Friday, January 28, 2011
I love hot press watercolor paper. I have probably said this before, but because of the work I have been doing in the past few days I want to say it again. I know it is expensive, well relatively. But it is so smooth, takes ink so well, you can get it wet and not warp the paper excessively. For what I have been working on it is the perfect paper. The only drawback other than cost is that you almost need to have access to a real art supply store to find it. Most watercolor papers sold at stores like A.C. Moore or Michaels are cold press paper and have a rough surface. Hot Press paper is almost as smooth as Bristol board, but the surface is a bit softer. Because of the smooth surface work extremely well on it.
The above bookmark is done on Hot Press watercolor paper. I used my technical pens to draw the black bits and on this piece I used my watercolor pencils to add color. The watercolor pencils were first used on the paper dry as I would use a regular colored pencil, then I added water by using a wet brush. I did go over the blue areas while they were damp with the watercolor pencil to add more color. Even so it doesn't show up as being very blue in the scan. The lettering I did by hand between ruled lines. I did use Microsoft Word to print out the word "Bookmark" using various fonts, picking the font I liked best to actually use.
The piece above is also on Hot Press water color paper. It is kind of a Zentangle, though not quite. It started life as a Zentangle but somewhere along the way I morphed it into something else, or at least I consider it something else. The black was done using my technical pens and in this case the color was added by using Inktense pencils and a brush dipped in water. I call it Mystic City. It is fairly small only four inches square. I think I will be doing some more works at this size, it is large enough to allow some details, but still small enough to be fairly quick to do.
That is it for today. We have a new FFFC challenge this one is to use Trompe L'oeil techniques on an art quilt. I haven't yet had a chance to check out all the links that have been provided, but will hopefully get to that tomorrow then I can start to think about what I would like to do. I didn't work on the last challenge, too busy with the holidays, but this one sounds like fun.
My last comment is about the weather. I don't know what it has been like where you are, but here in MA we are suffering a surfeit of snow. We have had weekly snow storms for the past 3 weeks, each storm seems to be bringing us at least 10 inches of snow, this is not to mention the small storms that drop only an inch or two that seem to happen between the major storms. Combine this with cold temps and no melting are resulting in huge snow piles with narrow streets. The part that concerns me is that it is still only January. This is not typical weather for us here in Southeastern MA. I am crossing my fingers that we get a week long thaw soon.
I was out today visiting one of my local parks making some photographs, they aren't wonderful, as there wasn't much sun, but I will post one here with additonal ones on my Facebook Page. This isn't my personal page but a Fan page, you don't need to be a friend to view it. There is a link to the Fan page at the bottom of the blog. The above photo was taken at Houghton Pond and shows the pile of snow at the trail head that goes around the pond. Per usual comments are always welcome.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Above is last nights drawing from the weekly Studio Session. The photograph isn't the best, no sun here in MA today. I will take another photograph when we do get some sun as I like this drawing and want a better image of it.
We had quite a crowd last night which considering how cold it was (single digits) outside I found surprising. But inside it was warm, which I am sure the model was grateful for. With this drawing I concentrated on finishing the face and body of the model then filled in some details esp. around her head but left some other areas more sketchy. The side of the couch which I have been detailing I left only in outline this week, the cloth drapes at the far end of the couch I just sketched in. I have been told many times by my instructors that what makes Art individual is what an artist leaves out of a drawing or painting. So I have decided that drawing all the details of what I see (well I don't actually do that though I have been putting in more than I think I need) isn't that important.
While in Chicago over the holidays my Sister and I visited the Chicago Art Institute and after checking out the Fiber Exhibit in the new American wing we viewed the Gray Collection. I didn't realize at the time that the show would only be up until Jan 2. If I had I might have steered us there first and it was I really only looked at about half of the drawings in the exhibit. I "saw" the rest, but by then my brain was on overload and I wasn't really absorbing what I was seeing. Oh well at least we did catch the exhibit while it was on view.
The drawings the Gray's collected are amazing and reflect seven centuries of art, from Picasso to several Renaissance artists. The one thing many of these drawings had in common was the purity of line used by the artists. I am not that good, I am not yet at the point where I can draw one line and have it delineate the shape and form of a human body. Picasso was amazingly good at reducing his drawings to a few lines.
Don't get me wrong I don't want to draw like Picasso, I want to draw like me. In fact I sometimes find his drawings too spare. An artists whose drawings I really admire is Jean A. D. Ingres. He is probably more well know as a painter but his family portraits done with pencil are amazing. You can see some of his family drawings HERE, and there are books of his drawings. At first glance you think he included a lot of detail in his drawings, but look again and you will realize that often only the faces and some of the clothes are really shaded and detailed. The rest is done with a few deliberate lines. A goal for me is to learn how to use more line and more general shading in some areas of my drawings. I have been developing my skills, now I feel I need to develop a style.
Enough for today. Please feel free to comment or ask questions. Hoping everyone is staying warm and dry.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Above is my drawing from Monday night. It felt good to get back to the Studio sessions. My break turned out to be longer then I either expected or wished. Though I shouldn't have been surprised, I tend to pick up some bug over the Holidays, it is an unusual year that I don't. This years bug is still with me, though I am feeling much better. The drawing isn't too bad considering, but I then did spend the break doing a lot of drawings, not of the figure but still drawing.
The Sketchbook Challenge theme for January is Highly Prized. The above page is my brainstorming what I highly prize and some quick sketches of those things, highly prized items are nature, including animals, birds, trees, plants and my drawing tools. I pulled out my new Inktense pencils to see what color would do for/to some of the drawings. This page is purely experimental.
My next page was done with one of my highly prized Rapidograph technical pens. These are technical pens that are sort of like Micron pens, except they are refillable which the Micron's aren't. They are expensive, but if you are into technical pens, I think they are well worth the money. That said I wouldn't stick one in my purse to casually haul it around with me, I would be afraid of loosing it so I do own and use Microns. The drawing above was done using one of my Rapidograph pens in a style called Zentangle. You can follow the link to the Zentangle web site, though I found this site more informative. I fear I am not into mumbo jumbo when it comes to talking about drawing techniques which the Zentangle site does (my opinion only). Nor did I want to wait for a kit or to take a seminar to attempt one, the Squidoo site explains the general concept and how to get started.
I found the first Zentangle fun to do so decided to do a second, the above photo is the 2nd one in progress. it will be interesting to see where it goes from here.
Enough for today, this turned into a longer post then I intended. I am fairly sure that the next few posts will be much shorter. Thanks for hanging in, and per usual comments or questions are always welcome.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The page above shows an old fashioned padlock, open, with a key. This is one of those that are a bit of a stretch, my thoughts at the time were to show the lock as outside, with the key which would go inside the lock.
|Balls & Blocks|
This may be the end of one Sketchbook Project, but it isn't the end of my challenges. I am now in the process of investigating and drawing in my new Sketchbook Challenge sketchbook. The theme for this month is Highly Prized. I admit I am having problems working with this theme. Perhaps because I tend to not think in those terms about people, or things in my life. I have worked on a couple of pages which I will share, but so far I don't feel that I am successfully working with this theme. Until next time, remember that comments are always welcome.
With this page I came to the end of my project, and today's blog post.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
|FRACTURED - 11.5 x 11.5|
The image isn't my original drawing, I did spend time playing with size and placement of several of the triangles before I had a design that I felt I could work with. I am not sure if this meets the rules or not, I am using only one shape, the triangle, but my triangles are not the same, I changed sizes and even the shape of them to provide visual interest. Still I was pleased with resulting drawing and decided to go ahead and make the quilt.
My next step was to figure out how many different fabrics I was going to need to execute this design. So I took some tracing paper and colored pencils and did a color mock up, see Design #2 above. Then I drafted my freezer paper templates and went to the stash to pick fabrics. In the Design #3 image you see my original fabric selections with the prepared freezer paper templates. Next step was to iron the templates on the fabrics, cut the fabrics out and lay them out on the background.
I chose for my background fabric a solid hand dyed fabric from the stash, I think this is a Cherrywood, but I can't be totally certain. The choice was determined by how it worked with the orange fabric you see in the lower right. I really wanted to use that fabric so picked my background accordingly. In the image above #1 is my original selection of fabrics. They all did work together but I didn't like them when I had them laid out. Back to the stash, the green was replaced with a marbleized blue, and the turquoise blue marbleized fabric replaced with a darker blue hand stamped fabric. I still didn't like it, the dark blue was getting lost against the background. Note that I was also slightly changing the layout of the triangles during this process. Then I found this beautiful hand dyed fabric that I loved, but contrast wasn't the best with the large light blue marbleized piece. So I recut the large triangle, fussy cutting it to give me a light area where I needed it for the overlap of the two triangles. This left me with an extra large light blue triangle, which I decided to use in the lower left of the piece. Image #3 shows this final layout.
Next step in the process was to glue it all down with my white fabric glue and then to create the quilt sandwich. I don't like using stabilizer so to avoid that I make the quilt sandwich and use the machine applique stitches as a quilting feature. Then it was time to decide on how to applique the pieces down. I wasn't in the mood to spend the time matching threads to use my usual narrow zigzag stitch (satin stitch) so I decided to use a different stitch and only one color of thread. For the thread I chose a King Tut black variegated called Rosetta Stone. The stitch I selected is sort of like a button hole stitch, though not quite the same as the hand stitch. On my Janome 6500 it is stitch #34 in Mode 2. In the top 2 pictures in the image above you can see my progress sewing down the pieces. Once I had them stitched down I tucked away threads and did the background quilting. I used another King Tut thread for the background, machine quilting fairly densely.
I knew that I wanted to hand quilt all the triangles. Many of these fabrics have either a pearlized or metallic finish applied to them (one reason why I selected them) so I decided to use a metallic thread for the hand stitches. In the end I used 2 different Sulky Metallic threads, sliver and copper. In the orange triangles I used a Rayon Madeira thread. After machine quilting I trimmed the quilt and applied a narrow binding which I hand sewed to the back. I took the quilt to Chicago with me to work on the hand stitching. I stitched most evenings while watching TV with my sister. I love the look of the hand stitching but it takes forever. The quilt still needs a label and a sleeve, but is otherwise finished. I know I could add beads, but I don't think it needs it. It is small only 11.5 inches square.
I think I like it, though it doesn't have a dark dark, which I usually like to include. But my attempt at including one just didn't seem to work (see the image with the dark blue fabrics) The value change there disrupted the flow of the triangles one to another, maybe if I had put it in a different location it would have worked but I am not sure. I call this quilt Fractured, but I didn't make any attempt to create triangles that would actually fit back together as something. Maybe an idea for a different quilt.
That is it for today. I still need to post the rest of the Sketchbook Project images. Yes, I did finish it Friday, and did get the book in the mail yesterday. But this is long enough. Comments or questions are welcome, let me know what you think of this little quilt.
Friday, January 14, 2011
|Gems of the Sea|
The above page is of oysters and pearls. Pearls are the only "gem" that isn't a stone, well... I had forgotten about amber and coral, but amber is fossilized resin, and I don't really consider coral a gem stone. Anyway my drawing shows 2 oysters and a few pearls, one sitting between the halves of an open oyster shell. Pearls after all are created inside an oyster, outside is the outside of the shells.
Shoes, when I went back to school many of my art classes had me drawing shoes. I have to admit that I got a bit tired of them but when I was searching for themes for my pages it occurred to me that I could show a drawing of an indoor slipper and an outside shoe. Which is what I have done in the above spread. The black shoe looks fairly solid in the scan but in the sketchbook it shows more value variation. They were actually kind of fun to do after not doing one for a year or so.
|Outlook on Blue Hill|
This is a long post. I was going to do it yesterday, but ended up sleeping most of the day with a low grade fever and a cough. The cold is better today so I am catching up. Here in Eastern MA we had about a foot of snow on Wednesday. Thankfully I didn't loose power where I am, but the city to the south of me had major power issues caused by downed trees. Hopefully all of my readers are safe, warm and dry. Per usual comments are welcome.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
I am back home in MA, the flight home from Chicago was no problem at all, in fact we arrived early into Boston on the 4th. Since I have been home I have been concentrating on getting my Arthouse Sketchbook project done. As the title says I have only 6 more days before the mailing deadline. Here are the seven pages I have actually finished since getting home. I have 4 more sketched but not finished which will leave me with 9 pages still to do. Well there is also the back page, but I think I will do something simple on that one, like THE END. I know I will be totally out of ideas by then so something simple will be best.
The image above is walnuts with a nut cracker. This one is mainly pen and ink with just a bit of colored pencil work to add interest. The next image is of a target with some arrows stuck into and around it.
|Glass of Wine|
Enough for today. I need to get back to the 4 pages that are sketched in but not finished, and I would really like a nap. I seem to have caught a cold and have been bonding with a Kleenex box most of the afternoon. Doubt I will make drawing tomorrow night, I don't want to spread this around to my fellow artists. Still I think I will feel well enough to work on my drawings so hopefully will have another update of pages in a couple of days. Per usual comments are welcome.
Monday, January 3, 2011
|Chock full o'Nuts|
|Bats in the Belfry|
|Mock Turtle Soup Please|
Per usual comments are always welcome. The above drawings are done with colored pencil or technical pens with india ink.