Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Watercolour and Textile Artist's 2014 Review: Commissions and Such

Do you spend some time around the year's end reviewing your year? I like to and this year I thought I would select some of the photos from my blog posts that were the most memorable to share again over the next few posts. First are two commissioned textile pieces, then two winterwrens, then two flower baskets. It seems I am doing more and more commissions and I am beginning to cherish doing them. It is rewarding to create something for someone else. I just love it. Well...., I just love it when it turns out for everyone.

 Click here for more information about this Chickadee Textile Art Commission that I did for a wonderful quilter from Victoria, BC
A cover bridge with autumn colours for a Quilting Instructor. Now, having been to eastern Canada to see the fall colours this October, I would like to paint more of these picturesque maple trees like in the photo below.

Of course this photo from our trip to the Maritimes doesn't do the colours justice but can you see that the trees almost look lined up, each with a different colour: green, orange, red, green, orange, green, yellow etc.
 Click here about painting hollyhock on an antique cabinet door.

Click here about carving a winterwren. Okay, I am really proud of this little guy. Birds are special to me in general but the Winterwren, is the name of my art business and my previous home so I am particularly fond of this little bird with its huge song.

When you do all that study about a subject, it is nice to use it in other aspects of your art work. Some of the bird and foreground flora were lightly sketched in pen and ink then and then a wet in wet watercolour technique was used to create the background. Additional washes of watercolour completed the painting.
Click here for information about an online art course I took from Jane LaFazio or go here for her website:
Using the same basket of flowers sketch, I free motion stitched a similar motif onto a piece of hand dyed fabric to use in making a 'mug rug'.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Getting Ready for a Quilting Course

Getting ready for a Quilting Course: Kindling Chaos: by A Quilter's Lumberyard (Cheryl Coffman & Patty Bowers). Below are two sections of strips sewn together, ready for the upcoming course in 2 weeks. Can I wait that long??? 
I pieced these strips at the quilting group on Tuesday. When I was pressing it at home, I noticed it was very like the colours in my new 2015 monthly planner. Coincidence? I am not sure. Aren't you very influenced by what you see in your day?
A triad of green purple and orange is primarily what I see in this photo. Yes there is pink in the photo, but it is a very cool pink and close to a light tint of the purple.
Speaking of 2015 organizing calendars, have you gotten yours' for the new year? After having some lovely, daily logs that I rarely looked at, last year I decided to go back to a monthly calendar for organizational purposes. For me it just works better to see the whole month at a glance. For my weekly to do lists I simply add a large post it note to the front of the book for that week. Any other 'tried and true' suggestions?
Although for the Kindling Chaos class, the strip colours can be put together randomly, I had this already pieced so I will use it in the class. Note that it is primarily a harmonious or analogous colour scheme from gold (shaded yellow) to green to blue.
This is how you press the back of a pieced pinwheel. Don't make the mistake of first pressing any of the seams apart. Once the pinwheel is sewn, with only a little manipulation the center falls into place as noted above.  For more about piecing the pinwheels click here .
2" pinwheel. Aren't they so CUTE.
Completed 'Evergreen' block mug rug. Click here to read about the challenge our 'Quilt Group' is doing this year. We were allowed to use some dotted fabric in with our pre-chosen colours so I was thrilled to find a strip of the green dotted piece in my fabric stash. Oh, yes the tree green was given to me as a fat quarter in our groups Christmas gift exchange. The motif is really heads of lettuce but cut, doesn't it look like tree bows.
Another variation of a mug rug for our 'Quilt Group Challenge'.
As the time nears to have your challenge projects completed, do you get a bit frustrated and anxious like I do? At some point I usually say "Why did I ever agree to do this?" However, by participating in group challenges, it sometimes forces you to try things you haven't done before such as it did me here with trying the mini pinwheels.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Lights

The 'Sound of Music' was on TV the other night and it reminded me that Christmas lights are one of my 'favorite things'. Here are a few of the lights we saw tonight. Be sure to check out the sliver of the moon beside the tree of lights in the last photo.
Just as with painting in watercolour, it is the darks that make the light colours stand out and we had a beautifully black night without street lights to show off the Christmas lights tonight.
We had to combine two homes to get the 'Merry Christmas' in this shot.

This really doesn't do the very lit up street justice but trust me, this whole area was gorgeous including an elf that popped up and down in Santa's sleigh.

Our border collie thought she would get in on the action!
A tree of lights, a star and the sliver of the moon. How special is that.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pieced 2" Pinwheels

Two inch Pinwheels!!! Okay this is so outside my realm that I am surprised I had so much fun sewing them today. It all started yesterday, with my friend Patty, when she gave me some one inch half square triangles and encouraged me to try sewing some together into pinwheels for adding into the mug rugs that I sew using my hand painted fabrics.
The Pinwheels I made today using the 1" half square triangles.

A pinwheel with the alternating lights and darks is 2 1/2" and finishes to 2"
This part was so much fun to do. Deciding which of the scrap, half square triangles, would go together for a pinwheel. Even though there are only 8 colours I was imagining all sorts of combinations.
 There is quite an intersection of seams in the center and next week at our quilt group Patty will show me how to position the seams so they lay flat.

Chaining pairs together. I can't wait to get dye painting fabric to go with these delightful pinwheels.

In the meantime I thought I would use some pinwheels in the 'mini quilts' I am making for my Quilt Group Challenge. Do you see the paint chip? These are the colours I am to use in a block that has a name that shares the same first letter as my name, Eileen. The two blocks I came up with on the internet were Economy block or Evergreen block.
Drat, can you see that I have sewn the wrong white squares onto the sides of the tree trunk on the Evergreen block on the right? Oh well, it was pretty easy to sew another one.
Click here To Julie Cefalu's site The Crafty Quilter where I got the free directions for the tree portion of this block.

To make the 1/2 square triangles, I cut 2" blocks of the light and dark material. Then laying them right sides together, I sewed them a 1/4" on either side of the diagonal center line. After that they were pressed, I trimmed them to 1 1/2".
Here is three of the Pinwheels sewn together of an accent strip. I will bind the piece in the dark blue.

Okay, here I have sewn the center square into a Pinwheel that had the lights and darks opposite to the other two blocks. Well I certainly learnt something there. I didn't even realize that was possible. I am actually glad it happened as it allowed me to place the three squares into a more complicated and unexpected arrangement. I will bind the piece in the brighter green.
 Well thanks to my fellow quilter Patty. You have inspired me to try something outside of my typical freeform piecing. I can't wait to make some mug rugs using the pinwheel strips and some of my hand painted fabric but first I have to get painting some cotton fabric with some dyes.  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Over-painting a Mono Print with Watercolour

On Friday after being away from painting for a bit, I found the need to warm up so I pulled out a mono print from my stack of watercolour papers and started adding watercolour paint. The printing of the original botanical print, in brown, was printed using acrylic paint. That layer then stays adhered to the paper and watercolour paint can be added at will. Because the acrylic paint was thinned with mat medium and was in a thin layer, the second layer with the watercolour paint seemed to adhere on top of it well.

For information on making the botanical mono print below, click here .

Mono printing with a Gelli Plate onto hard press 90 lb watercolour paper using acrylic paint as the print medium. This is the mono print I used.
If you would like to see gelli plate monoprinting onto fabric, click here .

I enjoyed the mixed media play time using a mono print to paint on with watercolour. Again, the Gelli Plate mono prints was made with acrylic as the printing medium. Glazing medium thinned the acrylic paint.

The pros I found were:
  • the first layer stayed put
  • lots of texture could easily be achieved with the monoprint
  • it was fun to negative paint around this texture and create new shapes

The cons I found were:
  • the piece was rather dark and I had no way of lightening it up without adding additional mediums such as gauche or acrylic paint
  • I had to work within the composition of the mono print

Here are sections of the over-painted mono print. I am in love with the texture on the leaves that were printed and the leaves that I created through negative painting. Little things like this can excite a painter well at least it does me.

The whole piece in its entirety. Note the glazing of cerulean blue across the top to suggest leaves in the background. There are likely lots of applications for this technique. What can you think up?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Faced with an Commission Challenge

If a purchaser of your work, likes it, they will often return for something else. Artists really like their repeat customers, as they get to built a relationship with them over time. It gives us a chance to learn what they might like.

Stitched Poppies on Hand Dyed Fabric
Thanks to the purchaser for sending this photo. Those colours do go well in the mug rug's new home!
This was the first mug rug a customer got in the summer and this fall the same customer asked if she could purchase another mug rug in similar colours. Well, I had the textile card below but as the motif was going for a man and he rather likes fishing, I decided those flowers wouldn't do.

Of the red, gold and light green fabric, I only had one piece left unstitched and I thought I would like to use it. But how, oh how was I going to make it into a fishing scene??? I looked at it often over a matter of weeks and finally an idea just came to me. Instead of making very realistic fish, I would stylize them swimming under water. Once I had the idea, what fun it was to stitch in one fish and then then another and then another... Before I knew it I was ready to add the pieced work. What do you think? Very different from the poppies but equally as nice I think.

Kootenay Lake Fish?

'Fox at the Farm' is off to a new home too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Buttons by Artists

Christmas craft fairs:
How delightful to attend our local Creston, Christmas Craft Fair. With it only being once a year we are left anticipating their arrival. What new artisans will be there? What new products will I see? Buttons! This year, I was surprised by two artisans making hand made buttons. One lady makes her buttons of clay and the other in glass. Lately in the early mornings, a time when I do my best free form thinking, I find myself exploring ideas for using these simply wonderful textile embellishments with my hand dye painted fabrics. And oh, what great gifts they make for the sewers on your list. Here are some gorgeous samples.
What might you use these one of a kind buttons on?

Monday, December 1, 2014

December. A month for Christmas Cards

Lots of card making this time of year. Do you make cards? How do you go about it? Below is a sample of how I go about my textile 'winter' cards.
Just a suggestion of a hill of snow and a tree outlined in the front with stitching competes this one. Simplicity can seem sophisticated don't you think?

Here is one of two panels of card tops I painted with dyes one day. Not all of them will be satisfactory to make into cards so I will use a view finder to make my selections.

Using a view finder to find a composition I like.

The vertical cards sell better, so I opt for this one.

Log  cabin in the woods - a personal favorite.

A horizon line and a few stitched weeds in the front lead the viewer's eye up the creek, well at least that was my intention.

Geese heading south. These were a first for me and a bit of a pain as the thread had to be broken at each bird but I think it was worth it.
'Skaters on Duck Lake'. Thank you to the locals who were sharing photos a week or so ago of skating on a nearby lake. I look forward to stitching more skating figures.
If you are in Creston, BC you can see a selection of these cards for sale at Creston Card and Stationery. Happy December!