20 Mar

Figure Friday

Figure Drawing 3.15

I decided to draw our tall thin model on tall thin paper last Thursday. It was great for the standing poses and the right amount of challenging for the seated ones. I finally captured her face in the far right drawing but had to completely start over on the body so as not to drag down my small success. It’s definitely unfinished, but I like it. The Drawing Session was bittersweet. It looks like this model, who has brought so much great energy to my efforts of late, is moving to greener pastures. I wish her well — even though a part of me hopes she comes back so I can draw more kitchen superheroes!


30 Jan

Figure Friday

This week’s drawing session was only OK. The model was great, but my drawings were meh. But that’s OK, because what I’d much rather share is stitched versions of drawings from the last year or so.

I’m starting with drawings like this one and scanning or tracing them at the size I’d like to make my stitched art.

Kitchen Superhero.sm


First, I used the copies as templates to stitch onto canvas, adding some background fabrics as I went. I worked up three because I didn’t really know where I was going with these and I wanted to let them talk to me as I progressed.


Sassy Housewives WIP1

I added some more fabrics, now using the stitched figures as my guide and paying much closer attention to the placement of motifs, and thinking about how I’d proceed with hand and machine stitching.

Sassy Housewives WIP2

This one spoke to me first. I like the way she dangles the jug, so I decided to focus on it by “coloring” it in with embroidery floss. I continued stitching sketchy highlights using my original drawing as a reference.

Nice Jug WIP1

Blech, the hand stitching was too heavy and it detracted from the jug. So I cut it all out.

Nice Jug WIP2

I stitched highlights and shadows again, this time with my sewing machine. I like it much better. But the nipples are too dark. It could use a little more hand stitching too.

Nice Jug WIP3


When I was satisfied, I dampened the work and stretched it around a canvas. Once dry, I think she looks quite nice. I finished her just in time to hopefully be included in the annual Figure Drawing: Theme and Variation show at McGuffey Art Center along with a Jilted Lover drawing and a few more from our weekly drawing sessions.

Nice Jug sm

Nice Jug, 2015, 11″x 14″ by Kristin La Flamme


Nice Jug det web

Nice Jug (detail), 2015, 11″x 14″ by Kristin La Flamme


27 Jan

Stitchy Stitchy

Have you seen the Feb/March 2015 issue of Quilting Arts?


QA Stitch2


Jane Davila has written an informative article on ways to use seed stitch. It’s, in my biased opinion, beautifully illustrated! My Army Wife: Home Fires apron graces both the contents page and the first page of the article. I absolutely love the detail photo showing off my multi-colored and dense stitches. They are a lovely counterpoint to the more spare use of the stitch by Natalya Aikens, Deborah Boschert, and Gerrie Congdon highlighted on the next pages. I also need to say that I am so tickled the four artists chosen to show off this versatile stitch are also my close friends, mentors, and much respected peers. I hope we can share pages and galleries for years to come.

QA Stitch1

16 Jan

Figure Friday

Have I posted these two ladies yet? Let’s assume not. I’m going to call this post Backs, Two Ways.

I’ve been working with oil pastels just for curiosity’s sake. Sometimes the results are OK, like the first drawing.



And sometimes I can do much better. I can’t ever predict what kind of day I’m going to have though, and I haven’t figured out at what point in the process things go either right or wrong when they do go one way or the other. Obviously, this means I need to do more drawings! Perhaps an actual class would be a good idea. I also want to stitch figures, so I may go off in that direction instead.


03 Jul

Stencil Blog Hop

Lynn Krawczyk is at it again. In addition to her day job, she keeps Smudged Textiles Studio humming along, has written a book, created a line of stencils, and has at least one other project up her sleeve. I’m not sure how she does it all, but I’m glad she does!

Today is about the stencils. Introducing “Marked” by Lynn Krawczyk, Artistcellar’s newest signature series artist. The pocket sized stencils come as a set and include Tracks, Commas, X’s, and O’s. They are pretty easy to identify. The small scale makes them easy to use and appropriate for many sized projects. I decided to use these simple shapes in concert with my figure drawings as it’s often nice to have some color and pattern on the page before drawing.

I used Xs on the bottom of this page (previously washed with color).


It made a nice nest for a seated figure.


I liked the look of the Xs on the previous page, so I added them to this drawing after the fact. There’s no rules about when to add patterning. Sometimes a drawing needs a little something extra and stencils are a great way to add a little pattern or texture.


I layered the Xs in several colors on this page. I’m using gouache because it’s matte surface takes the charcoal pencil I like to use and other drawing media well. I apply the paint with a Spouncer (thanks to my friend Deborah for introducing me to these deceptively humble little tools).


I drew on top of the stenciling and then added a wash of contrasting color to highlight some of the shapes, plus a few more Xs for good measure.


Using just a portion of the Tracks stencil (one track with a white pen and another with a watercolor pencil) makes a nice border for this drawing. I masked out the drawing when I painted the gold Xs to give the drawing more depth.


More Tracks as borders.


Tracks again — this time using the stencil with a pen rather than paint. These are sturdy stencils, perfect for spraying, daubing, swirling, drawing, and probably pretty much any way you can think of utilizing them.



I used watercolor pencils with the Os stencil for this nude. A brush loaded with plain water turns the outlined Os into watercolor washes. Some Os I just filled in with pencil and left it at that, some I used with water.


I think this one is my favorite. Stenciled Commas, drawing on top, a wash of aqua, and Os outlined with a white pen.

If I have one complaint, it is that the stencils aren’t repeats. I can’t paint and are and then move the stencil adjacent and have the pattern continue seamlessly. It’s a small thing, but I think it would be nice for future designs.

Like with Lynn’s book, I have the opportunity to give away one set of Marked stencils to a lucky winner who leaves a comment on this blog by 7 July. What would you make with Lynn’s stencils? Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog hop too:

June 28th – Lisa Cousineau
June 29th – Melanie Testa
June 30th – Lisa Chin
July 1st – Jen Osborn
July 2nd – Belinda Spiwack
July 3rd – Kristin LaFlamme You are here!
July 4th – Ingrid Dijkers
July 5th – Guadalupe Cabal
July 6th – Lynn Krawczyk

27 Jun

Figure Drawing

As I was writing a post for a blog hop featuring Lynn Krawczyk’s new stencils (come back on the 3rd for that!), I realized that I had not posted any figure drawings in a while. I’m still going to drawing group almost every week and still enjoying every minute. Our fearless leaders have added a new model to the mix who looks like a greek statue and poses with a hula hoop — it doesn’t get much better than that!

SO, here’s a few drawings for fun — and there will be more next week in conjunction with the blog hop. Then it will go quiet here for a few weeks while we’re on vacation. Yay!

Figure Drawing 6/14

Figure Drawing 6/14






19 Jan

Life Drawing

I haven’t posted anything from Life Drawing group in a while. I still attend almost weekly, and I still really enjoy it. Here’s my longer drawing from two weeks ago:

1/10/14 Figure drawing

Half the session is quick warm up drawings, and half the session is one or two longer poses so we can work things out a bit better.

Next month, McGuffey will be having an exhibit of drawings from anyone who participates regularly in any of the three drawing sessions available! It doesn’t matter if the artists are members or not. I’m excited about the show because I think that MAC is awesome for having not just one, but THREE drawing sessions, so that anyone can work it into their schedule, and that the sessions are open to everyone at all ranges of ability.

So, I tore all my most “finished” drawings from my sketchpads to see what I had to contribute. Here’s about a year of longer poses on my kitchen floor:

Some of the better ones

It’s going to be a good show!

19 Nov

Quilting Follow-Up

I’ve been too busy quilting to sit down and blog. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t wasted a bunch of time checking Facebook and Instagram on my phone, but we’ll just gloss over that, ‘K? Anyway, I finished the quilting on my second practice quilt today. I say practice because it’s been a while since I’ve done a bunch of machine quilting and I wanted to get back in the groove before delving on a large art quilt that I’d really like to do a great job on. My practice quilts were a lap quilt made from two Jelly Rolls I had originally intended for a 1700 quilt but lost interest on and recently made into a plus pattern, and a quilt made with scrappy bricks that’s one of four stash busting projects.

Plus Quilt

Plus Quilt

I finished the Plus Quilt. I did the best I could, The front looks just fine, and I will ignore all the problems on the back (of which there are many). Washing the quilt and throwing it in the dryer did wonders — the old timey wrinkliness hides a lot of the puckers. I was already familiar with the tips suggested about taking out stitches and easing the fabric before stitching again, and I had been gently pulling/easing to keep things pucker free. However, there’s only so much of that to be done. Long time readers may remember the Amish Drag Racing in the Southwest diagonal quilting debacle here.

Amish Drag Racing in the Southwest quilt

I fixed that quilt by adding a big black border and squaring that up, but I really wanted to not distort my next quilt rather than fix it post-distort. I’ve also run into distortion problems with circles.

Charming Puddles quilt

If I were to do circles again, I’d definitely spray baste in addition to the pins. My next quilt will have lots of straight lines though, so I might just go with more pins. Some suggested thread basting, which would probably be good for quilting when using a walking foot, but I know from experience that I don’t like free-motion quilting with thread basting. Even when I’m paying attention I catch too many of those big stitches on my presser foot and am forced to stop and often unstitch.

scrap bricks

Speaking of free motion, the brick quilt called for a little bit of straight lines and a whole bunch of free motion. Quilting went much better on this one. I noticed on the Plus Quilt that I had more pucker problems in the areas where the backing fabric was a thinner eighties calico. I also remember reading in one of Ruth McDowell’s books that she uses upholstery weight fabric for her wall quilts. So, Sue’s comment to starch the backing fabric made sense. I had already done the straight line stitching on the quilt, but I unpinned the rest, starched the backing, ironed it, and re-basted the quilt with more pins. No Puckers! I don’t know if it’s because of the starched back, or the free-motion quilting, but it’s so much better than the Plus Quilt. I will definitely continue to starch the back of quilts that can be washed, especially if those backs are pieced with an assortment of fabric qualities.


On the other hand, I did have issues with skipped stitches. I’ve had skipped stitches before with an unruly fabric. I was using the BSR stitch regulator on my machine (which I have had issues with before). Because I was stitching on crazy scrap blocks, I was thinking that the skipped stitches were the problem of some thick seams and bad fabrics (especially since I was consistently having problems on specific fabrics with tight weaves or painted surfaces). I still think that this is part of the problem, but not all of it. Although I kept cleaning out my bobbin area, and I changed needles three times I got to the point where I was having waaaaaay too many skipped stitches to want to keep stopping, removing the stitches, and re-stitching. On a last ditch effort, I took off the stitch regulator, since I was done with the weighty center section anyway. Wouldn’t you know it, things went a lot better. Next time I take my machine in for service I’ll have them check this out, Maybe my machinee is old enough that I can get a replacement part without breaking the bank.

The next quilt will have a heavy or starched back, possible spray baste, lots of pins, slow speed, new needle(s), lots of support, grippy gloves, and potentially no stitch regulator. So there it is, two weeks, two quilts quilted. Lots of problem solving, and lots of muscle memory stored. Good thing I do push ups regularly too — my shoulders aren’t sore at all.