I try to make an annual trip to an agricultural fair to sketch, my idea of great fun. Yesterday I was at the Loudonville Street Fair, a delightful event that runs through Saturday, October 7, 2017. I spent a few hours in the morning perched on a tiny stool outside the livestock tent with my small sketchbook, graphite pencil and eraser. My animal models are all groomed and captive…but that does not mean they hold still for their portraits. But, if you settle in quietly and have tons of patience, most animals will relax and move minimally, often returning to the same pose. The eraser is as vital as the pencil. My eraser rubbed out several attempts when my chosen model was too active to draw. The last photo is of one of my models. I am not only waiting for the animal to return to position, I must guess what is behind bars of the pen and under the halter. I became fascinated with the swirls and ridges as the hair direction changed on the steer’s face. I now understand why the term “cowlick” is used for rumpled hair.
Deadlines always motivate me. I am using the opportunity to exhibit with my small local quilt guild at a Street Fair held in the nearest village this coming week. I finished my second entry yesterday. It felt good to be in my studio and productive. Here is Northern Parula, which has my drawing of a small song bird native to our area. The entry I just finished, Life is Sweet, is a rework of the small piece I made and posted about in June. I moderated the color and the added a shortened version of the accompanying poem in the border. Tomorrow I take them to town to exhibit.
Life is Sweet
I learned of a call for entries for an art show which will be on display from October 26th through November 17th, 2017 at the Coburn Art Gallery at Ashland University. The show is called Mail Art. It consists of 4″ x 6″ cards made to fit the theme “Strength in Connection-Thy Neighbor”. My entry, “Red, Brown, Yellow, Black and White” using 185lb watercolor paper, a Zig memory system writer, inktense pencils, and a clever brush that has water in the handle.Entries must be mailed to the show without an enclosing envelope. It will be interesting to see if my watercolor entry arrives undamaged.
I made a fast and fun 12.5″ x 12.5″ quilt…only three days from the idea to the finish. The sketch was made of large simplified shapes. I chose a face, because I have a presentation next week on making art quilts with faces as the subject.
I traced my line drawing onto a piece of fabric in permanent fine line marker.
I gathered bold bright fabrics, digging through boxes of plaids and polka dots.
I worked flat, with my base fabric pinned to a piece of foamcore, glueing my cut fabric shapes to this base with tiny smears of glue in the center of each piece. I pinned together these layers: white tulle with glitter, the fabric collage, a thin batting, and a backing fabric.
I used only two colors of thread to quilt, peach and teal blue. Details were added as I sewed: eyebrows, creases in the hand, including a long life line, spirals in the cheeks (the symbol of life journey in some cultures). As I got to the nearly- finished stage of sewing on the binding, I composed a poem to explain the quilt’s story. Every quilt has a story.
Here’s the result:
I am preparing for a 5-day retreat. The teacher requested that participants have two possible designs for work in class. The designs are drawn with fine line Sharpie markers on unbleached muslin, which will be the base over which bits of fabric will be overlaid for a colorful fabric collage. I’ve spent a couple of weeks deciding what I might like to work on.
The first sketch was pretty straightforward, an analysis of the dark/light patterns in a photograph of a Toggenburg goat. I drew it in a 8.5″ x 11″ format, then made it four times larger than the original. Yikes…it gets creepy when you make an image so much larger than life! A three times enlargement was better.
The second possibility took me longer, about four re-drawings using multiple reference sources. I’m illustrating a delightful poem: A codfish lays 10,000 eggs, a barnyard hen lays one. The Codfish never cackles to tell you what she’s done. So we scorn the codfish and the boastful hen we prize, which only goes to show you IT PAYS TO ADVERTISE.
I’ve settled on the central image, but still have two possible options for including the text of the poem with the drawing. Here are my two drawings:
It Pays to Advertise
Another Wednesday painting result: I made a drawing on watercolor paper of the same view from my window that I did last week. This time I simplified and abstracted the scene. I spent my Wednesday painting time applying color with my Derwent Inktense pencils. Working with one small segment at a time, I applied washes using color pulled from the pencil tip with a wet paintbrush. With the wash still damp, I added textured using either the brush or the tip of the pencil. I am really enjoying the easy portability of this medium and the versatility. Here is Neighbors, Abstracted and the photo of the source scene.
I received a lovely gift on Sunday. A member of my art quilt group, who loves making 4” x 6” fabric postcards, gave two postcards to each person at the meeting. How generous. The signed one, I will send to a friend. An unsigned one I chose from the box had a nice teal and white print of a bird on a branch.
I could not stop myself when I got home. I took the print postcard apart and pieced it with fabrics that were meaningful to me and which coordinated in color: a hand-dye I had made, the waistband of a skirt and collar of a shirt that I had salvaged from my mother’s closet, some charm squares given to me as a gift. The bird image on the print was indistinct, so I searched my bird identification books for a species of appropriate body shape. A Northern Parula, the smallest warbler whose terrain includes Ohio, fit perfectly in both color and body shape.
I ironed fusible to the back of pale blue fabric, drew the perky little warbler with inktense pencils and a fine line Sharpie, and ironed him in place. My finished quiltlet, is 10 1/2” x 12 1/4”. Because it has a lot of hand-quilting, it was a four-day diversion from my backlog of unfinished projects. But making it was fun.