an accident or maybe a fire somewhere,  that required there doing things with the power grid. Eventually lights came back on and we went back to drawing. Though we kept hearing a lot of sirens both before the power problem and after.

Below is a quick pen sketch which I did after I had finished the pencil drawing. Scott has been urging me to try some different media and I have the technical pens so I thought why not. I brought a sketch pad, not great paper but for these first few attempts I don't want to use my heavy expensive paper, and did this quick drawing. Model had a slightly different pose, and of course there are some problems with the figure but I sort of like it.

No more images today. I am still working on my new pen and ink drawing, and while I am making progress with the challenge quilt (I am currently quilting it) it still isn't done. Which isn't good because our new challenge was revealed Monday night. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday they decided that the challenge should come out a bit early, bother this really puts me behind.

Oh well, I want to take the time to wish all of my US readers a Happy Thanksgiving. Hope you each have the holiday you desire, good food, with family and/or friends that you enjoy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November 15 Drawing & ATC

Above is last nights drawing. The model is a lovely woman, and I am not quite sure that I did her justice. I was semi pleased with it last night, worked some minor changes this morning and then photographed it, only to realize when I was looking at the photograph that I had placed one eye incorrectly. ACK, well I have corrected it as best I could but it isn't as good as it could/should be. Obviously it will have to do as there is only so much reworking I can manage.

I wasn't drawing well last night, I am going to blame it on being tired. Since the time change I am not getting quite as much sleep at night as I should, I usually have an afternoon nap but didn't manage one yesterday. Ah well there is always next week.

We didn't have our usual group at the session last night, not quite sure why. Only one other regular besides myself and Scott, though we did have a new woman join us. I gather she is a student of an artist in the rear building. I hope she comes again, but one never knows I don't think she was pleased with how she was doing. I just hope she realizes that in order to become good at drawing you have to make a lot of bad drawings first.

Next is the ATC I worked on this weekend.

The designs are based on the ones I am using in a larger pen and ink work, but that one isn't even close to being ready for display here. The dragonfly is my drawing, based on reference photographs. The flower and leaves are based on some designs in a Dover Art Nouveau booklet. In the larger work the dragonflies are in the corners, and the flower in the middle border.

I am also plugging away on my challenge quilt, got some more work done on it yesterday so I am making progress. That is it for today. Per usual comments are welcome.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nov. 13, more ATC's

I had these done last week, but was saving them for a post when I didn't really have anything else. No photographs because the weather was pretty lousy until yesterday, not to mention that the leaves have mostly gone from the trees. Not to say that I couldn't find something else to photograph I am sure I could, and probably will, so be warned.

Anyway all I have for you today are these three ATC's. The first two aren't much, I was playing around with my technical pen creating shapes and textures, then I added color using colored pencils. 

Of the two I prefer the purple/red one above. I like the colors and I also like the curved lines against the linear background grid. I may play with that concept a bit more at a later point. The concept behind this is somewhat based on a Color and Design I project I did a couple of years ago. Then we were working very large with a straight grid but the idea was to fill each section of the grid with different textures. We were using various media, markers, pencil, pen, brush and only one other color, but the concept is sort of the same.

This third ATC goes back to pictorial, showing a crow about to land on, well a branch in my image, it was something else in the photo I used as reference.

I came across this image when I was searching for reference materials to use for my FFFC October Challenge.  I really liked the drama of this crow coming in for a landing, and couldn't resist using it on one of my cards.

That is it for today. I need to get back to work on my challenge quilt (I am making slow progress) and on a new pen and ink work which I just started inking last night. Per usual comments are welcome. If anyone is interested in trading a card just let me know.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November 8th drawing session & Pears

Above is last nights drawing.  Scott moved the spot light so shadows are a bit different this week. I probably should have moved to another location for a different view of the pose, but I rather like this drawing so perhaps it is just as well that I didn't move.

We didn't have all that many folks at the session this week. One new (well new to me) gentleman, who I gather usually attends short pose sessions. He was also drawing with a pencil, but he left early so I really didn't get a chance to see his drawing. Our last weeks model arrived to paint, and you can tell she is a beginning painter, for all that she didn't do that badly, she has good drawing skills so at least the figure was looking good. She had a bit too much red splashed around. Since there wasn't anything red put out last night I am not sure where that color came from. There was a pink length of fabric, and the couch is a brick red, but she chose to use a bright red, and that sort of overwhelmed everything else. I made no comments, after all I don't paint so who am I to judge.

The one thing I am pleased with in the above drawing is the models face. It actually sort of looks like her, meaning the live model. Considering that when I first started live figure drawing the face was the last thing I wanted to draw, I think I have made some real progress. I have been able to draw faces well for about a year now, but it would take me forever with many erasures. It is now taking me less time, though I admit to a few erasures last night before I got it right.

My other image for you this week is actually a scan of a small pen and ink work that I have been working on for about a month. It started with just the outside frame, which I had pretty much finished a couple of weeks ago, but I wasn't sure how I wanted to do the center. First I didn't have a subject, and then when I had decided on the pears I wasn't sure how I wanted to do them; colored pencil or keeping with the outer border technique, pen and ink stippling.

As you can see after some waffling I stuck with the stipple technique for the pears, rendering them in black and white. This piece has been done entirely with a technical pen, and while there are some drawn lines most of this was done by stippling, or making little dots of ink one at a time. There is an area of solid black in the middle area between the pears, but otherwise it is all dots. Needless to say it takes hours of work to do even a piece this size which is 6 x 9 inches. The pears of course are the same ones I used for the Three Pear mini quilt.

That is it for today's post. I have some ATC's but I am going to save those for another day. I don't like making my posts too long, as is I probably write to much anyway. Per usual comments are welcome.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Quilt Show

Today I drove up to Nashua, NH, to visit the annual A Quilters' Gathering show. This show used to be in Westford, MA. and was the first large show I ever attended. At the time I can remember being blown away by the quilts. The next time I attended the show it was to meet with friends who I had only known On-line. It has been many years since I first attended those shows, and some of my on-line friends are still friends, some have slipped away from quilting, and some are gone. Since that first show I have attended many other "large" shows, the largest being Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. It wasn't feasible for me to go to Houston this year so I attended this show instead (this year they are the same weekend)

There isn't any comparison as far as quantity of quilts, Houston is by far the larger show, esp. if you count all of the special exhibits. But Nashua usually manages to have a couple of exceptional quilts in the show. I did feel that the overall quality of the quilts this year wasn't as high as it has been in the past. For a judged show there were some quilts that I had to wonder about. But I think the Judges of this show have always tried to be inclusive, unlike Houston Judges who seem to want to just wow us.

Unlike some quilters I have never taken a lot of pictures of quilts at shows. I did a couple of years ago, but that was because I was going to use the show and the quilts for a class project. This year I don't have the same reason. However I did want to have some images for the blog so I did photograph a few quilts. Not the necessarily the winners. The top winner was a quilt by Linda M. Roy. It is a beautiful quilt, and unusual for many of the top winners now a days, hand quilted. But I have seen Linda's quilts before, and to be honest while this is a lovely quilt it is for me a been there done that quilt. She does beautiful work, but you know it is her work when you see the quilt.

Below is a fun quilt, hard to see without a close up, but in each section of the star is a figure of who could be considered someone's idol.  I like this quilt, it is fun, and bright and is called Who's Your Idol by Connie Farrington.

My fellow quilters who have known me for a while know that I love batiks and have collected over the years quite a stash of them. Below is a batik quilt that I think is lovely. I esp. like that she didn't put plain borders on this quilt but went to the effort of creating pieced borders for it. Though they are a lot of work pieced borders can really enhance the look of a quilt. So below I give you Bob's World by Kathleen Lavalee. Hmm I wonder if all Kathleen's who quilt love batiks? Maybe it is something that goes with the name. 

This next image was done by a quilter whose name is new to me, Ronda K. Beyer.  This is what happens when you stop reading all the quilt magazines, you (meaning me) loose track of who is doing what in the quilting world. This quilt attracted a lot of attention from the show goers, in fact this quilt attracted more attention then one of her other quilts that also won a top prize. The black and tan combination is very visually dramatic, and all of us were trying to figure out how lace centers for the outer stars was done, by machine, by hand, that is the question. I don't have an answer though I have a feeling much of the work of creating the lace was done on an embroidery machine. Though you can't tell from the photograph she also added swarovski crystals to the surface which adds spark and glitter to the quilt. The name of this quilt is Stars for Arden. I love feathered stars and really enjoyed this quilt.

The three quilts I have presented here are just a sampling of the quilts in the show. There was an entire exhibit of beautiful minature reproduction Amish quilts which I could not photograph, and also a collection of full sized Amish bed quilts. Both exhibits were very interesting, but I was esp. drawn to the minature quilts, which were machine pieced but hand quilted, very beautiful.

I leave you with one final image, taken on grounds outside the hotel. It was a lovely day for a quilt show, it would have been improved by meeting and chatting with friends, but that wasn't to be this year. I was very good though, and while I visited the vendor booths I only purchased 4 spools of quilting thread. Next post will be more of my art work. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November 1 Drawing Session

 Above is last nights drawing. I purchased a new block of paper yesterday, lovely heavy weight paper, but I think it is going to take me a few more drawings to get used to the different tooth. This is a whiter paper and I really do like it so hang in there with me while I adjust. We had a good group last night at the session though it seemed to be a night of frustration for several attendee's. I think most of us had issues getting the art work we wanted for various reasons. It has turned chilly, with temps in the 50's vs the warm weather the week before so that might be part of it.  For the most part I am satisfied with this weeks drawing, though her hand could use some more work. Hands are so tricky.

I am working on a couple of other projects but nothing finished or even at a stage where I want to post photos. So I am going to subject you to another photograph. I was up and out of the apt. fairly early yesterday morning, assisting a fellow tenant with a transportation issue (she needed help getting somewhere fairly early in the morning). Once I had finished that mission I ran a couple errands of my own, including purchasing the new paper, and a black Shiva paint stick, then I headed to the local park for a walk and another photography session. The trees are pretty well stripped of leaves, but I managed to find some interesting subjects never the less. Out of the group of photos that I made I have selected the two below to post to the blog.

Yesterday morning we had a clear blue sky, which by days end had turned cloudy and produced the most glorious sunset. The setting sun turned the bottoms of the clouds red. Unfortunately I was on my way to my drawing session without the camera when I realized just how beautiful it was, so no photographs. I am wondering if ash from the erupting Indonesian volcano is the source of colors I saw last night, if so we may be in store for a few more brilliant sunsets. I will try to get some photos if so.

Today besides updating the blog I spent some time selecting and submitting a photograph to's photography contest. I browsed through a lot of my photographs before selecting a photo that I had taken last spring for my Photography class.  Anyone who has some interesting photographs should take the opportunity to submit a photo. Just follow this link either to submit photos or to view what has been submitted. Note that photographs have to be approved before they will appear on the web site.

That is it for today. I need to get out to vote. Per usual comments are welcome. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

More Fall Photographs

I was able last Tuesday to get out in the afternoon for a walk and to make some photographs. A good thing as we had another storm come through, and that took down most of the leaves that had turned colors. There are a few pockets of fall color left but not many, so enjoy these photos. Above is a tree in my neighborhood, a lovely old maple all red and orange. 

These gold trees are along the walkway at the bottom of the town reservoir. The Building to the left through the branches is a pumping house.   I was out towards the end of the afternoon and you can see how the west sun lights up the leaves.

I rather liked the contrast of the red leaves against the yellow/orange of the trees across the water. They were lit by the sun and seem to just glow. 

By the time I made this photo the sky was clouding over and the light wasn't as good, still you can see the lovely red of the leaves on the tree to the left. I did use Photoshop to adjust the light in the last photograph, the others are only cropped as I had enough light when I was shooting.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New ATC and Oct. 26 Dwg

Above is my drawing from last nights posing session. I think I like it, though I am a bit concerned about some areas and how they read to other viewers. Still I have done all I want to or can do to it so it will have to stand on its merits at this point.

We were supposed to have a different model, but I gather she canceled at the last minute so we had one of our regulars instead. I hope that she is rescheduled and can make it at some other date, it is always fun to see a new face. 

Otherwise it was a good evening with a good turnout of artists. I think there were 7 of us last night, counting after the fact can get tricky since people show up at various times, and if it is after I start drawing I am not really paying a lot of attention. During breaks we tend to spread out and chat in various groups. It was an overcast rainy sort of day here in MA yesterday so I didn't get out to take any photographs. Luckily for me today is sunny so I was able to get a good photograph of last nights drawing. 

After I finished my challenge quilt last week I spent some time working on a couple of other pieces I have been thinking about doing. One is a semi large pen and ink, which I am still drawing in sections, but have started some pen and ink work on, and the other was an ATC. The ATC is pen & ink with some colored pencil, and is directly below.

Not quite sure where this design came from, obviously the pears have been on my brain because of the challenge quilt, but I didn't want pears alone so I added the apples and some grapes. I didn't have any grapes on hand so these are from memory.

My other project for the week is to design and get started on my latest challenge quilt. The challenge for this month is to create or select a Haiku poem and create a quilt illustrating the poem. Most of my fellow FFFC members are creating their own poems, but though I love reading poetry writing it isn't my thing. Instead I went though a book I have had/known since I was very young called Little Pictures of Japan. This book is filled with illustrated poems, some Haiku, but also some longer poems, along with a few short stories. I have selected a traditional Haiku from this book written by Basho a very famous Japanese Haiku poet. I will save my selected poem for another post. Primarily because I still need to design the quilt.

That is it for today. Per usual comments are welcome.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Quilt FFFC #49 - Three Pears

It seems like forever since I have finished a quilt even a small one, and the one above is a small one, only 9.5 x 11.75 inches. Like most of my small quilts in the past couple of years this one was done for the FFFC Yahoo group challenge. The September challenge was to create a quilt using chiaroscuro, or strong dramatic light effects.  I was thrilled when I read the details, shadows and dramatic lighting are right up my ally so to speak. Many of the figure drawings I have been doing weekly use the effects of strong lighting and shadows to create definition and drama. It certainly is easier to draw a figure or object when there are strong shadows. So it didn't take long for me to know I wanted to do this. After a bit of thought I decided I didn't want to try and get too complex with the images to be portrayed. So I thought of fruit, first apples, but then pears, pears have a more interesting shape so pears it was to be.

But one object doesn't make a composition, and I wanted this quilt to be a bit more then just a study, so on my way to one of my Monday night drawing sessions I stopped at a grocery store and picked up 3 pears to use for my subject.

Now that I had my pears I needed to photograph them using strong directional light. I created a set up on my kitchen table with the pears and as a light source an Ott light and a couple of foam boards. I took several photographs using different shutter speeds to control how light the light areas were in the photograph. I found the different brackets useful when I created the drawing that I would use to create the templates.

The image above shows one of my pear photographs, and the drawing I created from it.
You can see where I labeled the template sections on my drawing. I then created freezer paper templates for the pears and the background.

Next step was to select fabrics. For me this is the fun part. I wanted the background to have contrast with the colors used in the pears, so for me yellow/orange/brown were the colors. For the pears I pulled a lot of my Primrose Gradation 6 inch gradation packs, all of the greens plus some other hand dyed greens that I have collected. For this quilt the light source is off to the left so I knew I wanted my lightest fabric on the left and the darkest fabrics on the right.  Once I had selected my background fabrics I auditioned the greens for the pears. I ended up using only 3 colors for the pears. Limiting my colors allowed me to keep my shapes simple and to repeat colors without putting the same color overlapping except in one area which I used paint sticks to correct.  The pears were temporarily assembled using a white fabric glue, then I used Shiva Paint sticks to both darken some areas, and to add highlights to others based on my photographs. I also used a dark paint stick to add a shadow area to the table fabric underneath where the pears would be positioned. you can see that shadow in the top image below. The painted fabrics were allowed to dry for a day then I heat set the paint with a hot iron.

The next image shows the positioning of the background upright pear. I used a narrow satin stitch to attach the pear to the background (shown in the middle image) The final image below shows the final positing of the 3 pears. Prior to creating the shadow area I had placed the pears on the background in various positions. In the end I placed the upright pear slightly to the right of the center. This positioning brings the right pear closer to the right edge, creating some tension between the right edge and the pear grouping, this positioning also allows the light color in the pears to balance out the bright area on the upper left.   

The background was machine quilted. I used only two different colors, one for the table and one for the background, with no particular pattern, except the table quilting is horizontal quilting and the background vertical. For the pears I used embroidery floss and hand stitched large stitches using floss colors to add to the shadow areas on the pears that was done with the paint sticks. I used black pearl cotton to create the pear stems. The quilt is bound with a narrow binding.

I don't suppose that it really took me that long to do, it should have been done within the allocated week if I had just sat down and done it, but I didn't I would work on it a bit here, a bit there until the past couple of days when I decided it really needed to be done before we received our Oct. Challenge. So here it is. I think it works, I know I love the colors, but then I seem to be turning into an orange lover.

So now I need to go back and work on one of the challenge quilts that I started but haven't yet finished. Course come Friday I will have a new challenge to work on. Who knows how I will feel about that one. In any case comments are welcome.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October 18 Drawing & more photos

Above is last nights drawing. We had the same model that we had a few weeks back, but this time the pose was much better, at least from my position. This is the model that I only did head and shoulders of the last time I was drawing her. I am fairly pleased with how this one came out.

What was fun about last night was that we had a good group of participants unlike last week when there were only 3 of us (not counting the model) The total turn out last night was 8, including Scott but not including the model. Of the 8 artists 6 were painting, but each artist used a different style/approach to their painting, and the differences weren't simply based on different views of the model. One artist was outlining her figure in black, she ended up leaving the face blank with no features. This creates a rather flat image on the canvas. Scott suggested the artist might want to check out the paintings of Alice Neel, an American artist who died in 1984. She was known for her portraits, but they aren't pretty studio images, rather they are dynamic abstractions. Scott takes a rather abstract approach to the figure, working with large blocks of color. Another artist widened the body and made the models head relatively small. A third painted just the head and upper torso, similar to what I was drawing a few weeks back. The last two painters were going for realistic and both manage to create successful images.

I can admire the abstracted works of other artists but since I am still struggling to create accurate renderings I think I will stick with that for a while longer.

Prior to attending the studio session I drove over to North River, a MA Audubon site. I was there last Monday and was interested to see what changes had taken place in the week.  The tree below was still green last week, with maybe just a couple of leaves changing color, I love those New England stone walls.

Since we haven't yet had a hard frost there are still a few flowers blooming.

 Below are some leaves fallen onto the wooden walkway that leads to the river view dock. 

That is it for today's post. Only the one drawing because I have been working on my challenge quilt. I am trying to have it done prior to getting our new challenge this coming Friday. When it is done I will update the blog with images. In the meantime comments are always welcome.