Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Saturday, December 15, 2018

A Week and a Day....

I am still doing a daily 'advent sketch,' based on what is in the little window of the beautiful advent calendar my daughter-in-law gave me. 

Day 9, running horses

On the 10th day, there is a man with a tree in the calendar window. My sons' families had just gotten their trees, so the little red car is my daughter-in-law's car (not the calendar giver, but my other wonderful daughter-in-law; I am lucky to have two!) We had also just put our tree up, much to Gus's fascination and delight. He is determined to climb it to the top this year, but we have stopped his pursuit of the star, so far anyway.

The little wren was in the 11th day window. This little girl (a photo inspiration from #Sktchy) felt like a perfect friend for him. And one of my favorite carols is by Christine Rossetti, "In the Bleak Mid-Winter," though nobody will do the song with me. They think it is too bleak.

The owl in flight inspired this on Day 12

There was a cute bunny on the calendar on Day 13. It was such a busy day for me though, that I just had time for little sketches to represent my day.

A star to represent Day 14 brought to mind this carol. Carols and holiday songs have been floating through my head all week, as my music partner and I went to several assisted living places this, and last, week to share holiday songs with the wonderful folks who live there. This is something we are blessed to do every month, and January will begin our fourth year to do this. 

Today's little window opened to reveal the little hedgehog (on the right.) I had just run across the quote by Beatrix Potter earlier in the week, so I put it and the lovely Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle in my sketch this morning. I have her baking, because this is the day I will make fruit cakes for my father-in-law.

My life is so busy right now, with holiday and parent and company needs. And I should be weaving! But I have to admit that doing these little 'advent sketches' have made me enjoy the holiday much more than I usually do! I love seeing what is in the calendar window each morning, then thinking how I will incorporate it into a sketch while I eat breakfast and sip my coffee. The sketches themselves are all pretty simple and quick - a half-hour passes quickly as I sketch and sip a second cup of coffee. These are mostly done in ink first, then a little watercolor, and gouache (for snow) or colored pens or pencils if a bit more detail is needed. Fun, indeed! And more windows yet to open.......

Friday, December 7, 2018

Advent - tures!

From my sketchbook

As the holidays approached, my daughter-in-law sent me a beautiful advent calendar! I decorated my sitting room mantle around it, so I could look at it when I sit in there with my morning coffee.

As I opened the little window for the first day of December and saw the adorable little snowman, I thought how fun it would be to sketch him in my sketch journal, then add things inspired by what was revealed each day to fill out the page.

 On day 2, a dachshund was in the window, and a fox, on day 3.

Words from Dave Carter's song "Go Tell theFox"

A little mouse appeared on Day 4 (the one in the lower corner,) and Gus joined the calendar cat on day 5.


A mole was in the corner of the calendar on day 6, so I put him in the corner of my advent sketch page.  And today, day 7, there is an owl, flying through the night sky.

I don't know that I set out committing myself to do daily advent sketches, but I am finding that I look forward each morning to seeing what is behind the little window on my Advent Calendar, and filling a sketch journal page with things that it inspires. I don't spend a great deal of time on these pages, usually about a half hour, though sometimes time gets lost and my coffee gets cold!

I have been posting the sketches daily on Instagram, and will post them each week through the advent season here on the blog. In the meantime, I hope the holiday season is finding you with creative inspiration and joy, as well!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Still on the Loom....

I had hoped to have this tapestry off the loom by the end of November, but, as you can see, it is not going to happen. Life just keeps on happening, in spite of my work goals. I am closer to the end than I was, though, so I am not discouraged. The end will come...

One of the 'other' things I have done has been to warp up my four-harness floor loom and weave a couple of much needed rag rugs for my kitchen. I've never woven rag rugs before, but I have a stack of old T-shirts, so decided to use them in this way. I love these rugs! The T-shirts make perfect rags: I sit and cut them into looooong strips, starting at the bottom hem, and cutting around the shirt. By the time I'm up to the sleeves, I have a nice ball of 'yarn' to weave with. I stitch ends together as I weave, though I know I could probably get by without doing that. Cutting the T-shirts and weaving these rugs are fantastic things to do if I'm in the mood to watch something on TV, as my floor loom is in the basement family TV room. And rag rugs weave up so fast! (Says the tapestry weaver.) Who knew?

Gus is quite impressed! My remaining stack of T-shirts looks dominantly white, so some dying may be another project. I did use one tie-dyed shirt in these rugs, and love the effect. I also have a lot of rag wool, so may be weaving other rugs when I get the 'Duet' tapestry completed.

In other 'news:' The "Graffiti" tapestry will be included in the Fiberart International 2019 exhibit in Pittsburgh, May-August of 2019. I am very excited for this piece to have been invited to be in this exhibit!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Halfway there....

Halfway up the warp on this tapestry! Ten inches done, ten to go. 

And halfway (almost ) through this C.R.A.Z.Y. political administration. Please vote, and please vote with kindness for our fellowmen, and especially fellow women; with consideration for honesty and caring; and without hatred and bigotry.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Out On a Limb

February, from the Calendar Tapestries Series

This tapestry will be included in the juried "Out on a Limb" exhibit at the Foundry Art Centre in Saint Charles, MO. The exhibit opens with an Artist's Reception this coming Friday, October 5th, from 6-8 p.m.  The exhibit is in conjunction with the Out of the Woods - Celebrating Trees in Public Gardens, The New York Botanical Garden Third Triennial exhibition. Both exhibits are a celebration of trees in art.

"Out on a Limb" is an all-media exhibit, and will be open to the public October 5 - December 28, 2018. If you are in that area and can see the exhibit, let me know! It is free to the public.

Monday, September 24, 2018

The End and then the Beginning....

Even though every summer we intend to go camping at least once a month, the past few years, once in the entire season has been our 'norm.' This year, we went to the Echo Park Campground in Dinosaur National Monument for 2 nights, as the summer was ending, and fall was just ready to begin. It is not an easy place to get to, and it was hot and windy, but it is a beautiful place! I did a couple of sketchbook spreads while there.

My husband took some gorgeous night photos, with no city lights, in fact no lights at all but the light from a campfire below the trees, to block out sight of the Milky Way.

I am progressing slowly (at tapestry speed - 'Warp Speed' or slower, actually) on the "Duet" tapestry. I have a deadline set for it, but life seems to be telling me that I will not meet this personal goal. I'm not giving it up yet, though!

Above is a photo of how I sample yarn color blends, on a little Hockett loom, leaving yarn ends loose so I can easily identify the blends for repetition's sake.

This is where the tapestry is right now; not quite to the half-way point, with a lot of 'fiddley work' yet to come!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Things Happen....

Some things that happen, I record in my sketchbook. Harry Potter had a "20th birthday," and that seems like something that needs to be celebrated, at the very least by a sketch of this young "Gryffindor."

A R&B legend passed away, one who long ago demanded that women be treated with respect!

Summer is ending, along with the juicy Colorado peach season. Fall will bring in apples, pears, wine grapes, and seasonal-change migraines. But, like summer; these things will move on, as well.

And that is a Good Thing, in this world where daily news is rarely good anymore.

In spite of 'things happening,' I try to make it to the loom, at least several times a week. The "Duet" tapestry is progressing, not quickly, but at the speed a tapestry should progress. Loom time, and sketching time, help make the very stupid and unbelievable things that happen in the daily news fade into that space in oblivion where they belong. So, I will weave on.....!

Friday, August 10, 2018

A Very Busy Week!....

We've had a HOT and busy week, but I have managed to do a few creative things. For one: I finished filling my 17th sketchbook! It was a Stillman and Birn Alpha sketchbook, a brand I find that I truly love using! It takes pretty much any media I throw at it. And I love decorating the covers!

I begin and end all my sketchbook journals (such as this one) with a sketched 'selfie.' So this is the last sketch in this sketchbook. It is on the page across from the back endpaper, where I have tried out paints and markers and scribbled reluctant pens, so the page had smudges and splatters already on it.

My new sketch journal, which I began with this self sketch, is a Moleskine. I used to love Moleskine, but have not been real fond of them since they changed out their papermakers. The old paper, made in Italy (I believe) was lovely and creamy, with a sizing that just resisted water media, giving some unexpected, yet always lovely, results. The new paper (I believe it is now made in China) is thin and slightly tinted, and my ink bleeds through and water media must just be used in small bits, to avoid crumpling the page. There are a lot of pages in this sketchbook - so I am truly hoping I come to love it, or, if not love it, at least to form a working relationship with it. 

I still have a lovely larger Stillman and Birn sketchbook that I am filling with sketches inspired by photos shared for artists on the #Sktchy app. I did these two sketches this week because yesterday was International Cat Day. (Gus hopes you did not miss it!)

And I also have spent some time, a good bit of Studio Tuesday actually, in the studio at the loom. Here is an update photo of the progress I have made on this tapestry, which has a working title of "Duet."

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Studio Tuesday!

I was able to work a bit in the studio today, even though we are busy with a big family transition. I am still waiting for some yarn for this new tapestry design, but I realized that I have what I need to at least get it started, and I should have the rest of the yarn by the end of this week.

I had to finish tying the warp back on the loom first. (This shot shows overlapping harnesses, and the wonderful reed holder my husband made me on my 6-ft Shannock Loom.)

Then I pulled all the yarn out that I thought I might use in the tapestry. I found that I don't normally stock orange, which is one of the main colors in this tapestry. So I went in search of orange yarn, and some should be arriving from several sources by the end of the week!

Today I got the weaving of the tapestry started, after realizing I do have what I need to begin. I cannot tell you how good it is to be back at the loom! I realized today, as I was weaving a guitar, that it is so good to at least occasionally do something that I know I am good at. That occurred to me because I do play the guitar, but I am not really very good at it. I can, however, weave a guitar (and pretty much anything else) pretty competently. At this stage of my life, it is a Good Thing to feel like I sometimes know what I'm doing!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Creation of a New Tapestry Design...

A new tapestry design has been working it's way into my consciousness in the past week or so. It coincides with a direct 'prescription' from my doctor at my annual physical last week to 'get back to work.'

The process of working a design idea out of my head and onto the loom is not always exactly the same for me, but it is pretty similar each time. It usually begins with the idea, and this idea combines my love of Nature with my love of Music. From that idea, I choose images that will fit. This time I began with a photo of a bluebird I had taken at Sand Dunes National Park last year. A song about a bluebird had been going through my head, and this lovely bird just appeared, to sing along with me! It was such a special moment, I felt the need to work the memory into a  'visual song.'  I have been using big chunky acrylic markers a bit in my sketchbook, and, since I didn't want this to be too detailed, that is what I used to do the sketch.

I then put the sketch into Procreate in my iPad. (I do not have an iPad Pro or an Apple Pencil, just a mini, with a stylus pen I got free at my bank. That also keeps me from getting too detailed.) The result was the image above.

This morning I did a ballpoint pen sketch of an image from the Sktchy app of a girl playing the guitar.  The photo was very backlit, which is what I wanted. I painted the sketch with gouache (not my favorite medium, but I wanted boldness and opacity.)

Next, I imported that sketch into Procreate, and merged it with yesterday's bird sketch. The image below is of the design in progress in the app.

Then, to the computer. I put the digitized sketch into Photoshop, and worked with it to make some corrections and adjustments, saved it as my maquette, then changed it to black and white and sized it for weaving. At that point, I cropped it into printable pieces, printed them out on heavy card stock, and taped the pieces together to create my cartoon.

The cartoon is printed and the maquette/design is ready. The loom is warped, and just needs the warp tied on to the front beam. The next step is to choose the yarns and to get weaving. I am excited! .... and I'll keep you informed as this tapestry, which is tentatively called "Duet," progresses.