Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Hearts

One of my favorite things to make every year is the small danglies (or ornaments) that we put in our holiday show. The centerpiece of our show is a bare tree branch, and each artist hangs some of her own danglies on it. I also display some at my own booth.

In the past I've made owls, birds, wooden and fabric houses (which I can't find a picture of), and hearts. I wanted a simple pattern this year, so I returned to hearts again, using a new design.

They will come in 3 flavors. Cool:

And earthy:
The design was inspired by this wonderful bag of strips and selvedges that my friend Cindy sent me:
I have bags of strips that I've kept from other projects that I pulled out too. I like the challenge of building something out of such small pieces that might otherwise be headed for the trash.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

When Is It Done?

I always have quite a few paintings going but seldom any finished ones to show. Finally this one is done. I started it at the end of a very long winter, with many gray Portland days, when I was hungry for a little springtime color. It was looking a little too sweet for me until I added some rough charcoal drawing on top.

I keep 4 or 5 canvases going at a time and rotate them on my easel to see what needs to be done next.

When I think one is getting finished, I leave it on my easel for a week, and if I can keep walking by without needing to change anything, I know it's done. This one sat in an almost completed stage for a while, but I wondered if the white spot on the left side was a bit too strong and drawing the eye.

Somewhere along the line, I learned that a painting should be satisfactory both right side up and upside down. So I turned this one upside down and left it that way for a while. Upside down, the white spot did pull my eye too much, so I toned it down slightly as you can see in the first painting in this post.

If you paint and don't already know about them, you should check out Nova Color paints. Fantastic acrylic paints at the best prices ever! They only sell directly to artists so you don't have to pay for all the marketing to get them into stores. I love them!

I use a big sheet of freezer paper for my palette of alizarin crimson, cad. red, cad. yellow, cerulean, ultramarine blue, and titanium white.

With two kids at home, it's always challenging to find a big enough chunk of time to paint. I can easily pick up stitching here and there, but I hate to set up a palette of paint and then waste it because I have to run somewhere. Recently, I made this great discovery. If I mist my palette and put a plastic bin on top, I can keep paints moist for a couple weeks. It's not pretty, but it bought me a lot more painting time.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Ahhh, a break works wonders. I hit a point where I felt like I was doing everything half-heartedly, without much enthusiasm behind anything, yet feeling guilty when I wasn't working at all. So I decided to take guilt out of the equation and give myself a good month off without even thinking about blogging or making anything. I now feel excited to step back into my world again. And it helps that I was reminded that our art group show is less than 4 months away!

I've just been taking a few baby steps back into creativity and working on projects I started earlier. I've been lining up my little pillows for a new set of wallhangings, which I first showed here. You can see how they got started here, including a link to Teesha's tutorial about making the pillows. I've went back to making them my original way using batting instead of stuffing and prefer that method to Teesha's, but she gives a good outline of her way of doing them.

So now that I have stacks of pillows from my travels, I start playing with putting them together into panels. (Sorry lighting is terrible in these, but there were too many pieces to move.)

I really like making a big, random pile of pillows then figuring out which ones I like together, instead of pre-planning and choosing fabrics that go together for each hanging. It keeps the color combos. fresh and not so predictable.

Now I'm couching on my words and will be working on attaching them together.

I've also been playing around with little fabric collages. getting ready to make more of my little prayer flags. And I've turned a few of them into more cards.

A few years ago I wrote an article for Cloth, Paper, Scissors about using prompts to spark creativity and spontaneity in your work. I've had such a wonderful response to that article, with people telling me they've used it in their own work, in their classrooms, or as challenges for their art groups. CPS is now releasing it as a free download, so if you'd like to read it you can get it here for free.

I'm happy to be back and eager to catch up on all the blogs I've been missing!