Friday, April 24, 2015

What Is The Value Of Working In A Series?

     How long should I keep on working on my watercolor sketches of my oil lamp? I asked myself that this week. I was starting to miss sewing and there isn't time to do everything. I decided to do a few more sketches because they are small (about 4x6)  and quicker than pieces that I can sew. I want to improve my watercolor technique because I thought that would improve my painting technique on fabrics. Secondly, I want to free up and get more creative with ideas on ways to include the oil lamp in the sketches because that would help me come up with creative designs for my art quilts. And thirdly, I want more practice using the compositional background formats I learned in the class I took that I blogged about here. All of these couldn't but help improve the composition of my art quilts. That's the plan anyway. (But I do now have plans for a series of art quilts and plan to start sewing some small samples this week.) They have nothing to do with oil lamps, though.
     To keep on the creative side, I decided to put the lamp in places that a lamp wouldn't fit. And use some humor, too. Here are my sketches from last week. And here are my sketches for this week.
The S-Format

The Cruciform Format
The T-Format (sort of)
The last one was for Earth Day. So I think I'm discovering the value of working in a series for me is that I'm working more quickly, I'm coming up with ideas faster, I'm less afraid to try things out, my technique with watercolors is improving, and I'm developing a style with watercolors.  I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on the artists' posts to let them know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, April 17, 2015

How Long Can I Go Without Sewing?

     My sewing machine is back in its spot, but can I continue with my short term goal of practicing sketching and painting? Last post I wrote and showed some formats of how to set up backgrounds to anchor compositions. This seemed to be particularly geared well to art quilts in laying out fabrics. I thought I would try it out with a sketching/painting series about an oil lamp I have. This would help with my drawing and painting skills, my composition skills, and my creativity. Here's the oil lamp that I bought in a small town in Italy one summer.
small lamp about 5 inches across

     I decided it had a lot of mystery to it and I would play that up and have fun with it and morph the lamp in each of the iterations. I started with a simple pencil sketch.
L shaped background
     For the next one, I used watercolors.
Triangular background (sort of)
     Then, I went to the hairdresser and I took off my eyeglasses. As I was having my hair cut and seeing everything in a blur, I noticed a yellow round thing on his tabletop that was surrounded by dark blue and I was thinking it reminded me of a moon in a dark night sky. That sparked the next idea. (When I put my glasses back on I saw that the yellow thing was actually a metal award he won.)
Circular background

     I'm having fun with this series, but I need to get a handle on how to use watercolors. I'll take a look at some YouTube videos this week and keep going with the series. But I may start some sewing, too (I do miss the touch of fabric.) I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday Where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on the artists' posts to let them know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Do You Think About Your Backgrounds First?

     Do you plan out your background arrangements when you design an art piece? Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't. I recently attended a class about design and the topic was about formatting the background first. Our teacher showed us that if we place our main object of attention onto a plain background the piece was a bit boring. But if we arranged a recognized formatted background first and then placed our main object on top of that, it was much more interesting. I went back and looked at some books on design I had at home and sure enough that topic was covered in those books, too. But our teacher, Carolyn Land,  did such a great job showing us how it was done and was much more convincing by showing us with her examples. She also showed us many more hints. I highly recommend you take a class from her.
     So I went home and did homework and practiced each type of format. I monoprinted papers in coordinated color sets and made one of each format.
one set

second set

third set

And here's an example of how to use them. Imagine if you wanted to make an art quilt of a basket on a mottled background. You could fuse or appliqué it and then quilt the background and it would look OK. But it would look much better if you first set up a background with one of those layouts.
basket added
     The background gives a place to anchor your object. Now realize, these are only paper cutouts. It would look much more attractive with fabric and stitching. But it gives you the general idea. So if it sparks an interest in you, perhaps take a look at some books on the topic of compositional formats or look some up on Pinterest. And practice some of your own. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on the artists posts so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, April 3, 2015

What Would You Do Without Your Sewing Machine For A Few Weeks?

     Would you go through withdrawal if you had to do without your sewing machine for a few weeks?  A part in my bobbin area broke off a few weeks ago but the machine could still be used if I was careful. There were several deadlines to meet and a workshop to attend so I didn't want to take it in to the shop right away. I kept on using it and luckily it kept on working just fine. Now the workshop is over and the deadlines are met so Tuesday I took it in. I knew they would probably have to order the part.  Plus it was time for its general cleaning and tuning. Usually it takes two weeks just for the general cleaning and tuning because it's a busy shop.  Here's a photo of the empty space left on my sewing table.
sad, empty space

     So I made plans on how to occupy my time for while my precious machine is gone. I decided to focus on sketching and painting for the next few weeks. I have a book called  "Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain"  which I bought many years ago and learned to draw from it. I thought I would go through the part about portrait drawing again. Also, for Christmas this past year, my husband got me the book, "Art Escapes", and I thought I would do some of the fun things in that. Plus I have some nice views in my yard that I thought I might spend this time sketching.
     So after mentally preparing for being without my "friend" for an extended amount of time, the phone rang yesterday and the Bernina store told me my machine was ready for pick up! Hmmm. So I think since I don't have any deadlines and my drawing and painting skills could be improved, I'll follow through with my plans anyway. I wonder how long I'll actually go without sewing once my machine is back in its proper place. How would you use your creative energy if you couldn't sew for a few weeks?
     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 the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.