Monday, January 11, 2016

Turning Something Old into Something New

Who does not love going to the art supply store??? Some women like shopping for clothes and shoes—I love shopping for stationary supplies (pens and paper) and art supplies! (Or yarn, embroidery floss, fabric—depending on what I am into at the moment.) I admit I have way too much stuff and a lot of it is repetitive like 5 brands of watercolors. (Pelikan, Cotman in the tube, Cotman in the pan, Sennilier, and Schmincke) and 3 brands of gouache (Pelikan, The French School, Schmicke with a new set of Holbein Acryla on the way). Why do I waste so much money?

That is obvious… because I see what artists make with their supplies and I go out to buy the same stuff thinking my work will look as good as theirs. Simple and stupid! I bought all of those new watercolors because I wanted a travel set after I purchased the tubes, then I upgraded my travel set—twice. Not only that but I also have a Schmincke 12 ½ pan set for my bag and a 48 ½ pan set for the studio. Wow! Think about all of that money sitting on the shelf when I stop painting and start sewing again. And all of the gouache? I thought the gouache was cheap when really it was me who did not know how to use it. And now I want to try what everyone else recommends: acryla gouache.

I can never find the right sketchbook—either the paper is wrong, or the size, or the binding, or the orientation is wrong—or it is just too expensive for my budget. (Expensive paint is one thing, I will not spend the same comparatively on sketchbooks unless I absolutely love it.)

It is the same with ink for my fountain pen (Noodlers vs. DeAtramentis), colored pencils (Prismacolor, then Caran d’Ache, Derwent, and Faber Castell are all in my studio), watercolor crayons—E V E R Y T H I N G. So now the fun begins.

I am trying out my different supplies to learn their best qualities. I don’t see myself giving much away as I am not only pretty attached to my stuff, but know I will want to try that particular brand of colored pencil if someone I admire hails its attributes.

Right now I am playing with gouache and learning to like it. I have been using only the paintbrush without drawing in the shape with pencil or outlining it with ink. I also moved away from using black in two of the paintings.
I am covering up pages in my sketchbook that I drew on with ink, but either made a mistake or did not like to drawing enough to finish it. That is the drawing you see behind the painting. So I am turning old drawings, using old supplies into new work.



Gouache and colored pencils.

Neocolor II by Caran d'Ache watercolor crayons.

I had originally set this sketchbook up to complete exercises for my Liz Steel class, but then started doing finished paintings and did not like to unfinished "bad" drawings in the book. Perfect pages to play with old art supplies.

Baci e abbracci

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

PAWS Philadelphia: Dogs and Cats that Need a Permanent Home

All of these animals can be adopted through See my Instagram feed for more information on each one.

Baci abbracci.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year...

I am not one to make resolutions--at least not at the onset of a new year. It just does not occur to me on December 31. My birthday is in January so sometimes I make a resolution around that time or most often I make a resolution in the fall as September still has the feel of the start of a new year for me just like it was when I was in school. But today I was just looking at a book on Amazon and added it to my "Wish List." I thought about wish lists. They are usually things we want but do not need. But how many people right now are wishing for freedom, safety, shelter, food--all of the things that every single person I know probably takes for granted. Maybe if everyone had these basics, society would be a kinder place.

I find American society to be rude, angry, oblivious to others, and entitled. I ask myself why am I so angry when I have everything listed above and more? I tell myself and my husband, who asks me the same question from time to time, I am angry because every time I leave my house someone does something that is rude, nasty, or just shows that they believe they are entitled to break the rules.

There is trash everywhere in front of my house, so much so that even if I spent the entire day cleaning up the properties to the left and right of my home trash from the other houses would blow right back to my house in a matter of minutes (I have seen it happen). There are clothes on the sidewalk one door over that have been there since before Thanksgiving, let alone fast food wrappers, uneaten food that is rotted, unread newspapers, broken toys, unmentionable personal hygiene items, etc. within my view. People double park daily when there are wide open parking spaces available because they are too lazy to parallel park. They honk their horn for people to come out of their homes instead of using the cell phone that they are normally so attached to that they can not look up from it at "stop" signs, green lights or to just drive safely. They allow their 5 year-old child to be supervised by their 9 year-old child and then are surprised when the 5 year-old is hit by a car racing down the one-way street. (The child's leg was broken, but is otherwise OK.)

I see this deterioration of the family everyday at home and at work where my office is located near a shelter. I want to find compassion in my heart for these women and children who have no where to sleep, but I watch them smoke their cigarettes and talk on their cell phones and scream and curse at their children and just think, "and so it goes." It will repeat generation after generation and nothing will ever get better. It only gets worse.

The cell phone has made some people so self-absorbed and oblivious to those around them. What is so fascinating that cannot wait until you are no longer walking or driving? Why are you texting and driving when everyone knows how dangerous it is? Are one's own thoughts so boring that no one is able to just think--or not think--or just be in the moment--walking, or paying attention to the road ahead? (both literally and figuratively)

Maybe you have seen the new commercial for Weight Watcher's that features Oprah Winfrey and she asks a great question that can be applied to any change one wants to make in their life: "If not now, when?" It has stuck with me--I have lived over half my life so what am I waiting for to really appreciate what I do have and stop wanting something that I will likely never have. I am wasting precious time. Now is the time that I am going to put a real effort into obtaining the most important things on my wish list:

I wish....
  • I was a healthy weight.
    • I would stick to an exercise and healthy diet plan.
    • I had more energy.
  • I took action to help homeless, abused animals (besides making donations).
  • I lowered my expectations of others.
  • I was more patient with certain people.
  • and lastly, but most important: I was not angry so much of the time.

I believe if I would grant myself the the first four wishes (the sub-wishes are part of the healthy weight wish) the last wish would be a natural outcome.

Today a new year is in front of us--a new start for everyone. I hope all of our wishes come true!

Baci e abbracci!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My First Show

One of my works will be included in a group show opening this Friday at 5:00 PM. I you are in the area I would love to meet you.

Baci e abbracci

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

tutto a posto tuesday

Still plugging along on the embroidery. This week I baked a cake which took up most of Saturday. It was a test for the same event the favors are for. Here are the finished sachets and a current pic of the embroidery.

The humid weather has started in Philadelphia, which just makes me feel tired all of the time, so being productive outside of the office is difficult.

bacci e abbracci

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

tutto a posto tuesday

This week I made progress on my current work, and I started using my sewing machine again. I have to make 11 party favors and thought pretty little sachets would be nice. I also wanted to make a prize for one random winner at the party, and decided to try the Purl Bee Quilted Zipper Pouch. I changed the measurements without considering the length of the zipper,  so I had a little problem with the ends of the zipper that made the finish a little less than perfect. This was the most difficult zipper I have ever sewn into a bag. I have two zipper feet and probably used the wrong one.

I also found the pattern for the Lavender Sachets on the Purl Bee. I usually make my sachets from patchwork, but just don't have the time so in my search for pretty sachets on Pinterest I came across this pattern. I am using "Nana's Pantry" from Connecting Threads which is now on clearance at $2.96/yard.

 I really like Connecting Threads quilting fabric and thread. The fabric has a nice hand, and you cannot beat the price. It is much nicer than the quilting fabric you get at JoAnn's, which has a lot of sizing that when washed out leaves a thin cheap fabric. If you knit you might know about Knit Picks. Both companies are owned by Craft Americana Group. I have been shopping at Knit Picks for years and have never had a problem with anything I purchased there with the exception of a couple of knitting needles, which they replaced immediately.

Baci e abbracci