Geometric Abstract Call to Autumn in Watercolor and Acrylic (World Watercolor Month, 29/31)

I follow a few quilter’s blogs, and one of my very favorites is Tierney’s at Tierney Creates.    She showed us some quilt blocks and projects she is working on in a recent post, and suddenly I had my inspiration for today’s painting:   I would paint my own quilt block!   And I would call refreshing autumn breezes and gorgeous leaves to mind as I paint.   This is roughly 5 x 8″ on Arches 140-lb. cold-press paper:

I do enjoy working in watercolor, but I’ve been missing my lovely Golden acrylic paints a whole lot here lately.    Color that glows from within, easy to apply, dries quickly or slowly depending upon what you mix it with, and whose vibrant opacity covers a multitude of issues…what’s not to love?    I even got some metallic copper in there, oh, it is so much fun!    Once I got the initial watercolor wash in, I wasn’t really happy with all of the color choices I’d made, so I turned to my friendly Golden acrylics in hansa yellow medium, quinacridone magenta, quinacridone burnt orange and Golden acrylic glazing liquid to turn these paints into a glaze that I could use over large areas to help unify my painting.   (As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help support my site.   Enjoy Free Shipping until 11:59 pm Central time on Friday 7/29, and thank you!)

Well, the weekend is almost here and I hope you make the time to do a few things you really enjoy this weekend.   Savor the moments!    Peace.

 

Top of the Quilt II – Welcome, Autumn!

After making my first little patchwork art quilt with a jazzy, crazy color scheme, I decided to see what would happen if I took the same techniques to more subdued fall fabrics and colors.

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I’d like to know what you all think of the wonk-tastic shapes and lines with the more refined textures and colors of autumn. This is just the top, so it will look different once the hand-quilting has been done.   It’s about 11 3/4″ high by 11″ wide.   Almost a square this time.

For my next little quilt, it’s back to the beach, but this time with more subdued blues and greens, I think. We’ll see where the muse takes me. I hope this weekend brings you time to create, time to breathe in the fall scents, and time to spend with those you love most! Peace.

Painted Art Quilt (progress post)

I have finally made some progress on my art quilt. You might remember the unbleached muslin panel I painted from this post. I added some layers of pigment to deepen some of the tones since then, cut it into three pieces (a scary prospect at the time), and I’ve finally assembled the quilt top!   (Click on the image if you’d like to see it more closely.)

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It is fairly small right now at 9 1/2″ x 12″, and I’ve added some hand quilting, but I haven’t bound it off yet. Not sure if I should add another border to it?     ***EDIT:   I’ve now removed the sculpture due to early feedback!***  The small white sculpture between the first two panes was made out of Sculpey (polymer clay) and fired, but not yet painted. I’m also thinking of possibly making small seagull beads from Sculpey and adding them to the top.   And might add a funky beaded fringe to the bottom.  Not sure if I’ll stop there or not!   The border fabric is a primarily dark green and blue batik fabric – not black, as it may first appear.   Here is the fabric next to an ivory piece, so that you can see the colors a bit better:

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I’d love to get your thoughts on this. As always, constructive criticism is helpful and most welcome. I would really like to open an online shop before Christmas and sell this kind of thing. I’ve wanted to do it for years, and just starting to feel the urge to really DO it. If you think it needs something added (or subtracted), please do let me know! Thank you so much!   Happy glorious almost Autumn weekend to all!   Peace.

Watercolor Paint Plus Neocolor II Crayons

…equals a good time, and vibrant color! This one started with watercolor pigment (mostly by M. Graham), then added some Neo II water soluble crayons (which I am falling harder and harder for every time I use them). Threw in a bit of a crooked horizon for good measure, and woo….here’s another mini-vacation. I hope you enjoy!   This was done on Arches 140 lb. cold-pressed paper, which made adding some texture to the water very easy to do.

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I am still working hard on that art quilt. The hardest and most time-consuming part of any quilt project for me is the many decisions to be made, since I work without a pattern. I had a vision in my mind, but didn’t want to cut up the image with too many seams, so I finally decided to take it in another direction…..and hopefully it won’t take too long to finish.  I probably started about five quilts in the meanwhile though, so I guess following this next one up with more won’t take as long 😉

Peace, and I hope you find some space to create a meaningful break for yourself today.

Draw A Bird Day (September encore)!

I want to once again acknowledge M. R. Emberson of A-Wing and A-Way for alerting the WordPress community to the holiday for drawing birds on April 8. A group of other artists and I have been carrying on the tradition monthly ever since, and it’s been lots of fun.

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Unfortunately this weekend got a bit busy, and so I’ll be posting this month’s contribution in stages. I got the idea for this one from this earlier post, dubbed “The Yellow Bird of Happiness” by my husband. That bird was so full of joy that he makes me smile every time I flip back to that journal page.   I thought it might be fun to make him the central motif in an art quilt.   Working with fabric is certainly rewarding, but it was soooo much faster to do that quick watercolor sketch. hehe.

I think I’ll call this one “A New Song” (which reminds me of the Father Tim book series by Jan Karon, which started with “At Home in Mitford”.   Does anyone else love this series?   “A New Song” was the fifth installment).     I hope that the finished project will come somewhat close to the vision I have for it in my head.   🙂

I hope you’ll join me next week for the Draw A Bird Day recap, when I post a link to the artwork of all of the bloggers who joined us this month!  Peace, and I hope you all have a great week ahead.

Draw a Bird Day reminder: Friday, May 8!

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Thanks to A-Wing and A-Way letting so many of us know about Draw A Bird Day on April 8, many of us had fun drawing or painting birds on April 8.  Some drew a bird for the first time, and found it be lots of fun!  However, many people weren’t aware of the holiday until it was too late.  So, some of us decided it might be fun to make this a monthly event!   I also want to thank Squirrel Writer for helping to spread the word!

For my friends who may not be comfortable with drawing:  Do not let this sideline you, if you are interested in participating!  Anything goes:  Photographs, stories or poems about a bird, a little sculpture, a nature collage, you are only limited by your imagination.  I think what we’re trying to do here is open the cage door and let the birdies fly.  That’s us!  We all have wings, and sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to open them.  Let the spirit move you as it will.

Friday, May 8 is a week from today, and I hope we can all make WordPress fly to celebrate our wing-ed friends.

Vivacious Violet (with Yellow’s Complements)

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Art is so much fun. I’m working toward eventually making art quilts (for fun and profit), and toward that end, I decided to cut out a piece of organic quilt batting, and try out a bunch of mediums on it to see how they fly with the fabric. I didn’t expect the finished product to be postable, but I’m actually quite happy with the result.  So, here it is! 

 If you’re not into art supplies, you might wanna skip this section.  But for some of you who work with fabric, or might like to, I wanted to tell you what you’re looking at.  Clockwise from lower left: 

 1) Inktense pencils (painted from pencil tip to fabric with wet brush) in colors 610, 710, 720; 

 2) Inktense blocks, same colors as the pencils, top left corner and side (first one in upper left I got it wet and slapped it right on the fabric.  Oops!  A bit too inktense, so the other two colors I painted off the sticks with a wet brush; was still more intense than the pencils, which you’d expect); there’s also a gold Inktense block in the center/left (color 0250); 

 3) Tombow markers in top right corner (bright palette, the purples – don’t they look cool?  I thought they translated to fabric really well) 

 4) Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels in violet, yellow, and yellow-orange, taking up most of the lower R quadrant, except the very corner.  This was the biggest, happiest surprise of all.  The crayons themselves don’t look vibrant at all, but they really got jazzy and happy when I dipped them in water and drew right onto the fabric with them! 

 5) Bottom right is (I think, it was sitting around in a palette) cadmium yellow tube watercolor paint, which also translated very nicely to fabric, much better than I thought.  I’ve never tried painting watercolor on fabric before. 

6) Then, I went around the border with some gold Lumiere metallic acrylic, cut with water by about half. 

 7) Oops, almost forgot:  I went over the Inktense pencil on the lower left with Lumiere lavender metallic acrylic.  I took a picture of this in the sun, just so you could see the shimmer there, but it didn’t translate to the photo or screen that well.  It’s a very cool, very slight shimmer in that whole bottom left-hand corner.  In bright light, it looks awash with gold dust.  But only in bright light!  So it doesn’t leap out at you all the time.  This, I like. 

 What I learned:

  • I expected lots of stiffness.  Nope.  Soft, soft, soft!  Almost gloriously soft.  Probably the roughest sections are wherever there is metallic acrylic, but it sits on top of the batting, so the fabric itself isn’t at all stiff, and the top (just in those areas) feels like you’re touching someone with pretty dry skin.  All in all, not bad!
  • I expected the Inktense to be really bright and vibrant.  I did use some water with them, probably more than maybe some would use.  My batting wasn’t dripping wet at the end, but it was uniformly damp and needed time to dry.   I’m sure if I’d have used less water, my color would’ve popped more, but maybe more than I’d have liked.  Still, if that’s the look you’re going for, you can probably get that with the Inktense pencils, and the blocks are definitely stronger, and will make a major impact, if you want that.
  • I’ve not tried wetting the batting to see how permanent the Inktense and pastels are.  I believe acrylic paint is permanent on fabric, so I wouldn’t even need to test that.   This is just supposed to be a test swatch, but I really like it, and so I’m not in any hurry to try and scrub it and risk messing it up.  I’m thinking this will eventually be cut up and will wind up going into embellishments on the quilts.  Also, not sure if regular watercolor paint will wash out of fabric once it dries?  I assume it would, but maybe staining pigments wouldn’t fully wash out?  Not sure.
  • If I put something on the fabric and thought it was too bright, I just thinned it with water.  This worked straight across the board with the exception of the water-soluble oil pastels.  And I’m sure if I’d have really worked at those, I could’ve tamed those colors a bit.  But I really loved them!  They were my favorite part of the piece (and the biggest surprise, because I almost didn’t use them at all)!

It may just be me, but every time I look at this, I see those gorgeous violet and yellow violas that come out at this time of year.   I just love purple and yellow together, and those Portfolio pastels are so inexpensive that I think I’ll really be enjoying using this medium most when I want a really strong color statement. 

 Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing another mixed media fabric experiment to celebrate spring!  Playing with art supplies is so much fun!   Sometimes the less you know, the better; the surprises never stop!   Have a great Tuesday, and don’t forget to spread some joy around.  Peace.

Fiber Art Start!

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I watched a DVD yesterday entitled “Collage Fast & Furious” with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. You can find it here. I was led to this by the amazing and inspiring work of a blogger friend here that just blew me away.   Isn’t it gorgeous? I wanted to collage immediately. And collage has always intimidated me in the past. So, I did what I always do: I combed the electronic card catalogs of both local library systems and requested everything that looked good. And then I went on to make something totally unrelated. Isn’t that the way things go sometimes?

The desire to do a series of small art quilts on freedom (and the inability to draw a seagull) are what started me on this journey in the fall of 2014.  The bird above is one of the first things I made, staying up late one night and working with some old Sculpey I’d had for years.  I kept playing with it, trying to make a bird, any bird.  And finally came up with that one, and a few other small polymer clay pieces I really like, but haven’t done much with in terms of bringing anything to completion.  So now, I have!  I’ve finally incorporated some polymer clay into a piece of fiber art.

If anyone’s curious about my process, I broke a few rules.  I didn’t bake the Sculpey before painting.  I don’t like the fumes (yeah, even when I use a toaster oven outside), and as careful as I am, the pieces, or some part of them, often scorches.  So I tossed that idea out and decided to paint him as he is and sew him right onto the fabric!  It worked great, let’s hope it holds, lol.   At this point, I’m just playing with combining fabric and other mediums, and so it’s all good.   It’s all a learning experience.

I used some metallic paint to paint him (after sewing him in, thought I’d leave him white at first….made it a bit more difficult hehe), ran my brush along the rickrack to liven it up some, and then added some dollar store gold eyeshadow all over for a little glimmer.  (Much cheaper than Pearlex, I learned a ton from The Frugal Crafter.  You can check her out here on WordPress at this link.)

Other than that, it’s really just a tiny quilt.  It’s about 2″ high by 1.5″ wide, and has a thin cotton batting and a plain cotton fabric for the backing: a typical quilt sandwich.    When I was finished hand sewing it with some cool Sulky quilting thread I had in my stash, I simply trimmed it with pinking shears and dropped a seed bead in the bird’s eye to give it a finished look.

I’ll be making a few others tomorrow, and looking forward to it.  I think it might be fun to make a bunch of them and attach them to a new art quilt project.  I’ve often dreamed of having a beach house at the best place in the world.  What I’d really like to do is be one of the artists at this cool coop in Kill Devil Hills!  Maybe when I retire.  Every time I visit that place, I roam and roam…..and I feel like I’m home.  I never wanna leave.    Actually, I feel like I’m home every time I go to North Carolina, period.  But especially at the beach.   I believe you can write things down and make them happen, so I’m putting that out there.  😀    Who knows, it just might come true.  I can dream, can’t I?

I hope you all are having a creative weekend, and finding time to do a few things that feed your soul.    See you with more arty goodness tomorrow.  Peace.

 

 

 

 

Q is for Quilt One Done!

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Here is what started me on this art journey: the elusive art quilt. I’ve made quilts from patterns before, and even modified existing patterns and did my own thing from there, but I’d never started with an idea and tried to turn it into a 9 x 12″ finished piece…until this.

This is the first of a series of three quilts that, when hung together, will show the seagull in flight, soaring high above the ocean.  It’s the first of a series on the freedom theme.  I hope to have the other two finished tomorrow, but I’m very excited to have completed one.  The great thing about art quilts and mixed media is that the sky really is the limit.  I have been a quilter for over twenty years, and during that time, I’ve collected lots of fabric.  Much of the fabric I have I no longer like, but when I really get into this medium more, I plan to paint, ink, watercolor, you name it over my existing fabric until it works for my piece.

I would really like to open an Etsy shop after busy season is over and go to town producing these for sale.  I could work from a theme, a color (or range of colors), a mood, a season, the possibilities are endless.   I’ve even thought about making an art quilt to accompany a poem that I wrote, or making something that gives me the feeling I get from reading a favorite poem.   What do you all think?

I think what I like best about this part of the journey is that, with so much fabric, thread, beads, etc. already…there is no limit to what I can make.  My (lack of) drawing skill used to hold me back, but now that I’m drawing every day, I was able to freehand that bird motif from a photograph in just a few minutes.

I just had to share this with you, and how serendipitous (woo, I think I spelled that right, I see no red underline lol) that the letter Q was next up on the day I got this finished!  I hope all of you are enjoying the holiday weekend, and that you’re planning to feed your soul today.    It’s time to make yourself priority one.   Right?  It’s Sunday.  Sundays are the best.

Tomorrow, I’m doing another bird by request.  Hope to see you then.