Saturday, February 28, 2015

Spring Dreaming

Every few days, I see the weather forecast, hoping that it will show a warming trend.  And every forecast for the whole month has been the same:  cold, cold, and more cold!  I keep thinking, it can't go on much longer, but tomorrow is the first of March and we are looking forward to another 6 inches of snow.  Sheesh!  When I took down the Christmas decorations, I left this cute display of snowmen because they looked so cheerful all together like that, almost like a barbershop quartet, but I took them down today.  Enough is enough!

In place of the snowmen, I put the little mixed-media "tunnel book" I made a couple of years ago.  It's nice to gaze at it and imagine myself in a park on a spring day, meandering along the path past azaleas and daffodils, with the sound of a fountain splashing and birds singing in the trees, the perfume of blossoms in the air...

I've been trying to get down to my creative space when I can, and recently added this page to my art journal.  It was another "lesson" in Pam Carricker's book, "Art at the Speed of Life."  In this one, we chose a figure to put on the page and I happened to come across this photo of Michelangelo's David.  I love the way his gaze is so intense that you want to turn to see what it is he's looking at.  I have yet to add some text.  I'll probably find a quote about courage or underdogs going against the odds.

I also started the background for another piece to go on the 16" square box that will be part of the next FANE exhibit (see previous post).  This time I glued down some paper pieces before I painted the fabric, but then added a little more paper on top.  Here's the first couple of layers...

 And here's where it's headed.  I intend to add another bird in flight and a nest among the branches.

So happy March, and Think Spring!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Catching Up

I can't believe it's already February 20th!  The days just fly by!  Hopefully, that means Spring is right around the corner.  Meanwhile, we are completely frozen here in the Hudson Valley, prompting me to create the oversized snowy valentine for my family last weekend.  The snow is quite deep and Cassie and I hadn't ventured down there much, but since I trekked the path of the heart in the snow, we have been down several times, following in our own footsteps where it's a little easier to walk (although, as you can see, Cassie strays off the beaten path more than I do!).

The garden is buried, as you can see below.  Even the tops of the little mushroom stool and bench are almost completely covered with snow and the lake has been frozen for weeks.  It's a bit bleak, but every day the sun stays up a little longer as we crawl closer and closer to the equinox and the promise of warmer days.

I haven't done any further art journal work, but I did start a new piece based on my journal experiences and my need for some spring colors.  I worked on the piece below in various layers, starting with a piece of white fabric.  I first painted some diluted acrylic paints in a criss-cross pattern in shades of yellow, salmon, and ochre.  I wanted to incorporate some paper, and added a page from a songbook as well as some printed squares of light cardstock.    I added texture with some stamps and stencils and hand wrote a quote from the Song of Solomon: "For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone, the flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come."

At that point, I stopped to figure out what subject matter I wanted to include and where the focal point should be.  I decided on some paperwhite flowers and handpainted in the stems, then stitched over them to outline.   I added flower shapes with stamps and layered pieces of lace and other white fabrics over the stamped images.  Then I added the sheer green fabric at the bottom and the sparkle tulle in the upper right.  Since the quote mentioned the singing of birds, I added a white bird near the printed music.

Here is a close up:

I'm happy with the way it turned out, although I would do a few things differently.  I think next time, I'll add any paper elements before I paint, so I don't have to go back and blend them in, like I did this time.  Also, the three cardstock squares posed some problems.  They were difficult to stitch through and took the paint differently from the surrounding fabric, making the square shape very visible.  Two of the three are still visible here, but one is almost completely covered by the white flowers and really wasn't necessary.  I'll avoid cardstock in fabric-based pieces from now on.  I also wish I had chosen to angle the large tile stamp so it appeared as a diamond instead of a square.  I think it would have added more interest, movement, and a hint of sparkle.

I hope this new piece will be part of one of FANE's next two exhibits.  For the past three years, we've taken over a classroom at the NSQG's World of Quilts show in May.  This has traditionally been a 3-D exhibit, with pieces on stands or hanging from the ceiling so viewers walk around and see the pieces from all sides.  This year, we decided to use a cube format inspired by the mixed-media cubes we traded earlier this month.  Of course, the display cubes will be much larger and we have a choice of 12", 16" or 20" squares to cover cardboard boxes of those dimensions.  My piece above is 16" square.  We also have the option of teaming up with other group members to cover the box.  I'm not sure I'll be able to make enough pieces to cover all visible sides of a box (5 pieces).  If not, I'm sure I can find another group member to share a box with.

Meanwhile, I never shared the mixed-media cube that I received in the trade - here it is below!  All the group members are talented and I would've been happy to get any cube, but I happened to get Jane Davila's, our group leader and very talented, experienced mixed-media and fabric artist! She used paint and paper on her cube.  I just love the color palette, textured papers, and calm, zen qualities it exudes. It is one of my new favorite possessions!