Sunday, August 18, 2019

August is Great for Painting at the Lake

The only thing better than plein air painting in August, is painting in September when it is a bit cooler.

We are thankful to live so close to a big beautiful lake. It is so relaxing to go camping there which we did this month.

Aqua Chair from Winnipeg
Watercolour by Eileen Gidman
When I saw the sun shining on an aqua blue camp chair at about 10:00 one morning, I made sure I was set up ready to paint it the next day when the sun was highlighting it once again. 

Here I am sitting in the shade of our campsite, out of that hot sun, enjoying a couple of hours of painting that aqua chair. Just wow!

Family Time at the Lake

I was sitting in my camp chair with its little attached table, perfect for plein air painting. Note the watercolour above.

Plein air painting again this week near Creston, BC.
Brittany's Flower Farm
Watercolour Sketch
by Eileen Gidman

On Thursday, my friend Linda and I cycled over to partake in the opening of a flower shop.  Brittany's Flower Farm . Touring the colourful Flower Shop and garden was just delightful. Thank you Brittany for welcoming us.  You are truly talented. 

Monday, July 22, 2019

July is a Good Month for Fabric Painting

Painting with Dyes on Cotton Fabric

Working in the heat of the summer is advantageous for the chemical reaction of the dyes with the soda soaked fabric. Warmth enhances the 'colour set' of the dyes. One thing you do have to think about though, especially if you are working on a large piece of fabric is to avoid letting the piece dry out. To minimize this, I work quickly, apply a generous amount of the thickened dye and lightly lay a piece of plastic over areas that I have completed. Moisture helps with the chemical reaction of the dyes and fabric so it is important for the dyes to remain a little damp overnight.

I always remember a hint about fabric painting from my friend Gail. When painting on the fabric, I will dip out a spoonful of the colour of thickened dye I want, onto a plate, along with any other colours I want to mix together. For instance, I might spoon out a dollop of yellow and a smaller amount of blue to mix together for green. Once I've finished painting with that colour, I might set it aside to use later in another area. Here is where the hint comes in. As my paint brush is going from the soda soaked fabric to the dye, the brush may carry soda ash back onto the dye plate. This soda ash will interact with the dye and start lessening it's colour strength. Therefore to limit this, I clean the mixing plates of the remaining dye often. Usually within every 2-3 hours or between finishing one piece of fabric and starting another. 

I share these ideas with you so that if you are ever painting with dyes, you are aware of them and thus have the greatest chance of success. It is mighty disappointing to rinse out a piece you've worked hard on and have it's colours be faded.

112 five by seven inch images

I've been working the last 2 weeks on these 112 images. With these small 5 X 7" pictures, I first drew the image in black dye using a bottle with a nib that I can squeeze out a small stream of black dye with. I took the extra step of rinsing the material after it had 'batched' overnight and then re-soda soaked the fabric. This was time consuming but it saved the chance of the black bleeding with the addition of coloured dyes and it allowed me to paint right over those black lines if I chose to because the black dye was set.

What beautiful gradation of colours hydrangeas have 

I admire the hydrangeas of my neighbour. Each image I painted has a reference to something in my life. I believe most artists work this way.

Border Collies and Black Labs painted with dyes on fabric
I've been painting a dog series in watercolour and so I tried painting some Border Collies and Black Labs onto fabric too.


The next two examples are over painting a low immersion dyed piece of fabric. Previously I had scrunched up a piece of fabric, placed it in a container, added some liquid dyes and poured warm soda ash solution over it. I am not really sure if over-painting on pre-dyed fabric, is going to be a success yet or not. When I start adding details in stitching, I will better be able to assess how this technique works. 
Note: some images are upside down and some sideways as I was working from both sides of the table.

Experimenting: Several small images on this one piece of fabric. 
 I think some of the pieces will require some additional fabrics to be stitched on top so as to show enough variance of values to see the images. It should be a fun challenge.
Experimenting: 12 small images that will be cut up for making textile cards

 More Experimenting

I had a little strip of cloth left over so I thought I would try some figures. In watercolour these are referred to as 'incidental' figures as they add interest to a painting but they are not detailed. I am looking forward to working on some larger textile pieces and these 'incidental' figures might just be what is needed in them.

My next step with all these small images will be to adhere them to heavy weight interfacing, cut them out and add free motion stitching details. They will then be attached to card stock for textile cards. I hope you are enjoying some creative time this summer.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Painting with Dyes for Cards

Textile Card by Eileen Gidman

My personal favorite, of this set of 25 cards that were just recently completed, is this goose in the purple and gold. I really love the purplish tingle to the back.

Textile Card Making

At a meeting this morning, I was asked about the steps required in making the card tops. I was surprised myself how many steps there are. Painting the fabric with thickened dyes is the most time consuming but so much fun. Here are the steps to making the cards:

  1. Paint images with thickened dyes onto cotton, linen, velvet and silk fabrics.
  2. Cure and wash.
  3. Iron on 4 1/2" X 6 1/2" heavy interfacing to the back of each proposed card top.
  4. Cut out leaving an additional 1/4" all around for fringing.
  5. Fringe. (I was fringing them outside yesterday when a big gust of wind came. I was chasing card tops all over the neighbourhood, ha, ha!)
  6. Fold card stock in half. 
  7. Glue textile piece onto card top and lay under weight to dry.
  8. Sign card in case the buyer wishes to place the card in a 5 X 7" frame.
  9. Add a back label that tells what it is made with, the artist (Eileen Gidman) and a red maple leaf to signify it is Canadian made.
  10. Package in clear display bag.
  11. Label that it is original and frameable art.
  12. Add price stickers. 

Textile Card by Eileen Gidman
I left the last 1" or so of thread loose on the fisherman's line. I wanted to put a cap on the figure, but when you are free motion stitching so small, there is little opportunity for maneuvering so it looks more like a straw hat. I kind of like how it turned out though.

Textile Card by Eileen Gidman
How did I get such vividness with this purple? All I can say is perhaps using freshly made up dyes and going over the plum in successive layers. I like adding a little mauve to the leaves to suggest the reflective light on the leaves.

Textile Card by Eileen Gidman
 Fruits of the Creston Valley. Most recently we've been enjoying strawberries and raspberries. Cherries are starting.

Textile Card by Eileen Gidman
Some of the new cards available for sale at Creston Card and Stationery . None of these cards have the hand dyed velvet embellishments like the last set of textile cards I created this spring. These cards are unique with more detail in the painted image. There is still additional black thread sketching adorning them.

Textile Card by Eileen Gidman
More of the new cards available for sale at Creston Card and Stationery .

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Gold Ink

Gold Ink & Calligraphy Pens
My interest in calligraphy was reawakened recently when a took a three hour calligraphy course at our local college Many years ago, I practiced writing italics for hours by a kerosene lamp in a log cabin, nestled beside a stream, and surrounded by towering cedar trees. What a magical setting that was and all that practice is helpful to me even now. 

When practicing with the ink sketching and watercolour painting, I couldn't resist trying some gold ink in this dog's beard.

Fine Tec Pearlescent Colours
This set arrived in the mail two days ago. Thank you to the people who posted about these Fine Tec colours online. They are working well with a calligraphy dip pen. The watercolour brush is used to add a little water to the compressed metallic colour disc and is then mixed. Using the brush, a bit of pigment is added to the back of the calligraphy nib for use. 

Copper colored Fine Tec pigment Practice
Pear and bird drawn with a straight nib. The leaf is drawn with a watercolour brush and the bottom irregular bit is 'scumbling' with a watercolour brush.

Arabic Gold, Fine Tec Pearlescent Colour
Trying the different colours with a dip pen and straight nib. The straight nib worked the best for me. I did not have success using a broad tipped nib (C series) for lettering. The metallic flakes showed thick and thin in a single stroke.

Practicing for 'My Life with My Human' series

More pen and ink practice with watercolour
Drawing with Speedball Super black India ink and a dip calligraphy pen. Allow to dry completely before adding the watercolour.

Combining watercolour and calligraphy on mottled card stock.
When trying a new medium, I often combine it with mediums I am already familiar with. Note in this photo and in the illustration below, I used masking tape to cover up the area to be used for the printing while painting with watercolour. After removing the tape, the lettering was added.

Combining sketching in ink, watercolour painting and calligraphy lettering. The slightly mottled coloured paper worked well for this illustrative style of painting.

Brush work 4" in height
Italics numbering using a flat 1/2" watercolour brush and thalo blue which brushes on smoothly. Being able to print this large with a brush really surprised me! I wondered about trying a house painting brush.

Illustration about Habitat for the Birds
Combining calligraphy lettering, sketching in ink and watercolour painting in an illustration.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Textile Cards are for Christmas

Season's Greetings and Wishing You the Best in the New Year.
My hand made textile cards are available locally in Creston, BC at Creston Card and Stationery and the Cresteramics Art Store. As they fit perfectly into a 5 X 7" frame, they make a card and gift in one!

This was my favorite winter season card created this year. The hand dyed fabric with the soft mauves and little blue seemed so perfect for this winter skating on a frozen lake scene. When you are free motion stitching, you are never quite sure how stitched images are going to turn out because it is a little tight seeing beneath the sewing machine foot. I love the 'free spirited' look of the figure in this textile card. 

I started this piece about two years ago when I was teaching a Quilt Group a 'Painting on Fabric' workshop. Instead of completing it as a pot of poinsettias as it was originally intended to be (only the largest bloom was done), I just decided to paint an overall design of blooms. You can see below how some were cut to create cards. Boy was it hard to make the first cut into this fabric. 

This was the original hand painted textile that was reproduced for our Christmas Cards this year. Thank you Rook Designs of Creston, BC for the printing.

Soda soaked fabric painted with thickened dyes ready for 9 cards. Note below, the bunny I stitched on one of them. Do you have any other ideas for additional 'simple' images to be stitched on this dyed background? I think I have two left.

Textile cards for the winter season.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Art Show This Weekend

The Images Art Show & Sale is happening in Creston, BC this Saturday and Sunday. If you are able to attend, it would be great to see you there.

You are invited to the Creston Images Art Show and Sale.

I am so pleased to be showing with the other artists.
I will be exhibiting 19 watercolour paintings. See a few of them below.

Plein Air Paintings
This started as a plein air painting one day when Ute Bachinski and I were painting at Brunhams' Greenhouse. After painting the beautiful flowers in front of the greenhouse in another painting, I turned 180 degrees and painted these plant stalks.  They were adding such structure to the landscape, I couldn't resist them.

Landscapes in Pattern 
Using stencils was so creatively invigorating that I will be looking for opportunities to try more stencilling. I started this painting on location in Lister and finished it one day when I was painting at my friend's studio.

Clothesline Series
'Miner's House' 
Clothesline Series which I began in order to draw attention to energy conservation.
'Life with My Human' Watercolour Series
The following paintings are three of a series that I am highlighting at this Art Show. The series started in 2018 and aims to capture the uniqueness of the relationship between each pet and their owner.  A portion of the profit from the sale of commissioned paintings in this series will be donated to a local animal charity or agreed-upon animal charity of the purchaser’s choice.
'Behind the House, Across the Street'
This painting is looking down the Devon Street trail, that the Rotary Club developed last year. Three different home owner's planted flowers to enhance the trail. Thank you to all developers and maintainers of the trail. And a special thank you Barb, my neighbour and her dog for posing. 

'Running Partner'
This beautiful dog and his 'Mom' share a love of going for a run and/or walk together. Living where they do, they visit some pretty spectacular scenery.

'Waiting for a Breeze'
Bruce has many adventures with his owner and this year learning to ride on a sailboat was one of the them. Sailing on Kootenay lake, what could be better?

Textile Cards
At the show, there will be some of my Christmas and winter themed textile cards. I was in the dye pots last week and tried painting cardinals for the first time. The process starts by painting with dyes onto fabric. Later in the process, I thread sketch some details. 
Cardinal's all in a row. They will be cut for individual card tops.

Here are six night skies painted with dyes. You can just see the 'plate' pallet with the dark blue dye on it. Note the lower left card in the photo below. Can you see which one got a rabbit thread sketched on it? Even though I often paint a few images at once, they are all created with variety.
Textile cards for the winter season. In the Creston Valley, people often skate on Duck Lake and that's where I draw my inspiration for the skater's from.

The textile cards make a gift and card in one as they fit perfectly in a 5 X 7" frame.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Watercolour Painting for the 'Trails for Creston Valley Society'

Recently the Creston Trail Society was fund raising to purchase a riverside property for a park. In the initial stages of fund raising, when I offered my artistic services, the Society members asked me to create a painting that could be used as a poster to track the fund raising efforts. They had a few specific things they wanted which I incorporated. The right side was left quite bare to accommodate the fundraising numbers that were to be added. The painting was copied and laminated which worked very well for adding on slips of paper with amounts of the goal to be reached and the fund raising efforts to date. 

The painting was also used on the cover of the 'I love Creston' magazine!

The poster on the table of one of the fund raisers.

The painting continued to be used for additional posters even after the property was purchased. The graphic designer did a great job in adding the texted to the scanned painting.

Another great poster.

The painting was also used for 75 Thank You cards.

And the local bakery made a cake for a celebration at the purchased property. What a great project to be involved in. Look here for more information Trails for Creston Valley Society