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Posts from the ‘Artwork’ Category

In the Wind

Here is where I am in this piece.

I have always enjoyed the imagery of Kites, flying kites although it wasn’t something I did in grade school or even high school.

However, kite flying–with one of my brothers hanging onto a huge box kite out the back window of a Toyota LandCruiser while my husband drove across the hay field to ‘make’ wind……brother nearly flew out the back window. Then there were the kites I flew at a motorcycle racing event—and at the yacht club—that one quickly ran out the entire length of twine and escaped over Sabine Lake. And there is a kite behind the downstaris hallway heater, and another on the wall in the downstairs sun room.

But then there is the piece I’ve been working on.

The background is a hand-dyed piece created several years ago with ice and powdered dye.

It had lingered in a stack of ‘to-do’ or ‘partly done’ pieces on a tray in my sewing room.

Occasionally I will load a backing onto the Gammill and quilt several small pieces—basting is so easy on that long-arm.

I used multiple colors of thread to closely stitch on the piece, trying to emphasize the idea of a cloudy windy sky and a field with a sun-set—- a memory from my growing-up years.

Typically I use photos as references for adding imagery—and found a photo with the stance I wanted—made it into two different sizes and pinned it up on the base piece.

Now to decide—small or large?

In the Wilds of Marble Falls

Marble Falls is a fairly large city. Located forty miles or so from Austin, there are hills and waterways. Traffic was not too heavy but then I was not driving during peak hours. Main Street and the Lakeside Pavilion are nicely landscaped and inviting for boating, painting, picnicking and just being outdoors.

Balcones Canyon was not too far away and should I return next year to the Plein Air Event, I will take time to explore that area.

Sometimes it is good to have no agenda and just enjoy being outside.

Marble Falls Adventure

Earlier this month I decided to venture out into the world of Plein Air Painting by attending ‘Paint the Town’ in Marble Falls Texas. I arranged for a stay in a tiny house just five miles out from the town center, packed my painting supplies (meager), camera and drove for hours to get there.

The tiny house was indeed tiny—just one room with a loft for a very nice bed accessed by some very steep stairs. Live oaks shaded the house and then there were the chickens.

Every afternoon around 4 they would appear at my door, looking in—and probably asking for a snack.

Several containers had been converted into living quarters with upstairs decks and strings of lights.

The area to explore was not huge, a large creek–empty on one side, a fence and road on the other sides with fallen sycamore trees.

And then there were the rain lilies. We had a few drops of rain one afternoon—and they appeared—to be gone the next morning.


Courting behavior takes on many dimensions; from boys pulling my hair when I was ten mother said it was because they liked me–but it still hurt… girls putting on lipstick and mascara.

Bird behavior is also interesting.

We have four nesting pairs of cardinals that seem to return every year to our yard. They begin to whistle at about 4_30 in the morning–still very dark outside–perhaps awake by the driving by of the newspaper delivery. Throughout the day they whistle—is it…look at me because I’m the best there is? or is it ,..look at me. I have the best wife and that proves I am the best? or is it…this is MY place—go away?

I’ll never know what those birds are thinking but sometimes I get a glimpse of a baby cardinal sitting outside my sewing room window.

Last year or maybe the year before, I captured three grackles sitting on a railing at Cat-Tail Marsh all displaying their evident worthiness as a mate to all the flying by females who did not seem to be impressed.

I’ve used that image several times and now it is on a donation piece for SAQA’s spotlight auction at their annual conference.

Sometimes I use the opportunity of a donation piece to try something different. This piece uses tiny scraps of an intricately and accurately pieced quilt top from the forties—I used the rest of it to make a jacket and other backgrounds; a machine appliqued bird with some hand-embroidery.

In some ways it is not much of a departure but using birds as a subject matter instead of people is.

Picking up Where I Left Off

My sewing room or work-room is full of stuff—half-finished projects, ideas, supplies, and dreams.

I have boxes filled with projects.

I use those cardboard boxes for files from the office supply store; I can fit several projects in each of them. Some years ago, I decided to participate in American Patchwork and Quilting’s UFO challenge. Other groups have joined in as well with a reward of a large basket of sewing/quilting/art supplies.

Projects are listed–one to twelve—one month to complete–or one to six.—two months to complete.

I decided I did not want to win more ‘stuff’ as I have plenty of stuff! And so I list the projects and when the random number is pulled I work on that project.

Looking back at the years I have participated in this, I have comleted nearly every project and am now down from seven boxes to just THREE!!! yay me! Not to say I haven’t started anything new–I have.

This piece was inspired by multiple photographs of a spectacular sunrise on the way home from Del Rio.

It had lingered in the pieced strip stage; but I got it out and worked on the thread work.

I don’t think it is quite finished yet, but it will be mounted on stretcher bars and submitted to a local art show.

Missing a very important photo

sometimes the mysteries of wordpress and putting in photos elude me. Somehow I must not have waited long enough for the photo of my booth at the recent quilt show last weekend to load.

Here it is; I promised to wait and check to be sure it is loaded up.

And just to recap. those drapes are my dropcloths from dyeing, screen-printing, ice-dyeing and so forth. I also use cotton towels instead of paper towels. I find they hold up better, and given I bough a bundle of about ten for the same price as a roll of paper towels and have used them for at least ten years, I think they are more ecologically sound. I wash them with household cleaning rags, waiting until I have a good sized load. Some of them are quite colorful; the drop-cloths are a memory of a different kind–different projects and different times

Big Bend in Water Color

I was going to say last month–but it was the end of January that my husband and I spent ten wonderful days in Big Bend National Park and a day in Big Bend Ranch State park. I took lots of photos–many of which are poster here earlier—taking photos a great excuse for stopping to rest along those hikes. But I also took along a tiny travel set of water colors.

travel set with markers in that pencil box on the right

Now before you feel too sorry for me working with such a tiny set—I do have a nice large palette with lots of tubes of paint but dragging along a huge toolbox wasn’t something I wanted to try—and I didn’t want to limit my adventure to stopping by the exhibit signs on the paved roads.

The paper I used came from Target in the school art supply section.

paper and class work with an on-line water color class through Winslow Art center

And again before you feel sorry for me, this paper had a nice feel to it—better for drawing but there was significant bleed through with markers and paint. It did not hold up to painter’s tape marking off boundaries—all things useful to know before going into the wilds with my art supplies and plans.

I discovered using markers to indicate values is not as easy as it sounds but I gave it my best shot.

The first few days I did line drawings with a Sharpie, a few I added marker shading and the last few days I added water color to some of the drawings.

I’ll be combining them into a book of some sort using the map of the park as the cover. I don’t work fast; I have to think about projects before embarking on them===and obviously all of these drawings are of such high quality collector status, they need to be properly displayed!

Here is a small sampling.

Watercolor Class Venture

I’ve been listening/viewing ArtChat on Winslow Art Academy and decided to sign up for a two session class. The class is taught by Molly Hashimoto who works in water colors and printmaking. Only a few students signed up all claiming to be novices, however, when they all showed their workshop pieces, it was clear they were not.

I, on the other hand, decided to work with a tiny water color travel palette and some paper I found at Target.

I learned a lot from this class—-the paper I used is not designed to be painted on both sides; and it might be better used as sketching rather than water color. I used a water-brush instead of a regular brush–a challenge as it was relatively large in comparison to the images we were working on.

because the paper tore when I tried to remove the masking tape to define the edges, I added the strips of colored paper. I do have an official watercolor palette and a set of nice brushes and paint and better paper—but I wanted to give it a try and it was a fun afternoon.

Messing Around with Monotypes

As mentioned earlier, I spent a wonderful afternoon in the Printing Museum taking a class on watercolor monotypes.

I’d done monotypes before, using block printing ink. That process involved laying a plexiglass plate over a simple image; inking the entire plate with first yellow, wiping away any parts we did not want yellow and printing. We repeated the process with red, then blue, and finally black. We ended up with just one print.

I repeated this experiment on fabric—of course—to the surprise and consternation of fellow students. I used acrylic paint, diluted to something between light and heavy cream. Using different weaves of fabric gave different effects—-and I did some hand embroidery on some of them—-Those pieces have all been sold and I did not think to take photos.

However, this process was different.

We started with a simple drawing on Newsprint—interesting, the instructor positioned the plate on one corner of the paper—not in the middle.

Next we used water color crayons to color in our image. I had never used these before and used them ‘dry’ which scratched the surface of the plexi. The crayon had to dry thoroughly.

Then with slightly dampened paper, it was run through the press. Not all the watercolor came off the plate onto the paper; some residua remained. the plexi was then re-colored, dried, and printed.

first print
second print

While my pieces are not finished—further work can be done using colored pencils or just pen and ink, it was a fun process—simple—fast…..except for waiting for the paper to dry.

I had forgotten how much fun it was to do prints.

I’ve experimented a bit with gesso on canvas and charcoal; I”m wondering about pastels on a textile medium damp fabric substrate—-

the instructor also showed us ‘white-line monoprints’, another intriguing idea using a woodblock carving. I”ve got one of those and one or two carved wooden stamps from India—worth a try—but I”m a fair weather outside artist and these projects are a bit too messy for my indoor space.

Neutral Colors

For those of us who like to think we are artists of some sort, we —or at least I will admit…..look for patterns and colors.

Saturday’s walk in the Big Thicket yielded two studies in a monochromatic color scheme or neutrals. Contrast and value; size and variety—all play a role.

in the parking lot

And then there was this one–more dramatic in value changes