Right here in my happy little hands is my copy of Portrait Revolution, US edition. I hardly know where to begin in describing this amazingly fabulous book. I have already read it cover to cover, every word, every name and caption, smiled at all the familiar faces and noted how many I didn't know, marveled at all the talent and vision, and tried to soak up as much of the information as I could. And I will certainly be reading it again and again. Yes, i bought it because two of my drawings are in it (and surprise! a little one of me by Janet Burns), but even if they weren't I think I would still love it. It is very well put together in a engaging manner, full of inspiration, tips and techniques, and so many beautiful images in every imaginable style by incredible artists all around the world. Everyone who is interested in portraiture and figurative art should buy this book. Seriously, BUY THIS BOOK.
Today I finally placed my order for the new book - Portrait Revolution - about the JKPP phenomenon, which contains two of my drawings. Even though it's still in pre-order status, I say "finally" because it's been available for pre-order for quite a while, has had a write-up in an art publication, and a few group members have advance copies already. So there has been a lot of excitement buzzing around about the book over the past couple months and I feel like I'm a bit behind.
Even if my drawings weren't in the book I would still buy it. The JKPP group has been such a huge influence on my growth as an artist. It has introduced me to many spectacular artists around the world, with a vast array of artistic styles, and led me to study portraiture (which I've been interested in since high school) more seriously. I would buy the book just for inspiration and as a memento. Having my work included in it is a very exciting added bonus, which is incredibly validating and humbling at the same time.
I ordered both the US and UK editions, which should arrive within a couple weeks. I can't wait!
In the mean time, here is a link to the review (it’s a jpeg, but you can zoom in to read):
May 17 issue of UK magazine Artists & Illustrators (supposed to also be available in the US.)
Ordering information for both the US and UK editions for the book: Portrait Revolution
Because, this. And this isn't all of them. Just all that I could fit in one picture without suspending myself from the ceiling to get a better shot.
A select few will go on the walls of my house, somewhere, hopefully soon. The rest, I will try one more time to sell at this year's Art on Nepessing Street Art Fair (and will probably add a few new ones just to try to keep it "fresh"), and the rest .... I dunno, maybe paint over them in time?
Speaking of adding a few new ones - what should I paint? Mandalas, landscapes, florals, animals? I like everything, that's a huge part of the problem! What has the best chance to sell?
In the mean time - more bag making. We've started calling my basement sewing area the "sweat shop." But it's really kind of fun, except for the pain in my right hand getting considerably worse. I just slap on a pain patch and put a brace over it and away I go. Maybe I can sell these? If not, I will end up quite the bag lady. That art-quilt-thingie is still in progress too, working on it every once in a while when there's still feeling left in my hands after time in the sweat shop. Which is where I'm headed now.
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!