Friday, November 26, 2010

Citrus season has begun

The new crop of oranges and grapefruit are ready, and so am I. Here’s our stash ready to share with friends and family over the Thanksgiving holiday.
oranges and grapefruit
Another thing I like about citrus season is the bags the grower gives me. They are great to cut up and use as stencils, rubbing plates, and other textural applications.
orange bags

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Class at the Sewing Garret

Today I taught a class at the Sewing Garret, a quilt shop in Daytona Beach. We had a great time learning some basics of coaster construction, and making three different samples. I hope to be teaching another class on introduction to art quilting in January.
students
stitching the coaster
We did a bleach discharge technique which was new to most of the class. Lots of fun! For more information, click on the previous posts
coasters
bleach technique

Monday, November 15, 2010

My favorite painting product

acrylic glazing liquid Last year I took an online class, Color Beyond the Basics taught by Julie Prichard and Chris Cozen. I learned a lot about mixing paints, and I use the reference sheets I created every time I get out my paints.

One of the products I was introduced to was Acrylic Glazing Liquid. This stuff is wonderful. It does all the things Golden says it does in their product information sheet, but here’s how I use it.

1. Mix with acrylic paints to give more open time. Acrylic paints dry very quickly, glazing liquid mixed with the paint gives about 30 minutes of time to work.

2. Increases the transparency of paints. Mixed 1:1, you get the open time, mixed 10:1, your paints become transparent. Sure you can use water, but many paints separate with added water. The AGL gives great “brushability”.

3. Paint that has dried on your palette can be revitalized with a squirt of AGL.

4. Paintbrushes that have mistakenly been left to dry can be restored with an application of AGL. I had a $20 brush I thought was a goner, and AGL restored it.

5. Mistakes on your project can be erased with AGL.

It comes in both gloss and satin finish. I use the gloss because the satin finish has an ingredient that makes it somewhat opaque. The gloss is totally clear when dry.

Love it!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Great Days in the Studio

Yesterday morning the studio was brightly sunlit, and I began a painting project. In a previous post I wrote about how I use leftover paint to paint pages to use in later projects. I pulled out some of those pages and set them aside for further embellishment.

preparing to paint

I gathered my supplies, paints, stencils and stamps.

preparing to paint2

I spent the morning, painting papers, and of course making some new pages with the left over paints.

finished pages1

finished pages2

I wanted a variety of colors in lights and darks, as well as bright and dull pages. Since my sketchbook pages are painted on both sides I painted both sides which doubles my options in using them.

I let them dry overnight and this morning I painted them with soft gel gloss mixed with iridescent paint. The soft gel makes them soft and pliable so they can be stitched by hand or machine. The addition of a little gold paint to the soft gel gloss adds a bit of sparkle and unifies the pages.

Alas, every good party must come to an end.

the party's over

I’m working on a project using these papers which I plan to submit for publication. Yikes! I’ve said it out loud!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Completed coasters

I made these coasters to go with the new placemats and napkins I made a few weeks ago. Company is coming this week, so I am ready.

love a tree coasters

Friday, November 5, 2010

What I’m reading

I finished Freedom by Jeffrey Franzen. New book, lots of hype, but I liked it a lot. It was a very complex plot with lots of layers and recurring themes. Just what a great novel is supposed to be.

I took a break from current fiction and read The Good Earth, Pearl Buck’s Pulitzer prize winner from the ‘30’s. Excellent book, I understand how it has stood the test of time.

Ken Follett, World Without End is 929 pages of medieval history. This book has it all, sex, politics, back stabbing, black death, murder and romance. It was a page turner.

Loving medieval history, I couldn't help myself and started reading Ken Follett's companion to World without End, Pillars of the Earth. It was 983 pages long. More sex, treachery, concealed identities, and of course murder. The book culminates with the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket in 1170.

Although I read it a couple of years ago, another medieval history novel was Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. It's about a village affected by the plague that cut itself off from the outside world to prevent the villagers from leaving and infecting others.

For non-fiction, I read The Forger's Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century by Edward Dolnick. . Makes you wonder how many fakes are hanging in museums. Very good book.

Bury Your Dead, by Louise Penny. I do not recommend. It's about a murder investigation in Quebec. I don’t have enough background in Canadian history, especially Quebec separatists, to appreciate it. Don't know why I continued to read it except it had a mystery and I wanted to know what happened.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. An absolutely splendid novel about complicated family relationships centered on twins abandoned at birth. Set in a mission hospital in Ethiopia and an urban hospital in the US, it was a fabulous book. Highly recommend.

Next up: A Tale of Two Cities. Charles Dickens classic about the French revolution. My sixth grade teacher read this book to us every day after lunch. I can remember the whole class being mesmerized by the story. Last year I read Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now, a loooong Victorian novel about greed, politics, power and financial ruin.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Eco Garland

No matter what the project, whenever I get out my paints, I also get out 5 or 6 inexpensive sketchbooks to paint pages using the excess paint. Paint is too expensive to throw away, not to mention the harm it does to the environment in washing it down the sink. So I use what’s left over to paint the pages, sometimes going back again to add stamping or textural techniques. I have no plan, not even a color scheme in mind.

sketch book pages1 sketch book pages2

This week, I coated some of the pages in soft gel medium mixed with just a bit of gold iridescent paint. I did this on both sides. Then I cut out Christmas ornament shapes. I used a decorative punch on the left over paper to make some stars and put them on with gel medium too. With the paper now stabilized it was easy to sew, and I knew it wouldn’t rip out. I used a zigzag stitch and sewed them together, punched a hole in either end and ran yarn through the holes to create a way to hang them.

paper garland

Since the paper is painted on both sides, the garland is reversible.

reverse

I’m not finished with this idea yet. I see a lot more possibilities.