New Work: Old but New Textile

Just recently I realized that:

1. I have not been blogging, and

2. Despite the name of my blog, I haven’t really written about or shown any of my textiles.

Good thing I finally finished two projects that I have been working on for quite some time.

Here is one of the two:

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This is a textile that I started when I was living in Bangladesh and really was kind of clueless when putting the base layer together. Each of the fabrics were hand dyed by me using some clamp and stitch resists. Most of the fabrics are over dyed to create more texture and richer colors. At the time of construction, my only quilting experience was with the log cabin quilt. Luckily I wanted to construct with squares and rectangles. The goal was to create a birdseye view of a neighborhood map. I really love the structure of city and neighborhood maps and thought I would attempt to create one here. Then I did some stitch in the ditch to quilt it. Then I moved to another country and the quilt fell asleep until I drug it out about a month ago.

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Here is a detail of what I added. I used silk organza that I hand dyed to create the people and the buildings and stitched them on with this great cream-colored button thread. At first I was going to continue layering rectangles with the organza, however that seemed to predictable and boring…so I thought I would continue with the idea of the map and use generic people to create a crowd that seemed to be marching to the city. I wanted the people and the buildings to be transparent, to give the idea that they were either emerging from the map, being sucked into the map, or perhaps hovering…my thoughts on that change regularly.

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Anyway, there are times when I look at it that I know exactly what it means, and then…no clue, which is OK by me. Too much explaining leads to very little original thought by the viewer. I am happy to have completed it. I am happy to be back sharing with you. I would love to hear your thoughts about this old but new piece. I’ll share the other one with you real soon!

Take care and thanks for reading.

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Ouch! My Fingers Hurt….New Work

I cringe as I type, two fingers on my right hand are sore, callused, and permanently molded to hold my X-Acto knife.

I am excited to say that I just finished my largest and most complicated papercut to date.  It’s filled patterns, swirls, and nature….all things I love.  It evolved quite a bit in the process, such as making the tree top bigger and adding more patterns in large open spaces. (see below):

I was inspired by many ideas for this piece, but mostly my future and moving forward to a new phase of life.  In a few short weeks I will be relocating back to Asheville, NC to focus more on the creative aspect of my life and to start to build a new community.  I am excited and anxious, but mostly I just cannot wait to get started.  I think the imagery in the piece can speak for itself, and if it’s not obvious, that’s OK, you can make up your own stories, that’s the beauty of art.

Here are some more pictures of the work as it progressed:

These are my tools…check out those teeny tiny scissors….I love them and they give my fingers a nice break.

Here is the final piece.  I have a few decisions yet to make on the work such as:

1. Do I want to keep it on white paper?

2. Do I want to give the paper a coffee wash?

3. Do I want a different color for each section of the work? i.e. light blue for the sky or green for the hills.

For now I will leave it on this off white paper.  In a couple of days it will get packed up with my other stuff and put on a boat headed for the US.  I’ll revisit the questions above in a couple of month when I see it again with fresh eyes.  In the meantime, feel free to give me your opinions.

Take care and thanks for reading!

New Work On Wood

I got excited the other day about my recent finds at my neighborhood thrift store…wood plaques.  You see I have been thinking about mounting some of my works on wood to solve the framing issues involved with works on paper and perhaps more appealing to those that want to purchase them.  So I was overjoyed to find something that I could reuse, that was solid, and came in varying sizes.

SO…………I started my first piece, which was pretty fun to make, although it was a bit on the smallish side for me……

Anyway, I learned a whole lot in this process such as:

1. Even though a pen says it is permanent, it is better to test it out…meh

2. Make sure the hole in the back of the plaque is correct with the orientation of the work…duh

3. If you are going to seal your work with varnish, don’t use water-color to paint with, use ink…damn

So I completed it just a bit ago.  It’s not my most favorite piece (I feel like it is a bit too cute…yes?  No??), but it did teach me the lessons above and a few more things.    Anyway, I am excited to try again, this time on a larger format.

Oh, I almost forgot, here’s the work:

Take care and thanks for reading!

 

New Work: Blobs and a Tutorial

The best part of a long weekend is when you wake up on Saturday and realize…IT”S SATURDAY!

It has been a lovely weekend, I have been productive art-wise.  Cutting out circle skirts in some funky new fabric.

I started a ginormous paper cut and did these funny blobby ink drawings that turned into little mixed media portraits.

The ink blob drawings are really fun, require little time, and are a great thing to do when you get stuck creatively.  They don’t require much at all…

1. Multiple  pieces of heavy weight water-color paper (after you make one, you’ll want to make more)

2. Eye dropper

3. India ink

4. Paper towel or toilet paper

5. Water colors, colored pencils, collage stuff…anything you might want to use to add to the blob drawing after it’s dry.

Step 1:  Get a piece of paper and load up your eye dropper with ink.

Step 2: Put the tip of the dropper on your paper and gently squeeze the bulb as you begin to draw what ever is in your imagination or from a reference.


*Work quickly and don’t try to capture everything…you should be drawing 1-2 minutes tops.

*I had to refill mine a couple of times because my dropper was a bit small…

Step 3:  Lie the paper towel or toilet paper flat over your drawing.  Watch the ink get soaked up (it looks a little scary but don’t worry) and quickly remove it.  Admire your work 🙂

  

Step 4: Go have an ice cream (it is a long weekend) and let your drawings dry.

My favorite 🙂

Step 5: Admire your work again and start adding the fun stuff.

I added torn paper, candy wrappers, water color, these rub off thingys….go for it!  They are really fun.  I can’t wait to do these with my students, my friends.  They would make great cards or a quick handmade gift.  They’re supposed to be quirky and goofy…not all art has to be beautiful, but it should be fun to make.

Here’s two of mine finished:

Bird

Portrait of Everyday-ness

If you make some of these beautiful blobby drawings, send me a picture, I would love to see them.

Now back to my paper cut, which I’ll show you real soon.

Take care and thanks for reading!!

New Work: Mixed Media Canvases

This past week I have been working with my students on small experimental pieces that incorporate text into their work.  The idea is for them to build up a surface before they begin putting imagery on the canvas so they get some exposure to different materials.  There is no prescribed way of working, it’s all about looking to see what happens when certain materials are combined.  It’s really fun to watch them test ideas out and to try out new things.  We made up a motto for the week: “If you don’t like it, cover it.”  I like this motto because it teaches them to be resourceful and that really there are no mistakes when you’re creating art. Some students have 5 or 6 layers of all sorts of stuff on their canvases and they have become thick, rich, and interesting.

Here are the two that I made.  Next week when my students have finished I will post some of their works and attempt my first tutorial of how to build up a surface.

 

 

These canvases are 8×8 inches and layered with a bit of everything, paper, acrylic paint, book pages, thread, graphite, water colors…there’s a lot on there….I just love mixed media!

Happy Wednesday!  We have a long weekend…YAY…which means lots of art…double YAY!

Take care and thanks for reading.

 

 

New Work: A Portrait of Today

I have had this drawing in my head for some time now, and it wasn’t until just recently that I got the composition worked out just the way I wanted it.

The idea for this work came from a series of doodles I had done using the crow and camera characters.  Thinking of those characters I tried to pair them with some other people they might be likely to hang out with…TV guy and Deer guy…logical right?  Along with being good pals, these guys also represent different aspects/characteristics of our society.  I am not going to share with you what they mean to me, but let you decide how to interpret them and this drawing.  The city street is a nod to West Asheville, the place I’ll be moving to in a short time.  It was and I guess still is, a working class neighborhood.  It’s not the most beautiful section of Asheville and it does have its moments of pretentiousness but it also carries good does of reality now and again, and I like that.

Process:

I first started by staining the water-color paper with some coffee.  I painted it over a few times and just let it be, I like the random bleed marks that I woke up to the next morning.  Then I drew the characters and the city.  I decided that it needed some color and decided to paint the city street with water-color and darken the sidewalk a bit with water-color too.  The characters are untouched and are the original color of the coffee stained paper.  I like how there is some balance created with the more detailed but colorless drawing vs. the water-color city street.

As I was drawing, I decided that these cats would gel well with Eugene and Lucille, and I got real excited about including them in the story in the graphic novel/altered book idea I have.

As always, take care, thanks for reading and thanks for your comments.  Happy Friday!

New Work: …I need help with a title.

Well, as you may remember I mentioned in my last post that I actually finished an artwork.  Motivated by my recent need to get organized gave me the energy to complete a work I was struggling with.  I wrote about beginning the draing below in an earlier post that you can revisit here.  It is my first illustration type work and I started it with the idea that it could be the basis for a children’s book…maybe.

I have a couple of things to fix, but overall I am pretty pleased with it.  It’s quite large, 50 x 70 cm (sorry I am in Euro land now so I gotta stick with the measurements I know :), and size of it is what made finishing it difficult.  Let me tell you a secret…I got bored…yes, I said it BORED!  That does not usually happen when I work on something unless it is knitting or sewing (the repetative nature of both).  But man oh man, those bricks!  All that freaking cobblestone made me a bit cray-zee.  So note to self, when I work on the other pieces that belong with this story, make them a wee bit smaller if they involve cobble stone or any repetitive object again.

Another issue I am having is figuring out a title.  Right now I refer to it as Girl with Birds…..zzzZZZzzzZ….boring and it does not say anything about the story.  The idea behind the work is escape.  The little girl is trying to entice the birds to help her escape her reality.  I just can’t seem to put the right words together to create an interesting and thought-provoking title taht is not a sentance long.  SO I am hoping that some one that reads this post might come up with a clever idea and if you do, you can have this drawing…ha ha, just kidding, but I’ll think of something to reward the fact that you are a faboulus Wordy!

I hope you have a great day!  Thanks for reading and take care!

New Work: “Wondering What We Are Made Of”

I started this piece the night I found some dear friends had lost their child as a way to connect to them when I could not be there physically.  I began rather spontaneously, thinking about him and what he would’ve been like when he was older, what he would see and experience.  I wondered what he was seeing now, how he saw the world.  I used his curiosities as inspiration and my own wonder of what we are made of to create this piece.

I used a Chinese newspaper and shopping receipts to cover cardboard and then covered it with a watercolor and graphite wash.  After that the papers started to curl and come off, I liked the effect so I decided to leave it.  The drawings are done in graphite.  Here are some details:

With all the positives and negatives happening in the world and in my immediate environment, I am often left in wonder, longing for a simple life, similar to the one I had as a kid, where really the only worry was where I was going to explore next.  Thanks for reading and take care.

New Work: Mixed Media

This morning I completed a new mixed media work based on one of my previous characters that has shown up in my doodles and in my other mixed media work.

He and his cat showed up during one of professional development days.  Like many people, I listen much better when I can draw at the same time.

Anyway….

I started my mixed media piece by covering some card with paper from the yellow pages and then covered it with this cool wall paint that I found that is a little bit chalky.  I like using telephone paper because of its texture and the way it soaks up paint. After the white paint dried I scratched some of it off and then started putting down thin layers of water-color.

Once I was happy with the surface I drew the boy and his cat using my favorite pen the Staedtler pigment liner (I love these pens!!).  At school we get newspapers to use for whatever purpose and as I was getting some out, I came across these lingerie ads that looked very pop arty and thought one of them would look good on the drawing with the boy.  So I made a tape transfer of it (in another post I’ll explain that process).  I continued with another transfer, the airplane, a light drawing of the blimp, and added some other bits and pieces.  In the end this is what I came up with…

I wanted to create an awkward scene of this boy and his thoughts.  I liked the plainness of the woman and the airplane.  I liked his cat and the possible link that could be made to the woman.  I thought back to a time in my 5th grade language arts class when were learning to use dictionaries.  The teacher asked these boys what they were looking up because they were giggling so much…”Sex,” they said.  Her reaction was: “What would your parents say if I told them that?”  So this is about innocence and how far away we are today from those simple innocent situations that we once experienced.

Take care and thank you for reading!