Thursday, 10 April 2014

Sketchbook Skool

I had my first Sketchbook Skool klass last Friday. We were challenged to do sketches without using a pencil and eraser--just a pen or marker or dip pen. Well, I knew it wasn't going to go well. I always use a pencil first to sketch and then I go in with a felt tipped pen. We were encouraged not to worry about what it looked like; whether it was good or bad, in perspective, or not. Just draw what you see, we were told and love what you draw, mistakes and all.

In my first sketch I used the wrong pens. They weren't waterproof so when I added watercolour paint later, the ink ran. However, I don't mind the look of runny ink. The objects in the sketch are a bit wonky but that too gives it a bit of character. Since it was my first sketch, I didn't worry too much about it. I hope to improve as I go.

My second sketch was done just with a micron pen and line. There is basically no shading, although I did do some cross hatching to give some depth.

The third sketch was done with a dip pen which is a pen nib placed in a holder and dipped into permanent ink. I really liked using the dip pen because I could get very thin lines and also thick lines with it.

Second lesson tomorrow, check back next week for new sketches.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, my small art quilt, Algonquin, was not chosen for the Parks Challenge. Disappointment again. Oh, well, I will keep doing what I love despite the rejection.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Online Inspiration

I've blogged before about Danny Gregory and Every Day Matters and some of the books he's put out about journaling and sketching. Well, now he has collaborated with a Dutch sketcher named Koosje Koene to develop an online sketching course. The first semester is a 6 week course taught by 6 different artists and will give us 6 different perspectives on sketching. We will learn how they sketch, where they sketch, what materials they use and we'll get assignments to do and be able to post our assignments online to receive critiques on them by teachers and students alike. They just started a Facebook page and its amazing to see how many people are interested in sketching and they are from all over the world! It is a great way to get in touch with others who like to sketch and exchange experiences and notes on sketching.

The course starts on Friday, April 4,14 and I joined with the hopes of connecting with other artists but also to help me become more relaxed about sketching in public and also building up my sketching skills. The fact that I will be getting feedback on my work is also a draw (no pun intended). It is open to everyone so if you are interested check out I'll be posting some of my sketches here in my blog so check back in a week.

I've also submitted my entry to Quilting Arts Magazine for another of their challenges. The theme is Art in the Park and as you might remember, I made an 8``X 8`` quilt about an Algonquin Canoe Trip. I will know on April 9th if it was accepted.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Artful Dutch Things

I haven't accomplished much art this week but I thought I'd share some photos of some Dutch artful things that I came across while in the Netherlands.

                     In Holland they have painted cows just like we have painted moose here in Canada.

We visited the large flower exhibit at the Keukenhof near Amsterdam and saw wonderful blooms. These are amaryllis blooms.

These are old smashed up bikes painted red and hung from the ceiling. I really don't know why they call this art.

This is a small watercolour painting I did of the landscape in Holland.

Some more Keukenhof displays above and below are some wonderful textured walls we found in the old city of Elburg.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Inspiration found in Gelderland, the Netherlands

I'm blogging from the Netherlands this week and am enjoying wonderful Spring weather here. What makes it even more wonderful is that I've heard they're expecting 10 cm of snow tonight back home!
While I'm here I'm always looking for inspiration. My daughter and I were out walking one evening and the sunset was just beautiful. The sky silhouetted the trees. I tried to sketch the scene when we returned to our room with my limited art supplies.

The top is a sketch I did while sitting in front of our bed and breakfast lodging. The lower photo is of my meagre art materials and the small painting I did of the sunset.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Rethinking and Revising

Do you remember my post about the Travel Journal I was making of my trip to Paris with my sister? That trip happened almost a year ago and I'm still not finished the journal.

I had bought a French hardcover book at a second hand book store in Paris to use for this journal. I brought it home and ripped some pages out of it to make room for the things I would add to the book. I gessoed the remaining pages so I could draw and paint on them and started to glue things onto the pages.

Well, the further I got, and because I was handling the book a lot, it began to fall apart. I didn't like the look of it at all. So I ripped all the remaining pages out of it, including my finished pages so that I was left with only the cover.

I decided to use the original cover because I like the look of it and I made new pages out of card stock (which will be sturdier than the book pages) and I gessoed and painted them for backgrounds to my journal items. I rescued some of my drawings and parts of the pages I had already completed and started over on my new pages.

I painted the new pages with acrylic paints by dropping dots
of paint in various spots on the page and then ran an old
plastic gift card across the page mixing the paint and creating
these marbled designs..

The Eiffel Tower was drawn on one of the old pages of the
original book so the words typed in the background are all
in French. I think it's an interesting touch.
I'm putting in all the pictures and paraphernalia first and then going in later to add some details of what we did, how we felt, things I want to remember.
When all the pages are done, I'll sew them into the cover and finally be done the journal.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Inspiring Thrift Store Fabric

I love fabric bargains so I often go to my local thrift store before I head to the fabric store to see if I can pick up economical yardage. I have often been quite successful in coming home with quite a bit of fabric for a few dollars.
While I worked on my newest landscape quilt, I realized that quite a few of these thrift store fabrics have found their way into this project. What is surprising is that at first glance these fabrics are really not that attractive and probably the reason they ended up at the thrift store. In my work, however, I don't use the fabric as one large pattern, I cut it up into little pieces which I sew together with other fabrics. Because I do that, these ugly fabrics take on a new life.
Take a look at some of these bargain fabrics.

I found this fabric that someone tie dyed and thought it
was really ugly but I managed to get 5 different colours
from it.

I've used this fabric in other art quilts and quilted cards.
They usually have a water theme for which this is suited
I can get 3 colours out of this one and it can be used for
water or forest designs.
So you see, I can make use of any type of fabric in my creations. If you have any pieces of fabric that you don't know what to do with, just send them my way. I'll use them for something.

Here is the progress so far on my Rapids Art Quilt. You can see
a gray rock in the right foreground, forest in the background
and rocks and water in between. You can also see the first
birch tree developing on the left with bits of orange on it.
(Ok, you may have to use your imagination a little)

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Rapid Inspiration

The last few weeks, I have been working on a pattern for a new art quilt. It was inspired by a sketch I did from a photo of rapids that we found on our canoe trip last year. The photo didn't inspire me but I was inspired by the colours I used in my sketch. That is why I like to do a sketch or painting of a subject before I turn them into quilts. It gives them more of an artistic flavour. Some would say it makes them more painterly.
This project will be a wall quilt 30" X 40".

Here is the completed pattern with fabric swatches. If you look carefully, you can see the two birch
 trees in the foreground on the right side of the pattern. They are the only things that go from the bottom of the quilt right to the top. They will be the focal point of the quilt with the rapids running behind them
 and rocks and forest in the background.

This is the 4 X 6" sketch I did of the scene and the source
of my inspiration.

These are my fabric choices.

First section complete. This is part of the background forest area in
the top right hand corner.

When making my art quilts in the past, I have tried to match up my thread colour with the fabric colour but this doesn't always work because I am always sewing two different fabrics together. If the fabrics are mostly the same type of colour and value, there's not too much problem but when I go from a dark area to a light area where the values are totally different, I run into trouble. I had one of my quilts rejected from a show because my stitches showed. This time I am working with lingerie thread (either white or black) in the bobbin and a clear thread something like fishing wire in the top needle. So far, in the section I have finished, the stitches cannot be seen.

I've also finished the small quilt for the Parks Challenge. It is 8" X 8" and I have to send the images in on April 4, 2014. I call it "Algonquin".