Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Woods Are Lovely..

Hello, All!

We're back from our annual holiday trip to see the in-laws in Wisconsin, and for once the weather was better there than at home! There weren't any arguments or meltdowns this year, and lack of drama is a very good thing... We did catch the family cold so the flights home were not fun (my left ear never cleared and now my sinuses are not happy) but a good night's sleep in my own bed did wonders.

I spent an hour shoveling snow this morning and still have more to do, but that's what my back can handle. The snow packed down quite a bit in a week and it is HEAVY. I let the dogs run around in the snow and they were happy happy happy! (they're the little mutts in the photo above). They are getting much better about coming when called, so they get to play off-leash more.

I got a chance to wander in one of my favorite antique co-ops and found a couple of great books (pre-1900 so copyright isn't an issue) -- one on botany and another that I think is German poetry. They're in bad shape so I don't feel bad about ripping them up for collages. A favorite bead shop closed but I did hit an interesting quilt shop (Quintessential Quilts in Reedsburg, WI). Quite a few of their fabrics are several years old (I haven't seen cotton at $8.79 in a long time!) so I stocked up on a few things for two scrappy quilts: a blue "laundry basket swap" that my sit and sew group is doing and prints for the "mud" quilt I want to do one of these days. I'll tell you more about those one of these days.

The dogs and I have agility class tonight so I'd better go get some work done. FYI--they're the agile ones, I work hard to keep up and not fall on my face! Agility equipment (jumps, teeter, dog walk, etc.) is referred to as "obstacles" for good reason!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shorebirds -- An "Everything But The Kitchen Sink" project

You haven't heard from me in a couple of days because I've been working on this. I tweaked the photo on Sunday and painted yesterday -- how fun is that!

The photo and various textures are free-to-use (Creative Commons) images tweaked in PSE 8. The mixed-media was done with Liquitex acrylic paints and media. I got a couple of ideas for textures from Sarah Whitmire's "Altered Journals" class through Joggles.com. The piece is 9" x 12" on canvas board.

Layer 1 (shorebirds) by fontplaydotcom
Layer 2 texture by SkeletalMess overlay mode 35% opacity
Layer 3 texture by SkeletalMess hard light mode 55% opacity
Layer 4 texture by Paree' multiply % opacity
Layer 5 Contrast Color filter (Color Efex Pro 3.0)
Printed on Epson Enhanced Matte Paper on my Epson R1900 printer

Paints and Gels and Textures, Oh My! (from background forward)
  • one coat Liquitex gesso
  • full-strength soft body acrylics: vivid lime, brilliant blue, emerald green, phthalocyanine blue (green shade)
  • messy handwriting stamp with StaZon midnight blue
  • Liquitex Ceramic Stucco applied thinly with a palette knife
  • thin wash of lime and phthalo blue thinned 1:3 with water, iridescent medium
  • cheesecloth "dyed" with dilute phthalo blue, dried and adhered with matte medium
  • dry brush highlights in rich copper, lime/phthalo/titanium white
  • photo adhered with matte gel
  • embedded with Golden heavy body titanium white and Liquitex glass beads medium
  • highlights with slightly diluted phthalo blue, lime, emerald green
  • one coat gloss medium

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Paints & Gels & Textures, Oh My!

Hello, There! I've been playing with mixed-media on canvas for a class at The Stitchin' Post next spring. The canvas is 8" x 10" and the block is ~4" x 4". I used a variety of Golden Fluid acrylics, matte gel medium, light modeling paste, stamps, stencils, and cheesecloth. Some of the colors ended up being too bright, so I used good old Titan Buff acrylic to dull them down a bit and push them into the background. The block is foundation pieced.

My inspiration was an article in the paper describing how irregular English verbs have changed through time. Some scientists figured out that irregular verbs evolve at a constant rate over time -- the more infrequently used an irregular verb is, the more it is likely to be replaced by a regular form. The example used was the verb "help." The old past tense was "holp" (that's ugly!) which has been replaced by "helped". They figured out how long it would take certain verbs to change and that very high-frequency verbs like "to be" are likely to remain irregular forever...

I thought the article was interesting enough to clip and ended up using it as my background. I added more text using stamps and stencils and even wrote the alphabet in Sharpie marker (since I don't love my writing, that's mostly covered by paint and texture medium!). The twist block is done with a hand-dyed gradation to echo the evolution over time. It was a fun project.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy & Scrappy

I do love making scrappy quilts! Each block can be a stand-alone masterpiece (okay, that's a stretch!) or at least interesting all by itself. Combine them together and the resulting quilt is just so much fun. I think I've finally used up the last of the mottled dots print in the upper right -- that's been in my stash for 20 years, maybe more! I am making an effort to use up all those little bits and pieces so I have room for new stuff...

No More Itches!

Hello, My Pretties (complete with Wicked Witch cackle!)...

I am back with you after almost 3 weeks of intense itching. I had a allergic reaction to something and then my immune system went berserk, possibly because of the flu shot I had recently. Thanks to modern pharmaceuticals I am back to normal. Hooray!

I am working on quilts again, but thought I'd show you one last watercolor before moving on. My friend Rosemary Eichorn gave me the silly cat figurine above, and for some reason I decided to paint it. Hint to self: get a grip on perspective and shading before you try something quite so complex next time!

My version must be male, because he has severe five o'clock shadow! The original has black eyes, but the color I mixed ended up a deep violet, so his name is "Taylor" (he couldn't be "Elizabeth" with all those whiskers, now could he?). I know, that's a groaner...