Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Artwork’ Category

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

Finger Painting for Adults

I had heard about paste paper; watched a few videos on the process but last week was the first time I gave it a real try.

I was supposed to attend a retreat in Falmouth Massachusetts last week but I could not make airline reservations work out—I thought I would end up sitting overnight in Logan Airport or without a ride to get back to Logan at the end of the retreat—plus the hotel had been more than challenging with difficulties in making reservations.

And so I ended up being a Zoom student.

I got a kit in the mail containing papers, wheat paste, and some paint.

I mixed up the paste. We made ‘tools’–from fun foam with teeth in shapes of sawblade or a jack-o-lantern smile.

Instead of using small containers, I used foam plates—-

And then I had to let all these papers dry. I used a dog food bag as my drop sheet—very handy they are!

It is quite humid here, the paper took overnight to dry. Then I had to put them under weights to flatten them out–but now I have a nice collection of paste paper to use in book-making.

I was not enamored of the selection of paint I was given—but now that I understand the process, I can choose colors more to my taste.

Thank you Notes

I’m not always the fastest at completing projects.

Three bis of leftovers have been waiting patiently on a small tray. They are the bits from a meticuluously pieced triagnle quilt of gray, pink, white and smudges of blue that I have made into a nice jacket with matching purse, an auction donation piece and now three smallish pieces; one destined for the new owner of the auction piece, one for me, and destined for the SAQA’s Spotlilght auction held at their annual conference.

Here are the two completed thus far;

The edges are grey lace seam tape; twisted and sewn down around the edges.

I haven’t quite figured out how to present the one destined for the Spotlight Auction yet—I have enough seam lace to edge it but it needs to be 6inches by 8 inches and it is just a bit smaller. perhaps mounted on a piece of black felt would work—something to ponder–it is not due for several months.

Outlets and Lights

While there is a great deal of charm in a hundred year old house–built solidly to withstand hurricanes—there are also challenges.

The wall are thick–double brick, metal lath, plaster—a very quiet house—but no walls to move at a whim to accommodate access for large appliances or re-modetling.

Then there is the question of electrical outlets. Built in an era with few electrical appliances, an outlet or two in a room was an extravagance. And lights? When you went to bed with the chickens and got up when they did—not much need for more than one light in a room.

But then there comes the time in your life when you might want to sew during a rainstorm…..or early evening…and you don’t want to trip over electrical extension cords.

It is odd having an electrician not related to you in any fashion but yet feeling like an old family friend who likes old houses and the challenge of making things work.

I’ve been on his to-do list for several months—and yesterday was the day his son and helper appeared to put in outlets and overhead lights.

That necesitated moving a few things—and here is what I had to do to prep for the installation.

and perhaps the most important outlet of all—-I had been running my sewing machine, lamp, Alexa, laptop from an extension cord from the master bedroom.

And if you are thinking what a grand mess this is–and was before the outlet and lighting project–you are quite right. I had been trying to clear out projects needing just a bit more to complete====and happy to say much has been processed—but more remains—and it did not help to take on a new hobby with new supplies and now partially done projects.

Making a Mess

I had planned to schedule ‘messy days’ at my shop as part of an art group.

But then Covid-19 delta variant came along—and that was just too risky for me.

But I did play a bit.

I bought a turkey roaster from Walmart—specifically for eco-dyeing.

I picked up a few leaves around the shop; layered them on water-color paper, turned on the roaster, let it cook for about an hour and a half; turned it off–and then waited—impatiently!!!

I took the paper out–removed the leaves, and let the paper dry over my clothes drying rack—found at Treasure House—my church’s resale shop—for $1 again impatiently waiting for the paper to dry.

And here is the result.

The roaster comes with a rack with handles—so you can lift out your turkey or other roasted item easily. However it left lines on the paper—I’ll have to look for some flat ceramic tiles to layer the paper on so as to avoid those lines.

Still a fun project–and I’m ready to try some more…..trees and shrubs and plants beware!

Courtship and another showing

Grackles are a common bird, the males of the bird world being both more showy and more vocal than the females. We have three nesting pairs of cardinals in our backyard–all spaced as to not overlap territory–and I can hear them whistling from early morning to late afternoon. Grackles, do not have an attractive song o whistle—being more of a croak. But Still they posed for me on that rail at Cat-Tail Marsh.

Courtship 10 W by 7 T

This piece is on its way to the SAQA trunk show, SAQA being short hand for Studio Art Quilt Association. I have been a member for many years although recently I have had concerns regarding their foray into politics. Artists have always expressed their political views in their creations, ranging from Picasso’s “Guernica’ to Steinback’s Grapes of Wrath and Tortilla Flat to Dorothea Lange’s ‘Migrant Woman’. Early in Hitler’s regime, artists were sanctioned or fled or were imprisoned. However, artists were always free to express their own views—especially in opposition to any organization.

SAQA has aligned itself to two groups espousing a particular viewpoint—and I suppose thinking they are encouraging protest against the mainstream. Unfortunately, no other viewpoints are allowed—the idea being that everyone thinks as they do. They have fallen prey to a certain social media slant that does not represent my viewpoint.

Reluctantly I sent in an auction donation and now a trunk show piece. It will be mounted nicely and be part of box of artwork sent to various places. I thought about this for a very long time; if sending in these items meant supporting their narrow-minded way of viewing the world?

Recently I tried to enter three of my fiber pieces in a local art show. They were rejected because the acceptance committee did not understand ‘gallery-wrapped’ frames.

The options for showing my work are therefore so limited, I want my work to be seen—-and maybe this group will re-consider its thoughtless.

On the other hand, I use these ‘opportunities’ to try out a new technique or way of working. This particular piece used a fusible interfacing—eliminating all the stray threads on the edges of the bird.

Almost Done

It is so close to being finalized!

And I am so eager to have it printed and the final copy in my hands.

And speaking of hands—and mine in particular—they are the star/s of this piece.

All of that sounds a bit presumptuous—however…..

Earlier this year, a call from Webster Presbyterian went out for Stations of the Cross as part of the observation of Lent, Good Friday, and Easter. In the midst of the pandemic with vaccinations being meagerly doled out, this provided an opportunity for something creative and a way to escape the dreariness of limited social contacts.

Within six weeks, I completed the artwork, wrote a small paragraph about each, took the final photos and then struggled to put it into a booklet format.

One of my dear friends took on the formatting for me—and with a few final touches it is nearly done and ready for final printing. She is a perfectionist and her similar booklets are exquisite—but for me, this time—it will be complete.

I don’t want to spoil the ‘ta-da’ of the final piece—but here are a few notes about it.

I typically do several in process photos—and here is how I mark for lettering–all hand embroidered.

There are always a few ‘oops’ such as misspellings—how could I not notice this.

Fortunately it was an easy fix—just peeled off that ‘i’ and replaced it with an ‘e’.

Having a printed proof in hand makes the entire project seem more real–although I have a box full of the completed artwork–all 11 by 14 on gallery strectched canvases.

The background fabric is dyed with walnut husks, the hands were constructed of various wood dyed fabrics ranging from humble corduroy to silk. I used my hands as reference photos–a bit of a challenge taking photos of my right hand. I used a piece of packing styrofoam as a backdrop and a desk lamp as the light.

I asked two family members to take a look—and several others picked it up—and were all impressed—-

And so now I must wait just a bit longer for the final product.

And begin on the next big project……Miracles!

A delightful Afternoon (Mostly)

A mid afternoon doctor’s appointment at the Medical Center in Houston on a Friday afternoon is not preferable given the propensity of early weekend traffic—and traffic through and around Houston seems to have tripled in past months.

However, I wanted to try another viewing of Monet to Matisse at the MFA. I toured the exhibit several weeks ago—another doctor appointment—but I did not realize I could take photographs as there was no show catalog. I was determined to get some nice photos of some of my favorite paintings in the exhibit.

Happily I spied a Berthe Morisot—a garden painting—maybe during her honeymoon

; and this Renoir of a girl resting her chin on a chair—

and then a Gaugin of a small boy in blue—not the voluptuous mostly naked women usually associated with his name.

A Matisse—with its incredibly flat rendition of a water -harborscene—suggestive of wall-paper–no brushstrokes evident—the Monet also of a water -harbor scene–with the glimmerings of the beginning of expressionism

Then there was a Toulouse-LaTrec–on a special kind of cardboard used in billboards—and he did a lot of those—the head of a supercilious woman looking down at the viewer—and a Degas of two ballerinas head and shoulders in sepia tones.

The final gallery was 30 some paintings by Bonnard—-perhaps his work needs to be seen repeatedly to begin to enjoy—I don’t recall seeing any of his paintings before–they all seemed rather dark and dreary and mostly dark green and dark red landscapes.

I was so enjoying the paintings and taking photos until I was poked by a woman in a blue sweater who hissed ‘no flash photography allowed in here’.

Hmm—those flash cubes in the past had a theoretical potential of sparks—although why that should be a concern with all the water sprinklers everywhere—–and no-one has demonstrated the tiny automated flashes from a camera–not the huge ‘lights-camera-action’ lights faded paintings.

So I switched to my phone–which might have a flash feature but I haven’t figured how to work that yet—or how to transfer those photos to my laptop.

But I did manage to visit one of my favorite sculptures—Matisse’s Backs in the Cullen Sculpture Garden—deserted on that hot Friday afternoon with brilliant blue skies.

I always wondered what his model thought of how she was represented and how did all those really fancy frames get put on those paintings–did the artists choose them—or were they traditional ‘standard’ frames.