Thursday, March 4, 2010

Just Call Me Teach

I've been teaching a series of classes at a local bead store to show beaders and others the versatility of Shiva Paint Stiks. These fun projects are each 5 x 7 inches in size. Each explores a variety of techniques using the Paint Stiks, as well as other fun materials like Angelina fibers and needle felting. Winter is a half-day class, while Spring and Fall are full-day classes. Summer will be coming soon. Upon completion of the four pieces, I will be giving my students ideas for presentation both singly and as a group. So far everyone tells me how much fun they are having and they Keep coming back. What teacher could ask for more?

Friday, June 26, 2009

More Paradox

Here are two more pieces, plus details in my Paradox series. I think they speak for themselves, but should you have any questions, leave a comment.

I think instead I'll talk about some of the other effects the Alegre retreat, and my new work have had on me.

I don't know how many of you never thought you were able to draw. I mean really, firmly convinced that you COULD NOT under any circumstances put pencil to paper and create an image better than the iconic box with a triangle on it to make a house. I know I felt this way.

Then I took a drawing course that used the methods of Betty Edwards in "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain", and no I couldn't instantly draw. As a matter of fact the first several classes were very frustrating, but I kept going and kept doing the exercises. About 4 weeks in, I sat down to do an exercise and drew a very recognizable picture of a shoe, and not just any shoe mind you, it was my left shoe.

This was a breakthrough moment for me and I went on to finish the class and take several more. I immersed myself in drawing for about 9 months, and it was time well spent.

Back to the here and now, and Alegre. While attending this retreat, attending the workshop with Fran Skiles, returning home and continuing to work on this series, I find myself having a similar experience-another breakthrough moment. I feel not just changed, not just better at what I do, but more evolved as an artist.

Yes, it is exhilarating, yes it is exciting. But it is also terrifying. I feel like I own myself, and someone/something else far bigger (I want to say the World, but that sounds way too pompous and I don't mean to be) something more than I have been giving.

So I will be working harder, answering more prestigious calls for entry, doing more of the business (ugh, ugh, yech) things that are required to climb to the next level.

In the words of the Sweet Charity song, "look out world here I come".

Don't say you weren't warned!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


There's been a lot of interest in the techniques I used in my new work. There are a bunch of them and they can be used in any order or combination, which makes them very versatile. On the down side if you like a very soft hand to your quilts, you won't get it. These aren't my techniques, they were learned in a workshop with Fran Skiles, from Fran, from fellow classmates and a few I did come up with myself.

The base material is 100% white cotton duck, which gives a good body to take on all the materials I throw at it. Before anything is added to the piece, false French seams and large hand stitching are added for texture.

For these pieces I began with some copies of my photographs in B&W. The photocopy paper has some real advantages over other papers for this. These are cut into shapes, generally without recognizable features, think of them as textural shapes. Put them down with a coating of gel medium (I used Golden). As the surface dries slightly, distress them to achieve your desired look.

Other steps include application of gesso for texture, use of acrylic inks, application of dyed cheesecloth and silk gauze. Rubbings on rice paper can be added. Also bakery paper(the kind used to pick out your rolls and doughnuts at the store) can be drawn on with most any type of media (ink, watercolor pencils) and then adhered to the surface with gel medium.

One key is make sure and leave some of your whites, its easy to lose them all in the flow of your work. Oh, and make sure you have fun.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Latest Work

These are two pieces in a new series I have started "Paradox". Respectively, these are Paradox 1 and detail and Paradox 2 and detail.

These involve tons of new techniques I have been learning, new materials and generally an entirely new way of working. It is much faster than what I have done in the past, and very intuitive.

Because it is a multistage process, I never really know where I am going until I get there. But I have to say the journey is eventful, sometimes frustrating, but most often energizing!

Lots more to come, so keep a look out here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Alegre Retreat

I was privileged to attend the rebirth of the Alegre retreat at its new home, the Gateway Canyons resort in Colorado.

These are a few of my photos from this beautiful resort. Not only is it stunning and extremely comfortable, but also it is staffed by the most hospitable folks I have had the pleasure of meeting.

The kitchen staff fed us savory dishes at every meal, and folks these buffets were better than many a sit down dinner I've been served. The wait staff went out of their way to please us, knowing what we needed before we thought of it ourselves.

The rooms are large and beautiful, full of comforts that are out of the ordinary. Yet I have to say my husband and I hardly spent any time there!
And speaking of my husband, they kept him amused and busy doing all sorts of things, from ATV and horseback riding, to kayaking and golf.

The rest of the staff looked after our every need, there was a fabric store on site for things we may have forgotten or didn't know we needed so badly. That staff kept making runs into Grand Junction to bring back things we asked for. I even had my Bernina serviced while I was at the retreat. That's because we were provided with lovely Bernina machines to use in class!

They even provided us with discounted massages so we could keep working. I'll be posting more, as I want to tell you all about the wonderful class I took with Fran Skiles.

One thing I know for sure, is that I will be heading out again next year, and so will my husband!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

SAQA Auction

For those of you unfamiliar with SAQA, it is the Studio Art Quilters Association a professional organization of art quilters from around the world. It provides a wonderful support network for artists including education, publications and exhibition opportunities.

The primary fund raising activity for SAQA is the annual Square Foot Reverse Auction. All pieces are donated by members, so it is a wonderful opportunity to pick up something small from a favorite artist or someone new to you and support a great organization at the same time.

Pictured at the right is my piece for this year's auction. It is titled 'Winter Solitude', and is something new for me, technique-wise. I am just back from the Alegre retreat where I was privledged to study with Fran Skiles. I learned lots of ways of working from her, and couldn't resist trying some of them out here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I Am Still Alive!

I don't know if any of you are bloggers, but I started this with such high hopes and now find myself to be a very poor blogger indeed. Its nearly a year since I last posted, and I'm only at it now because I've accumulated too much guilt to avoid it any longer.

So first off I will bring you up to date on some of my current/recent exhibits and activities. At the right is a piece and a detail view called 'Test Pattern 1' that is on tour with My World in Black and White. The background is comprised of commercial fabrics and the test pattern was created with PaintStiks. If I recall correctly it is about 36" square.

I've found myself doing a lot of work in black and white lately. It is very satisfying and I'm not missing out on the color as much as I thought I would. There are two other pieces in this series, one in the quilting stage and one ready for quilting. I also have a large B&W piece I'm working on called "Shattered". All involve the use of the PaintStiks which are one of my favorite media. Unlike most artists I've talked to, I do not work that often with brushes or rubbings. I prefer to use them directly like the big crayons we used as toddlers. Perhaps that is because I tend to have a heavy hand with my tools anyway, so it is far more convenient to apply directly. I may be a lot of things, but timid isn't one of them!

Maybe that will whet your appetite. Tomorrow I will post my piece for the SAQA auction.