31 Jan

I’m In

Following up on this post, I am happy to announce that my extra effort in presenting my work at the McGuffey Art Center paid off. I have been accepted as an Associate Member! I spoke with the Associate member liaison today and now have the necessary leads to get some pieces into the shop and to show some work too. I’m looking forward to meeting all the other artists too. So far everyone I have met has not only been quite talented, but also open and friendly too. I have lots to learn from this community and I am so looking forward to it.

27 Jan

Self Portrait Sunday

I really would like to be posting about something other than these self portraits, but I can’t seem to get much of anything else done, or find blog fodder in anything. I did go see the Dale Chihuly show in Richmond yesterday and it was wonderful, but my photos don’t do the work justice. I also spent two back to back weekends with art friends which were great chat about life and art, networking, and general involvement in the (somewhat) local community, but again, no photos, and I don’t really know what I could say other than I had a great time. Maybe a little quiet time at home will coax some words out this week.

Last we saw the self portraits, I was feeling the need to take the cutout filter out of Photoshop and put it in my own hands.

365:38 is just cut paper. My daughter was impressed that it looked like me.

Of course, that leads to the next step which is, “what would it look like layered with something more linear in Photoshop?” I used a couple of filters to reduce a photo to black and white lines and shapes and layered it, with some fun dot brushes to take the collage one step further. Not great, but a good exercise.

The next two days were consumed with adding an embroidered female figure to my Absence II quilt before photographing it on Friday. Luckily, the female figure is me, so 365:40 and 41 are self inherently self portraits and didn’t require me to fit any extra work into the day. I feel like I’m cheating with all these photos enhanced with the cutout filter, but I am really enamored with it. You never know what it’s going to come up with. I adore the “flowers” and red stitches in 365:40.

Trying out the canvas texture on 365:041. Garbage in, Garbage out.

Speaking of garbage, 365:42 can go straight to the bin. I forgot to bring any drawing implements or a decent sketchbook, so I ended up using my fat fountain pen on a hotel notepad while in NC. I was a hero that afternoon for having an ice scraper to share, so I drew that too. Along with a blind contour drawing, it’s all ugly. But at least I did something.

A little redemption last night. I was thinking about a sketchbook page I had done using lace as a stencil, and wondered what it would look like if I used my hair as a stencil… I kind of love it a lot.

21 Jan

Self-Portrait Sunday (on holiday schedule)

Since we had a four day weekend, Sunday was really more like a Saturday, which allows Monday to be more like a Sunday, and since it was Inauguration day, then it’s OK that this post is at the end of the day. But let’s not wait longer, there would be portrait overload.

So, back to last week, since I hadn’t actually done my Sunday portrait before the post.

365:29 Sunday was all about the knitting. I explored the subtle differences between the watercolor and paint daub filters in Photoshop. This one is paint daub.

I spent a good amount of time at my sewing machine on this day, so 365:30 is me at my machine a la the Photoshop cutout filter.

365:31 is watercolor with a 1″ square brush over a previously painted background. I DID NOT like it when I started, but as I continued it grew on me.

Back to actual drawing for 365:032. I do most of my portraits looking into this little round mirror (more on that later).

I was thinking about how to draw like I stitch and decided to make 365:33 like some of the straight stitch areas I enjoy.

I got un updated version of Photoshop so now I’m learning more about layers and transparencies. This was an experiment with an earlier pen drawing and a colorful page from one of my sketchbooks, which looked even more awesome after applying the cutout filter.

There is no portrait 365:35 since I spent the weekend with my friend Deborah.

I did 365:36 at her house though. The guest bedroom has an almost full length mirror. I drew my body from the neck down for the first time! The face is all messed up though — one of the risks of using just a fountain pen!

And finally, last night’s portrait, back home with my kitty. I can’t seem to get enough of the cutout filter either. I think I’ll go BE the filter right now and try a portrait with real papers!

14 Jan

The Army Wife at Beyond Comfort

Three of my Army Wife aprons, Home Fires, Hanging by a Thread, and Issues Public and Private, will be on view at the Butler Institute of American Art as part of SAQA’s exhibit, Beyond Comfort. I posted previously that the show was to start today, however, the opening has been delayed a week, to open on January 21, 2013. Eileen, the curator notes:

“The quilts are hung, and look great, but the signage is not finished. Meanwhile, the museum staff will allow in visitors who made the trip especially to see our show – as happened a few times today, already.”

So, if anyone plans to be in the Youngstown area from now until March 10th, please take yourself on an artist date and see the show!

13 Jan

Self Portrait Sunday

This might be the answer — a regular post with all the week’s portraits.

Last we shared, I had used my fountain pen in my Wreck This Journal book. Carrying forward, I used the same pen (this time sketching first in pencil) in my handmade sketchbook. As there was already paint on the page, I added some more, allowing the wetness to affect the ink drawing too. I need to work more with my watercolors to get more comfortable with them.

The next few days were lazy ones for me. I kept forgetting to set aside time to draw, so my default is to play with photographed portraits in Photoshop. Right now, layering and erasing parts to allow things to show through is my focus. This is a desaturated photo paired with a photo of a baking sheet. It has a nostalgic look to me.

More experimentation with layers, this time using one of my previous drawings. The look is not what I had in mind, so I may revisit it soon.

I spent most of the day sitting in front of my sewing machine, so it seemed natural to use teh machine’s point of view. Then I got to wondering how it would “see.” Would it have eyes like a fly? It would probably see me in stitches, but Photoshop doesn’t have a “stitch” filter. Maybe the next portrait needs to be a stitched one, but that will probably take more than the time I allot for each one.

09 Jan

Applying for Membership

We’re talking artist dates this month at The Sketchbook Challenge. My post is about the weekly life drawing group I attend, but there are other ideas as well, including ideas on how to get comfortable drawing in public.

On the personal front, I am applying to become an Associate member at the art center in town. It appears to be a well rounded organization housed in an old school. The classrooms are now artist studios, plus they have a small gift shop and a gallery which shows members’ work on a monthly basis. Members also offer classes, and there are three life drawing sessions that meet each week for a very reasonable drop-in fee. Overall I find the work to be high quality, and the artists to be friendly and supportive. I would like to be able to count myself amongst their ranks.

To become a Studio or Associate member, one must submit a resume, artist statement, and four to six works completed in the last three years. While all of these requirements were easy to fulfill, I learned some things about my work while determining which pieces to include.

I knew I wanted to focus on my Army Wife series because that is what excites me right now, but my small rooted house pieces are more appropriate for the gift shop so I thought it would be nice to include them as well. I could have pulled together a body of work based on my rooted houses and traditional quilts, but I didn’t think it would have as much impact as The Army Wife series. Besides, most of the house pieces are over three years old anyway.

I see my Army Wife quilts and aprons as one continuum, so in my mind if I am still working on the series then all the work is relatively new, right? Wrong of course. I’ve been working so slowly on this project that many of the pieces are now more than three years old. So, unfortunately, some of the pieces which would have made bridges or told a particular story are ineligible. War Sucks was out and so was Aquifer. Then there’s the work of selecting pieces which work cohesively. I would have loved to include The Other Woman, but not only does it require a bit of installation that was impractical at this point, it has a completely different color scheme. I auditioned several of my Twelve by Twelve pieces, but their story lines were muddled because of their provenance. My Maps piece worked well with The Other Woman, but they looked too aesthetically different from the aprons and large quilts I wanted to include. A Soldier Emerges didn’t add anything new to the grouping in terms of technique or visuals and Twelve Months is too old.

What did I ultimately choose? Apparently, I’ve only made two large art quilts in the past three years: Medallion for an Army Family, and Absence II. I thought I had been more productive than that (back to that timelessness continuum). I wanted to include these because quilting is the basis of my artwork. The Torn From The Roots apron was a definite because it references my rooted work and plays nicely with the two large quilts. I would have loved to include the Home Fires apron, but it is still on tour with SAQA’s Beyond Comfort show. I considered the War Sucks apron, now updated with a red slash instead of actual words, but chose instead to show other media and include Be Strong (felted and embroidered) and Unravelling (knit from uniform undershirts).

One of the art center members suggested that I include my life drawing sketchbooks to show that I have the traditional drawing skills as well and that I already utilize the art center’s offerings. Because I felt I had a cohesive grouping of fiber art, I included two sketchbooks instead of a sixth piece of finished art.

The procedure is to drop off one’s application and artwork on a designated day. There is a classroom holding area for all the applicants’ work. The lucky painter who was at the center the same time as I was, left his framed stack of work on a table — easy for the committee to pick up and look through. My work, on the other hand, does not invite viewing when left in a folded stack. I asked if I could hang work on the walls and set up my mannequin. The organizer said yes. I could even move things around in the classroom if I needed. I asked if I could make my own little gallery show in there and she said yes. Armed with my nifty new backdrop stand, mannequin, hammer and nails, and a chair nabbed from the room, I carved out a corner for my work. Now I wait two weeks for the committee to decide which applicants to admit this year. An Associate member who I know from drawing group responded very well to my work already. Since I don’t want a studio space, I feel pretty confident that I’ll be accepted.

I do need to get busy though and transform all those half finished ideas in my head and studio into real work because finishing two or three pieces a year just isn’t enough.

07 Jan

More Portraits

I’m not sure if I should be posting my (mostly) daily portraits each day, or if it’s better to save them up for a once a week-ish post. Naturally, I don’t love them all and there are many I’d rather keep under wraps to save myself embarrassment. But, that’s not the point of this exercise. The point is to try things, and to actually take a hard look at myself and my skills, along with establishing a schedule of regular drawing and creativity.

I now have each portrait posted individually in my Flickr set, so it would be easy to just post them here the same way. I may try that for a while.


This is the same photo as #14, the swirly one, but I’ve used the “cutout” filter in photoshop. I love this filter! It makes everything look cool. One of these days I’m going to just go straight to colored paper with my scissors and try to be this filter myself.


See, totally cool. I added some leaves with a paintbrush before using the filter which brought in some nice accent color.


We spent two days in Washington DC which did not leave me with any time to draw, so once again, I’m relying on photos. Unfortunately, garbage in almost always means garbage out and even my favorite cutout filter couldn’t save this crappy photo taken in the Metro. It does honor our day in the nation’s capitol though and for that I’m OK with it.


Inspired by a poster I saw at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, I recorded descriptive words of my New Year’s day. Though I started the day feeling horribly hungover, I recovered pretty fast and the kids and I had a wonderful afternoon.


The next day was all about the fabulous but fabulously painful shoes I bought and wore to a reception at hubby’s work. I experimented with layers and a texture photo in Photoshop, but I think it looks pretty amateur (which is what I am, so I don’t know why I’m surprised). There’s no where to go but up from here.

365:20 and 21

Oops, I skipped a day and had to do two portraits on one day. Perfect opportunity to compare dominant and non-dominant hands. I moved the mirror from one side to the other to further the effect. Darn it’s hard to draw with my left hand! It might be fun to do this again with a big brush or something else kinda clumsy.




Skipped a day again. My daughter and I both got the book, “Wreck This Journal,” so I decided to use a page for yesterday’s portrait. I used my fat fountain pen and did not do a pencil sketch beforehand, so some placements are off. I think I’m getting better with the no-going-back-and-adjusting pen. It was fun incorporating the facing page and it’s directive too.


Since it was a two portrait day, the second one started with a photo. I used the Photoshop eraser to soften the edges, and then applied the watercolor filter. It’s not as great as the cutout one, but I like it just fine.


I like the accountability of posting all the portraits to my blog, but is it terribly boring for readers? Should that matter? Is a once a week synopsis better? Less repetitive?

05 Jan

New Year, New Plans

In previous years, I’ve compiled a list or mosaic of projects completed, but I don’t feel like doing that this year. I know I have not made as much quilt art as I have ideas, but I haven’t been a complete slacker either. 2012 was a good year, with a lot going on outside of my creative endeavors. It was the first year in a very long time that my husband was home for every holiday and significant event. We said aloha to Hawaii and moved across the country to Virginia, taking a month-long road trip to do it. And we all are settling nicely in our new city. 2012 was a year of thinking about where I want to go with my art, and how it fits into a bigger picture. I’ve realized that primarily quilt shows are not the best light for my work, and that I don’t have the inclination to promote myself in the fabric design, pattern, or craft blog arena. The studio art world appears to be more my speed. I took an online class which exposed me to new media and ways of working, which has been an inspiration. And, I have committed to a weekly life drawing group that is a good part of my entrĂ©e into 2013.

So, what to I hope for in this new year?

On my birthday I started making a daily self portrait, which I will continue doing until December 2013. I hope this will engender at least some self reflection, create a bridge between how I see myself in my head and how I look in the mirror, and give me an excuse to practice drawing and other media.

At the beginning of the new Mayan cycle (the day after the end of the world in American interpretation) I decided to start my own record of time. Each day, as early as I can get to it, I write what I hope to accomplish. Throughout the day, I list what I actually do. Some times they match up well, some times they don’t. We’ve had house guests the last week so my tasks have been pretty easy — mostly sight seeing. What I have found so far is that by writing down what I’d like to do I can actually take account of what is has the most potential, rather than just having the hazy idea that I’d like to get to something on my large, amorphous, to-do list. What I need to be wary of is avoiding putting things on the list in the first place. I think it will be interesting to see what this project looks like at the end of the year (specifically December 22nd).

I will definitely continue attending the life drawing sessions. In addition to that, I’m applying to become an Associate member at the Art Center. I’ll blog about that later as it was an interesting experience putting together the work to show.

Three of my The Army Wife aprons are still traveling with SAQA’s Beyond Comfort exhibit. The last show will be at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, OH from January 13th (that’s next week!) until March 10, 2013.

The Other Woman has been included in the textile show Down to Sleep in the spring. This is still in the early phases, so I’ll share more later.

I’ve found (or maybe they found me) a lovely group of local textile artists called Fiber Transformed who I hope to spend more time with in 2013 sharing critiques and mutual support.

I’ve also been invited to join 8 That Create, an evolving group of fiber artists who also encourage and support each other and show together. I’m sure there will be more on that as things coalesce.

I post bout once a month now on the Sketchbook Challenge blog as a way to share my enthusiasm for drawing and keeping sketchbooks and to keep me on task actually using them!

I’m no longer participating in the Twelve by Twelve challenges, although work I have already completed will continue to show with the rest of the group. I consider all of the ladies dear friends who have shared a wonderful adventure which we will always carry with us. I just needed to focus on creating my own body of work without the distraction of divergent themes. It is my hope that the new groups I’m associated with will center around the artists’ established voices rather than an imposed structure. My fingers are crossed that my own vanity won’t bite me in the ass too hard!

2012 ended with much possibility and 2013 is keeping the momentum up so far. I’m excited to see where this all leads.