Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Creston Flats

Hand Dyed Fabric with Thread Sketching
Across the Creston valley, the light often peeks through the clouds, bathing the mountains in a mystical looking glow. Brilliant yellow fields often dot the valley floor and are a strong contrast with the deep green fields.
The mediums used here to depict this local scene are hand dyed fabrics with free motion stitching. For those of you that are unfamiliar with free motion stitching, it is moving the fabric under the sewing machine while stitching. I think of it as sketching with thread. This 4 1/2" x 6 1/2" piece is to be made into an art card. Textile art cards are available at Creston Card and Stationery, Creston, BC.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sunlit Fireweed

Hand dye Painted Cotton Fabric: 'Sunlit Fireweed'
Fire weed is definitely in the top ten of my favorite wild flowers. There is a returning patch of fire weed on the edge of my yard which I weed and water as I like to paint them yearly. The grouping grows on a bank in front of a dark forest and if you are up early, the morning sun highlights the blossoms.
The following are two earlier versions of Fireweed painted on paper. These watercolour paintings were inspired on a trip to the Yukon and Alaska, where there are fields of fireweed. It overwhelmed me.
Fireweed inspired by a trip to Alaska.

Fireweed full of texture.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Thread Sketched Birds

Textile Card: $9.95
Thread Sketched Crow on Hand dyed Fabric

Textile Card: $9.95
Thread Sketched Crow on Hand dyed Fabric
Thread sketching - What a fun week of sewing I have had. My hand dyed fabrics were brought out and my sketch books and photographs leafed through to try and match one to the other. The mind flies with the possibilities. Sometimes a fabric piece would stump me but eventually an idea came to mind such as with the fabric of the top photo. It turned out being my favorite thread sketched piece of the week.
Creston Card and Stationery, in Creston, B.C. carries my Textile Cards and there are new ones there as of last week. Quilt Canada, is in Penticton, this May 16-18 and I will be selling cards there. My website is  and I will be placing new work there too. Don't hesitate to contact me at if you are looking for a particular image.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Art Show: Key City Theatre, Cranbrook, BC

The opening reception for the art show, 'A Kootenay Summer' is tomorrow in Cranbrook, BC. We are serving appetizers along with Skimmerhorn wine. It should be fun.
When the show was being hung on Monday, I finally got a chance to see the other artists' work and I was overwhelmed when I thought of the time that was given collectively to put that body of work together. There were many winter days I was working alone in my studio for this show. Time was spent wondering what I wanted to create, how I was going to create my vision and then there was the time of actually  painting. On Monday, seeing the other artists' work, I found it reassuring knowing that the other artists must have been going through their own processes, similar to mine, getting prepared for this show.
Check out this link for upcoming shows. Key City Theatre

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wine Label

Getting Ready for Our First Sample of Kootenay Crush
Eileen's watercolour painting is on a wine label! The Kootenay Crush wine is now available a liquor outlets throughout the Kootenays. Click here to check out the winery's website Skimmerhorn Winery

The back of the label has this information and a portion of the painting too.

Al and Marleen Hoag
Skimmerhorn W I N E R Y & V I N E Y A R D

Creston, British Columbia,
Canada V0B 1G1
"Kootenay Crush" is an artisan series of wines with the label featuring a different local artist for each vintage. The 2012 vintage features the wonderful watercolours of Eileen Gidman. Her splashes of vibrant colour shows "Bob the Winery Dog" enjoying a vineyard stroll. Skimmerhorn Winery & Vineyards' Kootenay Crush White blend is made from our Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir. The result is a pleasantly refreshing, light and fruity wine with a delicate bouquet.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Roses and Fences for Quilt Canada, Penticton

Hand dye painted 8 1/2" square
with Painted Companion Fabric
I started out painting pictures on fabric. Then I also began painting fabric with designs. Here I have combined the two, so a painted panel will have some companion fabric with the same colours as in the painting. Quilters should love that. I have used thickened fibre reactive dyes so the result is colourfast material suitable for sewing and quilting.

The companion fabric was as fun to paint as the picture. To repeat the white of the fence in the companion fabric, I masked off strips of varying widths with masking tape. I tried to use proportionally the same amount of each of the colours as in the painting. I would love to see this companion fabric cut and combined with commercial fabrics to accent the painted picture.

The packaging bags came today so I can get these 8 1/2" squares ready for sale at Quilt Canada in Penticton, BC, May 16 - 18, 2013. Quilt Canada Penticton

Sunday, April 7, 2013

How Creators deal with Technology

Birds on a wire - Sketches

Watercolour: 'Bullock's Oriole and Friends'
The following story is about 'trying to teach an old dog new tricks' or should I say 'trying to teach an artist new electronic tricks'. Okay, so I now have an electronic device for storing reference photos. There is a steep learning curve regarding how to get the images from the camera to the device. After going to a free lesson, reading how to books and watching U-Tube videos I was able to finally transfer photos to the electronic tablet.
Well, a few weeks go by and I had set aside Friday for working on this painting. I have only the long narrow rectangle to fill. Nothing was preplanned for it but after having my eye out for a suitable subject, I saw these birds on  a wire in my neighbourhood so I got up early one morning to take some photos. 
On Friday morning, I go to transfer the photos to the tablet so I can use it where I am going painting. I have half an hour to do this task before heading out but of course I have forgotten how to do this. Irritated, I head off. Fortunately there is a bit of a walk to where I am going painting and I am able to cool off before getting there and starting another painting. Next Friday, the same scenario repeats itself so in frustration, I simply sketch the birds on some note paper by the computer and head off for a day of painting. It worked perfectly.
I know there are other artists/quilters out there with their own technology frustrations. Creator's are problem solvers so I know you figured something out. Send me your story in the comment section or at I would be interested to hear from you.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hummingbird at a feeder

Part of a watercolour painting
Again, I have Patty and Wayne to thank for the excellent bird reference photos. This feeder and basket of flowers is near a window of their home so they were able to photograph the birds without scaring them away. This watercolour painting is a part of the 'Bullocks Oriole' painting. Note the March 23 blog post.

'Teach a student, learn twice' was a saying I saw today and it is so true. Rarely do I use misket to save white areas but in this painting I did, as I was teaching some students techniques in watercolour and we were experimenting with resists.  I generally am attracted to soft edges in a painting, but here I rather like the hard edges left after removing the misket. The organic shapes of the white flowers keeps the hard edges from becoming too distracting and the swoop of the white stems directs the eye up to the little 'hummer'. 

It's spring and the spring bulbs are popping up - a delight for the eye after the lack of blossoms in the winter. I hope you will let them inspire you!