Sunday, February 20, 2011

Abstract Floral, Do Over, and Experimenting

Sometimes changing direction is just the best thing to do...
Do Over
Once in a great while I might wonder if a "do over" of a life situation might have been better. But not very often, as, I generally am content and consider myself blessed in many ways. Why am I talking about this? Well, I recently discovered what "do over" means on painting. Having used watercolors for so many years, I didn't see many opportunities for those. But, with acrylics, "do over" is a definite reality.

I was painting in my studio recently and I kept glancing at an annoying painting. It was a crane of some sort, and I really did NOT like it. The shape was wrong, too much of a certain color, wrong feel, you get the idea. I can't remember painting completely over a painting, but I decided to work with it. And I tried out a different style of painting for me. It came out great. So my lesson was, yes, "do over's" do exist, especially in the art world. And sometimes I need a little annoyance, like an unresolved painting, staring me in the face waiting for the fix and a fresh coat of paint.

Abstract Floral
I will show that painting in another post, as I have more to say about a different subject with that painting. But meanwhile, I remembered the painting below, an abstract floral, that also languished for a while in my studio. Until one day I took my pen out and doodled all over it, the finished (for now) version posted at the top, a very different look.
This week I continued my pantry experiments with fabric dyeing. Last week it was avocado skin. This week I have an earl grey tea muslin and a stunning tumeric yellow (canary color) fabric. I tore off a scrap and put it in a glass bowl with each, set it in the sun in a window overnight and voila! What's next? Maybe chili powder? Such a lot of fun. Pictures to come soon. I am getting ready to take a Jude Hill (Spirit Cloth in my sidebar) class on hand stitching soon. She uses natural fibers, many hand-dyed.

Today I painted the edges of 2 large bird canvases. And gessoed 3 small ones to add to the 3 mini bird canvases I already finished. These will be entered into a miniature show this weekend.

And looking about I found another "finished" canvas and started repainting it too. Now I've got my eyes looking for "do over" possibilities... let's see, what do I have sitting in a drawer, a back room somewhere with a sad look, that only needs a new look and fresh coat of paint...?

Sunday Meditation
This photo was shot out of the windshield at a stop light, I couldn't resist that luminous sky, always at the ready with the camera for possibilities.

May the direction you are going, be the one you consciously choose.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday Meditation, Shibori Dyed Fabric, and Patterns

A deep bucket of creativity filled the circle within...
Shibori Dying
Our machine embroidery group got together this week (Thank you yet again, to our talented June), and this is what we brewed up in a big bucket of dye. To start, we folded, scrunched, twisted, and more to the plain white fabrics. Some were tied onto a pvc pipe, other stuffed in those net bags that oranges come in, and others just folded and tied up and dropped in.
This process has quite a chaotic feel to it, but in the end, there is vast amount of creativity in that process and that bucket. It is another adventure into randomness, because, you can never predict with certainty what will emerge into the cloth, but the patterns are always organically beautiful and unique. Kind of like people. Sometimes I'm sure we ourselves feel scrunched, twisted and folded, stuffed into the midst of our ever changing lives, and dropped into the bucket of chaos. But like the strength of the cloth, we withstand the treatment and hold the markings of life. And like the cloth, if opened, unwrapped, we relax. And then, we emerge yet again into another pattern that has been imparted to us - like another unique and beautiful cloth.
Look here if you want to see more examples (in bright colors) of my shibori dying.

More Dyeing and Experimenting
I had read a while back about dyeing with natural items, which would be more environmentally friendly, and have wanted to try it. In particular I read that you can get lovely pinks with avocado skins. So I did put a skin and a small portion of the flesh into a pot, boiled it and dropped in a test muslin piece. Here is what I got, the original pure white on the left, and the soft beige on the right. It doesn't look pink to me, perhaps I'll try it again with more than 1 avocado and without the flesh. I have it on my list to try things like beets, tumeric, and onion skins, among others.
Sunday Meditation
Here's a little nod to all the beating heart's in the world... may they all be full of love, good intentions and open to life's blessings, such as, unexpected freedom. What a wonderful condition, freedom, having choice, access, a voice, many voices being heard, making changes, weaving a new cloth, a new pattern.

Here's a little Valentine I created a few years back with fibery things.... enjoy your day.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fiber Art, Snow Geese, and Sketches

Enjoying nature, shapes, lines and colors.....Snow Geese
We headed north to LaConner on Friday to the Skagit Valley farming area to see if we could spot some snow geese or eagles. There were thousands of snow geese! And I counted 12 eagles. As always, I carry my sketchbook, and captured a quick sense of the shapes. Lately I am paying more attention to shapes in my paintings and perhaps these will end up more refined in paintings to come.
As far as the eye could see, white covered the farmer's fields. They did look like snow, and up close, lovely swan shapes with black tipped wings, honking madly. We were lucky to see this entire flock raise up as one, flooding the sky with beating wings, turning on a dime altogether, like one massive organism changing directions, here, then there, and turning back around and landing again.Fiber Art
I have been focusing on birds the last year. Two weeks ago I worked on a fiber/paper stitching project. Here is a close-up portion of it. It incorporates fabric, my sketch of a heron transferred to fabric, embroidery stitching, tea bag paper, beading and more. I'm not done with it yet, it's an experiment but I'm liking the mix of textures and the pale muted colors, different for me.We visited the La Conner Quilt Museum again. There's a wonderful exhibit of contemporary hand stitched items which I would post pictures of, but they weren't allowed. However, there were also some outstanding examples of crazy quilts from the 1800's, with their amazing quantity of handstitching on every one.
And a final quick sketch - from the turret window of the museum looking across the street.
Taking time for nature, art, sketching, stitching with good company, what could be more satisfying...