Posted in knitting, painting, quilting

Year 2020 in my Rearview Mirror

My usual practice on New Year’s Day is to clean out my clothes closet, eliminating all those items I no longer wear and taking stock of any needs for replacements. But this year? Staying at home 90% of the time? Who needs new clothes! I fell into a consistent pattern of wearing jeans or stretch pants and cotton knit shirts.

So today, I will ignore my closet and instead look back at the work emerging from my studio. In glancing at my 2020 posts, I realize how much my work has changed since I started this blog in 2019. What comes to the front are the forays into making art quilts and painting with watercolors. But I’ll start with my first love –

KNITTING

While this year was not a high point in creative design, my output was strong. I completed 3 hats, 4 pair of socks, a toddler sweater, a dress, a top down cardigan, a serape and a water bottle holder. My most complex object was the Weaver’s Square vest made for my daughter.

Technically, I did design this garment. But the fair isle pattern on the vest’s back was adapted from one I saw on Knit/Lab’s website. I don’t take credit for that part. The vest turned out pretty great and she loved it. Here are a few photos of some other knits I made this year:

I finished the year with two UFO’s – a pair of men’s socks and a pair of gloves.

PAINTING

Last year I was focused on learning to sketch. But this year, I was determined to start painting. To that end, I joined the local art association and signed up for some on-line classes. Anyone who has tried to paint with watercolor will freely admit that the medium has its own set of challenges. I spent the year more disheartened than encouraged. In July I followed the daily challenge on World Watercolor Month, organized by Charlie O-Shields of Doodlewash. That’s when I started to see some improvement. I began by painting copies of other people’s photographs. Eventually I was able to paint from my own photographs, from life, and from my imagination. Here are a few favorites.

QUILTING

Confession: I learned how to quilt only for the purpose of realizing my fiber ideas. So there are a lot of technical areas of quilting that I choose not to pursue. While my favorite thing to do with fabric is to paint on it, I am willing to piece fabric into a quilt top when my inspiration seems to require it. I use commercially printed fabric as well as hand painted fabric for these pieces. During the past year I learned how to mount small art quilts onto stretched canvas. This allows me to present them as works of art suitable for hanging.

At the beginning of 2021, I find myself with a number of unfinished objects. I also have more ideas than I have energy to pursue.

So perhaps my goal for the new year needs to be a narrowing of ambition. The hardest part is deciding what to leave behind. I love it all.

Posted in knitting, painting

Vacation in the Rear View Mirror

Another view of travel knitting, this time on the way home. While on vacation I was too busy to finish this sock. However I do have a few things fibery and artsy to share.

When visiting one of my favorite yarn/book stores, I snagged this pretty ball of Berroco Sox yarn and 1000 yards of Plymonth Encore in a heathery mahogany color.

My grandson agreed to accept a pair of socks from me, and approved of this yarn. I plan to use the Plymouth yarn to knit myself a loose cardigan for lounging around the house on cool winter nights.

I got the sketch book out during the vacation just once. Here is a view of Shell Lake.

It was so fun introducing my 2-year-old granddaughter to water color paint. First I made an assortment of paint puddles, taped down a piece of drawing paper and handed her a cotton swab. Following my example, she dabbled with lines and dots.

She also grabbed a small sponge, stroked it over the red paint then applied it to the paper. When she ran out of space on the paper, she wiped the sponge vigorously over her belly.

FYI: Red watercolor paint on a baby’s body looks very much like a bruise. Gramps had a moment of concern upon viewing her body art, which he quickly overcame after I wiped her clean.

Today marks the last day of WorldWatercolorMonth. Despite being gone for twelve days this month, I was able to complete fifteen of the 31 challenges. Here is my final one. The prompt is Pose. I chose this little cedar waxwing, who was posing for the camera by cocking his head to one side.

It’s nice to be back in my studio. I look forward to digging in to my stash of UFOs and dreaming up some interesting new projects.

Posted in painting

#Worldwatercolormonth This week’s work

My poor sewing machine has been relegated to the bookshelf while my paintbrushes are getting quite a work-out. I am making a painting everyday in conjunction with WorldWatercolorMonth.

Here is a selection of paintings completed this week. Each one is headed with the daily prompt that directed the painting’s subject matter.

7-13-20 Twisted. This gray-haired yogi is from an older generation, and she is flexible and strong.

7-14-20 Green. The reference photo is a Japanese painted fern, a cool, grey-green.

7-15-20 Forgotten. I’m told that umbrellas are the items most often left behind at museums. This sad blue umbrella was left at the terrace cafe.

7-16-20 Machine. All I could think of was Leonardo da Vici’s marvelous drawings. Here are two of da Vici’s machines done in pencil with color wash on top. I even added some reverse-image handwriting as practiced by da Vici.

7-17-20 Spontaneous. Angela Fehr provided a tutorial on painting spontaneously. This was made following her example. After throwing down some sepia lines, I spontaneously added purple and yellow patches. The painting began to reveal itself as a mountain meadow in early summer.

After today, I will be taking a pause from painting. Tomorrow we leave for Wisconsin. The lure of the North woods is irresistible, wherein resides our daughter and her family. The trip promises to be a cool and noisy respite from our state of self-isolation.

See you in a week or so.

Posted in painting

This week in #Worldwatercolormonth

Here is a small gallery of the paintings I did in response to World Watercolor Month daily prompts.  In viewing the images, you will notice that I discovered my orange paint this week.

070620 Flow

070720Free2

070820 Fall

07920 Fruit

071020Fast

 

071120

I’m happy today, also, because I received a delivery of art supplies, including white opaque paint, better known as Gouache.  Next week I will see what it can do.

Have a good week-end.

Posted in painting

#WorldWatercolorMonth Two More Days

It’s been a quiet week-end here at the studio. I have definitely been absorbed by painting.

Today I have two images to share. The prompt for July 3rd was Playful. I chose to paint some dolphins in a pool with their toys.

This is technically a mixed-media painting. I started out by scribbling on the white paper with white crayon to create a wax resist. I also used a little white gel pen, to see if it would resist the paint. And finally, I brushed on the traditional drawing gum resist. The frothy effect is the crayon. The white ring in the lower right corner is the gel pen, and the white marks on the dolphins’ heads is the gum. After applying the paint, I came back with black micron pen to add detail to the dolphins.

This was a fun and fairly quick painting. I like that it looks like a storybook illustration.

The prompt for July 4th was the word Quiet. Immediately I thought about a sleeping baby. If the baby is sleeping, momma tells everyone to Be Quiet! But then, I thought about sleeping owls. They also nap during daylight hours.

I found a good photograph of two sleepy owls, and made this sketch of it:

I really liked the sketch and was excited to render the image in water color. This was to be a traditional painting, with nothing but watercolor paints on top of a few pencil marks.

It took me all afternoon, because I had to wait for each wash to dry thoroughly before continuing. I reserved the white of the owls’ feathers with drawing gum resist. Completing the painting was satisfying, although some areas are not quite as I had intended them to be.

While the pose I rendered is exactly like the photograph, there is a some mystery about the image. Can you see the wing of the little owl on the left? It is tucked by its side. And yet, something that seems to be a wing is lying on top of the tucked-in wing. After thinking about this, there’s only one logical conclusion: The larger owl has its right wing wrapped around the smaller owl.

What do you think? Do owls give hugs? Or did the internet photographer doctor up the photo?

Posted in painting

#WorldWatercolorMonth Texture

I was happy with today’s topic. It’s time for me to practice painting textures. I especially wanted to paint a basket. This basket was stashed away in a bathroom cabinet. It is filled with Spanish moss – I’m not sure where I got the moss. So, two textures – plaited reeds and Spanish moss. To add a third texture, I posed a little wren, who seems keen to grab some of that moss for her nest.

Yellow ochre, New Gamboge, Burnt Sienna, French Ultramarine Blue and a little Payne’s grey. I added two ink colors using Micron pens – Black and tan. Paper is Paul Rubans watercolor block.

Posted in painting

#WorldWatercolorMonth Day 1

For the first day of #WorldWatercolorMonth, I chose the image of jumping for joy. Having my joyful figure on the beach at sunset gave me a ideal opportunity to practice blending colors in a wash. I used micron pen on the shore line and figure only.

She sure has a lot of hair.

Paynes grey, New gamboge, Quin red on Strathmore watercolor travel journal.