It’s a drippy, rainy, cold and dark day here. In my brightly lit studio, I am practicing my water color painting techniques. Here is a little photograph I took last summer, during brighter and warmer days.
I don’t know what species this little bug is, but today he is an artist’s model. I was inspired by this image because of its textures – rough, warm brick and cool, smooth, green beetle carapace. Most of my time was spent trying to get the pock-marked and moldy brick down on paper. One tactic I used was painting the terra cotta lines in the brick with the edge of a credit card. It worked pretty well. Matching a paint color to the bug’s body was another difficult challenge. In the end, I used Micron pens in turquoise, bright green and black ink to draw in the beetle. Then I brushed on water to blend the ink lines.
This photograph came out exceptionally cool in tones because of the weak outdoor light. But I am happy with the painting itself. If I were to paint this image again, I would make the dark areas darker, especially the beetle’s shadow.
Since I didn’t finish any of my fiber objects this week, I have decided to write a progress report. You see above about ten inches of the Weaver’s Square pattern, which will become a colorful vest for my daughter. This is the back of the garment. The front I have planned will be much more subdued. While working with seven strands of yarn each row has been a challenge, the satisfaction of the work and the excitement of seeing the color emerge has more than compensated for any difficulty. I have chosen to switch out the vertical colors at a rate of two or three for every band of horizontal color. As a result, the pattern has a more vertical effect.
Another work in progress is picture above. The quilt sandwich is constructed and some stitch in the ditch took place. At that point, I decided to work some embroidery in the flower squares and add hand quilting to the strips.
I also felt that a border was essential to provide balance between the light and the dark sections of the piece. Going further, I plan to hand-paint this border in multiple hues. It will be exciting to see how well that goes, and it will take me more time.
Last week-end I started a tutorial on painting with water color on paper. This class was offered on Bluprint.com. Despite a little trepidation, I am sharing my work today. Keep in mind I am a rank beginner and be kind.
Such a fun week. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind me that this life is real.
So far I have found myself frequently frustrated while shopping in my local craft store for decorative topstitch thread. My local craft store, which is a Hobby Lobby ( I have a love-hate relationship with H-L,) has a limited selection of quilting threads, none of which are what I am wanting for my current project. And the threads that are available are not particularly affordable.
I have nothing to lose in experimenting with painting my own thread. (Not be confused with thread painting, a hand embroidery craft in which stitches are worked densely to create a painterly landscape of thread on fabric.) I have everything I need.
1. A 50 gram spool of 100% cotton DMC thread no. 10 in an off-white color. 2 Assorted jars of Jacquard Dye-Na-Flo fabric paint. 3. water proof freezer paper. 4. latex gloves.
After coiling several yards of thread and tying them together with string, I let the thread soak in the paint for about ten minutes. Wearing latex gloves I lifted the coil from the paint, squeezed out the excess and laid the threads on paper. Drying took several hours. The next day I pressed the dried thread with a hot iron, under a pressing cloth, for about 30 seconds. This was my attempt to fix the color. Because Jacquard Dye-Na-Flo is an acrylic paint, it is essentially color-fast from the moment it dries. But if you want to use the paint on an item that will be washed, I would recommend letting it cure for at least a week before washing.
Here are my hand-painted threads wound on spools.
I love that the paint gave the thread a variegated effect. I’m not sure if this happened because I mixed paint colors together or because I had a cord tied around the coil. It certainly makes for a splashy look.
So far I haven’t noticed any color bleed on my sample fabric. Tomorrow I will start using it on my quilt. I’m excited to see how that goes.
#doodlewashJanuary2020 This one’s for you, Charlie.
Here’s a whole school of the little wrigglers. When I found the reference photo on Unsplash, I just couldn’t resist those beautiful yellow tails. I will confess to adding Micron ink to the sketch after the water color paint had dried.
Since I received such nice art supplies for Christmas, I feel the imperative to put them to good use. In my breaks from sewing, knitting and doing chores, I’ve made a few pictures.
The first reference photo came from a painting tutorial by Lindsey Weirich, the Frugal Crafter. The second came from a Christmas card. Each took me about an hour to finish.
Today I will be volunteering with my husband at the downtown park. We and several other able-bodied folks will be putting the lighted Christmas displays back into the warehouse until next season. Like most small towns, ours relies on many willing volunteers to make the holiday magic happen.
I don’t expect to work on any fiber objects or sketches until tomorrow.
I wanted to call this post Hunker Down Kind of Day” but alas, I had already used that title. Today was the first time this winter when the weather felt and looked like winter. I was really in the mood to celebrate the snow fall. So I decided to break out the Christmas gifts, which included a set of water color paints and a block of hot-press watercolor paper.
There ensued several moments of consternation after I opened the package of paper. It seriously looked like a solid block of wood. I could not for the life of me figure out how to remove the cover page and access the paper. But then, I remembered UTube. Ah. A quick search on line and I found a video that showed me what to do.
Next I loaded a Lindsay Weirich tutorial page in which she paints a fox in the snow. You can find it here.
I got out my new Arteza watercolors and began painting along with Lindsay. This image shows my work after I had applied the first set of washes.
While my paint was drying, I joined husband in the family room. He was sitting in front of the fireplace, basking in the warmth and reading. So cosy. I sat and knitted for a bit while he read. After thirty minutes, my paints were dry and I returned to the studio. It took less than an hour to finish this painting.
What fun. I’m glad that I have decided to learn how to watercolor.
Well, the snow has stopped. After lunch perhaps I will take a walk to enjoy the winter wonderland before tomorrow, when the snow and ice are likely to melt.
Ho, ho ho – I must have been a good girl. Santa left me some wonderful art supplies this Christmas. He knows that I am playing around with color these days.
True confession: Santa was working from my list. This set of 36 watercolors is made by Arteza. The first thing I did after unwrapping them was swatch each color. The Prismacolor pencils are the erasable type. I’ve been told these are very useful in sketching, specifically the line drawing used to start a water color.
Since Christmas day I have been working fairly steadily on the Arches quilt. I’m pleased that I have finished assembling the hand painted backgrounds of the16 blocks that make up the quilt design.
The images below show a few completed blocks compared to the reference photos I worked from. Here is the upper right block.
This photo shows two blocks, representing the slender upper sections of the Arch.
I’m on a roll now. My hope is to finish the quilt top before the new year.
On a shopping trip to Tulsa I found the backing fabric – a purple-black color with a graffiti style print on it. I still need to choose border fabric. But what color? I am considering something lighter, just to provide separation from the dark blue and purple of the background. But I don’t want the border to compete with the bright yellow-gold of the subject fabric. Suggestions would be welcome.
I last wrote about this project on November 16th – almost a month ago. In that post I made a list of next steps. While I have completed all but a few of those steps, I started to lose enthusiasm for the project while painting my fabric. It seems that all of my fabrics began to look alike. I told myself that the background fabrics SHOULD look alike, otherwise they wouldn’t retreat into the background. But I still wanted more texture and movement in the colors. So I decided to go back to Cindy Walter’s fabric painting class, to review my technique and discover what I’m missing.
That did the trick. I worked a few variations on color washing and finished painting the background fabric. I now have enough fabric to start building the quilt blocks.
Looking at all the difference in the fabrics, it’s clear to me that I need to organize them in a way that illustrates the scene I want to paint. The solution came to me while I was in the shower. (Why do I get my best ideas while washing my hair?) The Arch stretches itself across three different backdrops.
I have my design, my structure, my fabric and my pattern. Now I can begin to sew.
As much as I enjoyed our little trip to visit family, it’s nice to be back into my routine. Just as an aside, the faux suede baby booties, while slightly too big, were well accepted by little L. In the meantime, she had also acquired two other items of footwear – a pair of sneakers and a pair of snow boots. She did a brief baby runway show, modeling all of the above. It was so funny to watch her toddle around the house awkwardly, although looking quite pleased with herself and her ability to work the crowd.
Back at home, I have picked up where I left off on various fiber projects.
First of all, I’m knitting a birthday surprise for my daughter. (A big clue to the surprise is found in the sketch above.)
Secondly, I’ve resumed efforts toward making the Arches quilt. It’s amazing how just writing down the next steps motivated me to work. I have finished drawing the full-size patterns for each block. And by completing this step, I have been able to determine exactly how may squares of each color will be required. Over the past two days I have been painting the background fabric. I chose to paint the background squares on a gray fabric, in order to keep the background looking like the night sky.
The wind howled all night and by 8 am this morning, the temperatures were in the lower 30s. I’m told that this is today’s high. The temperature is still dropping and the wind continues to blow. It’s a good thing that I have plenty of fiber objects and other creative endeavors on hand. No need to change out of my comfy yoga pants.
During an overly-optimistic moment several years ago I had purchased a water color set. I dug it out of a drawer and retrieved several tubes of paint. It took some muttering and a dull yarn needle to pierce some of the foil seals, but eventually I had small quantities of paint laid down onto a cheap plastic palette.
First the tags. Lindsey called these a warm-up exercise. After a few hours I had completed six or so gift tags. Here are some of my favorites:
Next came the cards. I worked the first of the series, stopping when I realized that the afternoon had flown the coop, it was 5 pm and time to cook dinner.
Taking a break from painting, I moved on to knitting. At this point, all of the holiday gifts that I wanted to make were finished and ready to be wrapped. (Mmm maybe I will attach some of those gift tags!) I suddenly remembered that daughter had requested a pair of mittens for her son. She specifically wanted stranded knitting, so the mittens would be extra warm. I found the perfect pattern on Ravelry. It will only require a few adjustments, including the insertion of a thumb gusset for better fit.
Here is my progress so far.
With the weather so brutal outside, there is a chance I can finish these mittens and another watercolor card before the sun comes up tomorrow.