Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to Create Trees Along A River Bank

Variety is the spice of life, and it is also the key to making a tree bank along a river. River tree banks have all sorts of trees and bushes growing along them. They squeeze themselves in every which way, each one reaching for their share of the sunlight. There are pine tree shapes, billowy leafy trees, dead branches, short bushes, tall bushes, fat one, rounds one, skinny one…

So when making a tree bank, add a lot of variety of shapes and many different shades of your tree bank colors. Be sure to add dark values because that gives it depth. Place some of the dark values near the intersection of the trees and the water, because that is where most of the darkest darks are located.

The fabrics I chose for this tree bank included cottons, organzas, tulle, commercial fabris, hand painted fabrics, you name it. Here are some photos showing it in close up view:

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Movie Review - "McFarland"

The subheading on this blog states this blog is about "Fiber Art, Watercolor ... and other stuff". Well here is an "other stuff" post:

Movie Review - McFarland

I enjoyed "McFarland" and recommend it to you and kids of all ages. This movie is based on the true story of a high school in a poor, rural agricultural community in the central valley of California. Kevin Costner stars as a teacher/football coach who transfers to this school after failing in other locations. He brings his family with him to this primarily Hispanic community. It doesn't take long before he recognizes that there are better opportunities for the students in cross country running than in football. This movie tells the story of the cross country team's development and success, but it's really about the coach and his family becoming a part of this community, and how they all benefit as a result. It's a feel good movie that's even better because it's true.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Painting Fabric Backgrounds

I often like to paint fabrics that I use for backgrounds and mountains. A wide variety of paints will work for this, including various brands of textile paints, acrylic paints, and acrylic inks.  I don’t tend to use Tsukeniko inks for large pieces because of the expense.  I also don’t use watercolors or other paints that may wash out with water. This may not make sense since fiber art pieces should not be washed, but I spritz with water at times during construction and really don’t want to risk changes to the colors or bleeding into other fabrics. In general I have found that paints that are permanent on the fabric after heat setting all work well. Acrylic paints, if diluted, are fine and don’t leave the fabric too stiff.

I prefer to paint large pieces of fabric on a table in the back yard because it can be “drippy”.  But, if the weather doesn't allow it, I do paint in my studio in the house. I protect the flooring with a sheet laid out in front of the table I am painting on. I also put plastic on the table top so that the paints don't stain the table.

painting on a table

I sometimes stretch the fabric on oil painting stretcher bars. Binder clips work great to secure the fabric to the bars. Fabric stretched on bars dries more quickly, but the paint drips off of it, resulting in lighter values. But, if you put salt on stretched fabric and let it slowly dry you can get some beautiful effects.  
stretcher bars

I like to mix the paints in plastic containers ahead of time. 

paint containers

Spritz the fabric to dampen it and then apply the paint in large strokes across it. I like to use a wide brush to apply it to the fabric. If you add more paint in some areas you can get streaks and light/dark effects.


For other effects you can paint unstretched fabric and scrunch it up or fold it to get light/dark lines. 

Or sprinkle salt on for additional texture. Or scrunch fabric in a ball and pour paint on it. It is fun to experiment with different methods and see what you get. Scrunching gives me fabric that is ideal for foliage or leaves. I have always found the result to be a fabric I can use.

The sky, mountains, water, and some of the tree/bushes were all fabrics created by painting using these techniques.

Thanks for visiting my blog!