Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My entry to Rituals called a Gardner's Life

Every year I am invited to enter an invitation only show. This is a huge honor and I always make sure I send something. The group that put on the show had a different theme each year. This year they also changed the size from 36"x48" to 24"x 60". Every year I am nervous I will not be accepted and this year even more so just for the fact that this quilt is so different than other things I do. I used upholstery fabrics to add texture to the earthiness of this quilt. I didn't realize what I was taking on as upholstery fabric is a nightmare to work with. It is stiff and doesn't lend itself to quilting in the same manner as cottons do. I intermingled cottons and upholstery fabrics here and there to achieve this changing story about gardening and how it is a Ritual every year during the spring and fall to plant my garden. Some of the cotton areas are quilted very heavily which draws them up but upholstery fabrics do not do that so I ran into some buckling and wavy parts that had to be addressed. I used some thread painting to do the trees and crows. Overall I am happy with the final project although very different for me. It was a nice challenge but I think I am over it!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Its a Miracle!

I forgot how the simple things can still be a "wow" for kids in this electric, techno age. The simple things we all did as kids could soon be forgotten when there are so many other things screaming for their attention. 
Begging to play on my iPad I convinced the twins to color with markers,cut with their new scissors(paper only!) and glue with me today. They loved the idea and soon Rachel started tracing her hands, which was great except for the fact that she now had marker up and down the inside of all her fingers.  I added rings and nails and watches etc and they were excited to color them. At first their exuberance was overwhelming as we ended up with purple and orange fuzzy paper hands. Although they stayed in the lines pretty good for 3 year olds I thought we should try again!  I told them to paint the nails the way we paint our real toe nails and this is what they did. Then I remembered paper dolls and how as kids we would cut paper and leave the fold uncut and make strings of paper dolls. I traced their hands and feet (which made them giggle as the pencil traced their toes)and we made connecting hands and feet which they painted too! They also enjoyed tearing off the ten tons of tape required to hold up so many body parts on the pantry door. 
The blessing today is that it warms my heart to look over and see those tiny paper hands reaching up! I can touch them, pray for them and remember our shared day long after the mess is cleaned up and quiet has returned to the house!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy First Day of Spring!!

Well it has arrived after a very odd winter for sure. Cold, warm, cold, warm and now cold and warming to a nice 70 today as if to say I am here. The trees are all blooming I even have fruit on some of my fruit trees already. I hope this last frost hasn't robbed my of my summer harvest. I have been talking to my mom about the garden again, seems almost a daily thing we love to do waiting on spring. We love to pour over seed catalogs together and order all sorts of odd and fun things to try and grow each year. She now lives in a much different climate than I do so we order far different things but when we visit each others gardens we are always taking cutting. There is always that hope that we can get that plant to grow where they say it wont! Its the fun, the challenge, the sharing of the garden that I will always remember when I think of my mom. For as long as I can remember I have been at her feet, planting the pansy in the hole her hoe dug for me. Watching, learning, loving that time with her, the smell of the soil, the reward of the harvest or flowers.  It is a special gift I am handing down to my kids and grandkids along with the knowledge of where food comes from.  So often these days kids don't know how we get our food or where it comes from, basic information lost to a concrete jungle. Last week as we were helping and watching Randy digging around to roses to fertilize and mulch the twins saw some earthworms, "LOOK NANA, baby snakes!" I have my work cut out for me!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cara Cara completed

Well I finished my painting and I am very pleased with it. I think its so funny how I always feel that this is the best so far, until I paint the next one and I fall in love all over again. A fickled life we artists have, this continued journey of growth and learning. I have changed the background several times. I didnt like the orange above the group of oranges, I felt the reflected light up there didnt make sense visually so I took it out. Here is my finished piece called "Cara Cara".

Friday, March 16, 2012

More Oranges continues....

I don't think I mentioned the paper I use, it is La Carte which is a sanded paper and comes in a variety of colors, I love them all. I am now at a point where it is all starting to fall into place. I have had some issues with the shadow colors on the oranges, going back and forth with blues and purples and even dark maroon colors trying to capture the right color and value of the shadow.  Its interesting when you look at the orange in shadow, the pith, right under the rind is lighter looking even though its in shadow. So what happens is my brain tells me it is a lighter color but in reality when I isolate the color it is really dark although lighter than the colors around it. Our brains are always trying to fill in what it thinks or knows its looking at, constantly telling me to just trust me, I know what color that is!

I have found that when I am really struggling to see a particular color I have to isolate it from the surrounding colors. I do this by taking a white piece of paper and using a hole punch I punch some holes. I then place the paper over the color to isolate it so I am able to see the true color. It is sometime shocking what the color actually is or how dark or light the color is. It is also important to see the value, so you can easily change you color photo into a greyscale photo which helps to show you the true value of the color you are trying to figure out.

  I have also started to lay in the shadows under the oranges and the reflected light and orange glow that they are giving off in this intense lighting. As I add the lightest of lights these shadows will be amazing. My goal is to make this orange glow and look translucent in spots, once the darks and lights are in I think this painting will really pop!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More Oranges!

When I was painting at the California Citrus State Park, the Gless Ranch orange stand stood across the street selling 25 lb bags of freshly picked oranges. The day we were painting was warm and we were all getting a bit tired and thirsty. My husband surprised me with lunch and brought everyone oranges. We peeled the oranges and were surprised to see their flesh was pink, like a ruby grapefruit but not as red as a blood orange. They were just beautiful! With 25lbs of oranges we ate oranges for over a week everyday. I loved the look of them so much I took them to a window to photograph them to paint. Here is my newest progression painting called "Cara Cara"" the name of this amazingly beautifuland delicious orange.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Plein Air Paint Out 2012

Well, I don't know if you remember when I posted last year about the Plein air paint out I had signed up for. I didn't really paint plein air and he'd thrown myself into the middle of this huge contest with very good plein air painters. It went ok and I managed to survive thanks to my Sherpa Randy and number one fan, Jennifer who went everywhere with me. Fast forward to a few weeks ago and I am once again painting in the Plein air paint out 2012! This year required because I am now on the board! Don't ask. I don't know what happened but I couldn't get anything to turn out. Then the more I struggled the more frustrated I became and it went from nice to just a dreaded, frustrating experience. We were given some extra painting days and last weekend, the weather was wonderful and Jennifer, Peggy and Chloe decided to go and paint at the Citrus Heritage Park again. The orange trees filling the air with their amazing fragrance because the trees were just heavy with blooms. This is a better fit for me than standing on a busy street corner trying to paint. I finally managed to paint something that turned out good enough to put in the exhibit! Some members will have the daunting task of having to choose just one of their many paintings for the show but I know exactly what I am putting in! Phew!

- Desiree

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Working on my auction piece for SAQA

So many deadlines this week, I have been busy trying to wrap up last minute projects so I can get them in on time. SAQA has an annual auction to raise money I was working on another 12"x12" but wasn't thrilled with it. I like this one so much more. It's all hand painted then quilted, I think it pops!

Before quilting

Quilting it!

Finished! Now to sign it and photograph and then fill out the entry form!

- Desiree

Monday, March 12, 2012

Papermaking Workshop

For our monthly sketchbook class we ventured off track to go green so we made paper. The weather was perfect and we all enjoyed spending the day outside in the sun. It was so much fun and the women embraced the time and process and made some really beautiful papers. We added bits and pieces of so many different kinds of paper to the slurry of watercolor paper pulp that I had created the day before as a base. Some of us took our last few sheets of paper and added dried flowers and seeds. We are going to paint cards and send them to friends with the instructions to take the card outside and plant it. Here are a few pictures from our day together. I made inexpensive screens for the women to use with a fluorescent light cover and some window screens, they all were able to take them home so they can make more paper later. With this creative group of women I am excited to see what they will do with their papers!
Penny is panning for slurry

Franza is carefully placing her dried flowers onto her beautiful paper

I had to laugh as I forgot to set up the grown up tables to work on and everyone ended up on the girls table. I kind of felt like I was torturing them. 

Some papers

This is even sadder as they started on the grass and them moved to the kids table. I did save everyone by finally setting up the bigger tables! Christa you are so cute!! 

Penny is busy adding her pressed pansies to her paper while I made more slurry.You can add starch or glue to put back in some sizing to your paper.

More fun on the big tables!

As the paper dries you can better see the wonderful edges and colors achieved by using different colored papers in our slurry

Some added seeds to make living cards to send to friends. Just take your card and cut into different pieces and plant. Make sure you send them info on the seeds you have sent them so they know what they are planting.

This was our first piece of paper, I covered some of the dried flowers with thin pieces of my saved paper towels from painting classes. They are covered with wonderful colors after students have cleaned their brushes and paints. These papers will be wonderful to use on collage pieces also!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Our International Postcard exchange

Well after 14 months of monthly postcards our exchange is over! It is sad to see it come to an end, I have loved seeing the different places across our globe. My last exchange wears to Ronelle in France. All year she has been sending these wonderful care packages with chocolate, art supplies etc so I decided to send her one also. I filled it with lots of goodies and this postcard showing branches from my apricot tree. We are pruning everything but as we cut back the fruit trees I bring the cut stems inside where they bloom indoors first!

- Desiree

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Painting outside in the garden today

With the sun shining and the garden calling I couldn't resist painting my windmill. It's one of those projects that I can never really find time to do,but I need to get it done. I have decided i wanted to add some whimsy to my yard. The girls and I are working on painting tiny birdhouses to hang in one of my trees. I want to do about 20 of them and the girls are having a blast painting! I think that painting the windmill all funky will be a perfect addition. Today was perfect, I gathered all my paints, some brushes etc and headed out. Randy had removed it from my garden but the peas that use it as a trellis were getting tall so I new my time was running out. I cleaned off the worst of the dirt and washed some of the bigger flat areas. I bought some rust oleum paint in three colors,wild colors. Lime green, bright blue and tangerine orange! I began painting and as one section dried I moved to the next. I quickly had the base coats of paint finished and moved to my brush work. I added dots and flowers,squares and I even lettered on the tail of the windmill "Nana's Garden". Unbelievably I didn't check where the top inserted into the base and painted one side of Nanas garden upside down! GRRRR. I had to reprint with blue and redo the lettering on that side. When everything dried it was back into my garden it went! I like the way it turned out, now I need to paint some of my other metal art!

This is going to be our hummingbird birdhouse tree! It is a ornamental flowering peach which is so beautiful when it blooms.

Sorry about no shirts but they seem to manage to get paint on all their clothes so I find it easier to wash paint off of skin than fabric. Painting here requires warm weather!

- Desiree

Friday, March 02, 2012

Working on a new, fun thread painted quiltlet!

Lots of tiny stitches, some paint and I am hoping it turns out. I have had to revise my oroginal plan as it wasn't working, but that is the fun of experimenting with art quilting!

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