Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pieces of Me

If you want to know how I got from a green leprechaun to this,


you'll have to head over to the Interpret This! blog.  I'm pleased with how this came out, and think it really does reflect me.  Now I have a day to rest before the photo for February's challenge is posted!

I'm trying to complete the next 12 by 12 challenge, which is also due the end of February.  I decided to take a decidely un-Utah spin on this, so I hope the rest of the group has a sense of humor.  I got pieces cut out today, and hopefully will get the major components fused down tomorrow.
Shannon, Bentlee and I took the dogs- all three, we were gifted with a Chihuahua by a friend who decided she wasn't the right home for the dog yesterday.  At first we thought we'd walk up behind the windmills close to our home, but the wind was so bitingly cold we gave up that idea quickly.  So we drove up Diamond Fork Canyon, the same place Shannon and I went last weekend.  Except today we drove as far as the road was open, about a mile before the Red Ledges where I went rapelling last summer.  It was easy to walk, the snow was packed on the road surface.  We did take one detour over a bridge where the snow was deeper-


but when it got to the point that I couldn't take a step without going knee-deep in snow, we turned back.
We kept going on the road, probably walking a mile or so before turning around.  I could see the Red Ledges ahead of us-

 I love the clean look of the white snow against the red rocks!
Pita, the chihuahua, got tired and cold, and begged to be picked up.  Shannon wrapped her up in her jacket- the weather here was gorgeous, sunny, and no wind!


By this time, Sadie was even getting tired and taking rests in the snow.


The view looking south was gorgeous.


All in all, and nice break in the day.  We came home, warmed up, ate lunch, and I got to work on 'Blue.'

And I learned- when it is sunny and there is lots of snow around, USE THE NEUTRAL DENSITY FILTER!!

Today's the Reveal!!

My first piece for 'Interpret This!' will be posted this afternoon.  This has been an interesting journey, with more than one start before I got to the final design.  At first I wanted to do a thread sketch, so I made a couple of small sample pieces. Here's one, along with some sampling with my stamp and playing with Tsukineko inks for shading on the face.


OK, I thought the thread painting had potential.  So I chose my final image, the pastel portrait, and started thread painting.

Ooooh, not so sure about this!  Shannon said I looked like a green leprechaun- I'd add mean to that description.  So this got added to the crap quota.
You'll have to come back to see how this story ends!!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Reveals Begin!

Libby and Rian have posted the first of January's self-portrait challenge for our Interpret This! group.  Head on over here and have a look- the reveals continue with two per day through Saturday.  There is already some fabulous artwork there, I can't wait to see what the rest have done!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mid-weekend Musings

I have my 'Interpret This!' January piece almost done- just a bit more free motion quilting, the binding, and we're good. I think I'll be doing sleeves and labels all at once, I've got two other small pieces that need both. I can't post anything of the quilt itself, but here's my cutting table when I was done with the piecing--

The reveals start next week, mine is on Saturday afternoon. Come take a look!

Shannon and I took the dogs up the canyon for a run today. It was a bit of a challenge to find a place, since we had some snow last night and it got heavier the further we went. We finally found a place to park off the road, and started up the hill. I wanted to experiment with a neutral density filter I got for my camera- or, to put it in layman's terms- sunglasses for the camera. Here's the same picture, the first without the filter, and the second with.

Not the most interesting pictures, but it did make a difference. Without the filter, the sky is just blown out light; with it, there are some subtle differences in shading. And, the bush branches are definitely darker and more defined with the filter.

Looking back, it seems another storm may be blowing in--

Sadie and Shiloh had fun running in the snow- and it was deep enough, it wore them out quickly. Sadie may have the long coat, but Shiloh was the one who collected a coat of snowballs!

Tonight, the rest of the quilting. Maybe I can get another 12 by 12 piece done this week before we get the next photo for February's 'Interpret This!'

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cough, cough, hack, hack (with the occasional sneezing fit and nose blowing)

about describes what I have been doing since the middle of last week. Enough to make me feel cruddy, not enough to keep me in bed. I'm sure our worst in the nation air hasn't helped it any, either. I haven't seen smog like this since I was a kid in southern California. When you live next to the mountains and you can't see the mountains, you know it is bad.

I have been trying to work on my piece for the first Interpret This! challenge. I thought on idea was moving along fine until this morning- then decided it wasn't so hot after all. The direction change isn't a huge one, but it is different.

Part of the problem for me is that portraiture is so far out of my comfort zone. Terry Grant has blogged about faces, and how she abstracts them. I love her work, it is so distinctive. Me, however? I feel comfortable abstracting just about anything BUT faces. And, there is that ever-present voice in the back of the mind, questioning whether my work will measure up with the others.

Tomorrow I will try to ignore the naysaying voices, and continue working on the piece. I'll be doing a little surface design with some of my hand dyes. I'll audition some piecing designs, and maybe even start some sewing.

And while I'm doing that, I'll remember that my problems are really miniscule in the whole scheme of things. I'll remember how fortunate I am to have a roof over my head, food and water on my table, family and good health. I'll say a prayer for all those in Haiti, and for the many who are giving of their time and talents to help a stricken nation.

Kind of puts things in a different perspective, doesn't it? And if you've been reading, thanks for being part of my 'therapy' today!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Working on the Self Portrait

I've been working on the first piece for my Interpret This! online group. This first one is a self-portrait, and it has been on my mind for several weeks- basically, ever since I knew what we'd be doing!

I've gone through my stacks of photos, played in PSE- and never came up with anything that excited me. Since I don't do representational art, I was also stressing over how I was going to get this done in a tight time frame.

Remember this post? I ended up using the portrait Candee did that evening. I took a picture of it, did a little playing in PSE, and started working. I actually made a couple of samples, just so I could be sure the process I'm doing will work and give me the effect I'm after. So far, so good.

I will have a teaser detail shot next weekend, but my reveal isn't until the end of the month. And I will need all that time to get it done!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Interpret This!

I've got a new logo on my sidebar--

I've been invited to join ten other fiber artists from around the country in completing a piece of art every month, based on photos submitted by the group. Click here to go to the challenge blog. Right now there are intros to all the participants, and in a couple of weeks you can see teasers of our first pieces! The reveals are done over a couple of days the end of each month.

I'm looking forward to getting to know the other members of the group, stretching myself, and moving ahead in my quest to develop my artistic voice. I remember how much the Journal Quilt project helped me improve my work; I'm hoping this challenge will do the same. And, I'm hoping for honest feedback on my work, that's how we learn!

I hope you'll visit the challenge blog for the 'teasers' midmonth, and the reveals at the end of the month. It is going to be an interesting ride for the next year!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Frog and Chaos

I came in late to a 12 by 12 group- I got December's word done, then started working on one of the past words. Hopefully I will get them all done before May, when the entire group's work will be exhibited at the Home Machine Quilting Show in Salt Lake.

December's word was Chaos. I went beyond the dictionary meaning, and did something that feels chaotic to me- freeways.

I used discharged and overdyed fabric I had in my stash. I really had fun with this one, and think I will play with the idea again in a larger size.

The past word I decided to make was Frog. As a confirmed foodie (although I leave most of it to Shannon anymore), what else could I do but Frog Legs?

All I could think about with that word was Doc Hopper's Fried Frog Legs from the Muppet Movie. Here's a detail of the threadwork I did, and the background quilting.

Next on the list is working on the first challenge for Interpret This! I've got a couple of samples to do to see what happens with discharge and solvent transfer before I work on the piece itself.

What have you been up to lately?

Friday, January 01, 2010

A New Decade. . .

It's also the last year I will be able to say I am in my fifties. Turning fifty felt ok, I celebrated that one- but sixty? That just sounds OLD!! Ah well, I have a year to get used to the idea.

Well, if I'd had my act together, I'd have some thoughtful, well- written insights and musings about the last year. Obviously, I don't have my act together. The last two weeks of December always feels like a sprint to me, a chaotic one at that- by the time we get to New Year's, my brain is pretty much toast.

I did see one idea I really like on Terry Grant's blog. She did a cool slideshow of pictures from the past year, everything from her work to family. I thought about doing one, then decided it would take me all night- especially if I tried to link it with music like she did. So, that didn't happen. I hope I remember it for next year, but given my memory lapses of late- who knows!

We went to First Night in Provo for the New Year's celebration. We didn't make it to midnight, but did enjoy some good music and dancing. These Latin ladies and gentlemen could really move!

My favorites, however, were the bagpipe band.

They played Scottish tunes, then changed some instruments and treated us to Irish music- which we couldn't hear nearly as well as the bagpipes.

I had my new (to me) telephoto lens on my camera, and learned that this lens is probably best used outside. And, you can tell that the lighting in the mall was not all that hot for photography.

Today, I've been down in the studio most of the day, with football on in the next room. It must go back to my childhood, but the one thing I associate New Year's Day with is college football. So, now I'm watching the Rose Bowl and rooting for Oregon to TROMP Ohio State. Woody Hayes made me a diehard anti-Ohio State a long time ago.

Anyway, back to the studio. I have a second piece for my Twelve by Twelve group about done. If all goes well, I'll finish the background quilting tonight after we go out to dinner.

And, navigate over to the Twelve by Twelve Project blog to see the latest theme. The word for this theme was 'Chaos'- I managed to get mine done early enough that I was the first poster. I came onboard midway of this group, and will try to do a piece for the themes that have already been completed. They are all supposed to be displayed as a group at this year's Home Machine Quilting show in Salt Lake.

Here's hoping that 2010 is a good year for you and yours!