Saturday, February 25, 2012


Chickadees (my favorite bird) have worked their way into my artwork in just about every medium I've ever done.  I just didn't realize it until now.  Here are just a few of the versions I've done recently.  Upper left is a page from
my sketchbook.  Upper right is a digital sketch done entirely with digital paints and brushes (I'm loving the never ending access to paints, papers and
tools that working digitally offer).  The middle image is a textile piece in progress.  The same image below as an oil painting.  Working with textile
offers some novel approaches as in the use of organza layered over the tree
to create a "frosty" appearance since the original photographic reference was taken in winter.
In my previous post, I mentioned that it was important (to me) that the different approaches have some common ground.  Having favorite photographic references is one of the ways I can take the leap from one to the other.
mediums should have some common ground
Well January was devoted to playtime using digital art programs.  Aside from apps like Photoshop, I tried numerous others like Art Rage, Zeus Draw and Inkscape.  The latter is a free!! application that many have said rivals the expensive Illustrator program. My intention was to learn the fundamentals of vector drawing (none of the work below reflects that).  There is a steep learning curve if self taught but I did follow some of the many terrific tutorials that are on the web and am intrigued enough to continue.  The images below were made in Photoshop with the focus on layers and learning more of the brush capabilities.  After a dozen or so years I'm still learning Photoshop!  Some of the images here will become textile prints that I would like to work with this year.  

I also equipped my new iPad with versions of these art programs and that also meant taking the time to acquaint myself with the slightly different interface.

As February approached I spent a delicious amount of time buried in the wonderful art quilt books that Christmas brought and did a studio cleanup to
make room for more textile work.  My first designs on fabrics were ordered and received and I was thrilled with the results.  So I have a good start on a 
few small textile pieces to work on.  Many years ago, I made quilts the traditional way and had to research and question myself as to what I was drawn to now.  Raw edge, fusing, and machine quilting along with thread sketching are part of the methods I like to use.  These techniques allow me to create quilts with the same mindset as painting on canvas.
Hand dyed fabrics are what I favoured using to go with my images and that became my next focus.  Immersion dyeing, discharge dyeing and direct printing are new skills!  I had only touched on these over the years but now I have a better understanding and find it addictive!  It's not enough to just dye
a piece of cloth, when you can bleach or discharge a pattern and over dye which results in a very interesting and complex cloth.

Having arrived at this point, I am starting to hear the call of my paintbrushes and oils and am ready to return to the studio to prepare one of the larger canvases.  It's important to me that there is some cohesion amongst the different skill sets otherwise I will feel that I am being pulled into too many different directions.  But these last two months have led seamlessly (there may be a pun in this!) from one to the other and it feels comfortable.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Emilie at Three

On the Garden Path
12" x 14" Oil

As mentioned in previous posts, I have been exploring new creative paths since early January.  My brushes and paints are never far from reach as I've used them to create backgrounds for digital art and painted fabrics for art quilts but nothing that fit into the theme of my blog so I've neglected posting.  I've acquired some new skills and want to make sure I apply them (in other words see them through to the end result so I don't acquire more half finished projects).  But      I miss being here so I am going to post an image of one of the very few palette knife paintings I ever did.  This one is of my daughter at the age of three.  (She's now 24).  I don't like how I handled the garden part but I am happy with the painting over all.   I think that's because of the texture of the knife.  Texture was something I set out to introduce into my painting last year and I sort of succeeded.  As the year progressed though I slid back into my comfort zone.  Supposedly quick 6" x 6"'s became more complex and I labored (bad choice of words because I loved every minute) over them too long.   So like this painting of Emilie on a garden path, I will return to my own creative path to looser, more spontaneous brush strokes......

but first I need to finish some more projects......