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.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fall Photos

It is fall here in New England, meaning that the weather is turning cold, and the trees are turning colors. This isn't turning out to be a good year for fall color, the summer was too hot and dry, but still there is some. For the past week I have been visiting various parks and sanctuaries making photographs.  Tonight a major storm is predicted which will bring lots of wind and rain, who knows how many leaves will be left on the trees afterwords so I though I would post photos of what I have captured. I enjoyed making them I hope you enjoy looking. The above photo was made today in my local park.

A couple of Milkweed seeds caught on some late blooming goldenrod.

Some fall asters still blooming despite our chilly overnight temps. 

The photo above was made a week ago at Stony Brook, a MA Audubon sanctuary.  Not much fall color then, but the sky was very blue and mostly cloudless, a beautiful day.

Above is a composite image of four photos of New England Asters, a native wild flower that has several natural color variants, most of these photos were made at North River, another MA Audubon site.

Hope you enjoyed these photos, my next post will be more of my art work, though I feel that photographs can be just as much art as my drawings or quilts.   

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October 12th Drawing plus

Last nights drawing is above. At least this week I was able to take a reasonably good picture of it. We have sun after a cloudy start so I was able to get enough natural light to make this weeks photos. I updated last weeks drawing at the same time. Much better color. I don't think I have any comments on it this week drawing. There are always things I would change if I could, but for the most part I am relatively satisfied with how this came out.

One thing all these weekly sessions have done for me is to give me more confidence that I can tackle more complex drawings successfully.  I almost feel ready to draw images with more then one figure in them. Not that I haven't done it before, but when I did I was sort of holding my breath to see if I could actually pull it off. The way I know is when I am doing sketches for the sketchbook or even for the ATC designs, what I am imagining is far more complex then what I would have tackled in the past.

Speaking of ATC designs, I really like the last one that I displayed last week so I decided to scale it up and redo it at a larger size. The result is below. The back ground is still stippled, but I used different patterns, and there are more hearts than what I did for the original design. The finished size of this piece is 6 X 9 inches, and like the card was done with black ink and colored pencils. I used a technical pen for the stippling.

Linked Hearts
 My last image for you this week is another ATC. This one was done only in black and white, I used a technical pen for the stippling after drawing the design in pencil. The design is somewhat based on some Art Nouveau clip art books that I have. This was sort of fun to do and I may do more. While this doesn't have hearts as such it does have heart shaped leaves so I suppose I am continuing along the same lines that I have been working.

ATC 0012
That is it for today's post. In the past week I have been out to various MA Audubon sites making photographs, the fall colors aren't as good as they have been in the past, but I am still getting some color. I may post some photographs later in the week. I have also been working on the latest challenge quilt and making progress. The pieces need some heat setting then I need to start assembling the final sandwich and quilting. So far I am pleased, but who knows how it will turn out in the end. Per usual comments are welcomed.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 4th Drawing and other stuff

Above is last nights drawing. Not my best, but not my worst either. I actually like some sections, face torso. But I really need to spend more time with feet and hands, not to mention that the leg that is so foreshortened just doesn't read right. Oh well, no additional comments, from me anyway. Sorry for the photo quality, it is raining here today so I had to photograph inside and used the flash. I may replace this when we get sun again and I can get outside to make a better photograph. This is actually my second try. For the first attempt I had the camera on the wrong setting and the resulting image was so yellow it was funny looking. Granted the paper I use isn't pure white but the photograph was so yellow that it looked strange. Just a FYI don't use the portrait setting on your camera to photograph art work. The above was taken with the landscape setting (which is the one I usually use) and is much better color wise. * UPDATE - I replaced the referenced photo with a new on 10/12/10

I have a couple of ATC's that I finished this past week for you this week also. I had though I was done with hearts, but one day while just playing in one of my sketchbooks I drew what is the center heart in the card below and though that it might be fun to work with. Then when I was drawing the card, I though a single heart isn't much of a design so I need to draw more then one, how about if I draw them so they looked like they are linked together, two led to three which led to a couple more. So here are my chained hearts. The background is pen work, more or less free formed doodles, geometric for outside the hearts and curves/organic for inside. I used colored pencils to fill in the heart and give the card some punch.

Chained Hearts #1
 I liked the first attempt, but wondered how this concept would work in a landscape mode. I also wanted to try a different background. So for the 2nd card I used landscape (sideways) and stippled the background. The background takes a heck of a lot longer to do when I stipple it, but I really like the look and various textures I was able to achieve by the use of stippling. I like this one so well that I have started a larger piece. Hope to have it for you next week.
Chained Hearts #2
That is it for today's post. I did another study in the sketchbook but don't think will post it today. I am also doing a bit of work on a Challenge quilt, no major progress on that, but who know how motivated I will be in the next few days. Comments per usual are welcome. Let me know how you like the hearts.