Friday, March 31, 2017

When You're Smiling

After posting all those blues and grays from my Breathing Space series, I was ready to play with a new palette.  I am exploring some of the ideas from Breathing Space, but with bright, cheery colors.  To keep them from getting too sweet, I am tempering them with black or charcoal.

I started this one to work on that open center composition again.  I was in my Nia class and Louis Armstrong's "When You're Smiling" was one of the songs we danced to.  It immediately made me feel happy, and I knew it was the title for this painting.

"When You're Smiling" acrylic on paper, 11x14"

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

March Daily Stitch

Working on my long, skinny daily stitch project.  March was a month of moving back and forth between barely there neutrals and pops of yellows and greens as the month moved between our foggy, rainy days and clear ones.  I used some dyed gauzes and chiffons in this piece, trying to capture that feeling of when you can just see a hint of green to trees even though the buds aren't quite there.

 Colors intensified at the end of the month.

Plenty of daffodils popped out in March, and I caught my first sight of red tulips at the end of the month, so April should be lots of fun.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Breathing Space

The last in my Breathing Space series is called "Wandering Elsewhere."

"Wandering Elsewhere" acrylic on paper, 11x14"
 It is so helpful for me to work in a series.  First because I don't have to come up with something new to work on everyday.  Second, it feels good to have something to anchor me when I'm painting abstractly.  It keeps me coming back to my initial intent.

It also lets me see what patterns emerge and see what things I want to explore further.

"Wandering Elsewhere" is similar to "Traveling Alone" in that they both have lots of empty space and rely on small clusters of marks for composition.  In this series, I really wanted to explore how far I could push that empty space without having it become boring, and these have a lot of it.

"Traveling Alone"
 I'm really fascinated by compositions that hug the edge of the page, as in "Edge of Night" and "Secret Ravine" and would like to explore that more.  It's very tricky to take things out of the center of the painting without ending up with a dead hole.

"Edge of Night"

"Secret Ravine"
 I like what the bright pops of color do to the grayed down cools in "Commencement" and "Morning Caravan."

"Morning Caravan"
 Finally, I'm interested in playing with some harder edged blocks of opaque color as in "Night Light."

"Night Light"
Just some notes to myself, so I remember what I learn along the way.
And I just learned how to resize my photos so they appear larger on the blog.  I'm very happy about that!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Abrupt Transitions

Thinking I'd smoothly transition between winter and spring colors for my March 2016 daily stitch project, I laid them all out orderly, but it didn't seem right.  We've moved from winter to spring so many times this month, that it needed to reflect the random nature of the month.  So a little winter, followed by a hint of spring, right into a plunge back into winter--that felt right.  I really like this month's colors of some soft, pretties, grounded with the black, whites and neutrals to keep them from getting too sweet.  And a few pops of brights for the surprises of the season.

I've found that my favorite times of year are the transitions between each season.  I like the subtle shifts that occur or the downright surprises of change from one day to the next.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Breathing Space

"Secret Ravine" came about after a hike in the Columbia Gorge.

"Secret Ravine" acrylic on paper, 11x14"

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I May Have a Problem

Scraps.  Piles and piles of scraps.  I've been feeling delusionaly virtuous that I can now pass by fabric stores without barely feeling the pull, but when it comes to scraps, I can't say no.

When I started quilting in the 90's, I built my fabric stash of those tone-on-tone cottons that I knew would always be useful, but that now, of course, look terribly dated.  I've been through enough cycles of trendy fabrics to know better than to accumulate them for future use, although recently I broke down and bought a bunch of solids for that fresh, modern look.  But really, I'm satisfied that I have enough fabric in my stash.  It's overflowing my closet.

The lure of scraps, though, is a different story.  I love the whole idea of making something from discards.  I like the frugality of it and the feeling of rescuing something from the trash pile.  Friends know this about me, and I've been gifted fabulous scraps over the years.  Lots of great cottons from batiks to the latest prints.  And also lots of specialty fabrics.

Kimono fabrics:

Designer discards:

Hand-dyed silk scarves:

And vintage fabrics:

That should be plenty for anyone, but I still love the hunt and a great bargain, so I do buy some bits.  An enabler took me to Thai silks in the bay area where they have all sorts of silk and burned out velvet samples for next to nothing.

A friend told me that if you take apart cheap rag rugs, they are often full of interesting sari fabrics:

A local quilt store has a scrap basket that is loaded with bits of quilting cottons to buy cheaply by the pound, especially great on Mondays after a weekend of classes:

And my favorite for unusual finds is our Goodwill Outlet, otherwise known as "the bins."  Tables oveflow with stuff that didn't sell at regular Goodwills, now sold by the pound.  It's a hunt.  Some days are filled with riches, others have nothing.

I built up my collection of sheers there.

It's especially a great place to find old linens to use naturally or for dyeing.

And occasionally, I snatch up clothes that have unusual prints.

Preparing this post made me face how many scraps I have piled up.  I do use them, but in such small amounts that the piles never seem to get any smaller.

Maybe someday I'll get ambitious and tackle large, scrappy pieces like those by the fabulous Anne Smith from England.  She doesn't have an online presence, but here are a few of her outstanding pieces.

I love how loose and painterly they are.  Such abandon and crazy use of color, all from scraps.  I drool over these.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Breathing Space

This one from the Breathing Space series is called "Congregation," named after the painting was done.

"Congregation", 11x14", acrylic on paper

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

March 2016 Daily Stitch

It felt good to get out my packet of stitched components from last March and see the color starting to slowly emerge over the month.  They started out black and white.

Slowly a little soft color emerged.

 By the end of the month, bits of brightness were appearing.

It gives me hope with our morning dustings of snow, that spring will soon be rapidly approaching.  I'm eager to stitch these into a long piece and watch the transition occur.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Breathing Space

"Commencement" Acrylic on paper, 11x14"

This painting came towards the end of my "Breathing Space" series, and I notice that there is not a lot of breathing space left in it!  I titled this "Commencement" as it felt like the beginning of things, lots of budding and sprouting.