Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February 22, Brrrr

Cold, we have gone back into the freezer though not the deep freeze thankfully. After a warmish week last week the past two days have been cold, it seemed esp cold last night, but I think part of that is the wind that came along. Still I know I shouldn't complain, at least we aren't getting buried in snow like the upper Midwest. I think that storm is moving south of us.

Above is last nights drawing. The model was one I have drawn before, but I think I did a better job capturing her last night then I have in the past. Still I wonder if I have some things right. she doesn't seem to have much of a neck, but that was the pose. I suppose I could have elongated her neck a bit for the image, but then I would have had issues with her arms. Also not sure about the foot position, she kept shifting it after each break so this is sort of a composite image. Still it was a lovely pose for us artists. I might have made a better drawing from a different position, but part of my personal discipline is to draw the pose from the position I pick prior to the model taking it. That said there have been times when I have moved, usually only when I consider my view of the pose not attractive for the model.

I don't have any other drawings today, so though I would close with a photograph I made in a local shopping center last Friday. It was warm that day and you can see the water runoff from the snow mound.  I wish I had a before photo for comparison. I would guess that it was at least a third higher than what you are seeing. We had about an inch of snow Sunday into Monday morning, but today is sunny and clear, if cold.

That is it for today. I am working on more animal pen and ink drawings and hope to have at least one to post toward the end of the week. That is if I can replace the bulb in my work lamp. It started flickering over the weekend, and I have discovered that it isn't the type of bulb that is carried at Target. I have also joined another ATC swap, the theme of this one is Owls. That should be fun, I just need to research more images prior to starting. Per usual comments are welcome.

Friday, February 18, 2011

ATC House Swap

Today I have scans of my last 2 ATC's made for the House swap I am involved with on the Milliande Art Community site. Above is a "grass shack". I created a composite design from the various reference images I was able to find on the web. My tropical spot is found only in my mind. Still a week or so ago it would have been the perfect vacation spot considering how cold it was here in the northeast. At least we are finally getting some warmer weather so snow is actually melting. Makes it ugly to look at, but having wider roads is a good trade off if you ask me.

The card was done by making a sketch in pencil, then I inked some of the lines with one of my technical pens, and used colored pencils to add the color.

Above is my last card for the swap. A bird house with an Eastern Bluebird coming in for a landing. The bird house is from my imagination, but I did use a photograph as a reference for the bird.  Done the same way as the card above, pen and ink outlines with colored pencils for the color. Both cards have been sprayed with a clear finish.

My last image for today is my latest pen and ink work of an animal. In this case it is actually three animals, a Hen with 2 chicks.

For this piece I kept the background relatively simple. Though I am not sure I am totally done with it. I will have to live with it for a few days before I decide. As I look at the above scan I realize there is an area that I am not happy with. If I make major changes I will update the blog so stay tuned.

Since I need to go out to mail the ATC's I am going to make this post short. Per usual comments are welcome. Hope everyone is having a good week.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Late Valentine Greeting

A belated Happy Valentines day to all. I fear I don't have any hearts for you, though I could dig out an image of one of my ATC cards from last year when I was into hearts. Actually if you are interested you can just click on the ATC page on the blog and view all of the cards I have finished.

Above is my Valentine's Day drawing. We didn't have a lot of artists at the session, I am guessing that it was because of the holiday and folks spending time with their significant others instead of painting. For a little bit last night it looked like it was going to be only Scott and I and the model. Then a couple of others arrived so while we didn't have a crowd we did have a fairly good group. We had a new model last night, which is always fun. Apparently she is related to a family who as a group has done a lot of modeling for Scott over the years. Scott's quip was that they are a modeling family but not a model family.

Anyway I am continuing with my efforts to simplify the drawing while still conveying the feeling of the pose. Overall I think I am pleased with last nights efforts, but I may have made her foot too large. It is such a lovely foot that drawing it was fun, easy to get carried away when drawing is fun. Not sure that I got the head size quite right either, though I think in the end it works. I hope someday to be able to get past making those kinds of mistakes but depending on the pose it isn't always as easy as one would think.  She at least looks like she is lying on a sofa, with her hips sinking into the cushions. 

The next two images are of my latest ATC's. I joined a swap on the Milliande Art Community for Women. The theme for the swap is home/houses and we are swapping 4 cards. So far I have 2 done, a third inked but not finalized and a 4th is just an idea.

The above card is of a street with a row of houses. I find this design rolling around in my head whenever I think about doing houses. I have done something similar with a small challenge quilt, and now with this ATC. Neither is quite what I am looking for, so I know this design will come back again some day. This card I did with my Technical pens and Inktense pencils from Christmas. Some of the colors bled a bit when I applied the water, I should have let the adjoining area dry first but was impatient. In many areas I used more then one color of pencil, and for the green plants I added more pencil while the paper was wet. 

The above image is more conventional, my take on a log cabin in a woods clearing. This one I did with my Technical pens and colored pencil. I have more colors with the colored pencils so was able to do more color work. I think I should have used a ruler for some of my lines as some of them are a bit warped and out of correct alignment. Oh well it is done, and it will have to do.

Hope everyone has been enjoying slightly better weather. We haven't had a major storm for over a week and even had temps in the 50's yesterday. Yeah, maybe Spring is really on the way, though I know it will really be 2 more months before it arrives here in the Northeast. That is it for today, comments are welcome.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Feb Drawings and Good News

Above is last nights drawing. Not as simplified as last weeks drawing but also not as detailed as what I had been doing. Not sure I have the mix right yet but I think I prefer this weeks drawing to last weeks. I kept the background shadows lighter and I think that is less distracting for the viewer.

At least this week I was able to get a fairly good photograph. It has been cloudy all day with some snow flurries (we had a light dusting of snow overnight). Still it was light enough this morning for me to make the above photo. Course it helped that it was warm enough this weekend to melt the snow on the porch so I was able to get outside to make the picture.

Below are three images of what I have been working on instead of designing and making my FFFC challenge quilt. All three are pen and ink drawings, done with technical pens on hot press watercolor paper.

I start by drawing a square in pencil on a 7.5 inch square of paper. Then I draw, again with pencil, the featured animal with any important features - like the tree branches. Once the pencil work is finished I ink in the outlines of my penciled sketch and then fill in the animals and backgrounds with random fills and lines.

The image above is a crow sitting on a branch. The landscape is pure fantasy.

The image above is a rabbit in a garden looking for breakfast or maybe dinner, your choice. 

This last image is a squirrel sitting on a branch viewing the countryside. 
I am finding these little drawings a lot of fun to do, and have at least one more in the works. Since I am thinking of other animals I could feature I think this series will run a bit longer.

My last image is actually a reprise of one I posted last spring. I learned this morning that this etching has been juried into the Boston Printmakers 7th Biennial show. It is in the Student show, but still I am very honored and happy to have been selected. Massasoit submitted 26 prints and only 14 were juried in. The show is on exhibit starting February 27 through May 1st at the Danforth Museum of Art in Framingham, MA. The etching is my version of an old master, the gentleman was originally walking his dog along the riverbank.  I never expected this to be the one selected but needless to say I am thrilled.

That is it for today. Comments per usual are welcome.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Labeling My Quilts

First off I will admit that labeling my quilts is one of my least favorite activities. I would much rather be designing, or quilting or even attaching a binding then putting a label on a quilt. So I tend to let the finished quilts stack up before I tackle the project, then I will do several at a time.

In this instance I have 4 quilts needing labels. Three that I did for the FFFC group challenges and one quilt that I started years ago and only recently finished the quilting.

My real first step in creating a label is to write the text in Microsoft Word. This way I can check spelling and grammar before I actually create the label. I include any information that I think might be interesting, why I am making the quilt (for a Challenge) the fabric content of the materials used, any special techniques or materials used including threads and embellishments. My name, the date the quilt was finished (month and year), and the city and state where I lived. I also usually indicate the size of the quilt. Last but not least, I name the quilt if I haven't already.

When this has been done and printed out, I then move to the next stage. For this I use a high thread count white fabric that has been backed for stability with freezer paper. The above image shows the process of prepping the fabric for writing. The fabric I use has been washed, dried (don't use a dryer sheet when drying) and ironed.

I cut freezer paper strips about 6 inches wide, ironed onto the fabric, and then cut into a strip. When I place the freezer paper on the fabric for ironing I leave a bit of open fabric at the bottom (note: place freezer paper shinny side down on the fabric, you want the plastic film to come in contact with the fabric not the iron).  When I cut the fabric/freezer paper strips I also leave some extra fabric at the top, not quite a 1/4 inch. Leaving these open areas makes it easier to peel off the freezer paper and the edges will be turned under when the label is sewn down so you don't need the support.

The above image shows the next 3 steps. I cut the freezer paper/fabric strips into sections, usually about 6 inches. For me this is a good size, and I can usually fit my label text into this space. The next image shows some written labels with the pen I use. I use a Micron Pigma pen with a 01 tip. That is simply my preference, though I found the .005 too fine, and with the 02 (larger) it was harder to keep it from bleeding ink on the fabric. Note that I mark a rectangle on the fabric with a ruler and pen before I start writing. The ruled lines are at about 1/2 inch in from the edge. This allows me space to turn under a seam allowance while still showing the lines. When using the pens on fabric you have to keep the pen moving, if you stop with the pen in contact with the fabric ink will bleed and form blotches.

Next step is to heat set the ink and to turn under the edges of the label making it ready to applique to the back of the quilt. I use a hot iron. I leave the freezer paper on when I create and iron the seam allowances, I think it helps to create an edge, but it could be done after the paper has been removed.  

My last set of images show the heat set label being peeled off of the freezer paper. The last image is of a label pinned in place on a quilt ready to be sewn down. Edges are all turned under, the label is placed in the lower left on the back of the quilt. I use either a blind hem stitch or a ladder stitch to attach the label. Occasionally checking to make sure that I don't sew through to the front of the quilt.

I know there are other ways to label a quilt, but this method works for me. That is it for today, comments and questions are always welcome.  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February But Still Snowing

Above is last nights drawing. I am not sure how well done it is. I had issues with the arm that she is leaning on the couch, there is foreshortening so I had issues getting it large enough to seem real but trying to keep the lines and angles I was seeing in mind.  Toward the end of the session I changed the hip level to be lower than my original line. The model had shifted her pose enough so that it was lower, but with the lower hip position there was a change in leg position which I didn't change from my original sketch. The question is does the lower hip position work with the leg positions.

As you can see I am continuing to try and simplify parts of my drawing. Last night I left the area to the right that was in shadow lighter instead of making it darker as I usually do. I also simplified the draped fabric to just lines instead of trying to do all the shading. The models face, arms and upper body I rendered with my usual detail and shadows. I also included the shadow on the wall behind the couch, but I made it very dark to contrast with the light areas in front. I think I need to put this away for a week or two and then take a look at it before I decide how I like this approach. I was concerned at one point that I had the head a bit too large, but looking at the photo I think it is within acceptable limits.  Like last week, the photo is not the best. We have another 2 day snow storm coming through so there was no sun this morning, only snow. Makes it hard for me to make a good photo. I think I need to buy some better lights.

My second image for you today is another Zentangle type drawing. The image size is 4.5 inches square. I split the square into 4 smaller squares and then created the string which I repeated in the other 3 sections, rotating and using a mirror image of the first string. However I consider these lines only as landmarks and use them or ignore them as it suits the developing design. I am trying to explore different patterns with these little drawings. So while I repeat some motifs I am also trying to introduce new ones. I call this one Garden Fantasy. This was done on Hot Press Watercolor paper using my technical pens and India ink.

That is the art work for today. On the quilting front I am thinking about what I want to do for my next challenge for the FFFC group, and I am working on labels for all those challenges I have finished in the past couple of months. The labels are written and heat set, now I just need to sew them to the back of the quilts. In my next Blog post I will go over how I create my labels. That is it for today, though I thought I would leave you with one last image, this is the street outside my Apt. at about 11:00 a.m. this morning. Since then there has been more snow, a plow and still more snow. Per usual Comments are welcome.