29 May

Figure Friday

I was starting to feel a little twitchy because I hadn’t been to a life drawing session in a few weeks. It really is restorative “me” time. I never realize just how much so until I don’t go for a while.

Figure drawing 5.28a

 

 

Since it had been a while, I got out the larger paper and tools today. Big, loose, gestural stuff to get back in the groove. I can’t say the drawings are fantastic, but they felt good and that’s all that matters.

Figure drawing 5.28b

 

I had been thinking about erasing old drawings that aren’t that good and re-using the paper. I figured that could work for the oil pastels too — why not? For the long pose I drew over two previous pastels and then filled it in with more oil pastel. It was hard to stay on track with what was old and what was new, but I’m kind of digging it. I’ll be trying this again.Figure drawing 5.28

25 May

Quilt National ’15

First off, nothing beats seeing your own work on display. It always looks better at a venue than it does stuffed somewhere in the studio. Context helps too. Needless to say, seeing any artwork in person is better than online or in a book. That’s not always practical, but it is so worth it when possible.

QN 1

 

Second,  the whole weekend series of events around Quilt National was fun. Like going to the IQF quilt show in Houston, there’s inspirational work to see, but much of the adventure is about meeting one’s peers and connecting over shared experiences and insightful conversations. Quilt National is the premier show for contemporary art quilts, and much more than the basically traditional IQF, or QuiltCon shows, this is my element. Gallery type shows like this, Art Quilt Elements, Visions, and the like are where my work fits best, and where I can connect with peers who approach to their work in a mindset similar to my own (that’s not to say any group is exclusive or monolithic).

QN 2

It’s great to see old friends and acquaintances and to make new ones. I made the trip with my good friends Lorie McCown, who had work in the show too, and Jill Kertulla who was just plain curious about this art quilt world she’s recently entered. I love seeing Betty Busby everywhere I go. Her smiling face and welcoming attitude is just a joy. And now I can add Maria Shell amongst others to my growing list of inspiring ladies I know. And yes, there was a lot of laughter and silliness with these ladies and more.

QN 3

Here’s Juror Rosalie Dace talking to Betty about the scale of Betty’s fantastic vessel. That may really be what the weekend was about: three days of talking to each other about all aspects of our art. So so so fun and interesting and fulfilling.

QN 4

In addition to the small group chats that happen organically  at the meal table, and with a glass of wine by the pool, or on a walk between the Barn and the hotel, each artist attending had the opportunity to talk more formally about their specific piece. These two minute recordings will soon be available to view via the Dairy Barn website. My photo of Deidre Adams was unflattering so yo only get to see teeny tiny Deidre on the camera. Her work is one of those that must be seen in person to be fully appreciated.

QN 5a

Here’s Inge Hüber’s work two ways. What often gets lost in photos is that the colors shift as you view it from different angles.

QN 5b

 

Diane Nuñez’s dimensional work grew when installed because the lighting adds wonderful patterns to the floor.

QN 6

 

I only took photos with my phone, and didn’t even spend much time at that, really wanting to soak up the people while I could. Rather than share crappy photos of peoples’ beautiful work, I’ll just show a few details that caught my eye and suggest that those interested can seek out better images via each artist.

 

QN 8

The splatters and thin lines of Sandra Poteet’s “Open Spaces” intrigued me.

 

QN 7

The lovely drawing and spare stitches in Kate Gorman’s “A Keeper of Secrets and Parakeets” reminds me of the delicate illustration style that is popular in other arenas.

 

QN 9

“Femoral Fracture: A Fall” by Helen Geglio was full of lovely hand stitched detail, as is my friend Lorie’s work “The Story Quilt.” We decided the two pieces must be cousins.

 

QN 10

Pam RuBert’s “London – Wish You Were Hair” included a fun surprise.

Overall, I thought the show was of consistent and high quality. The jurors gave a talk on Saturday and were unanimous in stating that they picked the best work from what was presented, without regard to ratios, themes, or trends. Just art that had good visual impact and something that made you want to come back and learn more. With that I’m heading back to my regular life, but now with my creative tank full, and hopefully ready to contemplate and then create more worthy art.

25 May

‘Murica

I am proud to say that ‘Murica, from my Security Blanket series, is part of Quilt National ’15, the nineteenth international juried competition for new, innovative quilts, and that I can now share it publicly!

Murica horiz web

The flag is made up of many guns appliquéd from used clothing and other household textiles, and then outlined in a variety of hand embroidered stitches commonly used on crazy quilts.

Murica_detail

I think it’s pretty self explanatory. For me, it essentially represents America’s obsession with guns, and specifically the craziness of the human toll it takes in the name of safety. Hopefully it’s open enough that others are able to infuse some of their own interpretations as well. I hope it’s a conversation starter.

This quilt and many others in a variety of aesthetic approaches and subject matter can be seen in the cloth from May 23rd – September 7th, 2015 at The Dairy Barn Arts Center, and then in smaller traveling groups for the next two years.

19 May

The Gloaming

My wonderful circle of friends and I will be exhibiting together in June for the first time! I won’t be able to attend the reception, but I highly encourage anyone in the NY area to go. We created work based on the evocative colors of the gloaming, and it should be wonderful!

The Gloaming is a presentation of contemporary art, inspired by the magical time betwixt day and night, eliciting myriad transitions. The art is manifested in fiber-based media, from cloth to paper and plastic, in sizes large and small.

The five artists in this group show hail from across the United States. They initially came to know one another through artist groups on the internet; later, more personal conversations ensued and friendships were born. This is the group’s first collaborative exhibition though individually, each artist has shown work in juried art exhibitions and been published.

Gloaming Flyer web
18 May

Goals

Never satisfied with where I’m at artistically, I like to set some goals every now and then to keep me accountable in one way or another. I usually do this at the beginning of the year when the mood is in the air, but we’re moving from Virginia to Oregon in the next few months and that seems like a good time to make a plan so I don’t lose my way.

When we moved to Virginia, I decided that was the time to find a life drawing group and refresh some art school basic skills. I also made the decision to connect to a general art community rather than a quilt guild community. It worked out wonderfully, and now I’m looking forward to continuing that lesson in our move to Oregon.

I will definitely seek to continue with regular life drawing sessions. I am also going to try to find a community like the one I found in McGuffey Art Center in Charlottesville. I’m not sure if that will be a co-op gallery, or an extension of the drawing sessions, or an informal gather of like-minded people, but I will look for something. And I want to up the ante as well. One of the ways many artists support their work is via grants for projects and education. Now is the time for me to put on my big girl panties and do the planning and the writing to seek these opportunities. I don’t foresee ever being the kind of artist that can break even with sales alone, nor am I one for much schtick or marketing, so I think grants are a good pursuit. I also need to stop waiting for invitations to exhibit, and again, make those kind of opportunities myself by writing proposals and searching out venues. It’s not half as fun as just going in the studio and making art, but it’s what I’m going to need to do if I want to move beyond this as a hobby. And, I think I spend far too much time and effort on my work to get away with categorizing it as a hobby.

So, here’s to our first house, what should be our last move for a good long time, a new beginning in Portland, and a solid set of goals for when I get there!

16 May

And So It Begins

We have officially bought our first house. Unfortunately, I won’t move in until nearly August, as the kids need to finish the school year and I have some east coast commitments. But, Team Decorate/Renovate is already on the job! (see my inspirations on this previous post.) Let the house transformation posts begin!

Facebook friends were introduced to the house with our entryway. There’s a real commitment to wallpaper in the whole house. Note the racing stripe on the door, wallpaper on the molding, on the baseboards — and even on the heater!

Entry before

 

There’s even wallpaper between the ceiling joists in the basement work/storage room!

Storage before

Team Deco/Reno made quick work of it though.

Entry removal

That said, they tell me real work doesn’t happen without coffee, their union rep insists they can’t work past 6pm, and they charge by the layer not the wall.

Layers

Luckily for us though, they are amenable to payment in tacos. And they do a great job!

BR Removal

 

Meanwhile, I found the perfect sink in Alabama via eBay and it has arrived safe and sound. I am inexplicably excited about this sink.

The sink

 

I’m doing what I can from afar — looking at materials and sketching possibilities for the sad downstairs bathroom. I realized the quartz or recycled glass countertop I loved was more expensive than I thought — boo. Then I did some calculations and realized that bathroom counters are pretty small. Yay! Also, my tile aspirations are quite modest. Now to decide if I want contrasting tile color on the floor of the shower, and if I want it on the bathroom walls or not (there’s a mysterious panel that may actually be important access to plumbing which may determine the extent of tiling). At sometime there will be a trip to the Re-Store to see what we can find in an interesting cabinet. Not sure if that will happen in person or via text. :-)

Downstairs bath reno sketch

 

08 May

Figure Friday

Caryatids

 

Robert, who hosts our weekly figure drawing sessions in his studio, thought we were drawing caryatids this week. As far as I’m concerned, these are more Femmes and they are carrying moving boxes. Thanks also to fellow draw-er Michael who gave me the Oregon map to draw on!

05 May

Quilting

I sat down to quilt this morning and realized that in the last few weeks I have used all three main methods of quilting.

 

Hand Quilt

Currently, my evening knitting has been supplanted by hand quilting on a scrappy, somewhat traditional quilt in the works. I’m using a heavy-ish thread and big stitches for a rustic look. I’m even using my big PVC quilting frame! It all feels so old school, but appropriate for this particular piece.

 

 

Longarm Quilt

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve also been renting time at a sort of local long arm quilting machine shop. I warmed up on some scrappy quilts, but my main purpose is to test out options for a custom quilt idea I have. I’ve decided that what I like best about the long arm machines are the “channel lock” option and the digitally guided designs — these are both things that I just can’t do on my domestic machine and they give a completely different look than what I can do at home.

 

 

Machine Quilt 2

And then there’s the quilting I can do at home on my domestic machine. Sometimes it’s frustrating to cram a big quilt into the machine, but it’s always there, ready when I am, and at no cost other than my original purchase of the machine. I can do free motion, I can choose straight(ish) lines. I can quilt quilts, or I can stitch up Kitchen Superheroes. I can use a wide variety of threads.

There is a time and a place for all types of quilting. In the last month I’ve worked on all the projects shown here, varied as they are. I am glad that I have taken the time over the years to become at least a little proficient at all these approaches, as it allows me to choose the appropriate one for whatever my project is.