Friday, October 13, 2017

The Singer Continues - Off the Wall Friday

Little by little, I've managed to work through this project.   You know how some pieces come easy and some come hard?  Well, yeah, I've been dealing with the latter with this one.

Problem 1.  Coming up with a decent idea.  Since I have been whining about that for the last two weeks we do NOT have to rehash that here.  But, to my credit, I didn't call uncle, and I did manage to come up with a good one!

Problem 2. Getting a decent pattern.  Normally, when I work from a photo, I like to make a trace of the most important lines, adjust the lines to my liking, and use an overhead projector to blow it up to a master pattern.  This having to be a perfect 10" I couldn't do that.  Not to mention, my photo inspiration did not lend itself to an easy trace.  So what I ended up doing, was using the online site, PicMonkey's Effect, Edge Sketch and it came up with something a lot easier to trace.  Then my husband used his pattern software to get it to the right size for me (he was sweet and didn't mention that this was the second time he had done this for me for the same project!)

Problem 3:  Working out the values.  Now you'd think that after 25 years of quilting, I could easily get the values right in a piece the first time, right?  Well, heck No!!  I ended up doing at least three different versions of the the machine before I was happy with it.

Just one of the versions that obviously wasn't working

Problem 4: This is what I call "The Break-up".  You know how when you love a picture and you think  - WOW!  I can make that in fabric and it will look AMAZING!  -- buttttt - then you start doing your rendering and it doesn't look anything like the photo and you think you  suck and you just want to toss it?  No???? Then you're lucky because it happens to me all the time!  I've learned that  somewhere along this creative journey, you need to just kiss that original picture in your head good-bye , make a clean break and go with where your new vision is actually taking you.  Because let's be honest, if we wanted our pieces to all turn out like real life photos - we would all become photographers and this blog would be about something totally different.  So I had to give myself permission to break up with the master pattern and work out the finishing touches on my own.

This is the last photo of it and I'll have it done tomorrow.  I'm happy  with where its going though and I'm glad I didn't give up on it!

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively? 

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Square - Off the Wall Friday

And the 10" by 10" square  saga continues.  But  after a couple of false starts, I finally came up with a good idea.  This morning.  At 7 amRight, just a couple hours before work.  #somylife

How did I  come up the idea?  Well, the thing about this design is that the square is going to be auctioned off at the Schweinfurth Art Center's 10 x 10 = Art.  So I thought not only does it have to have a decent design BUT it has to capture the interest of the bidder.  That got me thinking.  What would I like to buy at an event like this??? What would make me stop and say, "Oh, I like that".  The light bulb went off and my latest obsession on Pinterest popped in my head, Vintage Sewing Machines and Notions.

With just an hour or so before work, I took my normal route from idea to quilt and picked a picture.   Then it was time to play with different crops.  After a bunch of trials I settled on a nice simple one bringing the word Singer as the focal point.
One of the Trial Crops
With the final crop chosen, then I started thinking about the mood I wanted to create with it and played with some of the special effects in my photo editor.  I also changed the settings of the photo so that it could be easily traced.  I wanted to go on but  - alas - work was calling (literally since I work on the phone all day - grin)

After work, my husband Paul helped me out by using a drafting program that makes my picture exactly 10" by 10" and printed it out on a couple of 8" by 11" sheets of paper that could be tapped together.  Now its ready for me to trace the pattern and start finally getting this square done!   I decided that I probably will fuse it to give it a nice neat finish lines.

Finally  - a good idea - that I can't wait to finish!!

So what have you been up to creatively?


Friday, September 29, 2017

It's all about Scale - Off the Wall Friday

The Lacemaker,  Johannes Vermeer
I'm stumped.  All week,  I've been working on creating a design for the 10" by 10"= Art event for the Schweinfurth  Art Center.  And all week, I've come up with nothing.  Well, nothing that I would allow out of the house.  Or even on this blog!

One of the problems, I've decided, is that I've never worked that little before.  I mean, seriously, is 10" by 10" big enough to say what I want a piece to say?   For me with my pieces, bigger is better.  I like it big, bold, and bountiful!!

 But there is something to be said about working  small.  Di Vinci managed to create the Mona Lisa in 31" by 21", Vermeer painted The Lacemaker (9.5" by 8.3").  So ya think I could find something to say in a 10" square!

Really, what I am struggling with this week is scale.  Scale is  more than simply the object's size, however. It is the size of the art object in relation to another object.   Normally, that other object is a human being, the viewer.   A good use of scale can make or break a piece and it definitely go a long way into conveying what you want say.  Take for instance, the bath toy, a rubber duck.  Fun in the tub, a favorite of Ernie's  but not much as a statement piece.  Now make  it bigger, I mean way bigger!  Not only does it make a statement, but it becomes a regular pop icon!

The Rubber Duck at the Erie Tall Ships Festival

Another good use of scale is  Macro photography, the extreme close up's of very small subjects.  This type of photography, usually of living organisms, captures the beauty of the subject which might
normally have been hidden just due to the nature of its size.

Similarly, is the work of sculptor,  Ron Mueck.  He uses a hyperrealistic style to create his human bodies and their parts.  Nothing new right?  Well, Mueck does it on a huge scale which makes a huge statement albeit a bit creepy!

Mask 2, Ron Mueck

So what I'm challenged with this week is to come up with a design that is appropriate to a 10" square but still manages to say what I want it to say and maybe, just maybe use some of the lesson in scale.     I've given myself one week to do it (which ends Saturday).  I promise I'll share my progress!

So What You've Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Off the Wall Friday

I'm feeling a bit quiet today and its 80 degrees in September. . . . I'm going for a walk!

But don't let me stop you from Blogging!!

What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Facts You Didn't Know about Quilting - Off the Wall Friday

The AIDS Memorial Quilt
Thought you knew everything about quilting?

Well you thought WRONG!

1.  The word Quilt comes from the Latin word, culcita, meaning stuffed mattress or cushion.  There is evidence of quilted clothes in Egyptian tombs as far back as 5000 years ago.

2.  Dr. Dunn, the Father of Occupational Therapy (1868-1966)  used quilt making as a form of therapy. He was said to have taken up quilt-making in 1915. He felt that the bright colors were pleasing to patients, and that the cutting and sewing helped to take their minds off their inner

3.  The largest quilt in the world was the AIDS Memorial quilt consisting of 48,000 3' by 6' panels and 94,000 names.  It is the largest community art project in the world.

4. A 2014 study showed that quilting is a 3.7 billion industry in the United States alone.

The First Rotary Cutter
5.   The Rotary Cuter was invented in 1979 by Yoshido Okada, the founder of the Olfa company.

6.  The most expensive quilt ever sold at auction is a Civil War-era quilt known as the Reconciliation Quilt. It was  bought for $264,000 at Sotheby’s in 1991. It is now at the International Quilt Study Center at the University of Nebraska .

7. Over 61,000 quilters attended the International Quilt Festival - Houston, Tx from over 28 countries in 2014.

I could go on but its getting late and my eyes are closing.  Researching this post I got kinda carried away reading about what  an amazing art form I've gotten myself into.

So What Have You've Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, September 8, 2017

Focal Points Found - Off the Wall Friday

"What's the Focal Point of your piece?"

Huh??  Welllllll......ummmmmm..........this section  here?????

Let me tell you, this is NOT the answer you want to give a teacher or viewer of your art.  I mean, the focal point is  the area  around which the rest of the composition is centered and where you want your viewer's eye to rest.    So you should have an idea where it is!  Okay, I get that buttttttt. . . .
Achieving it is a whole different story!

So let's take a look at how the "Greats" managed to create a great focal point!

1.   Value Contrast

In the his painting, The Third of May 1808, Francisco Goya, uses the lightest value of the man's shirt to emphasis the point of the painting - the horrors of war. Notice the layers of how he used light.  The man is super light, around him is a bunch of darker values and then around that is light again.  Your eye can't help but rest there!

2.  Color Contrast

Notice how Renoir uses the colors, red and yellow, to bring your eye right to the most interesting part of Dance of enamored the man is with the woman he's dancing with.

3.  Convergence 

 Notice how all the lines converge to Christ's head in The Last Supper by Leonard de Vinci.  Some are obvious - some are subtle - all converge.

4.  The Unusual

The Son of a Man, Rene Magritte -   Enough Said!

5.  People, Animals, Vehicles

Because they are so relatable, people, animals and vehicles make great focal points.  The Scream by Edvard Munch is a perfect example of it.  Of course, its also an example of convergence, value, isolation and the usual.  I guess Munch really wanted us to look at the screamer!!

6. Isolation

 In Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World, the girl is set alone away from the farm with our eye resting on her.  Also notice he uses value contrast and a person which also makes this such an iconic focal point.

The next time you're at an art museum, start searching out the focal points in each piece and why they are the focal point.  You'll be amazed at how much you learn from playing this game and hopefully this will be helpful the next time you're trying to create a focal point in your own work!

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, September 1, 2017

My Favorite Art Quilt Videos - Off the Wall Friday

Ahhhhhh, its back to school time and its one of the busiest times a year in our house...even with Tessa being in her second year of college!!  (Seriously, how did that happen!?!)  I've been busy on my quest to finish off my pile of "Almost Done" pieces, which while not very "bloggable" is very much needed!!  I promised myself that I would not set off on another creative road until I at least finished the paths I've already taken!!

While I've been finishing up some of my quilts, I listen to  my favorite podcasts, and watch my favorite quilt/art videos.  It keeps my mind busy while my hands do all the work!

I'm sure some of these  you might know or recognize - Some you might have watched - Some maybe art new!!  But I thought I would share just in case. . . . .

The Art of Quilting - Wisconsin Public Television
  I love this video.  I've watched  it more than once always getting inspiration and also empathizing with the artists.  I always think - OMGosh!! Me too!!!  It has highlights from Quilt National, Art Quilts of Philadelphia, and the Chicago School of Fusing Members.

QNN (Quilters News Network)

Although this is a sample of their pay for view service, they still keep a  lot of great videos on their channel including Quilting Arts and some other PBS shows.  I never quite know what's going to show up here!

Ted Talks on Creativity

Am I the only one who thinks these people are smart?  I love hearing them and I listen to them over
and over!

National Quilters Circle

Need a refresher on all things quilt?  Check out this channel!!  There is a TON of good basic quilt information on here - including a great video on needles.  Just a treasure trove of useful tips!!

The Art Assignment

Looking for catch up with contemporary Art in America??  Here is a weekly series that explores art history through what is happening today through out the country.  LOVE it!!

Various Art Museum Channels 

Need inspiration?  Want to visit art museums without leaving your couch?!  Here is the link for you!  On this list is a BUNCH of different museums and videos they produced.  What's on your bucket list?

Smarthistory - Art, History, Conversation

Want to catch up on some art history in an engaging way?  Try this channel.  Its like you having a conversation with a professor of art - right there where art is!!  They have enough meat to them to be totally educational but not long enough to be too boring or dry!

So I'm not advocating you ditching  your sewing machine to veg out on the couch with your laptop. . .  BUT if you do find yourself wanting a little visual stimulation or inspiration - give these a try.

Do you have any suggestions for me to try?