Tuesday, June 13, 2017

some finished work -- and progress on others


this is the first piece I have done that is actually mounted on a canvas for hanging

LOVE the way this looks!

and attaching it was a lot easier than I thought it would be, and I really like the depth away from the wall when it's hung

this success has me considering creating some other pieces in this size with some other single object "portraits"

the stitching on this piece has begun --- the outline around the end of the nose and the eye is done as is the very deepest part of the ear

since this is another small piece, I hope to have the stitching done on this one this week

which is a good thing, because it's time to start stitching on this piece

I got the background done on it yesterday, so now the details get done with thread -- I just might make the deadline for that July 6 show entry!

over the weekend Mr Cute was here to spend some time with Gramma

his current passion is big boats, and we spent time on the computer downloading some patterns for this pirate ship which we then put together with blue painter's tape

this is where my ability to build 3 dimensional objects from paper or card stock gets challenged, because he truly believes that since I'm an artist I can make anything ---- what a kid!!!

he really wants to make models just now, so I'll be trying to find some age appropriate ones for him (although I recognize in him my own inclination to want to run before walking --- he was very interested in the huge model of an WWII battle ship, which I'm sure would be way beyond both of our abilities!)

having Mr Cute here also meant that Mr Benson got a lot of extra running time

a tired dog is a good dog!!

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

cranking out new work

despite having a couple of bad days the past week, I have gotten quite a bit of work done on projects

the applique work on this piece is complete now, and it is ready to be quilted

the stitching and facing of this piece is complete

and after what I wrote last post about the blue dog, I created this piece which is titled "Seeing Red"

which is based on this photo of Mr Benson

yup, it's still a dog

I did this one with raw edge stitched applique, and it is a small piece (12" x 12") that I intend to mount on a canvas

which is also what I plan to do with this now completed piece
I painted the outside edges and part of the front of the canvas around the edge with black, and the edge of the fiber piece has been tightly satin stitched, so it is ready to be cut and applied to the canvas

I've never done one this way before, but so far it has not been difficult, and I am pleased with how it looks

this piece is progressing nicely too

even though the first show I would have entered this in is long since closed, I have found a new show that I want to enter it in -- so I need to get this one done by July 6 -- I think I can do that

this is the next piece in the Parched Earth series -- the pattern has been drawn for quite a while, but I ran a few other pieces in ahead of the applique

I started working on the sky last night, and I plan to try some new things with this piece -- we'll see how that all works!

meantime, here on the home front, the green beans that Mr Cute helped me plant on Mother's Day are come up quite nicely, and the DH built this lovely wood framing that I stapled some plastic netting to so those green beans will have a trellis to climb up on

looking good!

and Mr Benson continues to amuse us --

on one of our daily walks to the mailbox this week, he was introduced to Molly, the 2 year old chocolate lab that lives across the street from us --- now he looks forward to seeing Molly every time we take a walk!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

where in we discuss "is it my work"

work has moved right along on this piece this week (actually last night I pinned in that last piece on the bottom right, so it will be done today)

I like the way this has come out -- at least to me the reflection of the sunset sky in the river is clear

now the there are two challenges to be handled -- how to do the quilting on this one (I have some ideas already) and where the cuts will be made -- this piece must be a specific finished size to enter in the show I want to enter it in, and I deliberately made it a bit bigger so no matter how much it draws up with the stitching, I will still have a piece that is big enough -- a whole new approach for my work

and I think I want to use a layer of gray tulle over the entire river under the silk to mute the colors of the reflections -- or not

it's still a work in progress here

this piece is moving along nicely

I have to say I haven't worked with this much pink fabric since I made a baby quilt for my great grand daughter a couple of years ago

and I'm glad I keep all those pieces of fabric that were left over from that project!

after "auditioning" several colors of fabric for the background of this piece, I decided that I like this combination

and I really like the whole look of this piece

so now it's ready to be sandwiched and stitched


and then there is this piece

if you've been following me here or on FaceBook, you've seen the step by step as I created this piece

this is the photo I took of a real dog that this piece of work is based on -- my idea was to stylize the dog, fiddle with the colors a bit (clearly this is a black and white dog -- no blue involved) and create a sort of impressionist style piece

I had (as I often do) a specific show in mind to enter this piece in -- it is titled "Going to the Dogs", which means I needed to do a dog as the subject of the piece (I was invited by the gallery owner to apply to this show based on a landscape piece of mine that hung in her gallery last year)

entering shows is what I do -- I want to have my work seen -- basically believing that if I'm just going to make stuff that no one ever sees I could go back to cranking out charity quilts and stop working so hard on making each one of the pieces a work of art

this week I had an experience with this piece that was a bit disturbing when I was told I needed to "confront the ethics issue" of this piece

and while you're saying "WHAT?!", let me explain -- I have a friend that does animal portraits -- she is very, VERY good at it -- she has done hundreds of them as commission pieces, and she encouraged me to try it for myself and I give her total credit for encouraging me in that direction and for sharing her knowledge and ideas

the "ethics issue" of this piece seem to be that I did an animal as the subject matter of a piece

did I set out to have my piece look like my friend's work? Absolutely not -- in fact, since I do know how she does her pieces, I went out of my way to do things differently in the original design phases of this piece -- her pieces are very literal, she's doing portraits of animals, many that are "memorial" pieces (the first dog I did was exactly that, and it was never shown or for sale because it was, in my mind, too close to her approach) -- I was more looking for the impression of a dog

and does no one else in the fiber art world get to make dogs? 

I talked with my friend after the discussion about the ethics issue -- I have her full encouragement and permission -- she doesn't think we're in competition -- she isn't doing shows -- she's too busy  doing commissions

I still feel a bit put off by the idea that someone thinks I'm not "making my own work"

I'll be thinking about this some more I'm sure, but in the meantime I'm going to finish the edges of this piece and enter it in that show.

no post is complete without an update on how Mr Benson is doing

this week's picture was caught one afternoon as the DH was finishing up his lunch and Mr Benson felt sure he needed a bite of that cookie -- he's doing his very best begging!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

working on art and a visit to the ER

there actually has been quite a bit of work getting done this week
this piece is done

it's amazing how that dark outline makes the flowers pop up from the surface

stitching on the dog has begun -- and it's moving right along

the applique on this piece is progressing slowly -- I have hit the half way stage here -- and now I'm working on the reflected sky in the water below the horizon

this piece is just beginning -- it will be 12" by 12" and mounted on a canvas so it can be wired and hung

the deadline for this piece is in July, and it will hang as part of an exhibit with my other class mates

pretty cool!

and while all of that is in process, I'm thinking about some other pieces too

I have collected this assortment of paintings over the past few years from my dear friend in California

finally got them into a frame!

and now the hang in the family room gallery -- love seeing them every day

love these flowers from my daughter and Mr Cute that they brought me for Mother's Day --- hyacinths that won't wilt!

when they arrived Sunday afternoon, I was out planting garden --- having the extra hands made the planting of tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and cucumbers much faster

and Mr Cute put the green bean seeds in the trench at the end of the planter box -- I still need to get a trellis put up for those, but the most of the work is done

(so of course we are forecast to have SNOW in the next two days, so I'll be out covering all of those little plants with clay pots and newspaper)

after that hard work in the garden, Mr Cute and I enjoyed some Frito's as a reward!

when I was in the garden center getting tomato plants, I saw this cool plant in a hanging basket

I don't know what it is, but I love the texture and the colors

this piece, titled Parched Earth:  The Silos was accepted in a local show that will hang at Red Rocks Community College between June 9 and September 1

while the DH was cutting the slat that goes in the back to hang it from, he got his left thumb too close to the still spinning table saw blade

off to the ER we went, and he now has 8 stitches in the end of his thumb --- OUCH!!

in the future I will not be allowing him to rip 2x3s to make slats --- the ER visit is much more expensive than buying a piece of wood that is the right size already!  not to mention the whole injury issue

and Mr Benson is busy being his cute self ---

I'm starting to work on a map to do a quilted piece of his face --- a project for after a couple of others that are on the design wall, but there will be one!

Sunday, May 07, 2017

where does the time go?

seems like I was just out here to post last weekend

but no -- it actually was two weeks ago --

and in that time, you would think I could have actually finished something, but such is not the case

this piece, however, is very close -- just need to finish doing the outlining around the flowers and it will be ready for trimming and binding

this piece is ready to be stitched

I am very pleased with the way this one looks -- and the stitching should make it even better

progress is being made here too -- I'm almost half way with the applique here  (yes, it's folded in half so you aren't actually seeing the bottom half right now)

 since the dog piece is off the design wall, I'm thinking about what the next piece up there will be

considering using this photo that was taken by my daughter to do a piece -- I think I would call this one Cerberus Light
Benson has his own things to say about my doing another dog piece that isn't him

I'll have to think about that

meantime, I realize I haven't shared big news that I got early in April -- back in February I had applied to be Artist in Residence at Caribou Ranch this summer -- I did it sort of as a "what the heck, I'll never get in" thing

imagine my shock when I opened the email and was told  there were 60 artists that applied, 5 were accepted, and I'm one of them!  oh my

I'm already starting lists ---- and lists of lists ---- WOW

Sunday, April 23, 2017


working on projects continues

I'm nearly done with the quilting of this piece -- which is a good thing, since the entry deadline for it is May 1 -- just a week away

then there is this piece

when I had the idea to do this piece about 3 weeks ago, I hoped to have it done in time for that same May 1 deadline

uh -- not so much

for one thing, I just couldn't manage the time well enough between other things to get it all done

for another, I have never done a piece that involved a person since I began using the new technique, and it was a lot more complex thank I envisioned

I will finish this, but clearly not in time for the show I originally wanted to enter it in, but I think a show will present itself for entering this

and since this piece does have a future show in the summer, I have returned to working on this at the design wall

at the current rate, I should be able to get the rest of this ready to stitch this week!

I decided that the biggest mailbox needed a raised flag to be added to it, so I did that this week

there is not a lot of contrast between the mailboxes and the sky, but once I add the silk organza and do the quilting there will be

there are a couple of other pieces in the queue to be quilted, but I should get to this one before too long

and this week I started working on a piece for a show titled "Life Along the Rio Grande"  with a November 2017 deadline

when I first got the invitation to enter, I couldn't figure out why Colorado artists were being invited to participate in a show that has to do with the Rio Grande

I admit, my geography knowledge is not the best for places I've never actually been to -- so I had to go and do some research to discover that the headwaters of the Rio Grande are right here in Colorado

here's the map -- the sort of "paint by number" guide for this piece which will be the first one I've done for a show that has a very defined size requirement -- the full size map is actually for a piece slightly larger than the finished size needs to be so I know I'll have something that is big enough

and this is the color version

this piece may also be the first of a new series of pieces under the loose title "Reflections"

this week's utilitarian sewing involved making new cushions for the love seat in the living room

the original filling in the cushions had been discarded a while back, and some previously used eggshell foam had been substituted in the original covers

until Benson decided that the foam was "magically delicious" and in about 10 minutes while I was doing something out in the garage made an enormous shredded foam mess all over the living room

he wasn't interested in the upholstery fabric that was over the foam (thank goodness!), just the foam -- who knows what goes on in a dog's mind?!

but because he left the fabric alone, and because this was a project I knew I was going to do anyway (that foam was only a temporary fix from the beginning), I already had the new thicker foam on hand that I intended to use for new cushions, creating a pattern to cover the new cushions wasn't hard -- same shape, just thicker

I had not, however, figured out what the new upholstery fabric was going to be, so these newly covered new foam cushions are covered with fabric pieces that were from a couple of sheets that had outlived their usefulness as sheets (the outside edges remain structurally usable after the center is shot).  Those cotton covers can just stay on them when I reupholster the rest of the piece and there will be a double cover over the foam

since I did this Benson hasn't touched them --- wondering still what was so tasty about that eggshell!

early in the week I did a one day workshop about silk screening

I last did silk screening about 40 years ago, and things have changed --- A LOT!

the amount of work that I was able to do in one day would have taken a lot longer back then

all of which has me thinking about the possibility of using this technique on some of my art

so I came home from class and ordered a new issue of the Dick Blick catalog so I can look into ordering some supplies --- that should be fun

while I was in class, Benson had to watch dad

which meant he was worn out at the end of the day

not sure what he was dreaming about when I took this picture

maybe the taste of those foam cushions!!