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January 8, 2016

Art Goals for 2016

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My main goal is to develop better drawing and painting skills on paper and with dye-painting and surface design on fabric.  At the beginning of each year, I like to define new projects which will help me progress and then remain open to new opportunities.

 

1.  Take Classes:

Studying Under the Masters 3:  I really enjoy this online class and registered for it during 2015, even though I was saving the content for Winter 2016.   In the weekly videos I learn more about specific artists I know and meet artists I don't know.  And then I stretch my painting skills by copying a painting of the Master and subsequently using those techniques in an original painting!  Since I convert my copies of masterworks from oil to watercolor for each artist studied, I also experiment and learn an enormous amount in the process.  This is the last time this class series will be offered by Jeanne Oliver and the artists for this series include Horace Pippin, Joan Miro, Marie Laurencin, John Singer Sargent, Gustav Klimt, and Alisa Burke.

Sketchbook Skool Semester 5:  I think Danny and Koosje have created a wonderful model for art education and a committed community of artists, new and old.  I'm already registered for Semester 5 which is called "Expressing."  And here's hoping there is a 6th Semester in 2016!

Craftsy:  I just signed up for "Sketching the City in Pen, Ink, and Watercolor" by Shari Blaukopf.    

Battery Park City Conservancy "Still Lifes and Figure Drawing" with Marla Lipkin a new 9 session class being offered this year locally in NYC from Feb. through March (9 sessions).  

Fashion Institute of Technology  (FIT):  Registration for Spring isn't until the end of January, but I intend to continue taking classes there as long as their Senior Learner program is in existence. 

 

2.  Maintain a Community of Artist Friends: 

It is impossible to attend all of the art activities scheduled in New York City, so my goal is to attend a minimum of one activity/week - Meetup, Urban Sketchers, Battery Park City (May-Oct), Society of Illustrators, and to add other museum and gallery visits with my friends into those days.  I will also continue to post new entries to my blog twice each week to continue my interaction with and inspiration from artists online.   

 

3.  Bookbinding:

Continue to make my own sketchbooks - for daily drawings and for travel.

Create a tutorial for my pencil-pen pocket for sketchbooks.

Create another batch of paste paper for my stash.

 

4.  Special Project: I also like to have one separate project each year.  Several winters ago I sketched/elephants for a whole month using every medium I had.  Another year I studied different methods for making books and made a different type of book each month for 8 months.   This year I am trying to figure out how I can use some of the figure drawings I've accumulated during the last 5 years and transform them into an artist book.  I already transferred images to fabric using a different method for each Quilt Journal Page (8.5 X 11") I created.  Last year I made a small book of the Figures I drew in the Toulouse-Lautrec Café Society sessions at MoMA. 

Here are the first 6 of the Quilt Journal Pages I made in 2012 using hand-dyed fabrics.  I transferred drawings I made of a pregnant model at figure drawing in order to create this Mother and Child series in fabric. 

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December 15, 2015

Making More Christmas Tree Ornaments

I just finished making my second group of Christmas Tree Ornaments, these were for adults in our family and a few friends.  During the summer I stamped many pieces of hand dyed fabric with a wood stamp, my first experience with a stamp of that kind. I used Jacquard Lumiere Textile paints, a sponge, and a stamping pad to get clear images.  The irregularities in the paint are actually gold flcecks!

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I didn't think about the design for an ornament until last week, but I knew I wanted it to be even more sparkly.  The tree was stitched to a dark green fabric with small gold metallic stars, right sides together, and then turned.   I had several spools of YLI Kaleidoscope green metallic thread in my stash, and decided to stitch around the branches.  This was the only tedious part of the process, but I actually liked the challenge!  This picture hopefully shows the metallic thread stitches.

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Here are the final ornaments, and one already hanging on our tree.    

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Now that the 2015 ornaments are finished, I need to set up my Santa Workshop for gifts for our grandchildren.  A few of them outgrew their minky blankets from several years ago, so now they requested BIG ones.   No one in my family starts to think about Christmas until December - or maybe I wouldn't be sewing so much now!

     

December 1, 2015

A Pathway From One Creative Idea to Another

Fabio Consoli, one of the faculty from the Sketchbook Skoolhouse Stretching online class, wanted us to explore "child's play," combining a child's drawing with ours.  My grandson Zach made the figure on the right and I completed the picture with figures from my own imagination.  Here is the original blog post about this homework assignment.

http://www.paperandthreads.com/2015/05/sketchbook_skool_homework_for.php 

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I was doing a 100 day challenge at the same time - drawing from my imagination - and eventually Axel (the figure on the left) was featured in many of my drawings, and he even acquired a girl friend.  I asked Zach to help me create a back story and he said that Axel and Alice were from the moon and their head shapes were determined by the phase of the moon at their birth.  They were playing in Axel's Mother's space ship and accidently started it.  They are very confused by Earth.

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I sketched Axel and Alice many times over the next months, eventually leading me to "draw" Axel on Fabric. 

During July I spent part of every day dying fabric and one of my projects was to create Axel and Alice on fabric by drawing and painting the fabric with Procion MX dyes. 

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I make many Christmas ornaments for family and friends, an annual project since my own 3 children were born more than 40 years ago.  Now I'm making Axel ornaments for our 8 grandchildren + one for our tree.

I scanned the dye painting of Axel and resized him (6 inches long) in Photoshop.  The JPEG was transferred to a piece of fabric on a plastic support (EQ Printed Treasure Premium Cotton Satin) and 9 copies were made using an Epson Artisan 50 Photo Ink Jet Printer.

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Each Axel was then sewn to a backing and lightly stuffed to hang on our family Christmas trees.  Here is a finished ornament. 

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And here are all 9 that I made - for 8 grandchildren + our tree. 

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November 3, 2015

International Quilt Festival - 2015

I just returned from my annual trip to the International Quilt Festival in Houston Texas.  In high school I became a seamstress, then in 1980, while living in Texas, I learned how to make quilts.  By 1990 I was starting to dye and design fabric and loved mixing dyes and painting them on silk.  Watercolor painting became a natural extension after I retired.  But I only acquire new interests and don't easily give up the old ones.  This was my 30th annual visit to Quilt Festival where I look at 100s of quilts, take classes, and replenish supplies.

The Houston Convention Center is huge - think multiple football fields, and is now undergoing more building and renovation.  All 3 floors are devoted to this event and the last attendance record I heard, which was several years ago, was 55,000 attendees.

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I painted once each full day I was there, and here are my sketchbook pages.  Jane Dunnewold's class was about working in a series, and we had many exercises to do during our 3 hours of discussion.  In one of the final exercises we had to quickly write down lists of words that we associated with colors.  Of greatest interest were the half of the class that hate purple and had lots of bad associations with it. 

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My next class required 3 hours of sewing and I didn't paint during the session.  But I did draw one of my favorite dolls from the Hoffman Challenge Doll Exhibit as I walked through the exhibit areas. 

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My third day and class was with Judy Coates Perez and we dyed and painted fabric using Acrylic Inks.  Wow!  the textures created were gorgeous, and were very different than those achieved with dyes.  But they also are not completely water resistant, making them better for art quilts that will never be washed. 

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August 11, 2015

July Was Surface Design Month

I spent the month of July playing with fabric and dyes.  I use the fabric as bookcloth for my watercolor sketchbooks and a variety of other projects.  It takes me awhile to get out all of the dyes, tools, containers, and PFD fabric (prepared for dying), so I love it when I can find blocks of time to concentrate on fabric dying.  Then I can leave everything out in my apartment, play creatively, and dye lots of fabric in a short time. I used procion MX dyes, low immersion dying, fabric folding, clamping, monoprinting, corn dextrin and soy wax resists.

This is a photo of my total output for the month - July 2 - 31, working 1-3 hours per day for 19 days during the month.  I made over 20 tree stamped pieces of fabric and a total of 4 thick dye drawings of Axel and Alice.  The two best ones were on this blog already (July 31st).  The small piles of fabric in the middle and left were samples on which I was working out designs.

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On the left above, and spread out below, are 32 pieces of fabric (12 X 22") that can be used for bookcloth, but I'm sure that I will use it for other sewing as the need arises.

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I wanted to try a technique I learned from Susie Monday at a Craftsy demonstration at Quilt Festival in 2013.  I did a color drawing on a silk screen with Neocolor II crayons, and then used Golden Silkscreen Medium and a squeegee to transfer the print to fabric.  This is the first print - darker than I expected - but I probably left the medium on a little too long before pulling the print. 

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This is the second print - with a Sakura Pigma Micron pen outline to restore some of the shape lines.  The third print was too pale.  I could have added more crayon, but didn't.

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My final project:  Figuring out how to use the tree wood stamp (which I'll probably use to make some Christmas ornaments), and my first dye painting of Axel.  The thick dye was not quite think enough, the drawing line spread, and I continued to use this piece as a test sample while painting another drawing of Axel and Alice. 

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I'm thrilled that I set aside many blocks of time for one month to play creatively.  Some days I dyed 4-6 pieces of fabric, and the next day just had to wash out the excess dye.  Then I thought about other experiments as I went around the City, ready to begin again the next day.  I have a totally different mind set when I have unlimited supplies and a spirit of experimentation and play.  I made a list of techniques that I know and then added some new things to try - realizing they could be awful and need further manipulation. 

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