Sunday, January 11, 2015

The creation of Windsong

I am still recovering from this viral thing going around. I got it 2 days after I got my flu shot. LOL!
As I was looking at my photo library, I realize I had these  never before posted images of the creation of one of my favorite quilts.  Here is the evolution of Windsong...

My black and white laser printed drawing is beneath the fabric and away we go beginning with that part we are usually most afraid of.  I do this for 2 reasons and this approach has worked for me every time.
Most important... 1) we are most rested and patient when we first begin... so why not tackle the important part of the important image right out of the gate.  2) The second reason which so far has not come into play... is that IF it just doesn't work ... I can begin anew.
This is a white horse as you see so to capture the white highlights at the topside edges of the horse head and mane, an edge of the brownish background negative space goes in to place
Ofcourse this horse is not blue... but since shadows are generally cool, I used blue and even a bit of purple to create contour and dimension. 
This piece was painted across several days making certain I took many a break to refresh my energy and patience. 
I think painting is mentally much like snow skiing in that I always knew in my skiing when my legs were getting tired and should not take on another run.  Skiing on tired legs and you fall. The same is true in painting ( or even quilting) .... if too tired, you will likely screw something up.
The background is to be a dense thicket ... and I am making it up as I go.  I layer colors and play with negative space where I can to keep lighter edges here and there.  
I carefully did some layered setacolor washes in the upper background.. eg put one down, let it dry and heat set... then layered another neutral color atop and water splatted for interest.  I always do this kind of thing with  an embossing or hair dryer next to my painting area to stop  any unwanted movement of paint into already defined image/s.  
He is unquilted here, but looks okay to me. This piece was done in recall of memories of childhood days on our farm in Oklahoma. We did have horses on our farmland and there were routine winds moving across the plains.  As such, soft winds seem a comfort to me.  A windblown mane of a horse is a thing of beauty to me. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Wool Felt Candle Mat Travel Fun

Okay... I'm a painter and machine quilter but not so when traveling from place to place... so when recently traveling through Italy, I took this little handwork kit for wool felt. I'm not a wooly addict yet anyway but thought I'd do this to see what several of my wooly loving friends are enjoying. I must admit, it's perfect for traveling and E Z ... at least my way.... I wasn't looking to win any prize for perfection.
The pattern is available at    'Would be fun in Easter colors I'd think.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

How To Fall In Love with Venice

With only a short time in Venice, I first went to see the Grand Canal.... a wide canal snakeing through the city.
Street vendors, restaurants, and tourists line either side of the Canal. A bit overwhelming though exciting. 
I was on the lookout for one of the gorgeous boats like used in the Clooney, Amal  wedding last month. Bingo!  Complete with handsome Italian.
another.... a piece of art in itself. 
The best part of Venice is off the Grand Canal to the smaller tributaries entering residential dwellings and small shops. 

and ofcourse... a gondola with young lovers. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Apollo and Daphne

The Borghese Gallery in Rome had many magnificent scupltures but NONE more breathtaking than this by Gianlorenzo Bernini.  The story goes that Daphne had shot Apollo with an arrow that made him stupid. She wished to rid herself of him and her father set about to turn Daphne into a tree. Okay... sounds pretty crazy... but this is what is seen here. Daphne is starting to become a tree.... bark beginning to cover the front of her body, tree limbs/leaves sprouting from her fingers. Daddy had a strange way of helping!
The delicate details Bernini achieves in this marble are indeed remarkable... leaves almost translucent  where light can be seen through them.

 WOW... just  wow!!! 

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Pieta... Mary holding crucified Jesus

In Rome, at the Vatican, we entered St Peters Basilica where Mickelangelos "Pieta" is displayed beneath a cross. Onlookers  do not speak in this reverent place. It requires no words. It is beautiful in it's own way.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

No 1 on my Bucket List... CHECK!!!!


These are photos I took on New Year's Eve. Not a bad way to spend a holiday! In Florence, Italy at The Galleria di Academia  with No. 1 on my lifelong bucket list... David.   This guy looks darn good given he is over 500 years old. Mickelangelo at age 26 created him between 1501 and 1504. No photo of this piece can prepare you for the impact of being in his presence.It brought me to tears...  when I saw him first and when I left. He is spectacular... sitting atop a protected pedestal, he is 17 ft tall. Nothing else in the gallery could capture my attention, only David as he considered his prospects of defeating the giant Goliath.
The veins in his right hand and arm gave me chills... almost as if he were indeed alive.
The galleria was lightly filled as we entered early in the a.m..... but quickly filled with hundreds, all quiet and respectful in his presence.  A glass barricade now surrounds his pedestal..... Some years back, before the solid barricade, a man with hammer crossed over roped barricades and damaged the right foot.
It was cold in Florence... snow flurries outside the Galleria before and after our visit.  When hubby Ray remarked about the chill, I suggested, even David  had previously stood outside for over 350 years and survived, so we could surely handle the chill. I was on cloud nine the rest of the day!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Red Lions Path

Usually when I am creating something original, I will post progress. The Red Lion was an exception as last Christmas he was being created for a gift... so the only time he appeared on  line was the finished project... after Christmas giving.   So now I thought, I could share the path. I began with a sketched drawing using a dark red colored Conte chalk stick.  I'm working here with the new water thinable oil paints. LOVE THEM!!!!!   This piece was painted over several days allowing my eyes to 'rest'  after each session and gain new perspective painting with 'fresh' eyes.
Since oils can be opaque, I can begin by blocking in the background of red and black.   I want a dramatic lion portrait. A few critical darks on his image added.
Click on photo for enlarged view.
Then, the beginnings of the eye helps me connect with the animal. He starts to live! 
Then some blocked in golden yellow
Now adding further dimension/color variation. I am purposely going for the 'bad hair day look. 
Some white added for highlights, movement, and contrast
and finally bits of red and more darks added in his mane and face.
I don't enjoy painting animals that look fierce so I am always looking on ways to create a calmer, maybe even stoic (?sp)  look. 
The original  oil painting hangs in a private office in Anaheim Hills, Ca though I have had  small giclees on fabric made for quilting. Printing on fabric done by Studio West of Anthem, AZ. They matched the richness of the oil painting on both cotton and silk. Incredible!! Google them and check them out.