Friday, June 30, 2017

Time Will Tell

I think I finished this painting this week, but I usually sit on them much longer than this to make that determination.  Usually I observe a painting for a good month and see what needs tweaking.  I like to leave them in different parts of the house and get a surprise look at them when my eyes are fresh.  So this may require some changes later, but right now I'm happy with it.  I really like the range of greens and the cheerfulness of it.  Tentatively done, tentatively called "The Grass Beneath My Feet."

Acrylic on Canvas, 18"x24"

And now I am checking out for the month of July.  I'm heading to the Baltics for a highly anticipated trip, starting in Stockholm.  I'll be back in August and see if my painting still holds up.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Stitching in June

I'm finishing up all of my June stitching this week.  I pieced together the 2016 components.  That has become one of my favorite parts in the process.  I like seeing how the pieces interact and form new shapes and emphasis once they are together.  June was pretty wacky with all sorts of odds and ends.  I was traveling in Great Britain at that time, and I added pieces I found here and there, had lots of shifts in weather and environments, maybe that's why this one is all over the place.

My 2017 June is much more unified, maybe a little too much so for my taste. I'm starting with a smaller bag of scraps and threads for this project, and it might be a little too limiting.

I think I prefer the irregularities and oddities of the 2016 piece.  Think I'll mix up my July bag a bit more.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Making Faces

I love a crazy, fun workshop in summer.  I just want to loosen up and play.  I found the perfect one in Lynn Whipple's Making Faces class.  It's offered online through Carla Sonheim's site.  Lynn is so playful and creative, it's impossible not to get into the spirit.  The whole point is to work quickly, loosen up, experiment and produce a mass of faces.  I still have one lesson to go but already have piles of them.

 Some are bigger and some are small little 4x5" ones.

Lynn gives some instruction on realistic placement of features and shadows, and we refer back to that, but the whole idea is to experiment.  We did drawing while switching media.

Worked in all neutrals.

Mixed shadow drawings with loose painterly ones.

 Cut and reassembled many faces.

Worked on patterned backgrounds.

Created different personalities.

Went wild with mixing and matching elements.

Added magazine features and patterns.

I don't think I'll do a thing with all these faces, but I had a blast making them.  It was a really fun way to loosen up and explore all sorts of media.  I highly recommend the class!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Cool and Relaxed June

I am so thankful for the cool Junes of Portland.  I spent many years in California, and my June stitching would have to look much different there.

I enjoy looking back on my daily stitching from last year at this time to see how similar the colors and marks are to what I'm doing this year.  These pieces from last year all feel cool and relaxed.  Lots of blues and greens.  Maybe when I stitch them all together I'll notice more dramatic shifts, but individually, they look pretty calm.  The beginning of those relaxed summer days.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Arty Bits from Minneapolis

My 25 yo son and I just spent a week exploring Minneapolis and rural Minnesota.  We had never been to the area, or spent much time in the midwest, so it was a new adventure.  Minneapolis is a beautiful city with lots of interesting architecture.

Lots of new development is going on with old mills and factories being converted into condos. and artists' lofts.  I loved that they put these sculptures in front of the new developments to show the historic buildings that were replaced.  It's sad to think these beautiful old buildings are gone, but at least there is something to memorialize them.

One of my favorite stops was The Center for Textile Arts.  It's the sort of place that would lure you to move there.  It is a big building full of classrooms and meeting space, a large weaving center and a lovely gift shop.

Beautiful gallery space with works by Rosalie Dace.

Barbara Lee Smith had works in the feature gallery.  I wasn't familiar with her work.  She uses non-woven synthetic, thread painting, collage, and drawing with machine to create striking abstract pieces.

They have a grand dye studio that you can rent by the hour.  So much better than squatting in my driveway to dye things!

And the library!  All textile art books and magazines.  Oh my!

I did get a reality check when I saw this long hallway of coat racks.  I'm sure winter looks very different than the sunny June days we experienced.

One of my favorite things to do in a new city is wander through the residential neighborhoods.  Minneapolis had many beauties.  Prospect Park was one of my favorites with a little funky edge and fantasy houses.

Loved this Buddha garden.

 My new file folder journal worked out splendidly for keeping trip notes.  It was just enough space for a short, active trip.  I didn't have time or interest in sketching and keeping a full journal, so this allowed me to keep track of things without feeling the pressure to fill a whole book.  Sometimes I used both sides of the journal cards and sometimes just one.  It was quick and easy, and I came home done.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Beginning of June

I started off the month thinking my June stitching would be all soft greens and blues, with a little golden warming.

 But then my neighbor's yard full of Oriental poppies came into bloom, and they were impossible to ignore.

Friday, June 9, 2017


A while back, I posted my 100 black and white pieces and showed some that didn't work.  I decided to play around with correcting some of the things that bothered me.

I chose this piece to revise.  I am bothered by the way the piece divides right up the center and its lack of dominance or focus.

Those more tech savvy would no doubt make changes in Photoshop, but for the sake of saving about 100 hours of extra work trying to figure out how to do that, I decided to make copies and revise with paint on the copies.  I was trying to stick with the original black and white, but my paint appears much more bluish and cream on the copies.  Anyway.

I wanted to tackle the problems one by one.  On this first piece, I tried to move the part that went right up the center.  It does help, but the two vertical elements still compete for attention.

I tried to take out the center piece altogether and enlarge the egg shape to make it more dominant.  This threw off the balance, and I needed to add a little line work on the right side to help it out.

Finally, I took out the egg shape altogether, kept the element right up the center but emphasized it more. The central element was too weak on its own, so I added quite a bit more to the right side.

This exercise was like trying to work with a bunch of puzzle pieces.  If I move one thing, something else might fall apart.  It's fun to rework the same piece and see what the possibilities are.