Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Experimental Piecing

Since I have not been sewing much lately,  late last night I decided to pull out some fabric and put it where I couldn't miss it.  I really had no plan. I did have a couple of ideas but when I sat at the machine they were forgotten.   I decided to just play.  I took four 2 1/2" strips and sewed them in sets of two.  Then I placed them face to face and sewed around all of the edges.  Then I said "Oops. Now what??" 

 I cut them on the diagonal both directions -so that I would get flat pieces.  Then I opened them up and saw that there were two QuarterSquare triangle units and two HalfSquare triangle units.   I pressed those open and trimmed them to the same (odd) size of 2 3/4"

I decided on a layout and sewed them together.   Then I used leftover strip pieces to create this piece.

Yes it is "less than perfect" but I really like it. It is bright and happy and  it is batik.  I am not sure what it will become, but we will see one day.   Suggestions?


Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Just Loafing

Many years ago I learned to make bread while I was unemployed.   Back then I was skinny and not diabetic.   I fell in love with freshly baked bread. The smell of it cooking fills the house. That first piece while it is still warm is so comforting to the soul. 

I wanted to bake bread again but I need to limit the carbs for my diabetic diet.  So I decided to try changing a recipe.   I took a recipe for a smaller batch of crusty artisan bread and swapped 3/4 cup of the flour for raw almond flour (coarser than the blanched almond flour) in it.  It worked well and baked up beautifully.  The big question was what will it do to my blood sugar? 
The fact is that I couldn't resist eating it.  But,  it is much more filling than other bread - so I didn't eat as much.  My blood sugar was in my normal range the day after.   That loaf slowly dwindled down. 

When I started the dough for the second loaf, I realized that my supply of raw almond flour was insufficient for the batch.  Like any good improvisational cook/artist  I added enough blanched almond flour to equal it -slightly less since  the finer grind weighs more per volume.

This morning I cooked it off.  I smelled heavenly baking.   When the timer went off, I checked and found that it was done.  The hollow "thump" test is a nice way to do that. 

It looks lovely cooling on the rack.

I did take a photo of the previous loaf also.

As you can see my technique is improving. 
What are your favorite comfort foods or activities?  One thing I have learned over the years is that baking is as much of an art as painting a portrait or a landscape. The results are usually quicker.  While some would say they don't last as long, I say they do if you overindulge!


Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Play Time

Sometimes, it is good to let go of expectations and just play. So I did!

I took a piece of watercolor paper and started collaging random pieces of paper onto it.  Then that was left to dry.  After it was dry, I realized that it looked  like it lacked any cohesiveness.  So I took some transparent nickel azo gold paint and glazed over the entire piece or at least most of it.   Again it was left to dry. (walking away is the hard part.) 

The next stage was adding lines.  As I walked into the area,  I said "You can add three lines to it today."   Did I succeed in keeping that?  Yes and no.  I added two lines with paint.  While I was looking for a different brush to use, I saw a blue art crayon.  It is water soluble, so if I don't like it I can remove it.  The first line, drawn onto a dark area was almost unseen.  That was washed off. Then I did another line to join two shapes.  But the muse said "more....repeat and vary that mark."  This is where yes, became "not exactly, one line."  Still, it was one set of "linework."   You will see blue arcs that echo outward (or inward depending on your perception.)    Then I walked away. 

When I returned, I liked what I was seeing, so I decided to try using a mat to crop it.  Here are those results.
1. (sorry for the flash glare.) 

2.

3.

4. Sorry this one is slightly blurred.
I see one place where I need to break up a dark area, but mostly I like this.   Which version do you like best?


Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Embracing Limitations

Our final lesson in the Find Your Joy free weeklong course was all about imposing limits.  The teacher listed materials to use (three paint colors plus black and white) along with a few other supplies like charcoal and oil pastel, pencil and ink.   We had an order to add brush strokes and other marks to the paper as well as a small bit of collage.  Each step was in order.

This makes for a lot of limits.  But like a sonnet, there are strict limits and a form that you must follow. But in the sonnet you can express whatever idea you desire. (I learned this concept from a children's book that I read every year or so. - The book is "A Wrinkle in Time.")

Here are my four paintings from this exercise.
#1

#2

#3

#4
Honestly I have my favorite.  I think the last one needs something to finish it.  I am not sure what at this point.  The other three I am happy to leave as they are. 

I do believe that I will be using these limitations again, although I may re-write them just a bit for my purposes.   This would be a great exercise to use for painting on greeting card blanks made of watercolor paper.  But perhaps it would be wiser to paint the pieces on watercolor paper and just attach those to the cards. Why?  Because as I am doing these I don't know which will work out to be the "top" when they are finished.

Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Monday, June 22, 2020

The Progressions of a Painting

While I know that abstraction is not everyone's cup of tea it is how I tend to express myself in paint.  Some people say "my six year old could have done that"  or other rude comments. (Yes they will say it to an artist's face.)   Some artists quit,  some never show their work.  But work they do.
The week-long course I am taking is about finding your own artistic voice.  Much like singing, we have the voice that is in us. We can train it, but ultimately it is still "who we are."  When we paint from "who we are" the work is more fun than frustration.  But it is work, so there are still frustrating moments.

One assignment was a challenge to really "let go!"  We were told to purposely paint an ugly painting.
My apologies to your eyes. (although one person told me that she liked it.)

The following day, we were told to take a "failed painting" and paint over it leaving some parts showing through.   Super easy choice, this one gets painted over.  The layers of paint actually add to the texture and can peek through into the final painting if you don't really layer more over it.

At one point this became even uglier as it was a lot of gray with bits of color showing through. I wish I had a photo of that to show you.

As I started adding some black and other colors, I started seeing an image of a female.
You may or may not see her in this version, although I had already added a few lines to enhance the shapes.

I rotated the watercolor paper and  started seriously working to see what I could pull from this gray soup of a painting.
I finally got to here and posted it in the group.
I was starting to like it more and more.   Still it wasn't exactly where I felt it needed to be.  That black glob under her neck looks like a goiter.   The colors needed some variety and strengthening.

Another session at the table standing over this brought about the current (and maybe final) version of the painting.  After it dried, I placed a mat around it to see if it might be finished.

Yes, the colors are stronger, the goiter has simply turned into a background shadow.  It looks raw and visceral, but I don't think I want to change a thing.
Could you have imagined this transformation?   I couldn't when I started painting on the "ugly painting."  I just wanted to cover some areas and tone it down leaving it totally abstract. But, when things happen as you are painting, it is wise to respond to them and follow the muse.

So there you go, the evolution of a painting.

There was a song some years ago by a storyteller type songwriter.  It speaks to art and having your own voice. It also speaks to the possibility that it can be squashed if one is not strong.

I am thankful that I didn't let the elementary teacher squash my love of art.  But I still remember how she told me "That is not what the sky looks like."   Being a polite child, I said "Yes Ma'am."  So I "followed the rules" in her class, but at home I did it just like I wanted to do it.

Remind your children and grandchildren (and yourself if necessary) that all of the colors in the rainbow are beautiful.  (by the way, Chapin wrote and extra verse after this recording:
But there still must be a way to have our children say:
There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower
And I see every one."


Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Another Painting Episode

After doing the last class, there was paint left on the palette.  Since I hate wasting it, I decided to take a piece of watercolor paper and play.  This piece is very "raw and unfinished"  but I am not sure if I will paint any more on top of it.   I had fun doing it and that was the point of the process.
I started out painting in a totally abstract manner.  I had no objective and no subject in mind.  Then the painting started becoming a landscape,  so I went with it.

It is now an abstracted landscape.

Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Painting Exercise - Palette Knives

My friend, Barbara, paints with palette knives and I like what she does with them, so I ordered a set - they were inexpensive.  In the class I am taking we were given the instruction to paint with colors we don't normally use and to use tools we don't normally use.  Since I have rarely used palette knives and they had just come in, I thought that was perfect.    I decided to do a nice serene landscape, with a little barn in a field.  Ha!  The best laid plans.......

I chose some colors and started on a 5" by 7" canvas that I already had. My first shock was that I could not seem to get the paint to behave with the knives. (This is a skill that I may need to learn.) The colors didn't seem to play that well together either.  I chose three primaries. Red -red oxide.  Blue - Fluorescent Blue. Yellow - Yellow Ochre.  I added a Bright Aqua Green to the mix along with Black, White and Titan Buff (a light tan.)  I painted on and scrapped off.  I felt some frustration and I really really wanted to just use my brushes.  But, I was following the directions - because I do want to find new joy in painting. 
I reached a point where I was ready to walk away and let it dry.  But a little niggling voice in the back of my head kept saying "You could collage a little bit on that horizon line."    When I was straightening up the area to start painting I had moved some things and saw some painted papers that I had created at some time in the past for collage.  The fact is, I almost never collage in my work. That played right into the lesson, so I did it.   When I started putting down the collage pieces, I got excited.  I went a while longer and this is the result for now.  I see a couple of minor corrections I want to make, but I like it.



Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Another Painting Exercise

Painting exercises are a great way to prime the creative pump.  Over the course of three or four days, I did an exercise from the book Celebrate Your Creative Self by Mary Todd Beam.  This exercise was titled "Tissue Florals" - which immediately makes me think of making tissue paper flowers.  But the title was a bit misleading.  I followed the instructions (for the most part) using gesso, rice paper and paint on watercolor paper.  The paint I used is acrylic. Although there are some added bits done with Inktense pencils, Caran D'Arche water soluble crayons, and pencil.

This is the resulting piece from my play time.

It doesn't look like a floral at all in my opinion - and that is fine with me. 

I am curious to see what -if anything - you see in it.

One of my friends posted about a free painting course called "Find Your Joy"  that is hosted by Louise Fletcher.  You can find the information about it here if you are interested in joining.  But join right away if you want to join because the course starts today June 15, 2020.

Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Art Exercise - Painting on Paper

For a few days, I have been reading one of my books on art and creativity.  This one is "The New Creative Artist" by Nina Leland.   In the book she is a strong proponent of play as a way of increasing creativity. 
While looking through the book, I came upon an exercise that she calls "Creating Trapped Shapes"  
While I didn't follow the rules exactly,  I did take a piece of watercolor paper and use paint to create lines that cross and go off all sides of the page to create random shapes.   

My starting paper was already painted with a golden yellow that blended into an orange shade.  Black paint was my choice of line.  Then in the following days, I started filling in some of the shapes with color. Seriously, it is similar to crazy quilt piecing.  You want to create contrast and a nice variety of colors that are harmonious. (Unless you want to do something different! It is play with no rules.)  
One strong command she gives is to play and don't expect to make good art. Rather, enjoy the process. Since painting led me to quilting, it is good to revisit painting for a while. 

Friday morning, I walked in to where I had been painting and saw  somewhat of an image in my random shapes.  So I decided to enhance that image just a bit. I changed one of the shapes with some opaque paint.  (no rules!) and did a few other bits to enhance.  It isn't great art, but I think it is a fun piece.
 
This could possibly be the springboard for a fun little primitive quilt design at some point. Or it could just simple be a painting exercise.  I don't know if I will add any more paint on it or just let it be what it is.  I did have fun with it - and that was the point. 

Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Using up the "off cuts"

The bento box quilt top is still waiting to be quilted.  I need a day to go outside and spray baste it.  For now it is either "too hot" or "too wet" - neither of which inspires me to get going.  

I was answering a comment on one of my YouTube videos, when in the side bar, there was a video from one of my internet friends.  The video is a quilt as you go zipper pouch.    After answering the comment, I watched the video.   

Typically I am not fond of this type of quilt as you go  for quilts, it leaves a baggy backing.  But for  the outside of a pouch - or maybe for a notebook cover - it is fine as you do a separate lining anyway. 

So, I took the leftover ends of the pieced jelly roll strips from making the Bento Box quilt.  I grabbed a leftover strip of batting and started. 

These are  pieces that could have easily been thrown away.  But I hate to waste supplies, so they were still in a pile.   I started sewing the pieces onto the batting following the general idea of the video.  Finally the entire piece of batting was covered.  I then quilted it more using straight-ish lines.   It was trimmed up into one long strip that was roughly 6 1/4" by 28".  That was cut into fourths making four 6 1/4" by 7"  pieces.  Those pieces were used to make the zipper pouches with some of the zippers I bought in Mexico. 

You may have noticed that on the one with the lavender zipper, I used a green zipper pull for a little extra pop of color.  I will use these as little gifts or gift bags for small presents.  They are not perfect but they are cute and sweet.  Zipper pouches are always useful for storing small items.

Do you do zippers?  Or are you just a bit afraid of them?  I used to be afraid of them. But once I saw how easy it can be, I love using them in pouches and simple "flat construction."

Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

Side Step

This week has been spent doing everything except sewing/quilting.  I spent part of a day sorting out my art making space.  And as most of you know, when you do that sometimes you find things and 'get lost' playing with them.  I re-watched a few of my classes on BluPrint since finding out that they are shutting down sometime this year.  

The Farmers Market had a grand opening and I donned my mask and went shopping for fresh from the farm produce.  Of course some of it had to come home with me.  Otherwise, what was the point in going.  
I got some lovely green onions with nice bulbs on them,  fresh green beans, and fresh peaches. YUM.

I also got something I have never eaten before - at least not knowingly.  This lovely purple Kohlrabi.
A friend posted one on Facebook, so I knew what it was when I saw it.  I only got one because I have never tried it.  But if I like it, I will buy it again.  


One day Mom complained that her hair was getting in her face and bothering her.  She told me she wanted me to cut it.  Now, I will say that for years that was my job- cutting and styling hair in a salon, so don't freak out. Ha ha.  Mom hasn't had anyone else do her hair in years - except when I was in Mexico and my brother rolled it for her.  (I wish I could have watched that - as he is not trained at all in it.) I have also been watching "The Makeover Guy" on YouTube - so I was inspired to give her a hair makeover.   
We have cut the neckline short before, but not quite this short and I cut the sides shorter also.  The sides and bottom back are blown dry, but the top is still rolled - her choice- even though I could do it with a blowdryer and curling iron.  I think it looks very nice on her. 

The final verdict is that she is very happy with the new style and it doesn't get in her face at all.  So, Yaay, me! 



Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Monday, June 01, 2020

TOP of the Morning To Ya!

I hope you are having a wonderful day. Welcome to the month of June.  We are having consistently hot days here in Alabama. Sunday got up to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.  At least there was a breeze.

To be honest, I put off piecing the Bento Box quilt blocks into a top for  a couple of days.  My thoughts were that it would be time consuming to match the seams.  But when I sat down and joined the first row of blocks together, I realized that there are only the two ends and one seam to match up. Could it be that easy?  Apparently it can.   Once the blocks were all joined into rows,  it was a little bit harder to match the seams when I joined the rows.  But it wasn't difficult either. 


When I took it outside for the photos on Sunday,  I realized just how much of that breeze was blowing. I finally got the two shots below, but the quilt top was blowing in the breeze for a while.  A few times it was parallel with the ground, the wind was so brisk.   I just stood in the shade and waited for it to calm down.


Now I need to get this pretty top layered and decide on a quilting plan.  I recently saw a very simple pattern that looks complicated.  The lines are not straight, but they all run from one side of the quilt to the other (or top to bottom.)  That means that it is easier to manipulate the quilt -at least for me.  So that is one option that I will definitely consider.

Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 
Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.