Thursday, September 25, 2014

How Do You Design Your Art Pieces?

     What method is an effective method to use to design an art piece? I've tried several approaches and haven't really settled on one hard and fast method.  I think I'll try a new one here. The other day I was watching TV and saw a commercial for eyeglasses. It was a store that sold inexpensive eyeglasses and they were trying to sell the idea that you should have several different styles to suit different moods. The woman opens a drawer and inside are several pairs of glasses. She puts on one pair and says something like, "I am an artiste." She puts on another pair and says something like, "I am a business woman, bring me my pie charts." And on it goes.
     So that gave me the idea to dress up an art background for different moods. I would take photos of each design and see which I liked the best, if any. At least it would be fun and a good exercise in composition.
     Here's the background I have. It's about 12 inches by 12 inches. It's made of monoprinted cottons and one commercial Stonehenge cotton. I sewed the pieces together onto batting.
Background awaiting its alterations
     The next thing I did was to go through my stash of fabrics and fibers and choose colors and textures that would look good as foreground elements. I chose a couple of sheers in turquoise and teal, some silk sari ribbons in gold and gray. And I put on the the black plastic veggie bag not because I'm going to use it, but because the black looks good and I'll use black thread in the sewing somewhere.
With a cardboard viewfinder

OK. Ready to go with the moods. First one is Abstract. I cut up the fabrics and placed them on, took a photo, then (because the cardboard viewfinder is so old and marked up) I used the ArtStudio App to paint white around the edges to cover up the viewfinder.
Naming this "Riding the Thermals"
Next one is Mysterious. It has a piece of hardware on it. If I were to make this one, I might use an image of the hardware and make it look more like a key.
Naming this "Passages"
Next is Calm
Naming this Contemplation 2
Next is Spiritual. If I were to use this, I'd have text written on the prayer flags. And have a much better image of a person sewn on.
Naming this Praying for Peace
Next is Nature. The tree was added digitally. It is from a sketch of a tree from my yard. If I were to use this, I'd free-motion sew the tree on in black thread.
Naming this "Landing"
     In each one, I tried to create a focal point, tried to create a design that kept the eye moving around, tried to create three masses. In the last one, Landing, I only had two masses. I redid it later by adding a third mass under the bird and it looked better. In Riding the Thermals, I may move the frame over to the right so the bird doesn't get cut off because I think the viewer's eye may jump out of the frame otherwise.
     There are two of these that I'm leaning towards, and they are not the monk or prayer flags. As you know, things always look better once they are actually stitched. I'm not the type of blogger that only shows you finished works. I like to show you things in progress and how they are when they aren't so good, too. Hopefully, this piece will get finished and it will come out looking good in the end. It was a fun, and for me, useful design exercise. 
     I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments to let the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

So What Do You Do With Your Mixed-Media Collages?

     There has been a lot of talk of making mixed-media collages and journal pages. So I decided to try my hand at making a couple of small collages. But since I'm a fiber artist, I didn't know what to do with the collages once I was done with them. They were made from papers and mounted onto cardboard.
     First, let me tell you how I made them. I was inspired to make something fairly quick and play with paint, paper, my gelli plate, and various tools, and just have fun in an afternoon.
Here are the ingredients:
scrap plain paper, an envelope, some gift wrapping paper, an old movie ticket, some pieces of a watercolor painting I made that didn't work out,  some postage stamps I had saved, some maps from a pocket calendar,  and magazines.

Here's the process:
1.)  I spread acrylic paints on my gelli plate and monoprinted a bunch of small papers and even an envelope.
monoprinted papers and envelope

2.)  I cut the monoprinted papers into shapes that I found in the magazines. Such as a bird shape and people shapes. I cut out words from the magazines.

3.) I cut out pieces from the gift wrap, from the watercolor painting, etc.

4.) I used matt medium to glue large rectangles of the monoprinted papers and gift wrap onto a cardboard background to create a background. This was a mistake, it turned out, because the cardboard warped when it dried. I should have also applied the matt medium to the back of the cardboard. I applied gesso to the back and then matt medium when I was finished with the whole thing and that did the trick to unwarp it.

5.)  Then, for me, the quick part was over. I couldn't decide where to put the elements. I'm a slow designer. It took several days to decide. But here are the finished collages. I glued all the pieces down with matt medium underneath and then another coat on top of the whole thing.
Big Horizons on cardboard
Big Horizons represents my husband and I as travelers, because we do travel a lot. The movie ticket is from The Adventures of TinTin which we saw in 2011. We discovered TinTin together in a used book store in Nepal in 1984 so it is very special to us. We had never heard of it before that. My husband is from Argentina, hence that part of the map.
Outside the Lines on cardboard
Outside the Lines came about because of the background of the sky. I drew in the dark lines with a gel pen after it was finished.
     So the question was still there. What to do with them? They are paper on cardboard. My latest meeting with my art group, ArtsEtc., was about image transfer so that idea was in my head. I decided to scan these images into my computer and print them onto cotton muslin. I knew from experience, that I needed to play with the images in Photoshop Elements before I printed them. What needed to be done, was to enhance the saturation quite a bit because the colors always print a lot more faded than they look. Also, I needed to increase the contrast on the words on the ticket a lot more so that they would show up on the fabric.
     I printed them, made quilt sandwiches, did some free-motion quilting with black thread, made a pillow-case binding, machine-embroidered around the edge. I ended up having to write on the ticket with pencil to make it darker and then paint on matt medium to make it permanent. Here they are.
Big Horizons finished

Outside the Lines finished
I'll sew on a pop top thing from a can to each back to hang them and hang them in my studio.
I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts to let them know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How Do You Make Repair Work More Fun?

     Even though we are artists don't we get asked to repair clothes for our family members? And, in my case, since my husband does so many good things for me, how can I refuse? But I do hate repair sewing. It is so uncreative. Plus, I'm not very skilled at it. I don't take the time to read how to do a repair; I just look at what needs to be done and figure out my own way so that I can be done with it.
     The latest repair request was to sew up some holes that had appeared in the crotch of his favorite shorts.
holes from outside

     He asked me to put a patch on it. I thought a patch there would cause discomfort, so, instead, I used a darning stitch on the machine and did a nice job with matching thread and sewed and disguised the offending area. All was again in the creative mode in the studio (or so I thought).
sewn up on the outside

     After he used them once and they went through a washing cycle, the holes were back. So a patch was indeed required. Well ... My mischievous nature took over...  I used a matching thread for the outside and darned the holes shut.

     But, on the inside, I chose a fabric for the patch that had character!
patch on the inside
      When I gave him back his shorts, I said, "here they are with a matching thread on the outside so that it won't be quite so noticeable." He inspected the outside and agreed that no one would notice, especially since it's deep in the crotch. Then he opened up the shorts to look at the inside and started laughing and said, "Oh, So well done!"
     I think I now know how to have fun with repair sewing. Do any of you have any hints on how to enjoy repair work?