Thursday, July 13, 2017

Updates from Crazy Busy

The last week has been so full. I got my new sewing machine, which I promptly broke in making a simple crossback apron to protect me from splashing paint (and which I have not had a chance to take pics of yet - more on that later).

The week before that, while my sewing machine was broken, I handmade a bunny for a baby shower. The pattern is from Storybook Toys, by Jill Hamor, which I love.

I've made more of these bunnies (in all different fabrics) than I can count. It's a super rewarding pattern.

And I was able to finish my first assignment for my Ever After 2017 class from Willowing Arts...

Loving the class so far and looking forward to the other lessons. Already learning a boatload about style development and insights into my painting style and methods.

Snuck in some art journaling yesterday as well just for a change of pace.

And all this while be swamped at work and having a very full personal life, including all the usual summer trips and visits. Hope you're enjoying your summer!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Ever After 2017 and Girl, Swing

I've been a self-taught artist and crafter for years, but yesterday I finally signed up for my first online art class.

Ever After 2017 from Willowing Arts. I only just started the class, but I'm thrilled so far! Four months of painting exercises based on fairy tale themes and some additional material about developing your own style, which is something I've been working on for the last year or so. I'll keep you posted as I progress through the class.

Today I'd like to share with you an instance where a sketch I did in one of my art journals became something more. 

One of my journals tends to be reserved more for sketching/traveling than the others. It's a small spiral-bound notebook type with mixed-media paper. Generally, I use less paint in this one than others - it's meant for quick sketches on the road that I might dress up a little later.

I sketched these two on the road (on a train, actually). I used an image of a Blythe doll as a guide to sketch the girls features. Blythe dolls tend to have the same type of features in similar proportions as the characters I was already drawing, but they help with composition and form which I still struggle with sometimes.

My Blythe muse for this series. (Photo credit: Blythe by Cihui on
I really liked the sketch when I was done with it and decided to use it as a springboard to a canvas. I prepped a 12x12" canvas with gesso and absorbent ground, then redrew my image in pencil directly onto the canvas, altering the proportions to fit the layout better and making her a little more my own. Then I painted it in watercolor, gouache, India inks, and water color pencils. 

I am pretty pleased with how she turned out overall, although in retrospect the background is a little flat for me - something I'll learn from for future pieces. The colors, particularly the bright blues and greens really make me happy and the way the willow branches turned out.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Five years.

I certainly didn’t mean to be away from blogging that long. And I’ve almost come back a couple times in the last year or so. The problem has always been a lack of time. And the daily choice of making time for art first. The bad news is that it took me this long to get back to a point where I am creating much closer to daily. The good news is that I am now creating much more consistently and much more regularly. Enough that I feel fairly confident that I can both create art and find some time leftover to blog about it and the process.

My last post was in 2012. Sometime in 2013 I made my first art journal. It took me lots of fits and starts, but sometime late last year I roughly finished it. Meaning outside of a page or two and some touches I would like to add to the cover, it is done. And I have started a number of other art journals or altered books, generally in different styles or formats and sporadically work in all of them. These art journal pages sometimes lead to a canvas or finished piece outside of a journal format. But art journaling has taken up most of my creative time and space in the last couple years.

This particular page is from an altered book I am slowly working on - an old Time book about birds. Slow because these pages generally require more prep time and gesso, while most of my other journals have a combo of blank pages and ones that already have a layer or two of paint to start from.
Stretching Time
And this is one from my current journal - a Moleskin watercolor album (8.5 x 12" landscape).
I picked these pages to jump back in with because they both touch on time as a theme and they pretty much sum up the art journaling process for me: a mish-mash of images, memories, paint, and words thrown together in layers. My pages are rarely planned out ahead of time and these are no exception.
I still knit and sew. Part of the impetus for the return to blogging is that on Friday, my little Husquavarna Viking 100 gave out for good after 12 years, lots of blogger entries, and somewhere north of 50 quilts. But never fear! I promptly got to work finding her replacement.

A Janome Memory Craft 6300 Professional arrives on Wednesday and I’ve already got a couple projects lined up and waiting to break her in.
In the meantime, excuse my dust while I refresh the blog, remind myself how to do all that coding for buttons and stuff, and get back into the swing of posting. Expect a mix of current and old projects, a bit about process, and hopefully a little inspiration here and there.