Monday, November 3, 2014

Tuesday at Park Place Books hear authors/illustrators behind the scenes stories

Do you remember a book from your childhood vividly?  What book first caught your imagination?  For my generation, it was Dr. Seuss, especially The Lorax.  And Where the Wild Things Are.  Want to know what several local authors of children's illustrated books are publishing soon?  Join us at Park Place Books (348 Parkplace Center)  in Kirkland on Tuesday, Nov 4, at 7pm to hear these authors each give a 3 minute behind the scenes talk about their upcoming book.

The following authors and illustrators will present their new books:

Brianna Caplan Sayres, Carly Anne West, Dan Richards, Dana Sullivan, Dori Hillestad Butler, Justina Chen, Kevin Emerson, Laurie Ann Thompson, Lin Kaymer, Lois Brandt, Loralee Leavitt, Lorie Ann Grover, Nina Laden, Randall Platt, Royce Buckingham, Stacey Campbell, Suzanne Selfors, Tom Brenner and Toni Yuly

Disclaimer:  I am taking a class from Dana Sullivan right now.  And I am very happy with it and pleased to publicize this talk.  And use the picture of his latest book in this blog post.  You'll have to come to the talk to hear the story behind the book which is heartwarming and inspiring.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Now what? More lemonade...

My back surgery was in August 2013.  It's now October 2014 and the pain has started up again.  *sigh*  So, I am making some changes in what and how much I do to lower my physical stress.  This has meant moving out of my Georgetown studio so I can rest and heat my back as needed.  And this has been very sad for me, to leave the shared space and have to rethink my work.  But today, Lisa Call blogged about resetting life goals and feeling untethered.  Great timing!  What a good way to reframe what I'm going through right now.

I particularly liked this quote:   "Great big audacious dreams take time to germinate."

I will remember that when I feel like I'm floundering.

So, what lemonade am I making now?

I'm taking an excellent course on writing & illustrating children's books taught by Dana Sullivan at the Kirkland Arts Center.  Learning lots and pushing myself to broaden my ideas on art.

I'm expanding my accessories to more than scarves for the 2 gift shops I'm currently working with.  Inspired by the origami exhibit at BAM, I'm trying out some 3D fabric flowers.  Here's a pic of my first batch of tryouts.

And I'm doing a lot of thinking and germinating.

In between doctor appointments.

I hope to have some new goals by next spring.  And less back pain.  *cross fingers*

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Amazing origami exhibit at BAM ends Sept 21

My husband and I spent a couple of hours yesterday at the Bellevue Art Museum looking at the amazing origami exhibit.  This exhibit features work by over 40 international origami artists and takes the technique into amazingly advanced sculptural realms.  The last day is September 21 so if you were thinking of going, do it!  I include some photos of pieces that used techniques I am attempting in my experiments in my studio but there are other amazing pieces featured on the Bellevue Art Museum webpage in a very nice slideshow that makes clear the broad range of forms possible. And if you go, they are open 11-6 through the weekend.

The animal below caught my eye as I approached from the left and thought at first it was an armadillo.  I was particularly entranced as I am attempting to do a similar textural motif on a new accessory I am developing.

This silk dress was among the first things we saw coming out of the elevator and it definitely caught my eye.  Much more impressive in person as the reflected light from the silk blurs the lines of the folds somewhat.

I really want to make some of these out of silk.  I think they would be an amazing way to show off the colors of my hand dyed or marbled fabrics.

I also got a good idea of how striking a limited color palette can be with the textural forms above and the wall sculpture below.  More intriguing input for my ongoing experimentation!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Quick bolster cover with novelty sushi cats fabric

Yes, indeed, I said sushi cats fabric.  I've been ruminating about my direction as an artist while reorganizing my home studio.  So, I 've been finishing up some easy projects while letting my brain work on what to do next.

Hence, this quick bolster cover using the novelty fabric.  (Yes, I like novelty fabric.  Some of you will remember the Betty Boop motorcycle quilt I posted about here. )  The pillow is supposed to be 9" in diameter and 20" long.  I think they measured after it was wrapped and compressed a bit.

I am particularly amused by the goldfish being held in the chopsticks here in the closeup shot.

After I took the pillow out of the wrapper, I measured its circumference as 31. The piece of cat fabric I had was 20 inches wide and 40 some long so I cut it to 32 inches long on a pattern break so the ends matched up.  Then I cut a 9.5" circle out of the trim fabric for the closed end and a 12" wide strip for the open end.  I sewed the strip on the end and trimmed to it was the same length as the cat fabric.   Next, I sewed it into a tube and hemmed the trim end.  Then I put the circle in the other end, using lots of pins to spread the gathers evenly.  And made a tie out of the scrap cat fabric.  Total time, about an hour and a half.  If I were to do it again, I would make the trim on the open end a couple of inches wider so the tied part wasn't so scrunched and the circle would be 10" in diameter.  This lovely bolster now sits on our brown leather couch and brings me a bit of joy every time I sit next to it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Biking for birds, an amazing journey

Today's email brought to my attention Dorian Anderson who is doing a sponsored bike ride across the country and keeping a birding list while he does it.  Amazing blog report can be read here.

I particularly like efforts like this that show what impact one person with drive can have.  And I remember my own bike touring with fondness while envying the trip described.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Baby Birds at Juanita Bay

My latest bird walk with camera was at Juanita Bay in Kirkland.  This is a wonderful birding spot due to the variety of resident birds including swallows, eagles, all kinds of ducks, usually Great Blue Heron and other typical woods and water birds here in Western Washington.  I had a lovely time with over 100 photos and I share this one of a fledgling RedWing Blackbird and parent.  The fledgling can fly well enough to follow the parent around but is not yet feeding himself.  Kinda reminds me of a teenage boy...

The boardwalk is elevated and the birds were on a log in the water just below the pier on the western boardwalk.  I was maybe 8 feet away and the zoom on my point&click camera did a great job.

I hope you are enjoying the birds this spring too!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Making Artistic Lemonade

Here in the Seattle area, we had a torrential rain last week.  Normally our rain is a soft misty thing but this was a gully washer.  (Yes, I lived in Austin, Texas for several years and I know what I'm talking about here.)  One result of this rain was a leak in the roof over my home studio last Thursday night.  This has meant basically shutting down my wet studio where I do marbling and dye painting.  Since I had decided to spend this month creating fabric to use in making a new series, I was at first hugely disappointed and dismayed.

Then, my glass half-full self came roaring back and I decided to make lemonade, artistically speaking.  I have just finished the piece below titled "Keep Swimming" and doesn't that just seem fitting somehow.

So, instead of making the fabric to work on my big piece idea right now, I am shifting my to-do list around a bit, and going with the fishes.

This piece brought some serious stitching back into my work.  My Dancer series was mostly collage with little stitching.  This piece has satin stitched lines around the different sections of fabric on the fish and some light stitching on the kelp.  I find I'm enjoying working this way again.  Since my big piece idea also includes some fish, well that's what I'll be working on next.  To totally mangle the cliche, I'm making fish lemonade!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Artwalk and participatory art

Last Saturday was our monthly artwalk and we had a great crowd.  Interested, engaged, and lots of fun to talk to.  Karen, the sumi part of Sumi, Silk & Leather, had her work table pulled into the room with a large sheet of paper and, this time, instead of doing a demo, she decided to ask visitors to draw an egg.  She did the chicken at the left end and a couple of eggs to start.  The rooster got added later when the eggs were rolling (pardon the pun, hah!) and not everyone followed directions.  Some budding artists in the crowd, eh?

  This was so much fun that I hope we do something like this next time.  And I'm starting to think of ways I can do something similar with fabric collage...  If you want to join us next month, it will be the second Saturday in Georgetown at Sumi, Silk & Leather, 5628 Airport Way S, Suite 236, Seattle.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Frugal marbling tools

As I continue my marbling adventures, I find myself needing a variety of different tools, called rakes or combs.  These are the things used in marbling to make fine lines and curves of the paint on the marbling medium.  By using these in sequence and in different directions, the various traditional marbling patterns are created.  The patterns I want to use as a base for my marbling drawings require some of this traditional patterning.  Here's the final stage of my most recent experiment with the Nonpareil pattern as the starting point.  This was done using a hand-dyed silk hanky about 12" square and colored a medium-light blue with a greenish tint.  What I'm looking for is the curved feather that is most apparent in this pattern in the lower left and extending across the middle.

The above pattern requires 3 sets of rakes with different spacing for each set.  Each set is two rakes, one of each length to match the different sides of my marbling tray.  These rakes are also expensive when bought from supply stores because they're made of wood, with really good metal bits.  And they need to be the right size for the trays being used.  So, my frugal streak got creative and I have successfully made them from corrugated plastic sheeting or foam core for the bar part and T-pins or straight pins for the metal parts.

The black one on the left is some scrap foamcore cut about 1/2" wide and about 1/2 the spacing  less than the length of the tray.  The shortness is because the rakes are offset halfway going in the different directions.  The corrugated plastic is scrap from a friend's booth display and has the advantage of being waterproof.  These each took about 10 minutes to make with my handy cutting mat and ruler, and I can get the pricier version once I know what sizes and spacing I need to do the work I like.  For now, as I experiment and learn, this is a really quick and frugal approach.  

Friday, March 21, 2014

Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi; art expedition to Frye Museum

Today was an art expedition to the Frye Museum in Seattle.  One of the current exhibits is Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi, two artists who met in China and were both influential.  To quote from the Frye webpage:

"Comprising drawings, ink paintings, calligraphic works, and sculptures from the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, and private and public collections, it [the exhibit] presents thirty-one works by Noguchi and twenty-five by Qi Baishi.  The exhibition and its accompanying publication document the period of six months that Noguchi spent in Beijing and shed new light on the little-known relationship between the two artists."

I was especially glad to have my studio mate, Karen Dedrickson, along.  She is a sumi painter and is very knowledgeable about the techniques used in these works.  And she's wonderful at sharing her knowledge.  This was my first trip to the Frye and I am glad to have finally visited.  It is a lovely small museum with free parking in an area where parking can be a significant challenge.

One of my main reasons for going was the review in the Seattle Times which showed the picture above.  Since I am now struggling with how to show energy flow in my art, I wanted to see this piece and others like it in person.  The piece, Mother and Child, is life size which is not at all apparent when seen in a review like this.  There were several other pieces by Noguchi using this technique with varying effect.  Karen and Jeff pointed out that some of them were calligraphy done large, something more obvious to those familiar with Chinese characters.

Noguchi learned brushwork from Qi Baishi and the pieces by Baishi show that he was a teacher well worth learning from.  

The exhibit runs through May 25.  I recommend it to anyone who appreciates the spareness of sumi work and is interested in major influences in the early 20th Century art world.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Marbling magic continues

Having survived back surgery and the resulting months of recovery, I started marbling on silk scarves in the last month.  I am really excited about the marbling.  It took a period of experimentation to work out the right combination of marbling surface, paints and fabric process and I now feel like it has all fallen into place.

Here's a shot of my latest batch of marbled scarves, which are now at my newest shop, the Gift Shop at the Columbia City Gallery in Seattle.  And of course, some are also available at The Gallery at Town Center in Lake Forest Park where I have been selling my work for almost 2 years now.

I used the same palette of paints for all of the scarves which gave me a useful guide to my transparent paints.  I particularly liked the results on the light yellow scarf and have put a closeup view of it below. I used 4 different shades of blue and one opaque yellow.  The yellow is the stronger yellow swirl in the lower left corner.

I've ordered some opaque fabric paints and will be experimenting with them in the near future.  And I am still searching for a red that won't fade to pink or fuchsia when it spreads on top of the marbling surface.