Thursday, December 29, 2016

Stay-cation... For those who like to work in the studio, but have a "real job," staying at home for a week is bliss. The first day my husband had out-patient surgery so I packed up fabric, floss, and tools and spread out my things for a make-shift studio in the waiting room. I hate to say it, but I had a great day. I did not worry while my husband was in surgery like usual, but took advantage of having free time to create my first fabric collage. When his surgery was over I was of course relieved and ready to take him home to rest.

The next few days were spent stitching in bed with the computer playing the TV while my husband recuperated on the couch. I finished the collage project and started another. I finished another embroidery project and the first stage of another. I also started another fabric collage project. During the same time I decided it was time to bind two quilts that have been sitting for years. One was very small--a wall hanging that I hand-quilted. It was to be the second in a series that I now have to decide if I really want to continue.


The other quilt that needed to be bound was 64 inches square. Getting reacquainted with binding a quilt on the small quilt was a good idea. It gave me the confidence to go to the bigger one. I sewed the binding to the small quilt by machine and hand stitched it down in the back.


The bigger quilt top


I made the decision to sew the binding on and stitch it down by machine for the bigger quilt. I just did not feel like spending days hand-sewing and thought since the big quilt was going to be used rather than just hung on the wall, machine stitching would be stronger. Big mistake! I don't do well machine stitching the binding down--it is crooked and I "missed" catching the edge and had to re-sew that part. I did not rip out the original stitches because I have ripped a quilt doing that. I am a little disappointed with the outcome, but I can live with this as there are other "learning opportunities" in that quilt as well. I started this quilt in May 2011 when my friend and I took a strip quilting class together. It took a while to finish the top as I got tired of strip quilting and had to figure out a way to make it larger. It sat for a while. I decided to make it my first hand-quilting project and used #8 perle cotton, breaking many needles and ruined at least one leather thimble in the process. Then it sat for a couple of years until today, when I finally finished it. Four and one half years from start to finish. This is the first quilt I made for my husband and I.

The first thing I did when I snipped the last thread was wrap myself in it. I am so happy!

I still have four more days of vacation maybe I will get the throw pillows done and finish a couple of other projects that I have hanging around.

Baci e abbracci...

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.


Gouache.

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 PhillyPaws.org. See my Instagram feed for more information on each one.

Baci abbracci.