Monday, June 25, 2012

Collage Face - Just a Start

A new technique - how fun!  It is HOT here.  103 degrees today!  A very good day to stay inside and play.  So I watched the All About Faces DVD by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.  She is a great teacher and it is no surprise that I like to learn more about making faces.

One of the techniques that she shares is to draw a general face shape on paper and then use a casual chop and layer and stick-together-with-glue technique for making a free standing (well free laying would be more precise) face that you can lift up and place onto another piece of fabric.

Being the good little quilter that I am, I have several large containers of scraps.  MUCH too valuable to throw away - but not big enough to leave with my other fabric.  Wisely (and frankly amazingly) I had sorted the scraps into color batches last year.  So they were easy to work with.

You just sort of start at the top of the head and cut out chunks and use any glue applied with a  toothpick to stick the pieces together and - voila! - you make a face!  I really like it so far and I now have two things to consider.  When I posted this photo of the face I realized that the eyes were definitely different sizes.  Does that bother me?  A little.  Do I want to "fix" it?  Maybe.  Not sure yet.....

The second consideration is what else to surround this face with - I am thinking some flower petal shapes so it looks like the face sort of Grew in a Garden......  Oh.  I  just noticed that the ears are quite different in size too.  Maybe that balances the eyes..... Hmmm.....  I will leave you to wonder with me until I work on this some more.      barbara

Tea Bags and Hankies

 My friend Linda owns a beautiful old hotel in Calico Rock and gives me the most wonderful treasures.  She has given me bits of lace and old hankies, old jewelry, and other tiny delicacies.  I love these tidbits of the past - and try to find ways to use them in my quilts.

So the other day I opened my drawer that contains tea bags - and a sweet little hankie also dropped out.  It was stained but had the loveliest bit of lace around the edge.  I decided that the tea bag and the hankie were meant to be together in a new little art quilt.

The first thing that I did was to trace a drawing from my wonderful copyright free book of drawings of plants onto the tea bag.  I colored the drawing with colored pencils and then used Misty Fuse to adhere it to the middle of the hankie.

The hankie was then fused (also using Misty Fuse) to a piece of fabric without fusing the lacy edge.  Then I added beads from an old pearl necklace.  I don't think the pearls are real - but that doesn't really matter.

I used some of the fancy stitching on my Bernina to add the pretty pink stitches around the tea bag and secure that edge.  I like the way it brings the pink of the flowers out into the piece.  This stitching was also part of the quilting for the piece.  The other quilting line was around the inner edge of the lace hanky.

The piece is tiny but very very sweet.  I will give it to Linda soon and hope that she enjoys it as much as I enjoyed making it.      barbara

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Prayer Flags for Our Yard

 I have a lot of beautiful fabric.  OK not as much as most quilters because I make wall quilts that don't require nearly as much as bed quilts.  But still.... a LOT of fabric. 
Our Renegade group was talking about Prayer Flags and the whole idea of sending beautiful feelings and thoughts and prayers out into the world by making flags that blow in the wind and slowly disintegrate over time appealed to me.  I had made a couple of tiny ones - but decided to make some large and very colorful ones to decorate and energize our yard.

Anyone who has visited our home knows that we live in the middle of the woods - so I hung the flags (each on 18" x 36") from the trees. 
I am totally enjoying using my beautiful fabric this way.  And I am especially liking surrounding our home with wonderful energy.    barbara

One More Face

So here is one of MY faces - and I like the way it turned out better than the previous one.  The shadows on the face did not turn out well but that is OK.  This is just a time for experimenting.

I think the next step is to put on my favorite music and get out all of my best paintbrushes and a nice piece of paper - and just work on my technique.  Nothing like practice to make one better. 

I do think that perhaps I am meant to be a fabric artist rather than a paper person..... but who knows?  Now I just have to figure out how to put the painting techniques (once I practice more) together with fabric to make my quilts more interesting.
Hmmm.....  barbara

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Faces with Traci

 This is the next stage of the projects on the Strathmore site.  The initial stage involves writing large flowing words in several colors on the blank page, then covering them up (mostly) with paint.  Then rubbing paint thru objects (in this case sequin waste) while the paint is still wet to allow the colors to mix.  Then stamping with handmade stamps and other items to add shapes.
 Next steps include blocking in the face shape with gesso mixed with paint.  This of course blocks out the background.  Sort of cool.

Then adding collaged shapes that you drew separately on newsprint and cut out - to give you some structured shapes to paint on later.

This is the part where I get concerned about how on earth this is going to turn into something "good". 
 You can see the beginning of features (hair and one eye and lips) and the initial stage of the headdress.  The collages shapes have the first layer of paint.
The finished piece.  Note the additional painted details and added color on the face.

OK.  So here is what I think of the whole project:
VERY fun and very enjoyable.  For this first attempt I basically followed what Traci gave as a path.  But I discovered that I like MY faces and figures a whole lot more.

So I am really looking forward to the next several of these paintings that are MY creations.  Which is, of course, exactly what Traci would advise.

I do like the colorful headdress and flowers and the intense amount of details in this part of the project.  Normally I wouldn't have selected such a variety of color - but it does make it a lot more interesting.

I have learned that I am MUCH more comfortable using pens and markers to draw with rather than paintbrushes - but learning to use new tools is part of the adventure!    It was a GREAT CLASS.  I wonder what on-line class I will take next?  barbara

Monday, June 4, 2012

Compare These

For details on what these crazy colorful paintings are check out the next two (or should I say the previous two?) posts.

The one on the top is the one that is actually MORE complete and done the right way (no bleeding colors turning muddy and yucky).

But the second one is also pretty interesting.  I don't mind the more dramatic background - it would be good if it was an actual color and not just dark and gloomy - but I think that I want to consider the possibility of a dark background for a future project.

I am going to go back to the Strathmore site for the next class - which is using some of the same techniques and then painting a face over the whole thing.  I can hardly wait!   barbara

More Doodling with Traci

 So here is my second attempt at this technique.  Stencils were sprayed with a mixture of acrylic paint and water - yes this IS permanent (as opposed to.... well, if you read my last post you will know....).
As I play with this technique I am starting to become fond of certain items to use as stencils - like feathers and rubberbands.
 At this point I have added a lot of colorful circles with acrylic paint and then painted the background with a glaze (acrylic and lots of water) to unify the piece.
In this one I have added more color and some detail with oil pastels.  Great color but nasty to use markers over (later).  Not really totally convinced that the oil pastel idea is the greatest.  What if I used Inktense?  Would I be able to use paint over that without making it smear?  I will experiment and post the results.
 At this point I have added waterproof India Ink.  Sadly I did not have black - only brown.  NOT as good looking but....this is just an experiment.  I will order some black.  I used the tiniest brush that I own  and will need to practice mark making a lot to get the technique more precise.  But I do like the way that it adds depth to the piece.
This is the finished piece.  I like it.  It looks sort of like the garden of a crazy person. 

It was really fun to do this.  I felt like an absolute klutz because I don't "play" with paintbrushes.  It was actually really challenging to let go of my NEED to have a precise controlled end product. 

I cannot say enough wonderful things about Traci as a teacher in the videos.  If I had tried to learn this from a book, I don't think that I would have completed the project.  barbara

Another New Adventure

 So I was thinking about expanding my list of Creative Adventures and went to a site I had not visited in a while -  Strathmore makes the MOST wonderful paper for projects - and they offer these free video tutorials.  The one that I was most interested in was by Traci Bautista.  I LOVE her work.  Anyway - it is all about doodling in layers with paints etc. 
So here is my initial attempt.

 The first photo is stenciling with sprays.  It looked pretty good until I tried to add the second layer (to the right).  Then it turned all muddy and smeared and yucky.  Because I had made a mistake in the initial layer and used water soluble sprays.  A great learning experience (OK I was actually VERY frustrated).  So I put that aside and tried a second piece which you can see in the next post.

But later I came back to the initial muddy piece and added some more detail with paints and markers and stuff.... and I actually sort of like it.
I am always amused when I try something, have a failure (in my mind a DISASTER because I am OH so dramatic!!), and then am able to make it better.  Good to remember.

Check out the next post and you will see a much different look.   barbara