Saturday, August 12, 2017

My Mom - On the Boulevard!!!

My Mom loved to shop, and this is a photo of her doing that when she was young. She grew up in the Milwaukee area, so this is the shopping district in that city, I believe. I love the movement in this photo, and the clothes they wore!  I am making an art quilt based on this for my "Attitudes" series.

I've been painting the image of my Mom in this photo, and this is what I have completed as of this post:

I think it's pretty good so far. I need to darken the value on some of the face shadows, but I find it best to do that in gradual phases. As one of my painting teachers used to say, "sneak up on the darks". That way you are less likely to over do it.

I'll post more progress photos of this as I go along, and give some other details about my process.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Finished Photo of "Fashion Plate"

This is the completed art quilt I call "Fashion Plate".

I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out. But I'm on to new projects, so that's enough of this one for the blog. As always, thanks for visiting my blog!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Background Construction

 Here is the little girl after the clothing and body parts have been painted. I fuse them to a piece of muslin to keep everything in the right place. I will cut the muslin away close to the fabric so that you can't see it, but here it is before trimming.

In this post I'm working on the background fabrics. I usually just start pulling various colors out and see what works well with the colors I already have. In this case, maroons and browns seemed to work well. Here is a stack I pulled to consider for this project:

Once you think you  have the right colors, then it's a matter of arranging them in a pleasing manner.
Here are some in progress photos of the background design process:

You get the idea. It's trial and error and you keep building until you are satisfied. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Face and Hair - Painting

To the right is the photograph of the little girl whose face I am painting. Below you see three stages of the painted process. You can see the lines I have put in to guide my painting. The dotted or dashed lines indicate softer edges for color transitioning. The marker I use is removed with ironing, so it does not show up on the final painting.

One of the points I am making with this post is that painting a face is often creepy. The image looks weird and unnatural until you get all of the values (light, medium and dark) in place.

In the early stages of painting a face I often look at the image and think, "Oh this is not going to work out, I'll probably have to repaint this one".  But by the time I get to the end it is OK. So my advice is, hang in there and get through the creepy stage before you make any judgments.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Saturday, July 15, 2017


 Lately I've been showing some of the steps used to make an art quilt based on this photograph. Today's post is about the slippers. If you look closely you will see that they are orange, fuzzy slippers with skulls on them. The skulls have a pretty pink ribbon, so obviously they are girl skulls. I can see why any little girl would want to have these in her closet...

So, to start with, I found a bright orange fabric, once again in my stash. This fabric was left over from something my Mother made. It was just a little piece that I probably wasn't sure was worth keeping. As it turns out, it was perfect for the slippers.

  I laid the orange fabric over my enlarged drawing and traced the shape. Then I cut out the slipper and painted the shaded areas on the slipper.

To make the skulls I first drew them in my sketchbook and then laid some white fabric over the drawing and painted them. After they were painted I believe I fused or glued them to the orange slippers.

Here you see the finished slippers. I think they turned out pretty cute!

 Thanks for visiting my blog!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fabric Selection for Clothing

I'm going to use today's post to talk about some of the fabric I chose for this art quilt, and how I modified it. A big part of the charm of this little girl and her pose is the confidence she has in her look, as contrasted by the odd combination of clothing and accessories. I wanted to capture that as much as possible in my fabric choices.

Top fabric:

The fabric shown here, a blue, 1930's reproduction print, was what I chose for the top. I could not find a stripe that looked close enough to what she is wearing, so I settled on this. It is still good because the combination of a flower print and a stripe skirt is still pushing it, from a fashion perspective.

I laid this fabric over the enlarged line drawing and pencil traced the top outline. I also drew in the major shadow lines that are caused by the folds in the top. If you look at the photo above you can see that the light comes from the left side, and a shadow is created on the right side of the top. I put a dashed line where this shadow begins in the front of the top. This served as a  guild for me to know where to start tapering the shading.

This is what the top looks like after I did my shadow painting:

Skirt fabric:

This fabric was in my stash and it seemed perfect for the skirt.  It is a striated hand dyed fabric.  For the skirt, I folded the fabric to mimic the folded nature of the skirt in the photo.  I did a rough cut of the outline of the skirt after folding. I then painted shaded areas on the skirt. Here is the skirt after painting:


Once again, my fabric stash came in handy. I found this fabric for the leggings. It is similar to the floral leggings she is wearing.

 I placed the fabric over the enlarged drawing, traced the legs and cut out the pieces. Then once again the shading was painted in. Here are painted legs:

    And there you go -  That's one dynamite outfit!

The slippers deserve a post unto themselves, so I'll do that one next. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

"From Matilda to Mary to Me" - Juried in to Sacred Threads

"From Matilda to Mary to Me"
This is my art quilt about advice passed down from my Grandmother to my Mother and then to me. I made it in the year after my Mom passed away, and I think it was part of my grieving process.

I was thrilled to learn that it had been juried in to the Sacred Threads 2017 exhibit. Sacred Threads is "an exhibition of quilts expressing life's journeys - Joy, Inspiration, Spirituality, Healing, Grief and Peace". Each quilt is entered into one of these categories. I entered mine in the grief category. To learn more about Sacred Threads, click here: Sacred Threads

The exhibit will be in Herndon Virginia. The dates for the show are July 7 through 23, 2017. The exhibit will be held at the Floris United Methodist Church, located at 13600 Frying Pan Road, Herndon, Virginia. I wish I knew why that street was called Frying Pan Road. 

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Design Steps for an Art Quilt

  This is the inspiration photo for one of my recent art quilts. I am making a series of art quilts of people showing "attitude", and this photo grabbed my attention immediately. I love the posture that she has, the way her eyes look at the camera, and of course her wonderful sense of fashion. She is very sure of herself!

For this series I am doing some pieces in a portrait fashion, and others on a whole cloth where I paint the image and the background on one piece of fabric. Portrait pieces have the image mounted on a separate background. For this one, I decided a portrait style was more suitable.  My plan is to create the image of the girl separately and then place it on a background that serves as a frame for the image.

My first step is to make a line drawing of the girl. I traced over the photo and got the major shapes and lines. Then I enlarged it to a full size print out at my local FedEx Office. They have a large format printer in their self service area. I have become good friends with that printer and know how to get my enlargements done without waiting for someone to help me. What a time saver!!!

This image is about 2' x 3 '.

I use the enlarged drawing as a template for the parts of the piece. By parts I mean individual clothing pieces and body parts.  I used to cut out freezer paper templates for the various parts, but not any more. I simply place the enlarged drawing on my light pad, place the fabric over the drawing, and pencil in the outline of the part on the fabric. Then I cut out the piece and paint on it to modify as needed.

I trace the outline of the image on a piece of muslin too. I mount the various parts on the muslin as I complete them. Here is the muslin I used for this piece:

The muslin serves as a connector to keep all the parts together, and it helps to prevent the background colors from being seen through the image. I use a muslin that has a tea stained color, light brownish. That color is good at preventing background color from coming through, and it add a bit of warmth to the top colors.

I'll show the making of the clothing next. It was fun finding the crazy color combinations that she was wearing in the photo.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Another Great Attitude!

I have been working on a series of art quilts depicting people showing "attitude". I'm always on the look out for people standing in a pose that says something about confidence, sassiness, or "I've got something on my mind".  I try to get a picture if I can right then and there.

Another one of my sources for photos of people with attitude is from friends and family.  I spotted the photo shown below on a friends Facebook page.  The friend is the Mother of the little girl shown. I love the combination of clothes and confidence shown by the little girl in her "look". I got permission from my friend to use her photo, and I have made an art quilt inspired by it.  I'm going to show the making of this art quilt in my next few posts. For today, however, I'm just going to show the photo that inspired me.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Flying Geese Quilt Show - This Weekend!!!

The Flying Geese Quilt Show is this weekend! I belong to this guild and am always proud to have my quilts displayed at it. They have many fun things at the show, like vendors, auctions, raffles, and of course, quilts.  One of my favorites is the boutique. It is a wonderful little place to buy one of a kind items. They are high quality hand crafted items. You will find great gifts for your loved ones, and for you too!  This year I made some note cards for the boutique.  I show one of them below.

The show is Saturday June 3rd, 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday June 4th, 10 am to 3:30pm.
The show is at Soka University (1 University Drive, Aliso Viejo, CA).  $10 entry for both days. Free parking.

 I hope you have a chance to make it to the show! I really think you'll enjoy it!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Covering Hangars

In my last post I showed you how I used a piece of trim on an art quilt. Today I'm going to show you another use for trim. I happen to have a great deal of lace and other trims as a result of inheriting my Mom's collection. Mom was a very creative person and had plenty of supplies for her various hobbies and clothes making. I am always looking for ways to use some of this supply.

One of my pet peeves is when my clothes slip off the hangar. I have purchased some hangars that are coated to prevent that, but why not make my own?

I found that if I wrapped lace around wire or plastic hangars the lace did a fantastic job holding the clothes on the hangars.

Here is some of the lace I used.

To the right you see the finished hangars. I just did a tight wrap, starting at the base of the hook. I went around the body of the hangar and then up around the hook and back to the base. I put a dab of glue at the end point, and tied on a piece of ribbon.

These are very useful in my closet, keeping my clothes off the floor! They look cute to me, as well. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Bird of the Night - Trim

  The upper and lower parts of this art quilt are separated by a piece of trim. It is the long series of circles you see above the leaves. This pieces was originally white, and I painted it to match my design. I'm going to show you how I changed the color on that trim.

This is the way the top looked before the trim was put on.

I didn't care for the way the stem of the flower just ended. I needed an element to fix that. I pulled out my various trims and found one that was essentially a string of circles stitched together.

This  is the trim, all piled up. It is next to a piece of yarn that is a pale yellow green color. I wanted to make the trim the same color as the yarn. I pulled out my inks and other paints, mixed a few colors and found something that would get me to my desired color. These are the colors I used:

Here is a photo of the test painting process:

I painted the trim on top of a "white on white" fabric, figuring I'd get a painted fabric out of the process as well. That turned out to be a good idea because I always have leftover paint.

Here is the trim drying:

I was very happy with the color I got. I stitched the trim to the top using a clear, monopoly thread. I used a basting glue to hold it in place while I stitched so it didn't shift around.

I cut the trim in a couple of places to leave a gap where the leaves popped up above it. I was careful to completely cover the end of the flower stem.

Overall I'm happy with the way that turned out.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Come to see me at the Beyond the Edge reception!

Beyond the Edge Fiber Artist's "Expressions in Fiber Art" reception is this Friday. I hope you can be there!  Here are the vitals: Center Gallery - 250 East Center Street, Anaheim, CA. 5 - 6:30 pm. 714-765-4311.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Stitching the Background

I'm going to use this post to show how I quilted the background on my Bird of the Night piece. This is a detail that shows a little bit of the stitching that I used near the interface of the lower leaf area and the upper flower head area. I used horizontal lines around the leaves and switched to stitches in different directions above the leaves. I wanted a separation between the two areas and used directional change to help with that.

I did the parallel lines using free-motion stitches. They are not perfectly aligned and straight, but that did not make a difference in the overall look I was going for.

Since I used a black fabric, it's difficult to see the stitches.  I used my photo editing software and lightened/increased contrast on a couple of photos to help with the visibility of the stitching. Here are some other background stitching areas that are a little easier to see:

     I'm not sure if you can tell, but I used a dark blue thread instead of black. It still reads as black on the fabric, but when you are stitching, that slight amount of color difference allowed me to see what I was doing a little more easily.

I parallel stitched in varying directions all over the background. I avoided any horizontal parallel lines in the flower area because that stitch direction was used on the bottom only.

That's all I have to say about that! Next time I'll talk about the trim I used between the leaves and flower.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Quilting in Progress - Bird of the Night

Today I'm going to show some of my choices for free motion quilting. Before I did the free motion quilting I had pin basted the three layers (top, batting and back), couched the major shapes and straight stitched inside the major shapes to divide the area up. Below you see it with the pin basting done and couching in progress.

After this step was done it's time for creative free motion quilting!

Thread color choices:

A few years ago I bought some Superior Super Bright threads. They almost have a fluorescent appearance and I love them for areas that need to stand out.  These are what I used almost exclusively on this piece. The bright color against the black background was necessary for the image to been seen from a distance.  I found many other light and medium values did not stand out enough when I looked at it from a few feet away.

I had created a color plan and intended to use this as a guide for my stitching. I tested out two choices and preferred the one on the left, below. I deviated from this plan because I found that lavender and other purple colors did not stand out enough on the black background.

Below I show my criteria for free motion quilting stitch choices:

1) Choose a design that fits in the space well or adds a direction for eye movement:

I did this on the leaves. I wanted them to read like leaves, so I stitched directionally away from the center leaf vein. It also helped to give shape to the leaf.

2) Choose some designs because they are tighter and add more color:

Stitch patterns in the flower petals were done in a more dense fashion to make sure the color showed from a distance. I chose stitch patterns that are good fillers.

3) Choose some because they are fun!

I really like the alfalfa sprout-like stitch that I used on the head and on the front most petal. That is just a fun shape to me!

I'll be showing the background stitching in an upcoming post. Meanwhile, thanks for visiting my blog!