Thursday, September 3, 2015

PleinAir Painting

Every day while staying in Lake Placid I walked around the lake on this...
beautiful brick sidewalk. A three mile walk around Mirror Lake. Smelling the fresh pine, hearing wind through the trees, seeing many people and dogs,  and taking a lot of pictures of flowers and rock walls.
I did this walk in the morning, and again at night.
Lovely.






One evening near sunset I met this man, Patrick,  http://www.patrickmcphee.com/
Plein Air painting. He was painting this view...
with these oil paints...
Isn't it a bit of fun to see an artist palette? I think so.

The artist looks at the object to paint, chooses or mixes colors to use, has all the tools to use, and the magic happens.

I spent about 10 to 15 minutes talking to Patrick about his art, choices, capturing light, realism vs abstract, and other aspects of art. So fun!

He said the other plein air artists think one must paint quickly and sort of sketchy if it's outside.

He does not roll that way. He is painstakingly careful about each stroke of color, and I watched him dab a tiny amount of light onto a branch then dab away extra color to blend the teensy dab further. He regarded the painting and did it again on another branch.
We also spoke about the current painting's size. I asked if he always painted this size and he said, "oh no, usually much smaller. This one is huge" then he pulled out detailed replica's of the mountains in sizes of about 3 to 4 inches.
WHAT!!??

When I told him I am most comfortable working at 40 X 50 he was astounded!
Having seen him at work, I can understand his reaction. He is incredibly focused on each tiny detail.
He said his family will say, the art is done.
He knows it isn't because there is a bit more light needed, one more tiny dab of paint here...

He is not into portraits like his girlfriend, he paints landscapes. He's done it all his life and makes his living at it. They are incredible in person.



I learn so much by talking to artists working in different mediums than I do, and although I paint, I like watercolors. I like how they behave, how I apply the paint, how they smear and blend and show the paper, or fabric, under them.  Patrick  takes time and care with details. I already do that with my quilts but it was good to see another artist ignoring the people who tell him just do it fast, or that it's done. Know what I mean??

There is a fab book store in town that also sells artist supplies. I visit several times during our stay and this time I left with these supplies...
I have been writing a lot. Words are my passion along with color.
DH found this spiral bound, hard cover, lined book for me to pour out my stories. He bought this and a wonderful pen that lets ink flow out smoothly, as I prefer to write in longhand. Then, I found these pens and books ...
The pens are like old fashioned fountain pens, but easy because they are self filling. Oh it's so satisfying to write with them. And the colors!!

Reminds me of my teen years, and I was the only one writing with fountain pens, with the cartridge that you pierce with the nib. Scritch, scritch.

These are fabulous, and I've written many essays already in my book. I don't share them here but am considering starting a blog just for them.

I met an editor for the NYTimes on this trip and he asked what my genre is. Well, that's a hard question, as my writing style like my personality defies definition. Essays, characterizations, reflections, humor, fable, details noted about a moment in time or a person in particular that caught my imagination.
My engineer husband loves them, which is a rave review.
Writing is another art form and I'm all about the details.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Cole-di-Locks and the Big Bad Bed

Once upon a time Cole-di-locks needed a place to lay his little poodle head. Is this the right bed he asked??
Maybe for a moment, if Daddy is in it.

You see, Cole has not enjoyed being on the big bed since he was a young pup."I need my own space" he says,"These long legs, you know"

The only times he gets up there is during big thunderstorms and the only reason he does that is to comfort his poor pitiful parents who are scared to death of loud thunder...




This bed is TOO BIG! (even with a daddy to guard me)
He tried this little bed

but he kept falling off it. This bed is too small. (Not to mention too hard) (And smells like soap) (ewww)

Oh don't worry about me... I'll just lay down here like a dog on the hard cold ground...
Long-Suffering Poodle
(Sound of snoring)

What's this??? the perfect bed? Soft, cozy, in the room with my peeps but not having to actually touch them or put up with their endless, "Cole! Be still!" or "Cole, MOVE OVER" or "Cole.... your breath"
Just me, and my new squeaky vacation ball, and my night time trail mix of kibble and cranberries. Ahhhh now this is the end of the story! The poodle slept happily ever after!

Of course we're home now.... reality bites.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Shiny Sparkly Beads

Yum! Look at all the pretty shiny sparkly beads! These little sparklers require a good pair of reading glasses.

Beading has returned as an obsession.
 I never stopped caring about them, and beads find their way onto most of my quilts, but I had forgotten just how much I like peyote stitch. Now I am doing free form even count flat peyote instead of tubular. It has opened up a world to me creatively. Mainly because I can't follow someone's else's directions, so I make up my own path.
Much more satisfying.

Recently on vacation, while DH Drew was doing this...
That's my husband in blue on the SUP for the first time
 Cole and I were doing this...
I took along the beads I am using for my Geogia O'Keefe piece, but stopped in the local bead store, "just to look" and left with these little tiny squares and bugles of color. I spent the next few days playing with them to see how they behaved...

It is fun to just play with color, size, line, and finish in this format instead of painting or quilting.

I had prepared some baggies full of thread, needles, and beads but you know how stimulating new materials are!!







I haven't shown you any of the 8 pieces I've done so far. You can just see the start of some circular mandala's on the brown bag above. It's grown now into a beautiful piece. It will go on the Georgia o'Keefe  quilt along with a teensy painting I did a la her style.

I haven't wanted to be in the studio at the machine, so am enjoying summer and hand work. What about you?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

COLE-Di-Locks and the three chairs...

Once upon a time, there was a poodle named Cole-di-locks.

He was on a mission to find Just the right chair...

Is this one the right chair??? 
No, sadly, this one is Waaaaay too big.

He continued his walk, until he saw another chair... is THIS the RIGHT CHAIR???

 Oh, no, this chair is Waaaay too small. (cute though) (Ah to be a puppy again he thought)
He continued his walk, seeking spiritual guidance since he strongly believes....


That's it! I know just where to look, he thought.
That's right, the perfect chair is right here in my (current) back yard... there's no place like home!

Ahhh! JUST RIGHT !!
Hey..... someone's been sitting in MY chair...
And he's gettin' feathers all over it!


Saturday, August 29, 2015

What's a vacation without a few craft purchases??

What's a vacation to the lake without a few craft purchases??
On the way out of town, and headed home, we stopped by the yearly craft festival and found some great items.
These are stained glass and beads, and silver wire and spoons! The artist said she goes to every yard sale looking for old cutlery, then falls in love with certain ones but makes herself sell them. Can't keep 'em all she says.
She hasn't seen my fabric stash.
What a setting for a craft show! DH got a calendar from a great photographer, and I also found this terrific little pottery bowl...
It's a yummy celadon green, with an unglazed area holding the words, love, peace, joy and happiness.

I can just imagine it holding a dip or cheese ball or just on my pass through counter filling my need for celadon and lovely words.
A jazz band was playing, the sun shining, people were happy, lots of dogs. Ahhhh






Gratuitous poodle shot
Is he
1. Passed out from the heat?
2. tired of hearing mommy interview artists?
3. Despondent at leaving Lake Placid:?
4. Angry that we won't buy him the boiled wool cap he wanted?
5. As tired as I feel after all the vacation fun?




And now a few, ahem, fabric purchases from the trip. You know I needed some more supplies...
Beads. Yep. Tiny little shiny-sparkly bits of heaven. I spent a good amount of time beading this year. I have fallen totally in love with flat even count peyote and am doing it in every variation I can think of. No patterns, just making it up as I go along. I'll show you later....
Mod and hexies just because I'm really 8 years old. Fall fabric that is incredibly sophisticated and I saw a quilt made with it and want to make that.
Adirondak fabric of pebbles, water, shake siding... yep gonna use these...

We took a ride to Saranac Lake one day in the rain and what did I see there? A quilt store! A great quilt store! so I got this gorgeous birch tree fabric and that blue? It grades light to dark in lucious shades of blue to teal to green. Perfect for borders or table cloth. And two sale patterns.
Yep, definitely making those for this Christmas.
Yep.




more aidrondak fabric from Log Cabin quilts one of my favorites for sure. The kit is for embroidery in fall colors (click on the pictures to see details)
Yep, making that.
 Using that fabric.

Or I will when I recover my energy from the FUN we had.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Fall Tumblers sewn on vacation

I'm trying something new to me... glue basting to paper pieces. 

I have done hexies in all ways and sizes, and I love the portability of EPP. I haven't done tumbler shapes yet, so I got a package at JoAnn's along with a Fons and Porter Glue pen, got out my scrap bins, and prepared a lot of them for the long car ride. I started with just oranges but had to add in blue and green...
 I chose fall colors to make a little table runner, because hope springs eternal that I will clean off the dining room table top eventually. I stitched them together... edge to edge no off set needed...

Then started stitching the long rows together... easy peasy. The only thing is, I don't like the glue much. It's stiff and it's harder to catch the edge in a whip stitch because it's paper thin, ahem, and stiff. I prefer plastic templates, and stitching behind the template to baste.
So, I tried this method... it is FAST and easy if you don't mind a bit of glue stick on your nails.
 I like the tumbler shape a lot!
 I like playing with Fall colors as the weather is about to change.
 I like using my scraps.
I had to add in more tumblers as it turned out smaller than I thought it might, so I'm not done but it's pretty fast to make.
 I think it will be pretty with hand quilting, and maybe a contrasting binding. I doubt I'll border it. I like the way the shapes float with color.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Quilting in unusual places....

Do you know what this is?
The obvious answer to a quilter is, Mariner's Compass.
It's made from fabric of course.
The location is the amazing thing...
It's on the prow of this boat. Here's the rest of the story...
While in Lake Placid we went for a "swim" each day with Cole along with every other dog, kayak, iron-man trainee, child, SUP, and boater in town that day. It was a party. On this day people were setting up for a mini-triathalon.
A very fit middle aged woman stood next to a hand crafted wooden boat. Kind of like a crew style, long and thin.
Sleek.
Inlaid wood, shiny, fit like her.
It had inlaid wooden ducks on the prow, see??  And... what is THAT??
 
A mariner's compass on the prow? I explained to the woman that I am a quilter and have a blog on living the creative life, asking if I could take a picture. "I quilted too, but now I knit" she said.
Turns out she and her husband built the boat, she designed and made the mariner's compass from fabric then coated it in shellac.
Awesome!
As I do, I began to chat with her, to learn some of her story. I want to hear everyone's story...
She is a guardian ad litem in Juvenile court in MA. I used to go to court weekly with my social work cases, hoping I could obtain a guardian ad litem for the children under my watch. We shared stories! A nice little surprise connection in the sun, dripping from lake water, with a husband and poodle standing by.
So as it turned out, this tanned-brown, fit, slip-of-an-athletic-woman with her hand made wooden boat and I had a lot in common.