Friday, February 17, 2017

Guest Artist - Paula Jolly - Off the Wall Friday

Now, as you know, I'm in the middle of taking Katie Pasquini-Masopust's online class.  Taking a class online is a bit different then in real life because for the most part you don't have a lot of interaction with your fellow classmates.  Life is busy for everyone and just getting the lessons done can be a challenge.

Still, after seeing her work, I reached out to a classmate, Paula Jolly.  Paula's first assignment looked so lovely - abstract and painterly  - it left me scratching my head thinking ... "How did she do that?"  Little did I know, until digging a bit, that Paula is a VERY accomplished Canadian artist.  So I asked if she would share a bit about herself here.

 Paula, Thanks for being a guest on my blog.  Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

"My husband and I have retired from farming and spend our winters in  Arizona.  We have three children and seven grandchildren.  Home is and always will be Mossbank, Saskatchewn."

How did you start sewing and creating?

"I have always been creative, it's just a part of me!  So at the age of 10 I began sewing.  I've dabbled in many hobbies through the years, finally deciding on art quilts and paper collage."

You're work is amazing.  Can you share a bit about your process?

" I love to hunt for fabric!  Everything has potential in my world!  I audition fabrics on my design wall until an idea forms.  My pieces are not pre planned nor is the stitching I do on them.  I use Inktense paints, oil and wax pastels, kids paints etc., to enhance my pieces.  It is not unusual for me to have several works on the go.  If I get stalled, I move on to another...... "

Thanks Paula!!  And yes, I've been working Lesson 3 this week!

What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Lesson 2 - Composition - Off the Wall Friday

So, I made it through my second lesson of Katie Pasquini Masopust's class - barely!!  When I first read that it was going to center on composition, I was all happy.  I mean, wasn't it I who had tried and true rules concerning composition?   So hard could it be?? 

I picked Cruciform structure.  And yes, that is exactly what it sounds like . . . . you organize your objects to make a cross.  So I did that using lines because that's easy enough.  The problem came in when I added my accent shape.  I decided to use circles because don't lines and circles go together like peanut butter and jelly?  Well apparently when I added my big circle it top my sketch over into the asymmetrical  composition structure.  So my lovely cruciform composition was now asymmetrical.  Luckily, that was one of the ones we could choose so that was fine!

I did the normal value sketches and picked one.  Also, I had to pick a color palette -so I went with my favorite yellow-green, green and blue-green and added a complimentary of red for some spark.  I've learned in the past that if I use this palette in the past that it just reads  "Calm", "Serene" and "Peaceful".  Without its complementary (remember complementary means opposite - not  natural partner) 

it would have been too wishy-washy for my taste.  This was a bold graphic sketch - it needed a bolder palette.

I thought I was going to use steam a seam 2 lite again but it was so big that I just pinned it down and started adding the thread work.  So while the rest of the country was watching the superbowl, I was machine quilting.

It got a good critique and it works fine - buttttttttttt - I don't know - I'm not too keen on it.  Its not something  I want to put up in a space on my wall.  I gotta remember that when making these little samples to make them pretty enough that I want to keep them around a bit!!

On to Lesson 3!!

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, February 3, 2017

6 Things You Didn't Know About Hundertwasser - Off the Wall Friday

For me there is always an emotion connected to art -  it angers me, surprises me, saddens me.  It evokes feelings of digust or pure joy.  And Joy is exactly what I feel when I look at the work of
Austrian born, Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000).  His work always entertains me, enchants me, enlivens me.  It always draws me in to look more closely.  So, I wanted to share my fascination with you!!

6 Things You Didn't Know about Friedensreich Hundertwasser

1.  He was born Friedrich Stowasser, but changed it to Hundertwasser when he was 21.  His name translates directly into English as "Peace-Realm Hundred-Water". The other names he chose for himself, Regentag and Dunkelbunt, translate to "Rainy day" and "Darkly multi-coloured".

2. Hundertwasser is one of the richest artists in history branding his work throughout Europe and then investing his earnings in real estate and businesses.  Through his stock company Hundertwasser managed his intellectual property rights

3.His eclectic artistic vision was not limited to wall paintings.  It is  expressed itself in pictorial art, environmentalism, philosophy, architecture, postage stamps, flags and clothing.
"Regenturm" (the raintower) ,  Plochingen, Germany

4.  Rejecting the the straight line and calling them "godless and immoral" and "something cowardly drawn with a rule, without thought or feeling" he used bright colors and organic form to achieve a
reconciliation between humans and nature. 

5.  For Hundertwasser, human misery was a result of the rational, sterile, monotonous architecture we lived in  and he designed his buildings with enlivened colors that took on organic non traditional forms.  With strong ecological beliefs, he incorporated nature in many of his buildings.

6.  He died aboard a ship, the S.S. Queen Elizabeth II, in late 2000. He was 71 years old when he passed away, and was buried in New Zealand where he got his second citizenship in years earlier.

Green Tower, 1978
I've always wanted to do a series of pieces in the style of  Hundertwasser because I would love to evoke as much joy with my work as he does with his.

So What Have Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Color Wheel Wrap Up - Off the Wall Friday

So as you know, my mother gave me a 8 lesson online class with Katie Pasquini Masopust for Christmas.  Every two weeks we are expected to come up a piece that reflects the lesson.

Lesson 1 - Make a design referencing the Color Wheel.

No, problem right?  I mean every elementary student learns the color wheel and how the colors relate 36 colors that go smoothly around that wheel playing nicely with each other.
to each other.  But now try to pull out 12 main colors in 3 different values and you'd need a third grader to tell you that's 36 colors.  

Have you ever tried to get 36 unique individuals to play nicely with each other?  It's hard.  But once the colors where picked out, the design was relatively easy.

Lesson 1 -  24" by 12" - pieced background, fused rough edge applique, machine quilted

Self Critique Checklist

Variety:   The petals where varied,  as well as the negative space (the background and flower centers)

Value:  Full range of the values where used with both the color wheel colors and background.  The lightest values of both were used to add accents through out the piece.

Balance:  There is balance with the two smaller flowers balancing out the centrally located bigger flower

Composition: The accents of the lightest hues in both the flowers and and background move the eye throughout this asymmetrical composition.

What did I learn??

Welllllllllllllll, brown makes a darn good neutral.  The richness of the color makes the other hues pop right off.  Even with the complexity of the background the petals since shine off it.  I learn that even after 25 yrs of quilting, picking out colors is hard because they are so relative to each other.  What looks like primary blue in one design might look like blue-violet in another.  

Also, I learned that the new Steam A Seam lite 2 really is easy to use.  I repositioned those petals over and over and over until I got them just right.  Also, although the fused pedals were a bit stiff, they did not gum up needles and quilted nicely.  What I did need to do is clean all my paper scissors with Goo Be Gone because the glue residue did get on them.  I wouldn't say that I've been lured over to the fusing camp, but for class lessons it helps speed the process along.

What Would I do differently?

I think that I would make the background not quite so complex and would make the petals bigger.  That background really tended to take over the show (and yeah - I totally fell in love with it!).  But the challenge was to make a design referencing the color wheel - not to showcase how cool browns look as a background.  

All in all, I really liked the piece and was glad to get it done in the 2 week deadline.  My studio looks like it exploded in hand dyeds but there are worse things in life than to put a good movie on and refold and organize pretty fabric.  Katie critique was helpful and she liked the piece too  - so lesson 1 complete!

Onto Lesson 2!!!!

So What Have Been up to Creatively?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Background Browns - Off the Wall Friday

Me:  If I don't get going on this lesson, I'm going to miss the deadline.

Husband:  So go sew.

Me:  I can't.  I don't understand brown.

Husband:  What's there to understand?  Brown is brown.

Me:  No, she says that browns leans toward different colors and that's what I don't understand.

Husband:  Why are you trying to talk about color.  Color is a visual decision.  Don't you always say- (mimicking) "Make Visual Decisions Visually"  ???  You know color.
Go sew.

Smart man - I knew there was a reason I married him!!

So I put on my  big girl pants and attacked my browns.  Once I started looking, I did have quite a few and it wasn't hard to pull a bunch for a background.  The minute I started sewing, I thought, gee why did I think this was going to be hard.

I already had a rough sketch of my design and came up with a sample size - 12" by 24".  With one long stretch of studio time I was done.  Now that its together, I can see how the browns do have different undertones - but I'm still having trouble verbalizing them.  Luckily color doesn't need to be verbalized much!!

When I was done, I liked the background so well that I'm loathed to put something on it.  I'm definitely going to have to a monochromatic piece one of these days in brown.  Who knew I was going to fall in love?

So this weekend I'll be able to finish up the assignment and get it handed in on time.  I might even be able to get the stitching and quilting done of it!  YAY!!

So What Have You been up to Creatively?

Friday, January 13, 2017

In Search of Brown - Off the Wall Friday

My Arches piece that uses Brown as a nuetral

So, it all started when my mother was generous enough to give me for Christmas  an online 8 lesson class in Color, Composition, and Design with Katie Pasquini Masopust.  I like the idea of the class because it would jumpstart me back into the studio and being held accountable for your work is never a bad idea now and again.  Since after 25 yrs I've learned a thing or two about Color, Composition and Design . . .  I thought .. . . How hard can be it be?  Well, as always, there is always more to learn!

Apparently, Brown is much more than the color of dirt and tree bark!  Its a neutral.  (To be truthful, I  did know this but just don't often use it that way) Also, it can be created by mixing complementary colors.  Now this I did not know.  I thought to get brown you could just mix all three primary colors together equally.  (But if you think about it that's true too - BUT you only get one shade of brown that way).  So if you mix complementary colors you get many more shades of brown  - of course depending how much you of each hue you mix. And since you get complementary colors by mixing primary, I guess both statements are true.

Okay - got that - now searching out those browns in your stash is a whole other story.  You see I'll need them for my first lesson which is due in little over one week.  And I still haven't quite found all the browns.  Its not as if I don't own browns, and I make sure I dye more every year but truly - who looks carefully at browns when there are so many other colors in the crayon box. 

So I guess you'll have to stay tune to see where I go with this exploration in brown.  The rest of the lesson I totally understand (secretly saying to myself "Oh, I got this") but Brown is still a bit of mystery to me that will need a bit exploration this weekend.  I'll let you know what I find next week!

So What Have Been Up to Creatively This Week?

Friday, January 6, 2017

Art of the Day - Off the Wall Friday

The Path, Wihelm Morgner, 1913 (May 3, 2016 Calendar page)

A New Year - A New Calendar!!  For the last 3 years,  my favorite calendar,  Art Page-A-Day Gallery Calendar has sat on my desk. One of the small blessings of each day is to change the page each morning and see what amazing piece of art the editors had in store for me!  Sometimes it familiar, sometimes its new to me, sometimes the beauty catches my breath - and sometimes - not often - it makes me thing - O - M - G - what were they thinking!  It always is interesting and never mundane!!

Portrait of Dame Ellen Terry, George Watts, 1864

One of the ways, I've taken to ringing out the Old and ushering in the New is to looking through last year's calendars pages to see which I'm going to be saving.  I've started quite a little collection of them every year for future inspiration.  The calendar sits in a sturdy Lucite stand and the pictures are high quality paper.  The art displayed is everything from paintings, sculpture, fashion, photography, furniture etc. etc.  Each page has a caption on what is the piece is, by whom, and where its located now.  Also, some days, the editor chose to give high light a cropped section of the original piece which I actually really like.  It makes me think of that one small bit of a much larger work and inspires me to take interesting crops of my own work.

Mending the Sail, Joaquin Sorolla, 1836

Since I haven't quite started my new projects of my own (we're just finishing up on "Holiday" mode around here), I thought I would share some of the ones that I absolutely loved!  I'm sure  you can see from my selections how my tastes run to the impressionists and post impressionists era.  The calendar represents art across time, but the editors do seem to include a lot from my favorite art movements.   (Also, I noticed that they sell last year's calendar 2016 on Amazon at a reduced price if you just want to buy it to look at the pretty pictures!)

Dynamism of a Soccer Player, Umberto Boccioni, 1914

This weekend its back to studio for me!  I usually take a break each December since its the darkest and most busiest month of the year!!

So What Have Been Up to Creatively?