Update time. The art quilt thingy is coming along ... slowly, haltingly. I got the background done, with lots of little issues along the way, particularly the top thread shredding and breaking. Is it the needle? The thread? I changed both, and cleaned my machine, yet it still happened sporadically. I suspect my foundation fabric (an old percale sheet) may be a factor, and that I can't change. Very aggravating. But I got through it.
While I was working on the background, my husband and I were setting up my quilting machine frame for the first time in our new home. And for the first time, it is being set up at the full 12-ft. width instead of the smaller 6-ft. option. (It looks HUGE.) Unfortunately, one of the adjustable rubber feet had broken during the move which we didn't discover until we were setting it up. A new foot is now on order and will take about 2 weeks to come in; set up is on hold until then.
So back to the quilt. After finishing the background. I wanted to do the quilting before adding any embellishments, but now with having to wait for that foot, I didn't want to wait that long. So I started adding some of the ribbon in certain spots where it won't interfere with the quilting. Of course, this was preceded by trips to several craft stores because in spite of my vast stash, I just didn't have the right colors. Then today I worked on the flower, and finished it .... and then decided I don't like it. I tried telling myself it doesn't have to be a masterpiece, it's my first time trying something like this, blah blah. That's not working. I know I can do better. Tomorrow I will probably rip the flower all out and start over.
Part of me wishes I hadn't posted about this project with such optimism a week ago. The other part of me is glad I did because making it public is an incentive to keep plugging away. So here's the progress to date, minus the yukky flower. More to come. But it may take a while.
Well, I'm doing it. I started working on an art quilt! This will be my first piece based on one of my doodles from a few years ago, which is something I've wanted to do for quite a while and I'm really excited to finally be giving it a try!
After sketching out the design on a white piece of fabric with a marker. I started laying down the colored fabric and cutting out the shapes. The sketch will all be covered so the scribbles won't matter, and it also won't matter if I don't follow the lines exactly.
The shapes are being cut oversized to leave room for overlap. I am not using any fusible web and am turning under edges to be stitched down. The flower will be dimensional (satin perhaps?) and details will be added with ribbon, quilting, embroidery and beading. I will post the finished result no matter how it turns out - stay tuned!
So the portrait class that was supposed to start on Thursday was a bust. The one person who signed up for it indicated she'd be interested in private lessons, but after an initial connection I'm not sure if that's going anywhere. I will continue to practice portraits and refine my teaching ideas so we can try to offer the class again in a few months. There is interest in another Mandala class so I'll probably do another one of those in the spring as well.
In the mean time I'm going to shift my focus. There seems to be a daily battle between painting, drawing and sewing going on in my head - sort of a subconscious version of rock-paper-scissors - and sewing is winning more often than the others. Largely due to the sheer volume of fabric and other sewing supplies staring me in the face every time I go downstairs, which has more than doubled from my own ample stash since my mom's has been added to the mix, and feel like I need to DO SOMETHING with it besides look at it taking up space on the shelves. Plus, I have made more paintings than I know what do with and should probably figure that out before making more.
Since moving here I've already finished 2 quilt tops that were in progress from some time in the past which I rediscovered while unpacking, threw a 3rd one together, and am currently working on a 4th. My long-arm quilting machine / frame has not yet been reassembled since the move, which needs to get done SOON so I can start tackling the growing UFO (unfinished objects, for you non-quilters) pile. I still hope to veer toward more artsy-quilts/fiber art projects in the near future but won't feel right starting something new until I make a reasonable dent in that UFO pile.
So off to the basement to sew I go! For now. I know how fickle I can be with creative pursuits so this might not last long.
Bye bye 2016! And good riddance and don't let the door hit you on the way out - and all the other similarly appropriate cliches. Yes I am one of those people who had a lousy year and is more than ready for new beginnings.
My first full year of year of retirement, which was supposed to be a transition into a more creative life, was instead filled with death, near death, and other unpleasantries. Death: most close to me of course was my mother. And also her sister just a couple months later; and a cousin, a long-time family friend, a friend/mentor/former boss, and an uncle to round out the year. Unpleasantries included 2 major back surgeries for my husband just 10 months apart, with a chaotic house sale/purchase/move and consolidating 3 households worth of stuff (ours, mom's, and our former cabin up north) in between, and a few car troubles sprinkled in just for fun. Near death: my own. If I hadn't insisted to my doctor "we are missing something, I know there is something wrong", I would likely not be here typing this.
But here I am! And looking forward to a MUCH better year ahead. I have my creative workspace settled enough now that I'm actually able to work in it. So far that's mostly entailed sewing, but I've also been doing some drawing and have taken paint to canvas a couple times. And it feels great.
Right now I am gearing up to teach my first ever portrait class at Gallery 194 - starting in just 11 days! - gathering reference materials and supplies, and practicing. Part of that practice for me is doing more JKPP portraits; my 2016 output was pathetic compared to prior years - only 17 all year, with none at all from March through October. But I did manage to crank out a few I think turned out really well (a few others, not so much.)
Now before I get off line and go back to practing drawing faces, here's a compilation of my 2016 JKPP portraits.
Happy New Year!
So I went to Gallery 194 to pick up my art today after the close of the Merry and Bright holiday show. I parked along the side of the building and didn't notice the window displays until I was starting to pull away ... and then I promptly pulled back into my parking spot and got out of the car. One of the Court Street window boxes has a new display advertising upcoming new class offerings, and just happens to include blown up images of five of my pieces! - the three portrait paintings featured in the ad for my portrait drawing and painting class starting in January, plus two ink drawings in the upper right which I did during Mike Monville's Pen and Ink class a couple years ago. I was surprised! So of course I had to take a picture. There was no way to get a good quick shot and avoid the window glare but i think it shows up pretty well anyway. Thanks Jill, Katie Beth, and/or Amanda, whoever was responsible for this!
Almost a week after my first mandala class at Gallery 194 I am finally sharing photos! Due to a mystery technical malfunction I was not able to get the photos out of my phone until today. And even then, I ended up with greatly reduced file sizes. So I apologize for the poor image quality. But it's better thank nothing.
It ended up being a small class, only 3 participants, so it was quite a bit more tame than most "Uncorked" painting sessions. But artists left with completed paintings that they were happy with (two out of the three anyway - Pat I really hope you finish yours!) so I'll count it as a success. And I already have ideas on how to make it better next time. So hopefully after the holidays, probably after my portrait class, we'll do it again.
In the mean time, I need to get to the AT&T store and figure out what's going on with my phone.
The Lapeer County Press did it again - another very nice article about me, just a little over a year since the last one when I retired from my job. Ah the perks of living in a small town with a shortage of important news stories! Thank you Krystal Moralee for the nice write up and publicity for my classes.
In spite of all the life surprises 2016 has thrown at me, I am finally getting on track with something I've been wanting to do since I retired a little over a year ago: I am officially sticking my toes into the teaching pool. My first two classes through Gallery 194 have been scheduled!
The first, which is a week from tonight, is a 3-hour Imagination Uncorked session (you know, one of those wine & snacks paint parties that are so popular these days) on Mandala design and painting. I've taught/led this process in a couple different formats already so I feel pretty confident that it will be fun and productive.
The second one is a 5-week portrait drawing and painting class. While I've worked through a fairly detailed process and lesson plan in my head and on paper, this will be my first time trying to teach this topic to strangers. So I'm a little nervous about it. But It's not til January so I still have some time to work through my anxiety. The main thing I want people to get out of the class is that are many different ways of artistically depicting faces, and that it takes a lot of practice and experimenting to settle into one's own personal style.
The Lapeer Art Association's annual holiday exhibit, "Merry and Bright" is now on display at Gallery 194 through December 21st. I was told they have 18 guest artists in the exhibit this time, the most ever since they've been opening up their annual shows to non-members. I am happy to be among them once again. (Yeah yeah, one of these days I will join, really I will ... )
Anyway - here are a few pics of my pieces that are in the show. As always, there is a lot of really wonderful work made by local artists, many of which would make great Christmas gifts! Please stop in and check it out.
Some really good news came to me via email the other day. But I had to wait until it was publicly announced before I could say anything, and now I can. The infamous Julia Kay, founder of Julia Kay’s Portrait Party aka JKPP, sent me the following:
“The JKPP Book, 'Portrait Revolution' is finally finished, and gone to press! I'm happy to let you know that two of your portraits have been included. … Both the American and British editions of the book are expected to be available March, 2017. I'll post on flickr and facebook when we have more specific information. The book contains about 450 portraits from 200 members. … I think the book looks fabulous, and I hope when you see it, you'll be as pleased as I am! Thanks again for your participation, and for all your contributions to JKPP.”
Yay, I made the book! I knew some of my drawings were being considered, but also understood that due to space limitations, during the editing process it was possible that they could all be cut. But 2 made it! Can you tell I’m thrilled? These are the two drawings that will be in the book:
Here’s what Julia has to say about the book, including the full list of artists included: Julia's announcement
Look at that list! And all the countries represented! I am so amazed and honored and humbled to included among these talented artists from around the world. Thank you Julia!
The book is already available for pre-order on Amazon - very affordable! Check it out.
I wrote about this group's influence on me as an artist here; other JKPP-related posts can be found by clicking the link under "Categories."