Monday, November 17, 2014

A Blog Hop Around the World

Blog Hop: I've been asked to participate by answering four questions and adding the links to three additional artist's blogs. Should be fun.

What am I working on? Today I was working on unpacking boxes and organizing a studio space after moving from a home I had lived in since the 1980's. I have a painting space and sewing space developed so tomorrow I am going to be using some of my hand (dye) painted fabrics to begin creating three commissioned textile mini works of art. After about a month away from my creative endeavors, this is going to be fulfilling.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? Textile art: There are not a lot of people who paint with dyes onto fabric so I have developed a lot of my own painting techniques. All my painted fabric pieces are original so people purchasing my textiles are getting unique works of art.

Watercolour: Well I love plein air painting and I know not everyone who paints in watercolour likes to work outdoors. As I paint my life, my experiences are reflected in my paintings. For instance, I have an interest in energy conservation so I have an ongoing 'Clothesline Series' to promote drying clothes without electricity.

Why do I create what I do? Number one I have to create to feel whole and maintain balance in my life. More and more I am drawn to create functional pieces. Creating art work on textile for quilters fills me with joy especially when I get to see what creative things they add to my textiles.

In my watercolour, I attempt to capture the importance of the natural world. I know being in nature helps me to maintain focus on the important things in life. I hope my paintings reflect that to others. Currently I am working on some paintings celebrating the importance of the honey bee in our agriculture.

How does my creative process work? I am definitely influenced by what is important to me and what I am experiencing in my life. Recently I was asked to create a floral on an antique kitchen cabinet door for a home renovation. This was nothing I have ever done before but I like to reuse things and I like painting flowers so this project really suited me.

Shows, retail commitments, and commissions often influence what types of art work I am focusing on at any given time. What I paint comes from within me based on what I am involved in in my life. Interestingly, I have found social media such has facebook and pinterest have focused my attention to really know what it is that I like. For instance I have always liked dogs with red hair and recently created a pinterest board 'animals with red fur'. A month or so ago I was able to photograph a red fox in the wild and I plan to do some watercolours of foxes this winter. Often what I paint in watercolour will further be painted onto textile.
Blog Hop Around the World: Links and Samples of other Artist's work I admire.
by Win Dinn
I was invited to this Blog Hop by my friend Win Dinn. Click here to see more of Win Dinn's mixed media art. I especially like her 'Wingdings'.

I would like to invite a very talented fellow blogger Holly M to the Blog Hop Around the World. Here is one of my favorite samples of her textile art.

By Holly M

I would like to invite a talented quilter Marj Moore to the Blog Hop Around the World. Marj makes stunning wearable art along with quilts and just about anything else quilted.

Wearable Art by Marj Moore
My blog post for November 17, 2014. 

My sewing space is finally set up after our move! Using my antique dentist cabinet for my sewing notions in my new sewing space is working out great.
Great shallow drawers for thread.

 Using my hand dyed fabric as beginnings for 'mini quilts'/ 'mug rugs', I've been requested to create two fall motif mug rugs similar to one I made this summer. Click  here to view it. Of course they will be different as no two piece of hand painted fabric will be the same and I stitch details to suit each individual piece.

There wasn't much left of the strip of fabric I dyed that I had used in the piece of textile art from the summer, but with a small border I had enough for one more.
 Border added of commercial fabric with fall leaves. It seems well suited.
 Strips of coordinating colours are added with a stitch and flip method.
Letting my imagination decide what details should be thread sketched on is pure pleasure for me. Well sometimes it can be frustrating when I can't think what to do but today the ideas flowed.

Just the border to be added and a label. I am thinking about dark brown but the decision will be made tomorrow. Letting things wait over night sometimes brings different ideas.

I am looking forward to my twice weekly posting now that the move is over. Love to hear from you.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Moving a Studio

Moving is why I've missed posting this week. Wow, what a whirlwind we've had. A bit more to go and all will be done, then the organizing of our present house can begin!

My Studio Space
I can't really call it a studio yet because everything is in chaos. Where will my sewing area be? Painting area? Dyeing area? Office area? See that cabinet in the back. It is a very old cabinet from a dental office. I was going to give it away before the move but my wise friends reminded me what good storage it has for my sewing supplies so I kept it and I am very thankful I did. I vow one day I will finish the refinishing job I started on it.

A large set of ordinary cupboards not nearly so aesthetically pleasing as the dental cabinet but they will keep a lot of clutter out of sight.
My textile hand painted panels arrived safely.

More boxes on a nice big work area. Can't wait to get back to creating!
 Do you get anxious when you have no time for creating? I know I do. Life just seems out of balance somehow.
Today we took a few hours off from moving and enjoyed roasting Smokies over a fire with our neighbours. Can't believe this is in November!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Motoring in the Maritimes

I could show you lots of pictures of lighthouses, seascapes, autumn coloured trees because believe me I took a lot of them but instead I have included a few of the artisan places we visited and a few other special things.
Fox: seen near Cape George on the way to Antigonish, NS
It puzzles me how this fox can look so groomed. My dog needs to be brushed to look this good.
Quilt Store at Port Hawksbury, NS
After crossing the Canso Causeway from the peninsula of Nova Scotia to Cape Breton Island, this quilt store is right there.
Sketching on Cape Breton at Baddeck
I didn't get as much sketching time as I would have liked on this road trip so I treasured the time I did get here at Baddeck, on Cape Breton Island.
Cape Breton, Cheticamp.
This Acadian area of Cape Breton is famous for it's hooked rugs. I purchased a piece created by a 91 year old that specialized in depicting chickadees and pussy willows. Who could resist that.
Rug Hooking
I was able to get a little demonstration right at the store. Either wool or strips of woolen material are used to create the art work.

Fabric Dyer near Mabou, Cape Breton.
Ann has a studio and store in her own home and it was busy when I was there with people from New York and Pennsylvania.  Click here to see Ann Schroeder's website.
Fiddle by the Sea Bed and Breakfast, Port Hood, Cape Breton
Click here for information about this wonderful B&B we stayed at in Cape Hood on Cape Breton Island .Alain entertained us with fiddle music after a wonderful crepe breakfast prepared by Denise. If you are planning a trip to Cape Breton, and you are interested in the autumn colours and Celtic Music, be sure to check out the Island wide festival Celtic Colours.
Farm on PEI
The soil on PEI was red! When we were there it was harvest time and we saw large trucks full of the famous PEI potatoes. The scenery was so idyllic with their picture perfect farms.
Confederation Bridge joining PEI with NB. It was a 12.8 km bridge
You couldn't help but feel just a little prouder of Canadians after seeing this engineering feat. If you want to read more about this bridge, click here .

Quilt Shop, Digby, NS
Shop owner Darlene D'Eon and myself. I am holding some NS tartan I purchased here. I have loved that tartan ever since I saw it a few years ago at Quilt Canada, Halifax.
 To check out Darlene's 'A Needle Pulling Thread Quilt Shop' in Digby click here. here

The fall colours that greeted us on our own garage when we got home!
Hopefully we can go back and spend more time someday.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Clotheslines of the Maritimes

Thrilling to see clothes hanging on the clotheslines seemed to be a way of life in the Maritimes. I have painted clotheslines in watercolour for sometime and for an explanation of why I do, click here .
As you can see in the photos below stick props are common in keeping the clothes up off the ground. This is not something I have really seen here in the western provinces of Canada. Who knew there would be regional differences to clothesline usage in Canada. Oh yes, I would love to paint my way across Canada and other countries, painting clotheslines and discovering the cultural differences of their usage.
For the post about my newest watercolour painting in my 'Clothesline Series' click here .

How could a hanging clothes not look beautiful in a setting like that!

Love  that stick prop.

Wonderful to see all laundry hung to dry. This was not in a back yard, but right on the edge of the road. Beautiful I thought.
My studio shelves are bare...
and the boxes are full ready for a move.
Everything is topsy-turvy in my studio and house right now so my posts might not be on their regular days for awhile. When we are unpacked I will post a photo of the new studio. Looking forward to setting up my dye pots.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Visiting a Quilt Store in Cape Breton

Anne (right) and I throwing autumn leaves
What a colourful day we had finding Anne Morrell Robinson's Quilts and Fiber Art Store on Cape Breton Island. I was told by a friend, before I left home in BC, that it would be a road trip into see Anne's Store but that it was well worth it. Isn't 'word of mouth' from quilters wonderful. Without the quilter's recommendation, would I have ventured so far a field to find this little gem of a store in the highlands of Cape Breton? On our map, Kingross, the region the store is located in, looks to be the end of the road into the Margaree Valley but our drive was well worth it. Click here for more information about the area.
I called stop at this stretch of the road. Can you see that each tree lined up along the side of the road was a different colour?
The drive in the Margaree Valley of Cape Breton had some of the most colourful autumn scenery we encountered on our visit to the Maritimes.
This photo was taken twice as the colourful maples grabbed my attention both driving into the store and on the way out.
It felt like we were going through a tunnel of yellow and orange just before turning into Anne's driveway.
Anne designed this quilt for a block of the month challenge for her quilt group. It will be made into a veteran's quilt for donation. When I said I always have trouble drawing maple leaves, Anne replied "I just ran out and picked up a maple leaf to draw from. I like that it is so representational of the area.
Visiting Anne (on the right) in her shop was that a treat. Not only were there quilts she had designed and created herself but I was surprised to find she had many other talents from creating original pieces of textile clothing, to felting brooches, to hooking traditional rugs with strips of wool fabric, to fabricating dolls.
Look for more photos of quilt shop visits, waterccolour sketches, and colourful landscapes of the Maritimes in upcoming posts. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Meeting Artisans in the Maritimes

Meeting new artists is the best. I don't mean talking about techniques, so much as just the sharing of what each other does, and how they got to be creating in the way that they do.   Recently I had the pleasure of spending time in Anne Morrel Robinson's studio on Cape Breton Island. I don't have my photos sorted yet but you can click here  to see Anne's Kingross Quilts website.  Also if you 'like' her facebook page, you can see a photo of us in her shop. I promise to take a photo of the felted brooch I got there and post it. Absolutely lovely. 

Meanwhile here are some photos of the 'mug rugs' I did this summer using the hand painted fabrics I created after taking a Oriental painting class from Linda Lashbrook. That reminds me I must also post a picture of a hooked mini rug I bought on my trip to the Maritimes with pussy willows on it, created in the Acadian tradition, by a 93 year old artisan. How inspiring is that.

Pussy Willows
Mug Rug

Mug Rug

This mug rug has gone to a new home. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bee Hives in watercolour

What happens when you paint on location? Well on this one morning, four artists headed out by 9 am in two vehicles because we had a lot of art stuff, including a very large dog. After a short drive to our first potential spot we all got out and after a very short time decided we all could find something to paint there. 

Our setups are surprisingly different. E painted out of the back of her car while she perched under the hatchback; K painted standing at an easel or sitting down on the bank of the ditch with the easel lowered if it was too windy; this morning B had a sketchbook and a chair; and I had my trusty small travel chair with my metal case with all my art supplies. An additional backpack held water for drinking and painting, a jacket, hat, sunglasses and it should have contained sunscreen. After I have my paper, backing board, drawing tools, brushes, water container, and paint palette out, I close up the case, set it beside me to lay out my artist supplies for easy access. I paint with the board resting on my knee and tilted up. 

I chose to move my self down a few hundred feet from the beautiful landscape view the other artists selected, as some wonderfully coloured beehives had caught my eye.  As I have a great concern for the honey bee, as they struggle with toxins in our environment, this collection of hives just drew me to come and paint them.

When B wandered up to first see what I was doing, she was surprised to see only dobs of colour where the hives were to be. On her second visit she was intrigued to see they had taken shape into boxes. Note not all the hives are represented clearly but the others have enough details, shaded sides and box handles that the grouping of them becomes believable as beehive colonies. The trees were not yellow yet but I was tired of green so I painted them in autumn colours. I did these after I painted the sky and the mountains. After painting the yellow leaves of the trees, the top edge was lightly sprayed with water to soften the edge.

Not all of the fence wires were drawn in as when I take in the view, my eyes don't focus on every line that is there. Although the fence was straight, I chose to tilt one post in, for variety. Sorry to the farmer who obviously took pride in a truly straight fence. Before I say it is done, I think I will add a little more detail to the trees and the two fence posts on the left. Then who knows? Anyways back to that morning, after about an hour and a half or perhaps two of pretty much silence, someone started shifting around and soon we are all noting we are feeling hungry. After a snack and tea we spent another half hour or so finishing up or starting new sketches before we all headed back to home base for lunch and in my case a quick nap. In the afternoon, we pretty much repeated the same routine. What a wonderful life.