Friday, May 29, 2015

Identity of a Quilter. . . Off the Wall Friday

Because of a work schedule change this week, my studio day won't be till tomorrow!  I did want to share a little graphic project  that I have been working on.  I love playing around with photo editors and my word program!

My studio right now is a mess of mass of hand dyes as I organize them trying to figure out what I'm going to have to dye in the upcoming month.  Its amazing how much fabric I went through in the last couple of years!!

My internet connection has been spotty - so we'll see if I can get this uploaded!!

So What have been up to creatively??

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Colors of Chop Suey. . . . Off the Wall Friday

Chop Suey, Edward Hopper, 1929

Thanks everyone for all the great responses last week, on what painting I should pick for Judi Blaydon's class -  the ARTful Quilt. Most of the responses reenforced the idea that emotionally, I too was drawn to Giacometti. I mean, what's not to love about bold colors and mother with children? I thought the Kirchner and the Hopper though would work better through the abstraction exercises of the class I asked Judi to weigh in and her response - typical for a teacher was - Why don't you look at more Hoppers? So, I did!
Guess what?  I changed my mind!  After delving into the fascinating work of Edward Hopper, I found the painting  Chop Suey, 1929.  I was immediately drawn to Hopper's use of light and the color palette.   Plus in this painting, the subjects don't seemed so haunted.  Am I the
only one that feels like I move right from viewer to voyeur when looking at Hopper paintings? Not to mention, there are so many great - what Elizabeth Barton calls, "Bits and Pieces" in this piece.

My favorite way to find "bits and pieces" is to use a photo editor.  Taking the image, in this case the painting and crop out  a quadrilateral section that looks interesting.  Taking it out of the original piece will highlight how interesting the composition of the section  is on its own.  You can play with this over and over till you find one that you like!  Wha-laaaa - an inspiration for an abstract piece!

Now that I have the painting picked out, I can analyze the palette I need to bring to class.   Judi wants us to bring fabrics inspired from the painting of our choice some of which will probably need to be dyed.  My favorite way to pick out the colors of a photo is to use Color Explorer, an online color analyzer.    Its super easy and free to use.  All you do is upload your photo to the site, pick out how many colors you want chosen from the photo and how detailed you want the colors to be and click!!  Instant color Analysis!

For Chop Suey, I chose 25 colors with a semi-fine detail setting.  Here are the results.
Cool right?!

Once I saw the palette laid out this way, I knew that I had chosen the right photo.  I love all the colors and the painting has a really nice range of values from the lightest of lights to the darks.  I liked the original painting, New York Movie, but for that one Hopper chose a warm dark palette without a lot of contrast.  This one will be more fun colors to play with for class.

Now with the colors all picked, I can look at my hand dyed fabrics (as well as my commercial stash!) and see what I need to dye up in June. I'll need to bring the a wide range of the values from colors.

Thanks again for the comments - they really made me think!!

So what are you doing creatively?!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Picking a Painting - Off the Wall Friday

New York Movie, Edward Hopper, 1939
Before the Mirror, Berthe Morisot , 1890
Have you ever noticed how men  are obsessed with the naked female form?  I know what you're thinking. . . Aduhhhh, Nina, are you just noticing that now?  Well no, actually.  I was about 12 when I first noticed.

Still, its a bit of shock to go through my two favorite painting art books (World Art, the Essential Illustrated History and 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die) and find page after page of naked ladies.  They are doing a variety of things but into the 19th century, you can see how how the male artist are fascinated with a women's toilette.   So many paintings of ladies bathing, brushing their hair, dressing, undressing etc. . . . you get the picture.. . . and if not . . . I'm sure you can find a painting of it easily. I guess I never realized how big a part naked ladies played in the history of art!

Königstein with Red Church, 1916 Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Anyways, you're probably wondering what naked women have to do with my current creative journey.   Welllll. . . I spent a lot of time in the last two weeks, scouring my art books looking for just the right painting for my upcoming class with Judi Blaydon's, the ARTful Quilt.   Since Judi said you could pick any painting you want, you'd think it wouldn't be that hard right?

 Wrong!!  You need to pick out a painting that visually attracts and intrigues you. Also, it has to  have enough color, patterns and textures so that it can springboard for your future abstraction.  We'll be putting the painting through it paces since we'll be doing a series of exercises and abstractions to come up with a new inspired composition. 

After much back and forth I've narrowed it down to these four.  I was thinking I could get your opinion and thoughts on which you like the best and why.  As for my opinion. . . I love them all. The finalists here all have colors and shapes I love.  I tried to pick a painting that I won't get sick of even though we'll be doing an extensive study of them.  They all have palettes I love and I don't know a lot about any of the artists so it will be fun to do the required homework on their backgrounds.

GIOVANNI GIACOMETTI (1868-1933) Sotto il sambuco (Unter dem Holunder), 1911

So which would you choose and why?

ohhh and

What have you been up to creatively?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Off the Wall Friday

Well another 6 day work week for me - no creative time :(   But I thought you might like to see the finish dress  - Tessa had fun being princess for the day. From these photos you'd never know she was only 4' 10!

Thanks for indulging a proud momma - grin!! I promise its back to creative business next week!!

So what have been up to creatively?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Prom Week at Off the Wall Friday

This is the dress right out of the package!
Did you know. . . . that you can go on Ebay, pick out a prom dress and have it custom made for under $150??  Yep, I found this out when faced with the dilemma of finding a prom dress to fit the petite measurements and quirky style of my 17 year old.

All we had to do was pick a dress, send them her measurements and pick one of the 60 colors offered and in less than 30 days it arrived at our door step in Pennsylvania.  Oh, did I mention that the Ebay seller was in China?  And that the dress was amazingly well made??  I'm still a bit in awe.  I'm not sure if I'm more surprised that you can have a dressed customed made for that price or that it actually showed up just as promised!

I did have to make a few adjustments  today though.  It seems that we didn't realize the dress had a long train which isn't quite the thing when you're 4' 10".  Between alterations and dental surgery, no creative time :( for Momma.  Still there is always next week!

So I'll let you all carry "Off the Wall Friday" this week!

What have been up to Creatively?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Watchin' the Paint Dry - Off the Wall Friday

So, I have a confession.  Now that spring rush is done at work, I took a couple of days off to catch up a bit around the house and spend some major time in my studio.  Instead, I slept 5 hours on the couch. *Blush*

The good news is that I did get a couple of hours in the studio, painting my organza.  For the last month, I've been reading books and blogs on how other artists have treated their organza.  And you know what I found?  That they basically winged it.  So that was
what I was going to do.

Basically, all I did was play with paint, water, and the silk.  I sprayed it down with water and painted it orange with textile paint (remember I suppose to be working on my lily project - I'm partial to day lilies).  I mixed yellow in.  I used it as a base and made a monoprint with another piece.  I made another adding more paint -
less water.  It just went on and on until I ran out of time.
And space.

Which brings up another problem of this whole painting fabric thing.  Spring on Lake Erie is not a pretty thing most days.  We still have a lot of gray, cold, wet, weather.  Oh, and snow.  (Yes it
snowed today).  So, where to hang all of these to dry.  I mean if I wait for it be a warm sunny day to paint, I might never do any.

With a little bit of surfing, I found some really good ideas.  They have  indoor clothes lines that are temporary - they open and retract.  Very cool!  They have them in this model that does several or the single ones.  Now what I worry about keeping it inside is where does it go?  My studio isn't that big and who wants drying paint around their house?!

So my other idea is that my Victorian house came with a big wrap around Victorian porch.  What if . . . I. . .  my husband hung hooks up on the porch, then when I get on the painting mood simply strung line on the hooks.  It could stay a while and then taken down when the paint was put away.  Plus with the  porch  - it offers coverage from the rain, its right off  my studio,  and if these are a few drips it won't matter.  Now, I just gotta get Paul to do it for me. . . . grin.

I still have a couple more days off so I'm sure that I've gotten my nap in, I should get more done on this project!

So What have been up to creatively?

Friday, April 17, 2015

The ARTful Quilt - Off the Wall Friday

The Dining Room - Bonnard
This week I got final confirmation on this year's Quilting by the Lake class - The ARTful Quilt taught by Judi Blaydon.  This will be my first class with Judi although for literally years, I've walked by her classroom peaking in and thought - OMG I need to take a class with her.  The room hummed with creativity with color everywhere.  Finally this year I have my chance!

The class sounds just up my alley too!  We are to pick one painting, one of the four she suggested or one of our own and from that derive our own abstract quilt.  We'll do studies using parts of the painting abstracting them in a variety of ways.  From there, we'll pick a favored composition and let the painting's colors be the inspiration for the palette. The quilts will be constructed in the collage method using both fusing and piecing.   I guarantee you - mine will be more piecing than fusing, grin.

Me taking Rosalie Dace Class on Paul Klee
Judi's chose four impressionist paintings for the base inspiration - Bonnard – The Dining Room in the Country, Matisse – The Window, Monet – Women in the Garden, and Vuillard – The Flower Dress.  Still, she was very clear that you can pick your own painting with the composition and colors that spoke to you.  Not to mention, the class homework asked us to study up on the painter before we arrived.  What a perfect excuse to spend some times perusing my favorite art books!

If you never been to an art quilt class at Quilting by the Lake, I highly recommend it.  It offers 5, 3 and 2 day classes for two weeks the last week of July.  Its held in Syracuse, NY on the campus of a lovely community college.  You stay in college suites (4-5 people to a suite) with single and double room options.  All suites come with a full kitchen for breakfast while lunch and dinner are served in the dining hall. 

This will be my 14th year at QBL and it really is my favorite place to vacation.  While I'm there I can eat, breath and live art quilting for 5 days straight without the rest of the world honing in.  I'm around 250 ladies who understand exactly what I do and why I do it.  No matter how my class goes (some have been better than others), I always come back creatively rejuvenated and ready to take on the next leg of my artist journey. 

So if you think Judi's class sound as much fun as I do, there are still spots open.  For that matter, its not to late to join in on Quilting by the Lake this year.  If you have any questions about the conference please just leave them in the comments section and I'll answer there so that everyone can read.

sighhhhhh. . . . . . now just to pick a painting. . . . . . .

What have been up to creatively?