Saturday, February 28, 2015

gather ye rosebuds...


that poem came to mind, not because of this first image, but for what comes after...

i'm afraid i might be a one-hit wonder

remember my banana painting?
it came out much better than expected - i guess maybe i thought i might be alright at painting and sketching - i've had a bit of a comeuppance i think...
blow to the ego and all that

these little rosebuds are comfort food - a little reassurance that it's possible for me to draw and paint something i like


 what gave me grief today was this -


 the very kind lady at the flower shop down the street gave me a lovely bag stuffed full of flower petals
to practice painting with


 when i was working on it i couldn't figure it out - now i think i was busy trying to capture every little detail, every single nuance of colour
i ended up with a very blended blob


i've sharpened these images but not messed with colour saturation or contrast - the one above is closer to how it really looks than the one above it - that one is very washed out

below shows the image after i added a little detail with my trusty brown pigma pen
i'm addicted to them - have one in each size, in brown
a few other colours in random sizes, but all the browns

it's kind of like my embroidery - i never ever use black, always brown-black
{same with my mascara!}
weird huh?


i'm much happier with it since adding the pen but still...
 
 i think i need to capture the essence of the colours rather than the literal???


i was already to put my paints away when i decided i needed a little reassurance
so i sketched a row of rosebuds

quickly drawn, the pen lightly scratching the page - a hint of colour
 


i adore them - it's like they want to take flight

rose-bugs?

 i looked at a few images online and decided to define the shapes a little more - it's time to go back to botany school - i remember calyx but that's about it

the little leafy tendril things that encase the rosebuds - they needed to be a little more pronounced 


 i sketched a larger one, made it blue and added some creamy yellow, realizing too late they would make green
ah well, i don't mind it after all

poetic license...


finally, i deepened the pink of the first rosebud, intending to add the dark just at the base but it spread quickly and enveloped almost the whole bud

i like it anyway


i actually like them quite a lot


and if i may forever tarry, i think i'll be quite content if i've a paintbrush in one hand and a pencil in the other

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

something blue...



today the sun shone brightly

it has been shining off and on for a few days now
we've had a very gloomy, foggy winter but lately the sun has come back and there is real warmth in it

i feel bright and shiny and happy myself

today i had time to work on something i actually felt like working on...


 i found the stack of bits and pieces that make up the "faith" piece i started working on many weeks ago

the scrim lace has been stitched around all the openings and today i cross-stitched a little blue flower on one


a little bit of colour, of substance, perched delicately on a bit of froth


 a detail taken from the lettering i did before


everything working together, one borne from the other, all relative


 it will take me a few days to get reacquainted with all the parts of it, find my way back to what i had planned, knowing some plans will seem less rosy now and may give way to new ideas... i don't care really - i wasn't so attached to any of them that they can't be let go

i'm more inclined to let this piece unfold as it should, happy just to be able to pick it up again

even with the waste canvas work still to be done


 i'm considering what else to add to the scrim lace - be it more flowers, or perhaps tiny rosebuds?

yes - i think rosebuds

they're simple, sweet and can be tucked in here and there - the idea of rosebuds excites me greatly


i've done some calligraphy in the past where rosebuds were incorporated into the words so i'll first see if i can rustle up those samples 

then i'll find myself a new blue pen


i love how ideas wait until you're ready for them

i've thought about this piece a few times over the past month, wishing i had the time for it, getting cranky because i didn't, wondering what i would do next, reluctant to think about it too much, knowing it had to wait 


but it doesn't have to wait anymore 
and neither do i...

Monday, February 16, 2015

a mish mash...

time flies when you're having... fun???

well yes, i have been, somewhat

sort of

maybe a little

been visiting with our son these past five days - he's headed to florida for two triathlons in early march so we feel pretty lucky to have had some time with him, what with all the training he has to do between now and then

before, during and after i snuck in a little creative play, some worked out alright, some, not so much


mixing blues and yellows for green

then mixing blue yellow and green

and green, yellow and brown

then mixing the results

it's like being five again


 great fun to do something that isn't anything but still somehow is something

if you follow my drift


 then i tried a leaf

that didn't work out so well - i'm not finished yet, but so far, not so good

all the green leaves in these parts are solid dark green right now, nothing interesting, no shading - it's still winter after all
wednesday i'm going to buy some flowers - well, actually, i'm going to buy some leaves which will likely have pretty flowers at the tops

i may or may not paint them


 then i did some tissue paper collage, complete with machine and hand stitching - this i like!


it feels amazing to hold this - light, delicate, like a fragile wafer that will burst into a thousand pieces if your hold it too tightly


 i found the tissue with red lines tucked away and adore it in here

i'm going to add some red embroidery to this later in the week, when i clear out some pressing obligations first


 i've also been making scrim lace

sewing on the machine, cutting holes, stitching them, round and round again

i'm not sure how much i like this first one - too holey i think


this version has much more appeal to me, but both are valid, both worthwhile

now i know, right?
{don't make so many holes - keep more surface!}


the picture below really shows their differences


it's been a busy two weeks of this, that and the next thing...

the next thing being something to do with sewing and paper - stay tuned...



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

gone bananas...

when you're feeling kind of lousy, no energy, there's nothing like sitting still and doing something quiet...

today i dug out my watercolours and puttered


the only fruit in the house was an aging banana
didn't seem all that inspiring but serves me right for dodging grocery shopping this week


i started sketching it shortly after eleven

and when i thought i was done i looked at the clock

one-thirty!


the first image is the way it sat while i painted it - i just had fun turning the paper for the picture-taking, looking at it from every angle

it looks a little different in the photographs as well
more burnished i think - must be that the camera emphasizes the white space?

i really know nothing so am just guessing on this point


i can't tell you how thrilled i am with it though
positively gleeful, i was


 i rummaged around and found the pear i did many years ago in a watercolour class i did with a local artist


i noticed when i took the picture i signed it with january as the date
shows you just how far behind my mind is - i did this today!

yeesh


 now i'm thinking of what i want to paint next - strawberries come to mind, or radishes
i love radishes - they are such a pretty colour and with their green leaves still attached, lots of scope for colour and freshness in the painting

or grapes - they look so pretty in their bunches

i may have to venture to the grocery store after all



Monday, February 2, 2015

progress?


well, yes, progress... on several fronts
not on all though - i'm still sickly
ugh!

despite brain fog and general lethargy i am managing to accomplish a few things here and there

today i completed this little guy... an embroidered, quilted, tiny zip pouch designed by yoko saito

love, love, love
i am keeping this one


i did what she did and embroidered something different on each side
one featuring this busy little bee


here he is before the hand-quilting

and below is the little garden, the other side...


the embroidery took very little time
the piecing next to none


 the layering and basting?
quick as well
 

the hand-quilting, a little longer

maybe five hours, start to finish, maybe only four...


a grid behind the bee, countering the grid of the honeycomb - interesting how they don't compete at all
i wasn't so sure at first but love it now


the quilting around the flowers is entirely random, some lines echoed, others, going off in a tangent
like wind in the weeds


it's not been easy experimenting with random things
every so often i have to go back to orderly

like the cross-hatching on the bottom strip - love that!


putting it together was the real test

first the binding on the top edges, then the zipper, by hand
the instructions in her books are sketchy at best - they tell you right at the beginning the author assumes a certain level of skill and competence

ahem!

well, not here, not when it comes to zippers

not.when.it.comes.to.zippers.sewn.by.hand.

i let memories of sewing dresses for school dances wash over me... how to sew in an invisible zipper, basting, tacking, pinning, doing once, doing twice

two hours later my five inch zipper was in, zipping as should be, no stitches visible, all lines straight

the rest was a cake walk
 

 it was worth every stitch, every minute

and i learned i'd far rather sew in a zipper by hand than by machine
i've discovered a new-found love for hand construction

imagine that?



i'm on a mission to perfect my technique now - to make even the most difficult stitching neat, tidy and straight
to learn couture techniques that i can adapt to making pouches and bags
it's going to take a lot of practice but i don't mind that

and after i had the joy of finishing this, i had the great fun of writing another list of 25 and choosing my next five projects 

this is my fourth time with this system and i love it
the anticipation of writing the list is a wonderful thing, as is the writing itself
such a field of possibilities

paring it down to five is equally wonderful
it makes me pause and really think hard about what it is i want to spend time on, knowing it will be completed, has to be, before i can move on

balancing between quick and simple and intricate and interesting
i've found i'm clearing up things that have been hanging around and i'm finally choosing long-awaited ones

how i keep creativity going, and allow myself a little freedom, is that one of the five is always the choice to work on something i've begun from an online class

something from an experimental sampling perspective - it gives me a little freedom to play and there is not the "finished" requirement for these items
and it works

and i love it...


Saturday, January 24, 2015

"faith" and what???

can't believe it's been ten days since i did a blog post... last week was a busy one for me with classes and work and the week before even more so
back to normal now though, and still a whole week left in january

for some reason, for me anyway, january never rushes by - it goes at it's own pace and i feel as though i truly get the whole month

things always get different in february - perhaps it's "short month" syndrome...

anyway, in between all my teaching prep i'm puttering slowly at some techniques karen is demonstrating in "swathed in stitch"

working with cross-stitch letters on silk with waste canvas


in deciding on what letters to use i thought perhaps it would be easier if i had a word, rather than just random letters with no particular meaning
not one of those new year's chosen words - been there, done that - just a word to focus this piece on

and since i had already decided, against my nature, to just make samples to put in a ledger i knew i needed something that would help me focus on that
'cause i always seem to think if i'm stitching something, it actually has to be something when it's finished, like a bag or a wall-hanging or such
this time, i just want to do the work and mount it as a reference i can refer back to

so i chose "faith"
i need to have faith in the process and that through it i will get where i want to be
faith that if i do the work, the ideas will come


faith that even though i do not like stitching on waste canvas at all

at all

at all

at all

it will be worth it in the end


 and of course it was

i do love the results...



 my "f" seemed a little plain though so i got out some coloured pencils and began doodling a flower on my chart - i think i have it figured out but want to add two more green stitches, just enough to spread the flower out from the boundaries of the letter


 but i am thrilled all the same


transferring the letter tracings to my water-colour paper, thinking of what to do with this next, i decided if having a word was useful, then a phrase or a quote should be downright beneficial

so i scoured the internet looking for faith quotes - however, i soon discovered most of them are about the feeling of faith rather including the word itself

i did find one though


"all you need is faith and trust
and a little bit of pixie dust"


i like it a lot - it seems very "me"
thoughtful with a hint of sarcasm?
or realism???

regardless i do like it very much and now i'm thinking on pixie dust - for me it has connotations of little bitty sparkly bits
cool

in the meanwhile i'm down for the count with a nasty flu so am doing very little - just some gentle stitching

and speaking of words, your little word-hearts are piling up and should be in your hands by mid-february

just in time...