Monday, November 30, 2009

Yikes! These things are just like Potato Chips!

I thought I'd make some paper ornaments and gift tags to sell at the studio Open House over the Thanksgiving Weekend. Daniel Smith art supply catalogue had a project page on making water color ornaments. Of course, I got carried away and the next thing I knew I had piles of the ornaments and gift tags. One was prettier than the next, and I just couldn't stop laminating, painting, stamping, stenciling, etc. I made so many I have enough left for the next Open House on the 12th and 13th of December. I may have enough for next year, too, but they were so much fun, sometime between now and next year's Open House, I'll be doing more. I could make bookmarks, sleeves for coffe cups, notebook covers...Yikes. It's a good thing people liked them, because if I can't control myself, there will be no room for me in the studio! It's also a good thing there are no calories involved!
I hope everyone is having a great holiday season.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Climb Every Mountain???

I'm not sure about climbing every mountain, but I've climbed a few since I started hiking again on April l of this year. This picture was taken in the Jay Range in the High Peaks area of the Adirondacks. It was a cloudy day with a little rain but still a wonderful place to spend the day.

The trail to the summit of Buck Mountain near Lake George, New York is bursting with color. Although the colors are "past peak", they are still a delight to behold. Some areas of the trail give new meaning to Robert Frost's phrase "yellow woods". They are lit with a golden light that only appears in the autumn and makes everything it touches glow.

This is the view from the summit of Buck Mountain taken on Sunday, October 25. Even though Sunday was my twenty-sixth trip to the summit of Buck since April 1, I don't tire of the view.
I will have a year of Buck Mountain in photographs after hiking this winter. They will keep me busy in the studio for quite some time, I'm sure.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No Flat Cats Road Kill Exhibit

There was this really cool rubber
thing on the bike trail near the
highway, so, of course, I picked it
up and brought it home. I
slapped it on the counter but
my husband wasn't happy about
the object being on the counter.
"Do you know what that is?" he said.
"No, but it's cool" I said.
He said, "It's a sewage grinder
pump gasket. Get it off the counter!"
It had come creeping out from under one of our Adirondack snowbanks in March and thinking, "How germy could it be after being out in the snowbank all winter?" I gave it a Clorox bath anyway, just in case.
I thought was the perfect for the ARTAA (Adirondack Regional Textile Artists' Alliance) exhibit of art quilts made from "Road Kill" aka junk that members found on the sides of the roads or wherever they happened to be walking or hiking that spring. So the creative process began.

I decided I'd have to use toilet tissue. After all, it was a sewage grinder pump gasket. So I painted canvas with gel medium, criss crossed it with toilet tissue then painted another layer of
gel medium mixed with watercolors over the toilet tissue. I scanned the gasket, printed the pictures on PFD cotton, printed Extravorganza with a photo I'd taken, rounded up some scraps of fiberglass sheet rock tape I'd painted and began the composition. All went well until I tried to quilt the piece on my Bernina. The "dang" thing had become so stiff from all the gel medium that it wouldn't bend well enough to cooperate with the sewing machine. So I cut it into two pieces. It still didn't bend well, but I managed to sew minimal lines of quilting through it to hold it together.
SGPG Diptych has been part of two ARTAA exhibits. People are really getting a kick out of the exhibit and want to know what we're going to do next! We really don't have flat cats in the
exhibit just the remains of several stuffed animals the grandchildren donated to the cause. My thanks go to Eileen Donovan for the photography.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Place to Paint

a place to paint.
Kris Gregson Moss
has the space next door.
The purple trim is the opening between our spaces. Sensibiliteas, the best tea shop in New York, is next to Kris' space. We're located in the Troy Shirtmaker's Building in Glens Falls, New York along with Adirondack Quilts, Elements of Art, a yoga studio, a feltmaker, and other galleries and studios.

Thursday I was there painting with purple, red and lime green, the colors of the day. Maybe the next day I paint it will be yellow, green and white. We'll see what the muse decides! The vibes are good at the shirt factory so I'm hoping the painting will be good, too. Yay!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

In the Spirt of Degas: Art Inspired by Music

Ask the members
of the ARTAA.
They'll all
tell you I
keep saying,
like the
New York
Lottery ads,
"You can't win
if you don't play." So I trotted myself off to take "Rouge et Noir" the Lower Adirondack Arts Council's Lapham Gallery to enter the upcoming exhibit, In the Spirit of Degas: Art Inspired by Music. The email came today telling me that not only had Rouge et Noir been accepted, it won second place in the exhibit. Needless to say, I'm a happy camper.

Would they have given me second place if they knew that:

1. The background of Rouge et Noir is acrylics on the Brawny paper towels that I used to clean up my palette and brushes.
2. The batting is paper shop towels.
3. The bottom section is a paper towel from the restaurant atop the sky tower in San Antonio. They were so big, soft and yummy that I scarfed a couple and stuck them in my purse. Ye gads! I'm a paper towel thief!
4. The sheer columns are fiberglass sheet rock tape painted with acrylics. ????

Guess I'll just go to the opening on August 14 and see if anyone is on to me! Grin.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Exhibiting at the Adirondack Museum

"North Woods", 21 long x 31 wide, Acrylics, dye, markers, cotton

The Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, New York has asked to exhibit "North Woods" at their Fiber Festival on Saturday, September 12. They've also requested "Meadow".

"Meadow", (close up), 31.5 long x 41.5 wide, Framed, Acrylics, Setacolor, cotton, upholstery fabric. Check my website for a view of the entire piece .

It will be fun to be at the Museum for the Fiber Festival since I'll have work in three of the exhibits at the Mueseum that weekend, the Common Threads Exhibit which is being held for a second year through 2010, work in the exhibit for the Fiber Festival, and work in the ARTAA (Adirondack Regional Textile Artists Alliance) No Flat Cats Road Kill Exhibit (more on that another time!).

The Museum kicked off the annual Fiber Festival two years ago and had a good response. We're hoping that with all the traditional and art quilts being exhibited, attendance will soar and the festival will be expanded. Feedback from museum staff has indicated that the Common Threads exhibit has generated a lot of interest. That's a good thing for the museum, the traditional quilting community, and for those of us who are the "out of the box" art quilters, too.

I hope you get a chance to visit Blue Mountain Lake in September to see the traditional and art quilts at the Adirondack Museum. The Adirondack Museum is a gem and well worth the trip. It's a beautiful time of year in the Adirondacks, too.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Show is On!

Today is opening day for my show at the Adirondack Mountain Club Headquarters in Lake George, New York. The show runs through August 31.

The ADK Headquarters is located on Rte 9N just off Exit 21 of the Adirondack Northway (I87) .

Nancy DiDonato and I hung the show yesterday. Thankfully, Nancy is tall and very good with the measuring tape!

If you're in the Lake George area on vacation this summer, I hope you get a chance to stop by.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Creating vs Not Creating: Is it Possible?

I'm borrowing the idea from Diane Evans' entertaining blog relating her adventure in Celebrity Land to tell about my adventure. I hiked my first two high peaks in the Adirondacks this week.

I hiked the Inca Trail in Peru in 2006 and managed to haul myself over Dead Woman's Pass at 14,200 feet, but it's not the same as hiking in the Adirondacks. Unlike the terraced and well trodden Inca Trail, we have rocks, roots, streams, and mud in the trails here not to mention black flies and mosquitos.

"High Peak" here means over 4000 feet high. There are lots of people here who hike in the mountains and lots of people who have hiked the highest 46 mountains which earns them the designation of being a "46er". Some hardy souls are also "Winter 46ers" which means hiking these mountains on snowshoes during the Adirondack winters...if you can imagine that...but I digress.

Of course anyone who hikes here and knows the area will tell you that my first two high peaks are the easiest of the 46 high peaks to do. But that's okay. After a two year break from hiking and having started again April 1, I'm happy to have been on the summits of Cascade and Porter Mountains Thursday. I'm not one to ask someone to take my picture, but this was a monentous occaision, so my very patient "46er" hubby, my own personal hiking guide, took the picture. You can see some of the other high peaks in the distance. They're waiting for me on another day.

The mountains are wonderful with the birds singing, the brooks babbling, the wind rustling the leaves and the sunlight drifting through the trees. I've been carrying my camera and taking pictures. The images are making their way into my work.

Where does the creative process go when we're out of the studio or out of the creative zone? All those sights, sounds, tactile experiences and emotions become part of our souls and emerge in our work. we ever really stop creating even when we're living our "other lives"?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Painting Photos = Paint By Numbers

An old tinted photo in an oval frame with curved glass came to live at my house a few years ago. I'm not saying how many years, just a few. The little girls, my Mom and her friend, Lucy strike a typical pose. My Mom has a satisfied grin, and Lucy is scowling, unhappy because my mother got to hold the doll for the picture.

The tinting of the old photo, probably taken around 1920, always interested me. Of course, at that time, photos were black and white or sepia. Color was added by carefully painting the print.

Ways to create more realistic painted images to stitch have been rolling around in my head. As I looked at that picture of Mom and Lucy, it ocurred to me that if they could tint photos in the 1920s, I could paint the images printed onto fabric using the computer and simplify the whole process. I'd get the realistic look I was going for with minimal effort. I'm not exactly being lazy, I told myself, just efficient. Depending on how much I play with the photo before I print it, I'm probably not being efficient either. I could produce more copies of the an image, change the colors, change the stitching, etc. Endless possibilities.

Usually composing the image has already been done with the camera, and whatever I don't like can easily paint over with an opaque paint. Creative license! Transparent paint can add color while still leaving the photographic image underneath. It's a win, win! It's almost like sitting with a 96 crayon box of Crayolas and coloring away. Way too much fun. Try it sometime!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Work

My solo show in July and August at the Adirondack Mountain Club headquarters in Lake George, New York has inspired me to create pieces more realistic than what I usually do and that are reflective of our beautiful surroundings.
My camera goes with me when hiking or on morning walks and the photos have become the basis for a new series of work. The combination of photography, painting, and stitching has endless possibilities whether bound in the traditional quilt manner, mounted on gallery wrapped canvas, or framed.
I have years of photos to choose from, so many in fact, that I have to periodically burn them to CDs just to keep the computer from groaning under the load. And that's after deleting a lot of them! They are divided in to categories such as trees, leaves, flowers, rocks, architecture, etc. Some really niggle at me to play with them. So many pictures, so little time!
This picture of baby leaves unfurling is one of the latest in my new series of small pieces that will be at the Adirondack Mountain Club Gallery.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Playing with Paper Towels

It all started in a class with Elizabeth Busch at Quilting By the Lake. We were painting on fabric and paper. We were cleaning up with paper towels. I kept looking at them in my trash
basket and thinking, hmmm.

Elizabeth told us about doing quick sketches with fabric on index cards. They were fast and fun, little bursts of creativity, potential ideas for larger pieces. But what do you do with all those little "gems"? In an ah-ha! moment, I started sewing the "gems" made with fabric scraps to greeting card stock. When I started saving the paper towels that I cleaned up the paint and dye with, I started using the paper towels for backgrounds on the greeting cards.

Now I buy white paper towels for the "quilt" design in the towel. No towels with tea pots on them for me! Sometimes I skip painting the fabric and monoprint the paper towels. They soak up the paints beautifully, dry really fast, and iron well. A few tears here and there give them character. They can be backed with fusible interfacing to give them more body if needed or fused to other surfaces with fusible webbing. The paper towels are a little more fragile, but anything you can do with fabric, you can do with paper towels, too.

This paper towel thing is just too much fun. There are more things to create with paper, books, collages, quilts... See you later! I have to go play now.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Inspirations and musings

Lake George from summit of Sleeping Beauty

Those of us who live in the Adirondacks are blessed to be able to find inspiration in our own backyard. It is difficult to live here and not be influenced by the beauty that surrounds us. Elements of our environment find their way into our work whether it is the blue of the sky, the texture of pine needles, or the squeek of snow beneath our feet at -35 degrees.

Emotions and nature emerge in colors and shapes on my design wall. Whatever I have been thinking about is there in front of me even if I have not been consciously aware of trying to portray something specific. About half way through a piece, I can say, "Oh, yes! I've been thinking about that!"

And, no, I didn't take the photo. Hubby gets the credit. I'm a serious klutz in sneakers on flat ground in the summer, so winter hiking in snow shoes? I've been told I could trip over a seagull feather on the beach, so I'll wait until the ice and snow melt away from the trails in the woods.

The turkeys are moving around and we saw a flock of geese winging their way north this afternoon. We here in the "North Country" are looking forward to green grass and daffodils providing us with more inspiration

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Vineyard" Hits the Road

"Vineyard" is included in the SAQA 20th Anniversary Trunk show at The Big Sky Retreat and Show in Billings, Montana March 11 to 14. Some of these small works, 8" square in 12" mats, will be included in the collection to be archived by the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

"Vineyard" is painted and printed with Acrylics and Setacolor on upholstery fabric and tissue paper adhered to fabric with gel medium.

It would be really cool if "Vineyard" went to live at the Quilt Study Center, but if not, it will find a good home somewhere...maybe in Kansas with Dorothy and Toto!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Paper Towel Queen Strikes Again

All those glorious paints and dyes that I wipe off my brushes and pallettes color the paper towels and they're just too neat to toss. I hang them on my drying rack, carefully separate them into two sheets, iron them and stack them in the paper towel drawer! Yes, I have a designated used paper towel drawer.

Husband comes in and says, "What are you doing???" "Ironing paper towels!" He rolls his eyes, shakes his head, and retreats. Friends ask if using paper towels is an economic issue and when they come to paint, they are surprised when I grab their paper towels out of the trash and hang them up to dry!

Here's the latest paper towel quilt. It has one of those thick, utility paper towels for batting, a cotton backing, and was quilted with rayon machine embroidery thread. Do I put a binding on it or frame it??? Haven't decided yet. What do you think?