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Saturday, 22 April 2017

A Little Behind in my Blog Posts

I've missed a few weeks of blogging and I apologize. Sometimes life gets in the way. In the last few weeks I have finished and hung my fabric cards art quilt. I hung it in my front hall and I really like the look of it there. I didn't use all the cards I received back but I still plan to use them so if you have any you don't want any more please send them to me.

My art quilt is also coming along well. You can start seeing the resemblance to my painting.

I've also been recording the new birds that visit my bird feeder. Here are a couple.

I took the time, on a nice day, to sit on my new back deck and sketch the fort we made for the grandkids to play in. Lots of imagination and make believe is practiced here.

Friday, 7 April 2017

So Much Inspiration!

Spring is the time of year that inspires me the most. It's a time of new life and new beginnings. Everywhere plants are waking up and starting to reach for the sun. With every rainfall sent from God, the world gets a little greener. I love it!

But it gives me a dilemma. There is so much I want to record in my sketchbooks as it happens that other projects get set back. I could be busy every day, all day with art making but I don't have the luxury of all that time. That being said, I have a few projects on the go.

With my bird feeder hanging outside my office window, I am noticing so many more different kinds of birds there and want to record them all. This week I also started another traditional quilting project with a friend and my sister. It is going to be a table runner. I am also still sketching aspects of my daughter's historic home which I feel a little pressured on because she is now looking to move. I have finished putting together my fabric cards and now just have to sew a rod sleeve to it so I can hang it on the wall. Oh, and yes, I am still making fabric cards for various occasions and doing a little cross-stitch to embellish them with.

A fabric card I made from one of my bird sketches.

Pieces for a table runner

My daughter's house in the snow

 And most importantly, I have been working on my latest art quilt. Progress is going well so far but very slowly due to the many tiny pieces.

 I am trying not to stress over all these projects because they are supposed to be enjoyable to do.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Art Quilt Pattern Completed

I have been working feverishly to get my art quilt pattern finished and yesterday I was able to complete it and begin sewing. This is my favourite part of art quilting. Hopefully I have marked in the proper colours and won't have any gliches while putting it together.

This pattern is very detailed with many very tiny pieces. I have to take extra care that all the pieces match up correctly as I sew. For example the far shoreline has to match up across the whole background. Because the pattern is divided into sections, each section has to line up with the others. It is easy to sew two sections together with one a little lower than the other and get an angle that shouldn't be there. This isn't so crucial in the rocks and tree areas because they are odd shapes anyways but the grasses will be a challenge.

As you can see in the photo above when comparing it to the photo below, I've completed the lower right corner of grasses.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Feathered Inspiration

I recently bought and hung up a bird feeder. It hangs from a branch of our pear tree just outside my office window. I'm beginning to think it wasn't the best place to hang it. Oh yes, it is perfect for seeing the birds up close and capturing them on my camera but it is so distracting! I have to be more self controlled when I am in the office working.

I'm beginning to keep my camera and my cell phone on my desk just in case a new bird finds the feeder. They are voracious eaters and I have to keep filling the feeder up every day to keep them coming back. From the photos I have been doing some sketches of the birds making a sort of visual log of the birds in the area.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Quilt Canada, Quilter's Retreat and Art Quilt Progress

As a member of  Etobicoke Quilters' Guild and Studio Art Quilts Associates and the Canadian Quilters' Association, I receive information about competitions, shows, exhibits and Conferences. Quilt Canada is a national conference put on by the Canadian Quilters' Association that is held in a different part of Canada each year.  This year it is being held in Toronto at the International Centre in June. Because it is so close to home, I decided I can't let the opportunity to attend slip by. At these conferences there are workshops and lectures and great shopping experiences. I will not be taking any workshops or lectures but I have applied to volunteer at the Conference. I will be an "Ask Me" volunteer. This is quite 'out of the box' for me as I am usually very shy with people I don't know. I will be doing an orientation in order to get to know the conference so I can share information with those who Ask Me. I think it will be a great experience for me.

Another experience I've decided to become part of is a Quilting Retreat which will happen in April at a Christian Camp in Markdale. Although I do not do a lot of traditional quilting, it will be nice to get to know others in Ontario who quilt and perhaps I can pick up a few tips to enhance my art quilts. I am planning to take the art quilt I am currently working on. I will get 4 days of uninterrupted quilting done on it. So I'm hoping that I will have all the plotting done by that time and have started the sewing.

I have finished plotting the sky so the whole top of the quilt has a pattern. As I work on this, I am getting really excited to start sewing.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Art Quilt Progress

I was able to finish the painting that will help me to move further on the Art Quilt. I made a tracing of the subject also including colour changes and values. This quilt will be a challenge to plot due to all the grasses. I may end up with lots of little pieces of fabric in order to make the grass come across as grass.

I darkened areas of the painting even more, added details to the rocks and put some grass and a bush on the rock to the left. I felt that area needed something extra. I decided to make the pink section of rock at the top left where the dark shoreline in the distance meets it, as the focal point. In this area the darkest dark and the lightest light meet and it is the area where a lot of variation in colour happens. Most of the direction lines in the painting point to this area.

This is the tracing of the painting which will be enlarged for the pattern.

Enlarged pattern, 24" X 36" will be the quilt's final dimensions.

As I start to plot the pattern the first dividing lines will also draw the eye to the focal point. As I plot the pattern, I am also choosing fabric colours and values.

I will start my plotting with the sky so above are some blue fabrics and some pale pink, peach and yellow that I will be using. I found a fabric swatch on cardboard that I had used for another quilt and the colours are the same as those that I'll be using in this one so if I still have some of those fabrics, I will use them here as well. I think I may have to substitute some that I have run out of but this gives me a start.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Starting a Commissioned Art Quilt

I have finally finished my other large projects and now have begun work on a commissioned art quilt. I sent my clients some photos of landscapes I had taken over the years in order to choose a scene they'd like me to make out of fabric.  They have seen some of my other work and have an idea of what it will look like when it's done.

This is the photo that was chosen.

 My process is to do a watercolour painting of the photo in which I try to highlight a focal point and bring out some of the colours I see. In this photo the line where the water meets the far shore is crooked (because of the angle of the camera) so the first adjustment would be to straighten that. The rocks do not have sun shining on them but I might try to give them more light and vary the colours in them for more interest.

These are the first washes of colour.

I have just positioned the trees, shrubs, rock and grasses. I've put a little yellow into the sky and also some pinks. The rocks have a light pink/peach colour on them. I don't like to paint my rocks grey. When I study them, I see pinks, purples, greens and blues in them and that is much more interesting than grey.

Here the colours are "punched" up a bit.

Today I worked on darkening the colours as I continue to look for the focal point I want to stress. I've made the far shore a little bluer which pushes it into the distance. You can see that this version is already more interesting than the photo. I will continue to work on the colours and create some nice contrasts in the sky as well.

Once the painting is done, I'll make a tracing of it and take it to Staples to enlarge to the size I want it. From the enlargement, I will plot out my sewing plan marking my colour scheme and fabric choices. That is the most time consuming part of the whole process but the most important.