Friday, December 30, 2011

Art books

 Just a quick mention, that I am going to start posting an ATC a day as a way to play with lots of techniques.  This was an idea put forward by my friend, Lisa  and I have decided to join her in her venture. we shall see!  She also has a great list of techniques which she wants to try.

My art books, as I have said, are recycled/altered books which I use to create little bits of art and experiment in on different themes.
Here are a few pages I have worked on recently.

This is a page from my bird theme book.  The backgrpound is newspaper painted with gesso and then a watercolour wash, which I find easy to paint and draw on and is a cheap and easy way to cover up the page contents underneath.  The bird was inspired by a card.  It is a little hard to see because it is drawn with a metallic pen, but basically each piece of the bird is doodled with a different free motion quilting design.  I have a small quilt based on this page in process, so you see the books are a great design resource..
This is a page in process in my water/oceans book.  Again the background is painted newspaper/gesso.
The seahorses are molding paste applied through a stencil, then painted gold.
This page will be layered again to add some more weeds and depth before it is finished.  I already have ideas about using painted fusible in a small quilt like this.
These ferns in my leaf theme book are stencilled with oil pastel.  Next, I will put a watercolour wash on which will be resisted by the pastel.  This can be mimicked on fabric using shiva sticks and fabric paint, so i do see a batch of fabric comming up.
I have shown this page before.  It is a ripped printout pasted to the page, but here, you can see I have begun to sketch out the missing parts.  I think this page needs a wash for the background, so the leaves will brobably be completed with oil pastel.
Another page from the leaf book, this is a simple layout for a small motif (about 4") I made using couched copper wire on a piece of woven wool fabric.  This page has a piece od non woven paper/fabric (the type florists use on their posies) pasted directly to the page.  It is semi transparent, but I actually like the little views you can see.  The pink/orange paper is paste paper .

I have actually been doing a lot of sewing an textile work, but haven't quite got to the point of something to show yet and a couple of my WIPs are things I can't show until a certain date, but two days untill I start posting ATCs!!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Paper making and painting

After watching a video from Linda Kemshall about paper making on design matters recently ,
I ripped up some paper scraps, got out my mold and deckle

and old vitamiser/Blender

and made a bit of handmade paper.
I made about 2 dozen sheets.  Here is a good tutorial for making paper and the tools you need
This paper has not been pressed much, so it soaks up paint really well.  More about that later.

Also on the paper theme, I had been wanting to try some painted paper hand towels for a while as they have such great texture.

 These two are just drops of watered down watercolour paints (purple, blue, green and yellow) on dry paper towels.  After painting, I scrunched the towels up to mix all the colours together

This is the same as the first two, however I dripped the paint on a damp paper towel

This one is a paper napkin - just one  ply/layer not the whole thing and it was just too fragile when wet.  It fell apart.
This is the same napkin, but instead of dripping paint onto it, I pressed it into my freezer paper (that I used underneath to protect the table) and it picked up all the little bits that were still there
Here is a napkin, done by pressing onto the freezer paper after I dripped paint on the freezer paper.
Finally, I tried out some of the handmade paper.  On the left, I dripped the paint on, and it tore when I picked it up.  On the right, I pressed it onto the freezer paper after adding paint to the freezer paper.  This gave some lovely ink blot type marks.

I think this technique will be something I do whenever I have some paint left over from something as the textures are very nice.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sketchbook work

Ok, Ok, I took a week off for the holiday, I know. It was very naughty of me.
But I have been working every day.  So much so, that it has taken me over an hour to work out what I need to post and I can see it is likely to take a few days, lol

First, I have a fair bit of sketchbook work.  I do try to sketch every day, or to work on sketches every day and I find that my sketchbook is important to me because
  • it keeps me from getting too rusty with drawing - and this makes it easy when composing new work or designing new work
  • it serves as a repository of visual ideas that I can come back to again and again when I need an idea
  • it also becomes a record of what I am doing as well.  A simple sketch can mean a thousand words - and you know you will forget that idea if you don't record it.
Enough preaching.
This first set of sketches is for a piece that I am currently working on which will be small thread paintings.  Ocean, Mountains, ferns and orchids.  These little sketches provide enough information for me to create my stitching canvases when I get to it.
This sketch and it's associated photo were one of my daily scribblings.  The photo is from the creekside not far from my home.
This is also a daily sketch, but there is no photo, because it is only a few steps from the back door and is so familiar, I could probably draw it in my sleep.

This sketch is a close up of the centre portion of the photo.  It is a perennial sweet pea which grows in our garden.  Another daily exercise.
Also from the garden, a native iris flower.
 The final sketch, of a nautilus, is an example of a memory technique.  After studying a picture for a while, I turn the picture over and set about sketching and at present I allow myself three glances.  Although this gives me sketching practice, it 8is not really about sketching, but about observing.  Perhaps one day I will be able to do it with out looking at the picture after the first observation - but if I get better, then I'll be happy enough.

Mostly, I work in this sketchbook with lead and coloured pencil.  With the exception of a watercolour pencil sketch now and then.  I keep my other media for my artbooks, which I will show sometime later in the week.

Be creative every day

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

recycled mixed media

I have finally finished all of the blocks for my recycled piece.
This is the first set, which have in order from the fabric up
plasterer's tape (grid), sewn down with scrap thread
Chewing gum foil flower blanket stitched down
flower made from scraps of entrapped fibre film
plastic washer painted with green nail polish sewn down
black transistor with the eletrodes poking out in the centre for the stamens.
Here they are closer up.
Here is the next set.
These are constructed from.
plasterer's tape (grid), sewn down with scrap thread
Tyvek scraps and tea bag flowers cross stitched to opposite corners
Small straight stitches across the opposite diagonal
Large to medium circular disks couched down (painted with nail polish)
Medium washer with smaller washers or rings around it (painted with nail polish)
Coloured LED for the flower centre
And here they are close up - there is a lot more variation in this group.
And the next set.
These are constructed from.

plasterer's tape (grid), sewn down with scrap thread
A plastic disc cut from plastic packaging and painted with nail polish.
Two different coloured and oriented chewing gum foil flowers
A black  metal gripper or crimp used for wiring
A grey wire crimp that I have painted green for the centre
And there they are close up - this group is actually my favourite.
And the last set.

These are constructed from.

plasterer's tape (grid), sewn down with scrap thread
 A circle of dyed batting blanket stitched down
A plastic flower cut from plastic packaging and painted with nail polish.
Four springs painted and tied into petals
A painted washer with a scallopped sort of edge again painted
A few french knots in the centre and some tied thread in the corners
And here they are close up.  You can click on them to see a bit closer.

I really enjoyed making these and the challenge of making them from scraps and rubbish was fun.

I do enjoy making little fiddly things like this in the evenings.

Now I just have to decide on a background and arrangement.  I have a few ideas but I'll just let them play around in my head for a little while before I decide.

Oh, well, that's one project out of the way, just a few hundred to go......

Monday, December 19, 2011

quilting to a timeline

Above are the last week or so of quilting practice.  As you can see, I need all the paractice I can get.
I got a bit bored with these samples and decided to make it a little more interesting.
I decided to tke some simple sketches out of my sketchbook and do a related quilting sample.  Above left, I have a dragonfly sketch and some veins as a quilting pattern. and on the right a stylised pomegranate and some pebbling.  I have also included a word in script on each sample, too.
Above is the dragonfly sample finished.  I used a lilac rayon on top and a white bobbinfil on the bottom.  Although with thread painting I tend to want the bobbin to pop up at times, in quilting, I want it the other way, I would rather the top thread peeked through to the back a teeny tiny bit. 
Below are two pictures of the back.  You can see a little bit of spotting on the back. If I felt it was a problem, or it was for a show, I would loosen the bobbin a tiny bit, as the top is already quite tight.
Here is today's sample, the pomegranate.
Still a bit wonky, but reasonable. 

The thing which is surprising me, is that the handwriting is actually the easiest part of the quilting.  I remember watching some Linda Taylor videos where she always said that drawing your designs many times is the best practice and this has shown me how true this is.  Handwriting is something that I have been doing for a long time.  Other motifs are not as familiar to me and so are not as easy to quilt.  Laura Kemshall on design matters has also talked about being familiar with your subject especially through using a sketchbook.

Now why is this important to me right now?
Well, I am working on a piece that has lots of quilted text on it - Actually forty lines!
Can't tell you any more about that one right now.

But -
I have finished all the blocks for my recycled mixed media piece and will hopefully post them tomorrow.