I have long promised new Range Walkers for The La Veta Gallery for this summer. I had to make good on that, even as I was dragging my feet to get started. The bones weren't the best, the sticks didn't have the kind of surface interest I prefer, the figures didn't stand gracefully, and on and on. In spite of all of that, the resulting figures were among the best I have made.
This is "Aguilar". His garments are made from hand painted heavy cotton. The wrap is collage with strips of fabric, tulle, and hand stitching. The very perfect beads are from the craft store
"Costilla" is wearing a wrap made from an old felting experiment. Because my felting technique was not the best, I ended up using machine stitching and some hand stitching to hold everything together. it waited in my treasure box for at least 10 years to become a perfect wrap for this guy.
And finally, "Baca". His wrap is hand painted on a heavy cotton. Strips of fabric with machine quilting were used to make the stripes. The bottom edge is fringed to add texture to the figure.
These Range Walkers are in the gallery now to enjoy a summer in La Veta, Colorado. I am encouraged by this group to continue with the Range Walker idea.
A couple of weeks ago I got interested in creating some grid and plaid designs, first as a quilt square and then in a 16" x 20" painting. After I studied Rethinking Acrylic, by Patti Brady, I realized that I couldn't rely on Elmer's Glue and joint compound, but needed to improve my use of mediums and gels. I discovered a couple of unused 6" x 6" canvases in my supplies to use for some experimentation. I wish I could blow through a lot of art supplies with abandon, but, no. I could enjoy painting these without using very much of my new goop!
I continued to work into this using a palette knife, some gels and finally some scratching marks.
The following piece is my second attempt. I wish this was 30" square instead of 6" x 6", but that is for another time!
Uncommon Quilt squares for April: The challenge continues and I am on the look out for anything interesting that I can sew into a square! I am trying not to buy more stuff for this project although I will soon need more batting.
Sweet chili peppers cut from a scrap of printed fabric combine with part of a potato bag for this square. The quilting is in bright green thread which seems to work, but doesn't show up much here. Now it looks to me like another element is needed on the edges. I might come back to this, or not. The Happy Easter egg posted last week brings me up to date to the end of April
What fun to make something quick and bright and silly! The paper sizzle was trickier to sew down than I had expected, so the project wasn't as "quick" as it might have been. The zig zag stitch made it possible and fit right in with the grass. The other Uncommon Quilting square for April will be on next week's blog as well as a couple of new dolls.
Rethinking Acrylic: Radical Solutions for Exploiting the World's Most Versatile Medium
I happened to find this book by Patti Brady, at the library this week. It is interesting to notice how often the information or idea I am seeking falls into my hands at the right moment. This book is another happy example. Did I just write last week that maybe I could find something archival to build my canvas? Brady demystifies many of the dozens of acrylic mediums, additives, gessos, grounds, varnishes and, of course, paints. Guess what. Elmer's glue and dry wall compound are NOT among them! As an educator for GOLDEN Artist Colors, Inc., you would expect the author to lean on the side of buying an expensive jar of something. And she does. If I decide it is important to step up my game, I will have a better idea of how to do it.
Deja Vu - All Over Again
Look what I found! These are a couple of small paintings I did sometime before 1990. I had kind of forgotten about them, and was surprised to discover them kicking around during a recent garage cleaning. So, this grid idea is ground I've been over before! On these pieces strips of canvas and string were woven around the stretcher bars and stapled on the back. This seems like an interesting process to explore further sometime soon.
Last week I shared the four most recent Uncommon Quilting squares. While this woven grid square was not my favorite in the group, it gave me an idea. Why not build a canvas surface with woven strips of fabric, and then paint? I enjoyed developing this idea and the best part was imaging the cries of dismay, and then alarm, that my painting professor would make at this effort, especially the choice of glue. (Elmer's) I could find something archival, perhaps?
This is the result on a 16" x 20" canvas. It turns out that I am not as handy at weaving as I thought. Some of my overs and unders are mixed up, but it is hard to tell where. I'd like to try this again, maybe adding some woven sheers, or some print fabrics or string. I could make a more irregular grid or paint a shadow grid in the background. There are a couple of places here where I hand stitched the fabric to the canvas. It made an interesting detail that could be used to greater advantage, maybe with a heavier string or twine.
I am longing to break away from my usual small format move to a larger size canvas. So maybe ...?
The Uncommon Quilting Challenge continues! The 4 squares described in this post will bring me up to date to the end of March.
Square #9: I selected 3 colors of nylon netting in 2 sizes. Stored in a clear plastic envelope the netting looked to have wonderful potential for this project. An intricate pattern developed as the layers overlapped and the colors modified each other in an interesting way. However, I found the material very difficult to manipulate and it caught in the presser foot frequently. It took many layers to build up color and I finally gave up.
Square #10: Plowing around again in the scrap box I found part of a silk shirt. The best parts had long since used for other projects, leaving just the collar. Its familiar shape popped against the contrasting yellow background. I decided to quilt this in a simple grid pattern and with some planning and luck I caught most of the edges without interfering with the top stitching that was already there. This came together quickly which was a happy change from the struggle on #9!
Square #11: This square was quick to make, too. The fabric selection was key, and I started with a hand painted piece that included yellow and pink with black printed squares, and then selected 2 commercial prints and a light gray background. The irregularly cut strips were woven across the surface in a grid and stitched along each edge. It might be interesting to work back into this with more stitching - maybe red X's in each white spot, or just more grid lines.
Square #12: This is my favorite square in the project so far! I looked through my collage box for an idea, or an interesting material. This was a plastic mailing envelope covered with a rough grid arrangement of postage stamps. I cut out the stamp part and set it against the green polka dot background. The black sheer ribbon tethers the green to the edges of the square. Part of the success comes in the repetition of stamps. Scroll down to see more details. And, of course, the irregular grid idea shows up again!
I wasn't planning to make a doll this week. And, this isn't the doll I thought I would make. I was playing around with the clay - with another figure in the back of my mind - when this quirky little face developed. She looked so miserable. An orange dress with a lacy skirt and a yellow hair ribbon perked her up a quite bit. Now she just looks kind of dismayed.
I used sticks for her arms and legs. My choice of sticks is very diminished at the moment, but I did the best I could. The awkwardness has some appeal, but another time I would make some adjustments. As I see her hanging on the wall now she reminds me of a rag doll, which leads me to image her with sewn and stuffed arms and legs. I could try that while I wait for new sticks!
My older sewing machine had been in dry dock for about 15 years. I finally decided to go ahead and get it in running order again. When I got it back from the repair shop this week, I couldn't wait to try it out. It isn't as fast as the electronic machine and quite a bit noisier, but it makes a nice stitch without any tension problems. (Yay!) And the "darning" foot worked well for free motion stitching. A fabric painting from a few weeks ago has continued to cry out for some machine quilting. So, why not? This is the result: Painted fabric on the left and same painting with machine quilting on the right.
The quilting seemed to add a lot of depth and interest. I get really caught up in the details as they emerge. These photos are close ups of areas that I especially like.
I painted on fabric again today with a lively result. There isn't any area of this painting that I dislike, but taken all at once it seems a bit much. See what you think!
Next week I will catch up on my Uncommon Quilting Challenge. Also, I will take photos to share of some the little printing tools I have used on these examples.
When we moved to our Lone Raven Lane address last year, I didn't pay much attention to the street name. It is just a short street with 5 houses in a housing development. Now I'm thinking "Lone Raven Lane" does have a mysterious ring. A little research told me that ravens mate for life and are usually are seen in pairs. So a single raven is lonely, perhaps. We do see ravens around here although they are hard to distinguish from plain old crows, of which there are many. A few ideas are developing on this theme. Some even involve dolls! Here is the first result: "A Woman in Lone Raven Lane". (Mixed media on board, 7" x 9".