Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wasted time

The online feature Quilt Art Daily talks today about how jumping in and rushing things can result in a great waste of time when techniques don't work because time wasn't taken to work knowledgeably and at a constructive pace. AHA! Is that what happened yesterday?! I actually felt that I had time to work on a Fast Friday piece. There was one of my gelatin prints that was appropriate. I FMQ'd it, and then tried to do an overcast edge, as I didn't want to take the time to bind it. My new Janome Horizon doesn't like that sort of edge treatment--period. It might have helped if I'd used the right stitch width for the zig zag, ( by this time it was 8:30 and I was tired--rule #2 Don't work tired) but the actual problem was that when the fabric is only under half of the foot, the feed dogs don't work right. So I need to find out if there is a better foot for this task. I also discovered that my FMQ'g had missed spots because I was in too much of a hurry.

But all is not lost. Since I only have to post a photo, most of the problems, except for the wavy edge, won't be noticed. And I really, really wanted to post something this month. But I still won't have a piece worth keeping, so the time and supplies used in the printing and stitching, have been wasted.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I spent yesterday in a workshop with a highly-respected local artist. This is the second workshop I've had with him and I've found both of them highly stimulating! Very much out of my realm, but suprisingly appropriate to my work. This one was actually for beginners and involved exploring colour using acrylic paints. We also did a mini-exploration of how the acrylics work on different substrates. This was the part I enjoyed the most. I mainly used a palette knife, after receiving a little more information on "how-to" use it. In many ways I'm finding this much more satisfying than using the brushes. I came home with two small painted (knifed??) pieces-about 6 x 6--done on canvas, and a larger collage done on "mixed media board". I want to play with mixed media board a little more, but will have to wait until I have a little more $$$ before I pick any up. January is usually a pretty lean month around the old homestead!
I have another class with this gentleman scheduled for mid-February, and I'm quite looking forward to it.

Monday, December 27, 2010


I'm slowly getting Twilight Snowfall bound, but, as you might have guessed, my heart really isn't in it. Then I have to have it photographed--at a very specific pixel count and size. I'm really not sure how to proceed. I'm starting a hands-on PSE class February 1st. While I don't want to mess up the teacher, I could take the photo myself, and hope she can help me re-size it at the first class. That would still give me time to get the entry forms away. Or I could ask my friend the art photographer to help me--yet again--although I w0uld be much further ahead if I learned to do it for myself.

BUT! Today I spent hours doing gelatin printing. My friend BrandyLynn came over this morning and we worked for almost 4 hours. Both of us had a drying rack full of pieces by the time we stopped to breathe. After she left, I had to have a wee nap. Then this evening I did a few more. Boy, did we ever go through fabric! Finally, about 7:30, I did a piece that I had been trying for all day. This is based on the colour field painting style, and is a Fast Friday Fabric challenge monthly challenge. Now I have until noon next Saturday to finish it and get it up on the internet.

My main intent for these pieces is to turn them into smaller hand embellished pices that can be mounted and framed for sale. Yeah, I bit the bullet and accepted that I'm still going to have to sell some of my work so that I can buy the supplies to keep going. This afternoon I picked my favourite of all the pieces I painted, and actually started to work on it. Ruined it, but I may be able to salvage something. Otherwise, I have 27 more pieces to keep me busy and off the streets over the next few months. Considering that I have two teaching events to prepare for, and quite a few classes that I've signed up for as a student, I don't think I'll have any time to get into trouble.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Twilight Snowfall

is blocked, sized and bound--as a rectangle. When I was told that it had to be a rectangle to enter the exhibition, I lost heart with it. It will go off to New Zealand, with plans to re-shape it when I get it back, but I wonder if I'll really follow through. The local quilt guild has plans for a big show in the spring of 2012, so perhaps If I focus on getting it into that, it may give me an incentive.

Now I'm very busy making a couple of sample collages to help in publicizing the class I have scheduled for the Crafts Museum in late February. I hope to be able to take them into MCML when I atttend a meeting there January 3rd. Much of my collage work is based on work done by Beryl Taylor. I gave myself her new video for Christmas and it arrived last Wednesday. The actual project she uses to demonstrate her techniques does not appeal to me at all, so there's no danger of stealing her ideas ( I wonder if it was planned that way?) I found out that she has a previous video, so it looks like I know what I'm going to give myself for my birthday--or maybe sooner.

Next week I have another class with the same local artist as I spent a day studying under last fall. I'm very much looking forward to this--moreso than I'm looking forward to Christmas. It's so very convenient to have everything included in the class fee, and so supplies to worry about.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

finding a voice

last evening I attended an informal presentation/art critique. A slide presentation had been put together of pictures produced by four different artists. Each artist was introduced and then we saw a sort of retro-spective of that artists work. We had been given a bio and had an idea of each artists's background and education, and how their work had been accepted within the art community. Some of them had achieved international recognition, some more local. A couple had been recognized, even as students, as potential"movers and shakers". So why? As I looked at the pictures, I realized that each of them had a unique and recognizable style that was out of the ordinary--and none of them produced "pretty pictures". Each of them had a special talent for a certain type of work--one did snow and water like I've never seen it done before. One used a specific blue colour in so many ways and scenes that I was in awe. another produced architectural sketches that were stunning. A third could create a scene with just a couple of brush strokes, and while I didn't particularly like his style, I very much appreciated his skill.

So maybe the answer to acceptance, is in finding that one style that speaks for my vision and can become distinctly mine. A tall order, but already I know that I am most comfortable in small, fussy, detailed work. I enjoy, and am challenged by working in a muted, slightly mono-chromatic colour scheme. I need to work more with, and become more confortable in, the proper use of value. So why do I keep trying to work against my nature and pleasure?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What a day!

I should have the snowflakes finished on Twilight Snowfall by bedtime tonight. I had no idea it would go so quickly, once I had the quilting finished. I painted some fabric to use for binding this morning, so could conceivably have it finished in the next day or so. A big piece of my energy, both emotional and physical, over the past few weeks. I still haven't found a way to post pictures, and that's maybe a good thing, as I'm not sure what the exhibition rules are about posting before the exhibit opens.

So--what do I do next?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Still fretting

I have sent a sketch of Twilight Snowfall" to the show organizer to see if the shaping on the lower edge might be acceptable, but I haven't heard back yet. DH has suggested that I finish it as a rectangle, and re-finish it once it returns from the show. I had thought of that, but held back in consideration of the technical issue of the actual finishing, as I had planned to face it. However, if I cut it as a rectangle and bind it, then I can remove the binding, re-cut it, and face it once it returns. The actual quilting should be finished to day, even if I have to add some around the lower edge to fill in the rectangle shape. This has been the only thing I've worked on for almost 7 weeks. Then comes the scarey part--I have to paint the surface. I've experimented with a couple of ways of doing it, on my doodle cloth, and have a pretty good idea about it, but painting!! After all that work quilting!??

When I was auditioning various snowflake methods, I had asked my friend Rose Anne about a very tiny tatted snowflake. She didn't think it could be done, but surprised me with three small, delicate, tatted snoflakes, at our recent Ravenesque meeting. Tatting is something I associate with a dear friend who passed away this year--Vera--who was a Master Tatter. Rose Anne also knew her and learned from her. So, in honour of both of these friends, the small snowflakes--a little too large for the front of the piece--will be attached to a special label that I'll make for the back.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Taking stock

Time to figure out where I am in my "sabbatical". I've been having great fun, I have a few paintings that are okay, but only as a measure of my learning curve, but I haven't actually produced a piece of fibre work in about 4 months, although I did quilt and mount two gelatine prints that I made while demonstrating the technique. For the last month I've been working on "Twilight Snowfall", but have now found out that it may not be accepted for the exhibition, as I plan to make the bottom edge irregular. Last night I spent some time looking at it, as I could still square off the bottom, to make it "legal", but then I would be compromising my artistic vision. This isn't a quandry I've had to face before. I have e-mailed the show organizer to ask for some guidance in this, but haven't yet heard back. I really think my answer will be to proceed as I planned, and accept that I'm giving up a chance at a major exhibiiton, should I not make it through the jury process. In reality, this is what artists face every time they enter a competition, and they rarely have the opportunity to modify a vision in advance.

The other reason that I may be non-productive is that I'm feeling great guilt when I look around and see how my housework is being neglected. Or maybe it's just that I'm busy perfecting my ability to procrastinate.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Whoops! Here comes another deadline!

Promised myself to avoid them but I'm finding out that I work best when I have them. The deadline for "Twilight Snowfall" is January 1st. Quite do-able. And then I started experimenting with making snowflakes, as my hands are so sore from tying off quilting lines. Yes, I can do the snow flakes, and mainly by machine, but they look like they're going to be as much work as the quilting--not much tying off, thank Goodness. So I'm really pumped up about this, but at the back of my mind are the two classes I'm teaching in February and March. I need to be starting the prep work for those.

I also put my name down for another series of painting classes. I learned so much from them, mainly about myself and how I work. As well, we hope to have the formal "Call for Entry" and entry forms for the Fibre Art Exhibition in November, ready to go by the end of January. Originally we had planned to get it out sooner, but the gallery is closed for all of January, so there isn't much point.