25 February 2012

Blue Fields

I was tired after work yesterday - as usual - but I wanted to feel some paint flowing over brush before I turned in for the evening. In 1995 I took an aerial photograph of fields in Louisville, Kentucky and this was the inspiration for this little watercolor. Just being able to produce a small bit of art made my day complete.

Some 'Perfect Pearls' enhanced the 'fingernails' and small dots of Ranger "Stickles" added a bit 'o' bling to a few selected areas.

21 February 2012

'Flow' Is On

"Lime" ATC for Arts In The Cards swap
I think I'm in the flow and it is a wonderful, energizing, place to be. I haven't been there for awhile but I sure am enjoying it and hope it will last awhile. Some of you may know that I am a member of a gifted group of artistic women who swap ATCs based on a theme each month. Arts In The Cards has been a real inspiration for me for the past couple of years and I continue to learn a lot from these amazing women

I've been on a roll with watercolors lately. The properties of watercolors enchant me and I am having a great time playing with their capabilities (and my own!) - seeing what they can do on a variety of substrates.
9" X 11" "Journal Quilt Sized" - watercolors and inks on tussah silk.
Our ATC group recently started an adjunct journey called Arts In The Cards Revisioned.  This is to encourage us to use the textiles we love - since we are all quilters in the bone I think!  We have very few rules other than to use cloth and, at the moment, to use a regular 'journal quilt' sized format. We tossed around the idea of using squares - or using either rectangles or square - but for the moment we'll all work in a standard size. The 'ReVisioned' part comes into play because we are revisiting, rethinking, renewing, re-birthing or otherwise reconnecting with a thought, image, technique or theme that we think deserves more attention.
Close up
For me the choice was easy because I want to continue to work within 'boundaries' and work with watercolors and silks. Watercolors have captured my creative imagination more than most any other medium I can think of and silks are magic to me. I've been coloring them as scarves for some time and just want to continue enjoying the softness and sheen that they offer.  I'm having a blast learning about watercolors an silks. They are both magical and their capabilities (and mine!) are being stretched. 

For my first "ReVisioned" project I began with tussah silk for the substrate - stabilized with Sulky Heat-Away. I sectioned the cloth, painted the sections with watercolors and began to draw and doodle - using words for inspiration. It was a process of experimentation to find which pens worked the best. I auditioned Pigma Microns, Koh-I-Noor Rapidograhs, Sharpies, Identi-Pens and more to find which pen bled the least and gave the darkest color. The result surprised me. It was a Bic Z4+ needle point 0.5 nibbed pen. Who would have thought?!
Close Up
I used a variety of watercolors (and brands of watercolors) from tubes, pans, sticks and pencils. I used Perfect Pearls and glitter glue. Quilted Creations Crystal Coat Glaze and Sakura 3D Crystal Lacquer played a part as did Ranger's Enamel Accents. I had a ball experimenting with all kinds of things to get this project done.

Transparency in textiles first fired my imagination in Houston at Quilt Festival some years ago when I saw an exhibit of transparent silk textiles from Japan one year at Houston's Quilt Festival. The images have remained in my brain and I think I am finally ready to begin experimenting with my own versions of those lustrous creations. Therefore the backing of this piece is also a piece of tussah silk. The natural light cream color is so beautiful and shiny! Light shines through the layers nicely and it's giving me a point to begin my studies of watercolors and silks. I'm excited with the possibilities and pray that my creative muse will maintain my energy for some time to come.

I think I have actually found a combination of ingredients on which I want to focus some time and energy. Hooray for flow! Speaking of which I highly recommend the book "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  He explained this wonderful feeling so well!

Another close up

15 February 2012

Wordless Wednesday

The sky and clouds have been amazing lately.... makes going to and coming from.... work so very worthwhile!

13 February 2012

A Good Reason To NOT Throw A Magazine Away Too Quickly!

I often toss magazines quickly - especially if I have not, at first glance, seen anything that tickles my fancy. This cover is from the Holiday 2011 issue of Knit Simple Magazine. In my initial "flip through" nothing caught my eye but, rather than toss it away as I generally do, I stuck in a magazine pile. Last weekend as I sorted the magazines to either keep or 'round file'  I noticed Vicki Howell's cowl on the cover. Not quite my color or style but it intrigued me. I had some beautiful Madeline Tosh Merino in colorway Byzantine (worsted weight) in my stash - enough to try this pattern withing spending any additional money right away.
This pattern is knit carrying two strands on the needles throughout the pattern. Using size 11 needles felt ungainly to my hands since I've been using lace weight yarns recently. I love cables and, although this is a simple cable, it really is an effective design element. The pattern knit up quickly, looks great and surely keeps my tender neck (short hair!) warm.  Yes, another is already on my needles.
The most difficult thing was finding buttons to use! These are from my vintage stash and look fine - and are a good color match. Unfortunately they are also a bit too small - so I'm keeping my eyes peeled for more suitable sized buttons.

The Madeline Tosh yarn is luxurious; soft and warm and lovely to work with. I'm glad I took another look at this magazine - and since I had let my subscription lapse - I just renewed it!
This is the quite to true the 'real' color of this beautiful yarn. Warm, rich, mellow reds.

06 February 2012


I just spent my days off playing catch up with projects that I have committed to. I enjoyed the time but the more commitments I have, the less time I have to spend on my own work - which is what I really feel I need to do.

One of the projects I worked on is a book swap. Each person chose a theme and prepared a book. Mine is the smallest - a Moleskine small watercolor book. My theme is 'typography'. I am amazed at what true works of art some of these books are. Amazing work - as I had never seen such books before - nor worked in any I should add. It's more than journaling - it's a themed topic in fantastical books. The flow of the exchange got jammed up, I guess, over the holidays. I have ended up with two books to work in all at once - plus the other swaps I normally do every month. I was feeling stressed over the things that should be relaxing for me - and I began to resent the stress ...  I hope that did not come out in the work I added to these books. I got things done this weekend though and feel an inner sigh of relief - I have one book to work in next weekend and the shipping flow should be easier.

Do you ever have a little tingle that crawls up your spine to your brain - signaling some sort of sea change is about to happen? That's the way I've been feeling lately. I'm not sure what it is or what it will mean but something is at work in my psyche.....and I feel like I have to allow it to happen. I think it has something to do with focus. I feel like a cat that is shedding it's un-needed winter coat - as though something is falling away and another thing is about to 'move in'. Odd I know - but there it is.

I find that I am spending more time with imagery - and am not sure where 'home' is for these wanderings of my eye. A new blog devoted to images? I feel like I am boring those of you who stop here for mixed media and textile art. My senses are also closing the circle again and bringing me back to textile art and also to the magic of watercolors. Knitting will remain my evening focus - but I feel like my obsessions are re-arranging themselves.... my need to focus on fewer things is strong. I wonder where it will take me - if any thing does change!

And - on a bit of a rant....... I am getting so tired of places and people who offer something as a give-away, prize or service but make it conditional on doing a series of things. Like - first leave a comment here and then 'like' my FaceBook page and then to do this or that.  I totally get the idea - it's most likely in marketing 101 (I never said I was a good self promoter!). Of course I can choose to not take part - which is what I do - but these little 'have tos' all add up to additional stress and I wonder why we allow that to happen. Isn't it good enough that we like someone's work enough to read their blog or FB page? Why all of the going hither and tither to add to the 'stats'? Okay that's my rant and I'm sticking to it !

That's about it from this end of the wonderful, wacky world - more soon. I need to decide where my imagery will be 'housed'!  Have a great week everyone. We have a cold sunny day here - and for me it's household chores day - so I better get cracking and stop procrastinating!

01 February 2012

Kat Sloma's Photo Heart Connection January 2012

Roche Harbor Road, San Juan Island, Washington
Kat Sloma, artist and photographer had an idea in January - and it's a very good one!

The idea: At the end of each month, review the images you worked with in that month for the one that gives you the strongest connection to your heart and soul. Write about that connection to the image in a blog post or in a photo description on Flickr, then link into the monthly link up. You can get to know the other photographers seeking the same connection, by visiting the links and reading their experiences. We will find our kindred spirits.

This is one of my favorite images from January. It was taken during one of our increasingly scarce snow falls - I had been scheduled for some days off during the storm and this was the first day I had to get back to work. I love the semi-artistic quality that I infused into the image - it reminds me of the stark, cold beauty of snow falls and how the sky seems large and seriously grey while the bareness of the trees and bushes can give a burst of color here and there in an otherwise white landscape

Morning Glory

As I was driving to work this morning I was struck by how beautifully the sun was reflecting on the low lying fog that was clinging to the valley floors. It was, truly, morning glory & the scene was a wonderful way to begin my day!