Sunday, December 30, 2012

Winter daze

I have spent the last three days with Leonard Cohen in the background, quarter inch seams and colours that make my heart sing.  Three winter days.  It doesn't get much better.
Lots more to do.
I'll be back...

Friday, December 28, 2012

More for the Jane Davies class

I have prepared three pieces for Jane's class taking one of my earlier pieces as inspiration.
This is the one I started off with.  I took some of the various bits and pieces, the vocabulary, and used those pieces to create three new pieces.  Each of these is 3 1/2 inches by 22 inches.  These were each so much fun to do!!  I so want to try this 'vocabulary' in stitch.
I am playing with another set of three based on one of my other pics.  I'll show you that one in a bit.....
Back later...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Starting to stitch more pears.

I have sewn the pears onto the fabric and have started to do a bit of stitching onto the piece as well.  It makes for a lovely quiet evening activity and if the fire is on then the cat is generally pretty content to lay by the fire where it's warm.  No competition for knee space that way!!
This is quite similar to the pear quilt that I prepared earlier but I have used a different version of the pears this time.  I had some extra fabric that I had previously dyed and printed with soy wax so I thought I'd do another version.  The extra practice is great and I learn something new every time!
The Christmas festivities are over and there is nothing but quiet space before me for a few days.  Lovely.
I'll be back.....

Friday, December 21, 2012

Landscape compositions

I've prepared a couple of acrylic landscapes for the Jane Davies class Extreme Composition.  They are for the last lesson (I made it!!! late, but I made it...) and are part of a warm-up exercise.  I actually quite like doing these and so was happy to have the excuse to prepare a couple more.  I've used the same materials for each iteration.  These are possibly too representational to be called 'abstract' but they are what I felt like doing.
This first one is 8 x 10.  On each of these I prepared a collaged background that I painted with neutral colours....
 Then I put on the pieces to represent the landscape, using a different horizon line each time.  This second piece is 8 x 8.  I haven't worked in a square format before, so this was kind of fun!
(hmmmm....clearly I'm losing it....I believe the first one is 8 x 8 and the second 8 x 10.  And the size of my brain?... questionable...)
And finally I added more paint to try and bring the pieces all together. (This last piece is 8 x 12.) I've done another and have one more to work on tomorrow.  I'll post them when I'm done... so...
I'll be back.....

Monday, December 17, 2012

Golden GAC 900 versus Jacquard fabric paints

I am working on a new piece.  Pears again.  Second in the series.  Yesterday I painted the pears using Jacquard fabric paints.  I'm not displeased with the results at all.  I heat set the piece last night and was ready to go ahead and apply it to the background when I thought 'why not try the GAC 900, which is the Golden version of a fabric painting medium'.  The idea is that you mix the medium in a one to one ratio with Golden acrylic colour, gels or mediums.  I found it to be very runny.  Also I hate to waste paint.  So I gave this a try:  instead of mixing each colour with the medium, I painted the medium, straight from the bottle, onto my fabric.    I got it quite wet.  I then painted the acrylic paint, straight from the jar, onto the fabric.  I used Golden fluid acrylics.  At first I didn't like how it went on because there were lots of hard lines (hard lines, but remember that the fabric was wet).  I was worried I wouldn't be able to mix the colours satisfactorily or get rid of the hard lines.  But in the end, I don't think it turned out too badly at all!
The fabric paints are on the left and the piece using the acrylic paints plus the fabric medium is on the right.  There is a tendency for the colour to run a bit, since the whole thing is wet all at once, but that didn't seem to be too much of a problem as I went on.   I was pleased I was able to get so much definition in the leaf on the right, for instance.  I also mixed transparent and opaque paints (yellow ochre and quinacridone nickel azo gold, for example); I think that worked out all right.  It is also worth noting that I am not planning on wearing this so the final hand of the fabric wasn't an issue.  In fact, I imagine I could have simply used the acrylic paints on the fabric without the fabric medium, since I'm not wearing it, but I wanted to experiment a bit with the medium.  I still have to press it....and the fabric medium 'releases formaldehyde upon pressing'.  OK, I don't like the sound of that.  And it's winter and stormy beyond words so I won't go outside to press it, but I think I'll press it in my laundry room with the door open.  And then not breathe for 5 minutes....shouldn't be a problem!

Anyway, I'll let you know which one I decide to use on the finished piece.

As an aside, whilst painting the pears, I placed them on top of a sheet of paper from my sketchbook.  A nice  bonus, I got this rather abstract piece from where the paint went through the fabric onto the paper.  I like it too!
It's fun playing around with all these things.
What's next.?....I'll be back...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Extreme Composition with Jane Davies

This is the third small piece I did for one of the lessons with Jane Davies.  I like it this way, but also flipped upside down.  I think I'd like to try one of these three (I'm favouring the magenta one at this point) in felt and fibre on the needle felting machine.  Maybe over the holidays.  What am I thinking, I'm's always a holiday!!!  Maybe soon.....but then I'm still working on the last two lessons, so we'll see.  At any rate,
I'll be back....

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Stockings, and more with Jane Davies

I completed the two little stockings for the two little grandsons.  I happened to have some fabric that I had dyed a couple of months ago and so used it for the stockings.  I scanned a picture from a favourite bedtime book (thought it would be all right since it's to be given as a gift, in terms of copyrights) and the other pic is of my cat since my grandson thinks she is pretty special.  I printed both pics out onto fabric and then applied them to the stockings....not terribly exciting, but terribly simple!!!

These next pics are from the Jane Davies class Extreme Composition.  They were fun to do.  I keep thinking about how I can apply these designs to fabric using various surface design techniques.  It will happen at some point I am sure.

Hmmmm, I did a third one.  I guess I haven't processed it yet.
I'll be back.....

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Jane Davies' Extreme Composition class

I'm making my way through the lessons for this class.  I started really late but Jane has been kind enough to keep the class open for those of us that are struggling and straggling along at the end.  There are 6 lessons for the class and they each build on the previous lesson.  It is a well organized class and well structured.  I am out of my comfort zone but as I creep up on each new lesson they definitely seem do-able.  Here are some pics from the fourth lesson.
 We have learned quite a lot of different ways to make marks....
and to connect the various bits and pieces.....
And while I can't say I'm doing it all correctly (what is THAT anyway?), I am having fun.  I think that's important as well!!!  Jane gives great feedback on every post and there is tons to be learned from reading the feedback on other classmates' work, not just my own.  I am constantly thinking of ways to apply what I'm learning to my own work, most especially to my stitched pieces.  I am taking another class with Jane in the new year as well as a couple of on-line class that are more textile related with Dionne Swift.  I can't wait to see where it is all going.  And you'll see too!
I'll be back...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pen and Watersoluble Inks

I am really enjoying the watercolour class I am taking at the moment.  Last night we worked with watersoluble inks and fine (very fine) nibbed pens.  It was such a lot of fun and our instructor kindly gave me one of her very wonderful generous.  I really like the way you can go back into the drawing and wet out and then move around the inks.  I'll definitely be doing more of these.  These are my first attempts ever (no pencil first, scary is that!) so they are a bit simple, but such fun.
 In this first one the ink bottle is totally wonky, but who cares!!! I was also playing around with drawing some lychee nuts (? are they nuts) and some primroses.  And no, that's not a worm, I was just playing around with wetting out the ink!!
 These were some ivy leaves that were available for drawing as well.  I added some watercolour to the leaf on the left but I think I prefer to just wet out the ink.  I have to get this colour for's olive lovely for this exercise
I finished the Christmas stockings I was working on.  I'll load the pictures from my camera and show you next time.
I'll be back....

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Space Between and more bits and pieces

I have worked some more on this small hanging.  I am calling it 'The Space Between' for a number of reasons.  I have put a bit of red in the binding, handstitched some more red into the binding and then added this bit of red to two of the daisies just to move the colour across the piece.  I like it!!
 I am carrying on with my watercolour class.  This morning I played with capturing this calla lily with watercolours.  Learning, learning.  It is a more wet-in-wet style than I am used to trying so it's baby steps!!  My life is a series of baby steps just now!!  But that's least I'm stepping!!
More work on another runner....I just love these colours.  So fresh.
And now I have to go and do a bit of work on the Jane Davies' Extreme Composition class I'm in.  Jane has generously left the class open until the end of the year so even though I started really (really) late, I am hopeful I can finish in time. This piece was one of four working in a grid using disparate elements (and more, that I won't go's worth taking the class, any of Jane's classes...see link the risk of repeating myself, Jane is a talented and generous teacher.)

But I'm also working on a couple of Christmas stockings for the wee ones using some of my hand-dyed fabrics.  Not sure if the design in my head will work in real life, but I'm going to mess about with that this afternoon as well. This one is becoming something of a priority.
I love it that I have so many projects on the go. It makes me crazy that I have so many projects on the go. Basically I'm a cheery nutcase.  That works!
I'll be back....

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Another watercolour pear picture

I have done another picture of my pears using my watercolours again.  And I have managed to re-size the picture without too much hassle but with several hours of messing about with photoshop elements.  OK, at one point I was ready to throw in the towel but I think I am understanding the process a bit better now.  Note to self: write down the steps, write down the steps.....

And I am getting better at mixing colours that I like with my palette.  That's the most fun.  I know that I still have so very far to go but so far I am really loving the journey!!!

I'll be back.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Watercolour pears.

Well, I have resized the above pic and have posted it.  I suppose that means that I will have to resize EVERY picture I want to post.  Such a nuisance.  And I'm still not sure what to do about purchasing more storage space.  I'd be thrilled if you could tell me your experiences with this....don't be shy!!

Anyway, the above is a watercolour I did of some pears that I shot (not literally, they weren't THAT bad!) on my kitchen table.  Believe me, no pears were injured in the photographing of these images!!!  Honestly, can you picture that.....mad woman shoots innocent pears....

I am also happy to be playing with my watercolours again.  So many things to do!!!  I am experimenting with using just transparent watercolours.  I really love them.

Well, that's it for today.  I'm sort of wrecked from all of this hi-tech computer fuss.  I mean, really, ...
Nonetheless, I'll be back.... (I think!)

Is this the end???

Wow, blogger has said that I am out of storage space.  Picasa web picture file??? What is this?  How do I dump photos in this storage space? Apparently if I dump them from my picasa storage space they are also removed from my hard drive.  And then Blogger says I can have more space IF I purchase it, on a monthly payment basis.  What's up with that??

Have you had any experience with this?  What do I do??

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fun working in a group

Yesterday I spent the morning monoprinting with some friends.   Laura (above) got a beautifully clear picture of some birds and then got a lovely ghost print as well.
 Eileen managed the same magic with a leaf image.  We found that the retarder gel gave us a longer working time.  I am wondering if the Golden Open Acrylics would have the same effect.  I haven't tried them yet.
 Miriam used Jacquard Lumiere paints to get these two lovely images.  Printing onto coloured fabric was very successful.
 Brenda printed this sweet little tree image onto some fancy paper.
Dale experimented with textures on the print plate and pulled off this beautiful image.
Yvonne was working with cave images and also managed to get some great texture on her image as well.  It does have a sort of cave-wall feel to it, doesn't it?

And here, working in a group as well, are some lovely pumpkins sitting together amongst the feverfew.  This shot was taken last month but I just loaded it onto my computer today.  It was at the end of a lovely long stretch of sunny weather.  A treat to look at now as I am listening to the rain on the skylight above my head.   The sunny image and the pelting rain make a rather disorienting juxtaposition!!
I hope your day is filled with many pleasant things.
I'll be back....

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Jane Davies' classes: Two more pieces

 Here are two more pieces from the Jane Davies' Extreme Composition class.  I am having quite a lot of fun working my way through the lessons and am preparing to begin lesson 3.  It is fun to be working with acrylics again and Jane offers lots of great ideas for moving forward with the various techniques.  (She also suggested that I make the line on the left hand side a bit more prominent and I believe she is right.  But I was impatient to try something with cropping the image and I haven't re-worked the line yet:  I scanned these two pics and I think I have learned how to crop them so that not too much of the scanner bed is showing.  It is what I wanted to do.  Old tricks....maybe it can happen!!!  Now I'll tackle that line...)
Tomorrow I am doing a workshop on monoprinting.  Pictures to follow!!!
I'll be back....

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jane Davies' class Extreme Composition

I am finally posting some work to Jane Davies' class called Extreme Composition.  I am late (nothing new, sigh) but at least I am getting to it!!! These two pics are from the beginning of the second lesson and we were to work with shapes.

Jane really is a fabulous instructor with lots of wonderful ideas and insightful comments.  All the class members join a (closed) blog just for the class and post their work.  Other class members offer their comments and Jane comments on every posting as well.  I have always found the comments  from both Jane and the other class members to be extremely helpful.  I cannot recommend her classes enough!!  Check them out at  There is a link on her blog to her on-line classes.  (While you're at it, check out her new dvd as well.....also excellent.)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

More bits and pieces

 I am playing with some monoprinting, trying to figure out what paints to use.  I have been inspired totally by Angie Lewin's book (absolutely fabulous) and since I'm just using these for sampling I have traced some of her designs.  I think that's all right (copyright-wise) since they are for my own use and will just end up in the bin when I'm done.  Here I have used Golden Acrylic heavy body paints plus retarder as my ink.  The top image had a lot more ink on the plate (a sheet of plexiglas) but I kind of like the effect.  I went into it once it was dried with watercolour pencils and then went over that with a wet brush.  Kind of fun.  You can see a close-up below.  It's on rice paper.  The second piece was more successful as a print.  I like the 'noise' that the ink leaves on the paper as you draw into it on the plate.

 I have completed four runners (tis the season, you know) and am sort of glad to be done with them for a while.  All that 'stitch in the ditch' business is hard on the old eyes. 
This last pic (another monoprint) is taken from one of my photos that I shot last spring during our drive just east of Amsterdam.  I'm thinking of putting it on fabric.  More on that later.
Clearly I have more to do.  Lots more.
I'll be back....

Monday, November 5, 2012

Jane Davies' classes and More Bits and Pieces

I have been super busy trying to set up a new routine because I have committed myself to establishing some sort of 'studio time' every day.  I am also scrambling to catch up with the lessons for Jane Davies' Extreme Composition class (I am SO behind).  And in doing so, I am bumping up against my demons once again.  Abstract work is way out of my comfort zone but I am wanting to push myself into new territory.....and I certainly seem to have done just that.  So in the meantime, I am spending time with the quarter-inch seam, a comfortable, known quantity.  And with the holiday season looming large, it sort of feels appropriate. 
Well, lots of quarter inch seams there!!

And a couple of my scanned abstracts that I did for the Jane Davies' class.  Need I say more??  But at least I am making myself do them, and that is my goal at the moment.  Hmmm, I accidentally spelled that 'gaol' which kind of says how I feel about the doing of them!! 
Oh my.  Back soon.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Building a Steamer for Dyed Fabrics, Part 2

We have finished constructing the steamer for me to use to complete the dyeing process when I am using my Procion dyes (and this will be good for silk dyeing as well).  This first picture shows the inner core.  I will wrap my dyed cloth in newsprint and then wrap it around this inner core.  The core is covered with cheesecloth and my guy was careful to cut off all the sharp bits of metal.  The cheesecloth is just further assurance that no scratchy bits will get in the way of the fabric, or my fingers!!  The outer tube is made of chimney stove pipe and the seams are covered with a metallic tape that I understand will be waterproof and will keep the steam in.  I'll set these two pieces, with the dyed fabric around the core, on top of the wire-covered spring-form pan into the canning kettle (see my last post) and add water to the kettle.  I'll cover the top with a towel and then the canning lid and set it all atop the heating element.  I'll be trying it out in a couple of days, so I'll report back at that time.
In the meantime, here are a few images of some watercolour pictures I have completed at the course I am taking at a nearby art school  The teacher has been gracious enough to let me use my own pen and ink style, the same one that I am using on fabric.  This way the class nicely complements what I am trying to achieve with my own designs.  I am very happy to have the drawing and painting instruction and I think it is going to be a fun class.  The teacher is a very talented watercolourist and her own botanical paintings are exquisite.  Check out some of her work at    

This last shot is out of order because I had originally set it to post as the second pic in this series but only half the image came up (I know how it feels!!) so here it is at the end of my post.  It shows the cheesecloth covered inner core of the steamer (sewn with a mattress needle that I found amongst some old needles that belonged to my mother) and the top of the stovepipe.  I'll report back when I've tried it all out.
Back soon.....

Friday, October 19, 2012

Building a Steamer for Dyed Fabrics

I haven't been doing much art lately so haven't had much to show you.  Sorry about that.

However, we have been building a steamer for my dyed fabrics using the directions from Jean Dunnewold and Lisa Kerpoe's bookon Vibrant Colour (I'll get the complete title for my next post).  I haven't had a chance to try it out yet but I can't wait.  The resulting colours are supposed to be much more vibrant.  Certainly, it will make the removal of the soy wax much easier and so much better for my drain pipes!!   You can see the various bits and pieces in the first shot and then the platform to raise the unit above the water in the second shot.  More pictures and more information for you next time.

 In the meantime, my guy is getting himself organized for his winter trip to warmer climes.  And I am getting organized to spend the winter devoting myself to various art endeavours.  I have started a watercolour class at one of our local art schools and am taking an on-line class with Lesley Riley (for which I will provide a link in the next post as well.....clearly I am not as organized as I had hoped!!)  I am trying to spend some time drawing every day and I want to do some painting every day as well.   I am babysitting quite a lot and we've been doing lots of walks. The rain has arrived at last and the fall season is upon us.  It is all very beautiful.

My guy leaves in a week and then I'll be back.  I promise!

Monday, October 1, 2012

(A) Little Chair Stitching

I have started stitching on the little chair quilt.  I have stitched the chair onto the piece and have begun the hand stitching.  It always seems to take such a long time to decide what I'm going to put where.  I have to look at the piece and consider what, where and how.  All part of the process I guess.  And I don't dislike the process at all.  But it does seem to have to come from deep down.

I wonder if that ever changes.

I'll be back.....