Friday, July 29, 2011

Finishing Some Things

Last week I spent some time finishing up a number of pieces.  These are pieces that were started last fall. I felt they all had potential, but was stuck on exactly what to do.  Nothing like a six month break to bring a new perspective.

This piece was created with soy wax resist and was one in a number of studies I did on complementary colors. Here is the before version. Interesting, but no focal point.

After a few layers of dye and handpainting, here is the finished piece.

This piece was created using sugar syrup resist. Here is the before version. 

I wasn't thrilled with the composition, so I cut it up, discharged some of it, dye-painted some areas and put it back together.

This last piece is another complementary color study and was created by brushing potato dextrin through plastic hardware cloth. The before version:

Again, not a strong enough focal point. I decided to cut this down and put it on a 12" x 12" canvas and add some contrast with paint and metal leaf.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Up to My Elbows in...Tapioca

Ahhh, the lure of the resist in surface design.  I've tried all the commercial products and many of the standard kitchen-based products (flour, oatmeal, sugar).  Why do I keep trying new things?  Don't I have enough options already?  One would think so, but apparently not.  My latest favorite resist is tapioca.  Yes, you read that right. I don't think I've ever actually eaten it, so it never occurred to me to use it as a resist.  Thanks to Linda Dawson for giving me the idea!

Tapioca produces an intriguing pattern. It doesn't really crack like the paste resists (flour, oats, potato dextrin). The photo above shows a cloth with two layers of tapioca resist. You can see the wonderful marbled pattern it produces.   Peeling the dried tapioca off the cloth is a bit like unwrapping a fruit roll with texture beads.  I would be tempted to use the leavings in my art, if only there wasn't the problem of  decomposition. All the details are in the next installment in my series, Resists From the Kitchen in Quilting Arts Magazine.(August/September issue)  You can also see more photos of cloth made using tapioca by downloading the pdf file from my website.  Try it out and let me know what you think!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fridays Downtown

On Friday mornings in the summer, I teach an independent study class at the Southwest School of Art. Everyone chooses their own projects to work on.  There are usually 3-4 "regulars" who come for the wet studio and large print tables, the comraderie and guidance on their projects. There are also usually 2-3 new people. I love this class because it is inspiring to see how the projects progress over the eight weeks.  I also love that the regulars are very welcoming to the newcomers and are generous in sharing their knowledge.

I also love the opportunity to be downtown. I usually come in early on Friday mornings to take a walk before class. As I walked along the riverwalk this morning, and through the hemisfair plaza (site of the 1968 world's fair) I realized how I take my city for granted.   San Antonio is a great city. It has a vibrant art community, a beautiful riverwalk, interesting historical areas and some hidden garden gems. It's a large city, but it has the feel of a much smaller place.

The riverwalk and hemisfair park were pretty quiet at 8 am. There were a few people walking hurriedly to their jobs.  A few smiled and nodded, but most didn't make eye contact, lost in their thoughts. I was struck by how lucky I am, not only to live in such a great place, but also to have a "job" that allows me to take the time to enjoy my city.

Here's a challenge for you all this week - allow yourself time to enjoy the unique aspects of your city. I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Do I Really Look Like That?!


Yesterday I received a copy of the DVD for Quilting Arts TV Series 800. I flew to Cleveland in February to film two segments for the series that airs on some PBS stations. I have to admit, I was a little nervous to see how it came out. During filming, you only get one shot - no do-overs. I was afraid that maybe I said something really silly. It all happened so fast, but Pokey Bolton is expert at guiding the guests along.

Bottom line, I was pleased with how it came out. I did a segment on Resists From the Kitchen, showcasing oatmeal, mashed potato and baby cereal resists. That segment appears on episode 806 (scheduled to air in early September). I also did a section on adding texture with brayer printing. That segment appears on episode 809, scheduled to air in mid-September.

There are 12 episodes in the series, which features Ana Buzzalino, Faith Cleary, Vivika Hansen DeNegre, Diane Rusin Doran, Maria Elkins, Noriko Endo, Lynn Krawczyk, Jane LaFazio, Nancy Odom, Mary Pal, Susan Shie, Cheryl Sleboda, Jennifer Solon, Judith Trager, and Terry White. Pokey Bolton and Helen Gregory from Quilting Arts Magazine also filmed some segments. The episodes cover a lot of ground - surface design, machine stitching tips, collaged and fused quilts and even a little color theory.

Check to see if your local PBS station airs the show. If not, the DVDs are available through Quilting Arts TV.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Gift of Time

Like many people, I work well to a deadline.(Most of the time.) It gets me moving - realizing I can't just sit and think about it - I have to finish it! I've been working on a piece for a charity art auction. I was moving slowly - taking my time to decide what I wanted to do. Last week I had a momentary panic when realized it was due Sunday. I kicked into high gear yesterday and worked hard all day to complete the project. By late afternoon, it was complet except for a few layers of varnish and some minor gluing.

When I looked up the information on the time and location for drop-off, imagine my surprise when it said the piece was due August 14th. I don't know why I thought it was due today, but I did. So, now I have the gift of time. If I knew the deadline was next month, I would have dragged the project out. Spending more time contemplating what to do. Now it is finished, so I have one less thing to worry about next month.
Actually, it's not quite finished. When I realized it wasn't due today, I held off on the varnish. That can wait until tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sue Dennis: Destination USA

Below is a "must see" link. Sue Dennis, an artist from Brisbane, Australia, has a solo exhibition opening this week. The work was begun during a 3 week residency last fall in La Grange, Texas. I met Sue at the Quilt Festival and had a chance to get to know her better when she visited Jane Dunnewold and me in San Antonio.

Sue's work was inspired by the plant life and scenery in eastern Texas. The work is beautiful. Please take a minute to visit her website and read her blog.

Sue Dennis: Destination USA

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Time for Something New

I've had an interest in working with acrylic paints and mediums for the past year.  I allowed myself some play time last month. I really like using gel mediums to build up texture. Some of my interest came from using resists for so long. Oatmeal, grits, tapioca and potato dextrin all create such a wonderful dimensional surface on the cloth. When they are washed off, the resulting pattern is interesting, but I like the idea of real texture, not just visual texture.

I created a number of small studies.  In most cases, I started by building a textured surface with joint compound or gel medium.  Then I applied layer upon layer of sheer color. In a way, that is much the same as I do with my cloth. Some were really awful and are in the trash. Some are okay, and are awaiting more layers. Here a photos of a few of the pieces that I like.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Gift

I received a beautiful gift for my birthday a few weeks ago.  A silver bracelet. I'm not much for jewelry - no rings, necklaces or bracelets adorn my body.  The pierced holes in my ears have long since closed up. Yet this was a special gift from a special person and I wanted to honor that. So I have decided to make it my "mindfulness" bracelet.  I use it as a reminder to stop, breathe, smile and appreciate my many blessings. Every time I become aware of the bracelet throughout the day, it centers me. So this really was a special gift - and much more than just a beautiful bracelet.
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