Tuesday, May 23, 2017

70 Days for Vincent - Catching Up

This past week, I went to Daytona Beach to teach for the first time at the Society of Decorative Painters annual convention.  I had a great class of 16 beginning students for Sandy the Seahorse.  All in all, they had a lot of fun! I continued to work on my little art pieces for the Vincent project but wasn't able to get them posted until now.  Here they are!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New Art Challenge- 70 Days for Vincent

My friend, Kelly Hoernig, had the opportunity of a lifetime and made an incredible journey to Europe  with a group of artists. Kelly is normally an amazingly prolific artist on a regular day and for her to come back so awestruck and inspired it must have been one incredible trip!  She decided to put forth a challenge based on Vincent Van Gogh's life and work by starting the 70 Days for Vincent art challenge. This is 70 pieces of art in 70 days!!!  So we have started this challenge.  The pieces are small and Kelly has a list of art prompts - one for each day of the challenge.  Even though I do think about art and creating every single day there are days that putting pen, pencil, paint, etc. to a surface just doesn't happen.  This is putting that daily practice into play!

Here are the first two days:  Circle 1/70 and Brush 2/70

Saturday, May 6, 2017


After working on such a large project, something quick and simple was just the thing to get back to painting!  I've had several books on painting techniques out of my comfort zone and found an idea I had been wanting to try for some time. Using a masking pen, I laid down some free form lines - arcs, round shapes, zig zags, interrupted lines and such. Made some connecting lines. Kept things simple but tried to vary the shapes created.  Next came the color.  For this exercise I used Golden fluid acrylics.  I thinned a few colors with a bit of water and poured each color  across the surface of the paper.  After this was dry, I went back and did some shape painting with pretty much full strength paint (but thinned the darker colors a bit).  While some areas were still wet, I spritzed on some alcohol from a sprayer I had. Once all this was dried, the masking fluid was peeled off and the painting evaluated.  The color blocks were doing good but more detail was needed.  Out came the color pastels and Inktense color sticks.  Lines and marks were added.  Still needed more detail so out came the white ink with a dip pen. My dip pens have been hanging around from my high school art days and it was really fun to put them to use again!  Lots of lines and marks were created with the white ink.  Once this was accomplished it was time to stop.  The mat color decision was made and cropping the painting left over a nice size scrap that turned into a couple of note cards.  Not bad for a couple of day's work!

Monday, May 1, 2017


My darling grandson just turned three and I wanted to do something special for his birthday.  He is getting ready to graduate to the big boy twin bed and the time was right to make him his first (and probably only) twin sized quilt.  Months ago, I found an adorable monster quilt called "Scary Squares" from ShinyHappyWorld and knew it was time to get started making his big quilt.  Now I normally work on smaller quilted projects. Baby quilts aren't too bad and I adore working on art quilt pieces.  This quilt was going to be out of my comfort zone.  It also took an incredible amount of planning!  But it all came together in the end.  I rummaged through my own stash of fabrics first and pulled out what I thought might work. Fortunately, I had quite a few batiks on hand.  I did go back to the store looking for scaly, veiny, monster-ish fabrics though.  I also had some flannel from one of his baby quilts that worked in quite nicely.  There is also fleece and fake fur as well as some denim and hand dyed silk incorporated in here.  I found a really fun monster print in teal and orange that was perfect for the backing fabric.  With that much orange in the background, I introduced the orange on the front as a background color in some of the blocks.  Next came the block planning stages.  I wanted to move my block colors around the quilt so I had to plan for that.  Also, there were multiples of every block and I didn't want to repeat myself.  I ended up putting each block pattern (there are eleven different monsters) in a plastic ziplock and placing the quilt pieces in the bags until I was ready to sew.  There were a lot of appliqué pieces (yes, this whole quilt is nothing but appliqué!!!) that were stitched down (horns, teeth, etc.) that I cut doubles and stitched so they could flap free. And the monster with one big tooth on the lower jaw? That lower jaw is a faced pocket for hiding little surprises.  It took me weeks to get all those heads appliquéd into place!  Once the appliqué was finished the blocks were arranged on the floor and switched around until I was happy with the placement.  I definitely took photos of placement so I could remember what went where!  The blocks were then stitched together into three separate units then sandwiched with batting and backing fabric. Let the quilting commence! I managed a combination of in the ditch quilting around each block with my walking foot, then switched off to free motion quilting around each monster head to give a bit more dimension.  Once all the quilting was done, the sections were trimmed up just a bit then stitched together and the backing fabric hand stitched in place to cover the seams.  Next came the binding and I opted for double folded seam binding and zigzagged it into place.  Lastly, it was finally time to sew on all those button eyes! Knowing this was a quilt that would see some heavy action required stitching those buttons on very securely - and there are lots of eyeballs on this quilt!  While I was working on the quilt, my son wrote a bedtime story using monster characters and we created a story book with pictures of some of the monsters inside, then had it printed with Shutterfly.  Monster sheets completed the present.  I found monster wrapping paper and made a tower of presents for him to unwrap. He was so excited with the paper he kept trying to unwrap the package during his party. And once he saw the quilt he was all over it looking at each and every monster.  Now to get it on a bed! Would I make another one? Probably not, especially in this short of a time frame (and I thought I had plenty of time). I loved seeing his excitement but this thing Kicked My Butt!!!!!