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.