Friday, May 27, 2011

Spunky Grandaughter

Student Amelia seems pretty comfortable interpreting photos to portraits.
and another

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Beautiful Cosmos

Delightful Lindsay came all the way from Switzerland to learn to paint this piece using her own photoshopped photo of her favorite flower the Cosmos. The depth of field in her photo displayed a interesting out of focus background supporting a sharp focus floral. I remember long ago taking watercolor classes from Robert E Wood that he would say.... go for in and out of focus to create interest. He was right!! I can't wait to see the finished result.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Sweet Jenn Got Married!

I have a niece that should be my daughter but my sister (Jenns mother) disagrees. Jenns beautiful wedding took place Saturday! It was nothing short of spectacular! I tried to keep up with the younger crowds dancing fever. Needless to say but I will... my feet hurt!
and ofcourse we (Mom, Auntie Sheri) dressed up the little man Max . HE rocked out to some great DJ music with much 'older women (age 6)

A Day With Mickey

Grandson Max (age 3 1/2) came to visit and go to Disneyland to see Mickey. Too fun! Not shown is what followed... a fist bump with Mickey as Max kissed Mickey's nose.

Ofcourse, we had to go next door to Minnies house where Max seemed to gush as he posed with Sissy and cousin Morgan. He likes girls already!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Students Handsome Niece and Nephew

"Nope"... this isn't the reference photo but the painted portrait work of student Andrea Imondi of Helendale, Ca. Andrea has a discreet eye for detail which is what ultimately made this piece so successful. Putting a dark background behind these bright faces made them extra important within the overall image. Andrea also took 'artist liberties' by altering the color and value of her nephews pullover which was in reality a lighter value grey. The dark blue color and value better balance next to his sisters green mid value jacket... but she held the upper edges which somewhat frame his face pretty much the same as the original and that worked to his benefit as well. I am constantly encouraging students to change colors, values, etc if it makes the end result image more engaging. YEAH Andrea!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pretty Daughter

Jan Holzbauer of Jennings Oklahoma came to play in a very big way. Jan recently graduated with an arts degree and wrote and received a grant to come to this retreat. WAY TO GO! What a delightful lady Jan is. It was selfishly wonderful for me to have time with someone from my home state. This is a great portrait of Jan's recently married daughter.

My Little Chickadee!

I'll be showing several examples of student work at my retreat. I'll begin with this very detailed piece. I wish it were mine to own, but this phenomenal piece is by Peggy Ancinec of Carlsbad, Ca. Peggy has been a colored pencil artist for some time and is now incorporating ink with pencil. She may be the first and only. It seems better than a good mix by this example. This work is an interpretation of her hubby's photograph of this beautiful little chickadee. KUDOs Peggy!!
Double click on photo for a closeup.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Where This Time?

Dang... Blogger input was off the air for 2 days last week before I headed out of town in the wee hours Friday a.m. Where to?? Near heaven on earth... headed to Temecula, Ca for my second retreat this year. I have historically done one a year but this year out of overwhelming interest 2! More pics/ postings will follow... but what a beautiful valley!
As of this posting update, I am guessing all students are back at their own home nest, the furthest of which was Switzerland. This was a special group.... they all clicked with each other like long lost friends. I admit a few weepy tears materialized at departure. :-) Maybe next year again!

Seated L-R: Jan Holzbauer (Oklahoma), Chris Biro ( Calif.)
Standing L-R Darlene Garsecki ( Arkansas) ,Shirley Brown (Calif.), Andrea ( Calif) Amelia (New Mexico), Lindsay Cash (Switzerland), Kathryn Metzger (Florida), Melody Wyskocil (Calif), Corky (Calif) Peggy Ancinec ( Calif) , Olga

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Face Off Back Story

I'm home. I have the Dragon faced so I'll review how that is done as that is the most commonly asked question I get about finishing a faced quilt. So, all the quilting stitching is done. Now what?
First thing I do is BLOCK the quilt flat. I wasn't at home when I did this part so I did this atop the king sized bed over which there was a rotating ceiling fan. Pretty good actually. At home I usually do this either pinned to a sheet atop a carpet or atop a piece or 2 of 4 x 8 insulation board.

NOTE: One or 2 clicks on each picture will enlarge photos for greater clarity of review.

Spread the quilt out as smooth as it goes and spray it damp with a spritzer bottle. "Smoosh' it (that's a technical term) really flat and pin into bed/carpet/board allowing it to air dry nice and flat.
Once dry, measure measure measure... mark square up lines and cut. I immediately add a 2" border of sorts( all 4 sides) using approximately 1/8 inch seam allowance. IF you can't get to the ' facing border' addition right away.... add a stay stitch on the edge of your squaredup/cut quilt. Just trimmed quilted thread ends will start to lift up otherwise.
Once all sides are on... from the top side of the quilt top... barely off the quilted seam line on the added border, 'stay' stitch (just a straight stitch) through the 1/8 inch seam allowance.

Now for a more finished edge when the facing is turned to the back.. press under appx 1/4 inch of the raw edge (all way round) and stitch.

Now we'll work 2 opposite sides of the quilt with this process... say both sides of the quilt top. Later, we'll do the opposite sides.. say top and bottom.

For this part, you will work at your ironing board ( a big board if you're lucky) with your steam iron, and lots of pins. Steam ROLL facing from front to back... slowly progressing the length of the one side, carefully pinning as you go.
Once that air dries, carefully 'bind' with a hand needle removing pins as you go and making certain your 'stay stitch line ' is clearly visible from the back. Repeat this process on the opposite side of the quilt before continuing.
You'll now have 2 sides of the quilt that look something like this at the ends of the 'bound to the back' facing.

Time now to eliminate all possible bulk by... trimming excess fabric at the to be turned corner. I also snip even the tiniest excess of batting off the very corners. It's not much, but I think it will matter later.

Now time to steam ROLL this facing from front to back with a mitered turn at the corners. As before.. steam and pin as you go, allowing it to air dry before progressing.

As before... hand needle 'bind' this edge before repeating the process on the opposite side of the quilt back.
This whole process seems tedious taking the better part of the day... but honestly, it is relaxing and rewarding as the long project is near done at this step. It's honestly one of my favorite things to do. Hope this helps....
I'll later cover the addition of sleeves and labels. Now, I think I'll have a cookie to celebrate! :-)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Signing Off The Dragon AND Sedona

What timing.... The quilting of the Sea Dragon and my time in Sedona are coming to an end simultaneously. The SUV is loaded but for my Camera, laptop and personal items so before I sign off for the trip home, I'll sign off on the quilting. I free motion sign my quilts somewhere on the quilt that is not intrusive to the overall image. I used to consistently sign in the bottom right corner as that's my experience with traditional paintings. BUT.. for a quilt that is headed for a judging floor, putting a piece of signature covering tape or fabric right in the face of judges seems offensive to me, so this sign off is going on the vertical side of the left margin.

First I lightly mark the upper, middle, bottom line with chalk... this is to keep my signature straight. These lines can be erased
later. (In case you are puzzled by seeing some bright blue fabric just off the edge of the quilt.. it is future facing to be turned to the back side. I'll cover that process again later .)

I tend to use a 40 wt poly thread with which to sign. I'll say upfront that first I sign forward.. then backward retracing my forward steps. You'll see why and the difference between 1 line versus two. (Already, you might be saying why doesn't she just use a heavier thread? Bottom line, it's easier for me anyway to get the lines properly spaced with a thinner thread AND I can if needed make minor corrections when backstitch quilting) The first name is finished below exactly where I began.

Here, I'm coming back on the last name. I suspect you can see a big difference between the finished first name and the skinny beginning of the last name. (I apologize for the bright machine lights diminishing the color values here.)
Finally, erase those lines and you're done.
Thanks for taking this journey with me. For now, one more cup of hazelnut coffee for me and I'm heading home to California.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Moving To The Right

It's getting close to the quilting finish.... There is a large triple twisted strand of seaweed rising up on the right of the sea dragon. Here we go with a simple beginning....
Looks okay I think... I'll add some lighter value on the rightmost edge....
The color value of thread used will get lighter as I move to the top of the quilt suggesting light above the surface.. at least I hope it is ultimately seen that way. The rest of the seaweed completed with a little variety in texture fill.
Now on to reinforcing the bubbled up shapes with a second round of a bit lighter valued variegated thread.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

So much Kelp!!

I haven't even started on the right side of the dragon, but I have finished tackling the multiple strands/varieties of seaweed on the left. I have chosen different patterns/color changes in both the original painting as well at thread. I get bored easily so why wouldn't a viewer?!?!
Some variety in color added 'between' the quilted furrows seemed to work here too. I often say.." I know I'm done painting when I finally quit!" It's not terribly uncommon that after quilting is done, I make minor adjustments or more importantly take advantage of the texture created by quilting.
You can see here that while I've stayed fairly organic .. ie stayed with nature colors in the paint, the thread and pattern plays up the minor differences in color strand to strand.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

First Weekend In May

With rare exception, each year on the first weekend of May, the city of Sedona, AZ hosts an open studio tour with a dozen of more artists. This is part of why I come here at this time of year. It's always exciting to see how other artists work in very different ways. This year, my most exciting visit came in the studio of well-known artist Mary Fisher. I saw her African Faces quilts at Houston IQA in 2009. Mary is a tireless AIDs activist, painter, quilter, fiber artist, textile designer. Read and learn about Mary at
I have a few pictures from her studio, recognize please what you will see here is less than half of her personal studio. Her studio is 2 enormous work areas... one related to painting/dying(not seen here), the other related to fiber and beading.
Mary loves fiber...including quilts, and embroidery/embellishment on paper.

I thought I had a fabric/ art medium stash that wouldn't quit. Nope! Can't compare to this studio. Needless to say, Mary has hired help with studio management.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I wanna go to high school again!

Check out this exquisite high school in this oh so beautiful small town of Sedona, Arizona. Ray and I look forward to our annual visit here to amongst other things, do a morning workout in this stadium. Well I must be honest... Ray runs 5 miles, I go get a great cup of fu fu coffee and walk the track.
. As if that wasn't enough, this is the view standing on the field.
As I walked to the end of the track I looked up into a window of the new auditorium finished since our last vist. Egads... are those crystal chandaliers? YEP!
The good news.. actually a really smart thing done by this city.... is that this auditorium also serves as THE cities performing arts/community theater. A seemingly smart plan for a relatively small U.S. town.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spring At Last

I am so happy spring has arrived. Such color!!!
I'm lovin'it!
This might be a future art quilt... WOW.. what powerful color in this dramatic lily.
Happy Sunday all!

On to Seaweed

I admit this is made up seaweed so hooray... as an artist, I can make it look any way I might like. I just hope it reads as seaweed. First, it was such a relatively large area that even within the space I felt it needed variety... so I first chose a circular pattern of variegated dark to light green thread only on the outer edges. Yes,,,little circles can make you nutty, but at least it was only on the edges.
Then.. to create a fill texture of the center, I was thinking about that 'brain-like' coral pattern so that went in too.
Finally, the stem-like area that recedes into the the depth of the water.... Yes.. I'm pretty certain we'd never find this pattern in the depths of the Australian ocean where this dragon lives, but again, artists have license to do whatever they think works... I 'think' this works. I will know better when the rest is complete.