Sunday, January 31, 2016

Do You Have A Favorite Process In Creating Your Art?

     When you create a piece of art, do you have a favorite step or process? I'm not sure I do. I'm slow to start a piece. I think about how I want it to look in the end and usually try to sketch it out and paint it several times first. I enjoy drawing and painting so I find that part fun and relaxing. Getting fabrics ready is also a good time for me because I get to mix colors with my paints and who can't have fun with that? If you get the wrong color, just keep mixing. If the fabric doesn't come out right for this project, it will be good for another one.
     In my last installment, I had my fabrics pinned on my design wall and was happy with the arrangement and colors, but it was a bit boring.
last week
     The large rectangle in rust needed to be darker and more oomph. There was paint left behind in many of the colors on the plastic on the cutting table. So I sprayed it with water, put the rectangle of fabric on top of the leftover paint, and brayered heavily to pick up the paint.

adding paint from the plastic to the fabric
     That actually helped some and it cleaned up the mess. Then I added more paint using a sponge and Dyne-na-Flow in Chartreuse by Jacquard, and various rust colors I mixed up with acrylic paints and GAC-900 by Golden. Here is the result
surface designed fabric
The fabric to the right of it is a commercial fabric by Stonehenge. I also added acrylic paints and GAC-900 to the girl and the window in places to darken that area, too. Once I was happy with the tints, shades, and hues, I sewed the fabrics down to the background fabric with a straight stitch. Then I backed it with batting and quilted the girl, window, and walkway. After that, I decided to add two more fabrics and pinned them on to try them out. I think I like them because they keep the viewer's eye from leaving the piece. I'll sew them down down today.  All of these steps have been lots of fun for me, too. It's like having a conversation with the artwork. It almost tells me what it needs next. As you see, it has changed from the original sketch and painting. Once it has become fabric, it takes on a life of its own with its textures and unique character and begins to evolve. It's a fascinating process to me.
     I've been struggling with how to quilt the background. Perhaps, that is the least favorite part for me. I take the photos and put them into the App ArtStudio and then sketch possible quilt patterns on top to see what they might look like. For some of them, I'm happy with them for a day. Then the next day, I realize that they just won't look right for the piece. I think that yesterday, I finally hit one that will be just right for it (I hope). At least today, I still like it. 
     So here is how it looks on the design wall now. (By the way, these photos are taken with my iPad at night with just the overhead light. That's why they are a little fuzzy.)
in process
     The next step for today is to sew the two new pieces of fabric onto the background. Then, quilt the flowers onto the bottom right (from the shadow photos I took here), then quilt the rest of the background, and finally put on a pillowcase backing. (I think that's the plan, anyway. Unless the artwork tells me differently as I go.) So, I guess my favorite process overall is the conversation with artwork. I'm linking this with Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

How Do You Switch From Sketch To Fabric?

     Is there a favorite way you switch from sketch to fabric? I vary in my ways. This time, I painted my sketch here first. Then I painted a set a fabrics. I put plastic over my cutting table and set out all of my paints, fabric medium, sponge brushes, dishes for mixing, tub for putting the painted fabrics, bowl for water, and put the three cats out of the studio so they wouldn't get paint on their paws because some of the paints might be toxic. I forgot something so I quickly went to get it and left the door open a crack and came back to find this.
Opus snuck in to help
After I locked him out again, I painted my background fabric. But when it dried, it was way too blue and too saturated of a blue. I loved the color, but it wasn't the color I wanted for this piece. So I decided I could either save it for the back side or for another art quilt. I painted another large piece of fabric, and it came out a little more green than I had planned, but I decided to go with it. Then I painted the other pieces. All came out as planned except that I couldn't get the large rectangular rust piece dark enough. I'm going to repaint that one.  Here are the painted fabrics.
Painted fabrics lined up
The one on the left came out lighter than intended but looked alright when first pinned up on the design wall on top of the background fabric. I even painted some whited eyelet cotton fabric thinking that might come in handy since this quilt is about wildflowers. In the layout above, I included a piece of fabric I rusted a few years ago.
     Next, I cut the fabrics as per the sketch and pinned them onto the background on the design wall and made some changes. This is what I have so far. The girl and window are digitally printed. 
     It's a little boring, but it's on its way. A main part of the design is a group of wildflowers that I want to put in the bottom right. I had thought I would machine stitch outlines of them there, but I need some good photos of some flowers to get the outlines from. I know I can always find copyright free photos online, but I prefer to use my own photos so today, I visited a wildlife refuge looking for some wildflowers to photograph and I got a nice surprise.
     I wanted to place a piece of white paper behind each plant I found for each photo so that I could isolate the lines of each plant. Then I could sketch it later from the photo and from the sketch do a stitching onto the quilt. Here's how I set up the first photo.
taking photo of wildflower
     But what I noticed was not the plant, but how great the shadow was! So for all the photos I took, I set up photos of shadows of plants.  This next one is one in particular that I love.

plant shadow
I took that photo and played with it later using the App Snapseed and got the next photo that I may use for something, maybe on this quilt somehow.
photo from App
I took about ten photos that I think I can get good outlines from so I'll play more with those tomorrow. The fabrics need more oomph, too.
     As I was deciding how to do the wildflowers I came up with all sorts of ideas. Some were very interesting and elaborate. But then, I realized I should stick to the processes that I find fun and that I'm good at so I abandoned most of the other ideas. The answer to the original question then, for me, this time, is to get the fabrics ready first, layout the design, then figure out how to add texture and alter colors to make it more interesting. All fun for me. Opus (and Andy and Rosie) are glad the painting is done so that they can be back in the studio to play with me. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts so that the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.