Friday, September 27, 2013

Texture! I've been busy!

Oh, I have so much to share, but this post is going to be about showing off, or sharing, or asking for opinions, or however you want to read it.  I've been busy in my new studio, working on one piece that sat, hated, on the easel for more than a year and was in desperate need of rejuvenation, and another, that came together within a few days because of a strange round piece of heavy cardboard, with a hole in the center, that I brought home with me when I cleaned out my classroom and retired. 

It just so happens that the regional arts council, of which I am a member, is hosting a juried show with the theme of texture and pattern.  When I saw the theme, I realized I just HAD to get my heavily textured pieces complete in time to enter.  As of today, they are both done and ready to bring tomorrow. 

But working here at home, I have nobody to give me honest critiques.  My hubby says "I like it!" or "I think it's great!"  - not exactly constructive criticism.  So I emailed photos to a couple of friends and decided what the heck, I'll enter the exhibit and either they get accepted or they don't.  I'll let you know.

The reason I'm so interested in critique is that they are a real departure from what I've done in the past, and part of me thinks perhaps they are just a glorious mess, particularly the second piece. So, drum-roll please... here they are... poorly photographed, but hopefully you'll get the idea.
"Marsh Dream - Texture Composition #1"  

One more view, to hopefully give you a better sense of the color.
 The media for the piece above is acrylic paint, assorted acrylic mediums, fabric and beads, on Masonite.  Due to the shimmery nature of some of the fabrics and paints used, it's hard to get a good photograph.. 
Here you can see how big it is.  I don't recall the measurements.
And the other piece:
"Woodland Fantasy - Texture Composition #2"
Um, this doesn't look like a kindergartner's thanksgiving turkey, does it?
 Close-up of the texture; another one at the top of the post

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Day the Crayons Quit

Have you seen this adorable book?  I was browsing the bookstore, and fell in love with it, and promptly purchased it as a gift for the gal who replaced me when I retired a year ago.  The book consists of letters a boy has found in his crayon box (instead of the crayons), written in crayon, actually written BY the crayons themselves!  Each letter is written in a different color, and that color complains about one thing or another - you use me too much, you don't use me enough, I only get used for outlines....and so on.  Really sweet!  In the end, the boy's solution is to color a spectacular picture, bright and colorful, using every crayon in the box.  

I love this book on so many levels.  I love it because it encourages creative use of color.  I love it because my students always knew how I felt about complaining. My #1 rule has always been No Whining!!  (I wrote this rule in a couple of prior posts but I'm writing this post on my iPad, which I don't normally do, and the blogger app is terrible and won't let me put in the links for you. If you want to find those posts, use my labels to the right and click on 'art room rules'.) Anyhow - also, I love the book because it can be used to talk about fairness and equality.  And I love it because it is simply so much fun.  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Not quite Project Runway!

It was like my own little version of Project Runway in my new art studio today - the only thing I was missing was a dressmaker's dummy and the drama!  (Are you a Project Runway fan like I am?  If so, who do you like so far this year?  Kate? Helen? Or one of the boys? I change my mind every week, it seems.  And what the heck was with Alexandria and those ridiculous pants in this week's show?  Was anyone else surprised that Heidi actually LIKED them and said she'd wear them?  Hideous!!!) 

Anyhow - back to MY one-day sewing project invention (finished product pictured below).  I hadn't really thought about my art studio as a place for my sewing machine, but my husband suggested it and he was right -  it was a wonderful place to work - I had great light, a good worktable, and I didn't need to move everything for dinner!!  I listened to public radio podcasts all afternoon, and refused to make dinner until the sewing project was complete.  Here it is, from my backside:
I neglected to take any before pictures, because this project has been sitting around SO long.  I started with a little black and white patterned tank top that I bought probably three or four years ago, because it was on a TJ Maxx bargain rack and I figured I could 'make it work'.  But the neck was way too low, and the armholes were too big, so I had raised the shoulders, and cut and reshaped the neck.  And it just didn't look right, and it was a little short on the bottom and I didn't like the fit of the armholes either.  Sigh.   And while you can't see it in the crappy photos, the printed fabric is thousands of tiny pleats, going in and out, making it a real challenge to sew.

So it had been at least a year, maybe more, since I touched it.  Last week I bought pieces of silky black fabric and white fabric, and today I went to work.  I traced some sleeves from an old pattern, and then altered the shape a bit.  I sewed in the sleeves and added a trim cuff of black, and then the big challenge - the bottom.  It was originally curved, longer in the front and back, shorter on the sides.  I cut the fabric straight across, very challenging due to those pleats!  I experimented with sewing the pleats shut on the bottom, but that made it too tight, so in the end I stretched out the pleats to sew on the black fabric on the bottom. which gives it a very forgiving-on-the-hips slightly gathered drape.  (Why didn't my husband remind me I had on that dumb headband when he shot the photos?   And no earrings - I am usually NEVER seen without earrings!  But he's no photographer - I had to TELL him to turn the camera to take the picture vertically!)
Anyhow, I'm thrilled with the way the project turned out and I can't wait to wear my silky new shirt!  Not too bad for an afternoon's work!  I hope it holds together - the white and black fabrics seem to fray very easily.  Meanwhile, I have another similar project, also sitting around for years, and hopefully I'll get to that one in the next week. 

So back to the real Project Runway - who do you think is on track to win?