Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving Travels and Theodore's brother

available at Nat. Gallery of Art or see it HERE  by Danielle Krysa
On Thanksgiving our wee family of two decided to visit a couple of museums in Washington.
We are relatively close and they are open for our enjoyment 364 days a year. Thank you for culture!!

I loved the cover of this book! My inner critic is loud and obnoxious. And a blowhard! And doesn't stick to the facts!  It says rude things that are just not true and will interrupt my art journey if I give it the time of day.
Sometimes one needs to show this sort the door so they leave.
Back to our afternoon spent together and looking at art. It's so enlightening to look at things differently. We started after lunch, found a terrific parking place right here!
We went into one of my favorite places (National Art) to see this exhibit.

Drawings for Paintings.
No photography allowed, so no pictures of this exhibit,  I'm sorry to say. Lots of pictures tho!

It was interesting for me, since I like to draw but my critic is mean about them.
I like to paint too.

I make fabric art more often, and have made it from my own drawings at times.
Loosely designed from drawings.

Mostly I draw, then wonder how it would look when painted, then wonder how it would look when quilted.
If I enjoyed needlepoint or pottery I'd wonder how it would look in those mediums. (media?)
I loved seeing sketches by famous artists, and the paintings next to them.

Like me, they felt free to change the drawings when painting. The smallest gesture change made the entire tone of the painting change. Small changes can change things including art.

The drawings were often elementary, dot for nose, scribbles, overlapping sets of hands. Like mine!

Let's consider one painter generally accepted as one of the greats. V. Van Gogh
Hello my talented friend!

Very exciting for an artist to see actual paintings in person that we grew up seeing in print.

A person like me wants to get close, to see brush strokes, how paint is mixed to create line and shadow.

About this one. I noticed the green in his face, the mixing of blue and yellow, reddish brown and white.
The intense brush strokes creating lines I might create with quilting.

Look at the background. Bold strokes. Note the shadows. The intensity of eyes. The crooked nose, shown as it looked to him. A nose someone more ego driven might have straightened in painting. The changing of facts might make a person feel better but honesty is better really. I love the brush strokes on his face too.
I wish I could have seen him at work, making choices, mixing color.

I've had students ask if they could come to my studio to watch me work. My inner critic responded no! Why would you?

They must have admired my work and wanted to learn how I approached choice making. My inner critic is obnoxious. It stopped  communication and we all missed out.

Van Gogh made this painting only a year or so later...
I suspect he was tormented by inner critics. He was tormented with strong feelings for sure. I wonder if he chose nature for his paintings so that he could feel calmer. Again I looked at brush strokes. Each painter handles a brush differently, some blend more than others. This is done with thickened paint really showing the determined strokes of a brush loaded with paint and left very dimensional lines
Bold. Paint tells the story.
 Anger? Determination? Self expression certainly.

Changes of direction leading the eye to go horizontally, then vertically. Color mixed on the brush for shadows. It seems like he allowed for what we might think of as improv. Quick decisions.

This kind of work would require freedom, not returning time and again to "undo" or "redo"

Not attempting perfection.
Laughing at perfection!
Capturing a moment, a light, the wind, ...organic earth.

How did he deal with his inner critic? He was tormented for sure. He felt strongly no doubt. I would have wanted to watch him work too.

 Enthused after seeing so much stimulating art, I used the medium at my disposal, my camera.
I interpreted the moment with this spousie. Using reflection, interrupted line, late afternoon lighting, changing angles I tried to capture a moment.
The fountains and trees are vertical. the mirrored sculpture has lines of metal, inside we are vertical. Inside is also another mirrored sculpture reflection. As are the other people. As is the same sky reflected from the mirrors.
Line on line, intersecting. Muted palette. many subjects within other subjects it reminds me of Escher a bit.

I love the image and while I made the decision to content, angle, subject I made the decisions quickly. I decided what to include, what to exclude, where to stand, when to take the picture. And did it quickly to outrun the critic.

The inner critic could cause me to miss a moment.

We enjoyed the late afternoon light as it drifted away. We walked along the lovely mall toward one of my favorite museums, American History. I have always, from childhood, loved history. I have always wanted to see how people actually lived. Watched them work, sort of.

We were nearing closing time of 5:30. The employees at the entrance were within their rights to be snarly but they were jolly! They engaged me in conversation and made me laugh. I felt in on the joke! One of the group! I belonged there even though we went through security with only 20 minutes to look around.

That's a moving sculpture outside the building. It slowly rotated, eternity, glistening in spots, shadows in spots. Always moving. Always impossibly balanced. Reflecting us in a tiny part of itself. More mirrors.
It's a time for reflection on who we want to be in America. Who we want to show to the world.

each of these following pictures are seen from an artist's perspective.
I include certain subjects. I choose the lighting and placement that you see. You would certainly shoot it differently if at all.

I purposely centered one of our National monuments. One to the man who stood up for freedom and representation. A government that tried to represent all it's citizens. Isn't it glorious? It is to me. I wish I could have watched the founding fathers work.
Enjoy our capitol as evening deepens...

Thursday, November 24, 2016

"I Like" Thursday #11

Time for another "I Like" post!
And on Thanksgiving too!
#1. I like my husband. It's nice after looking for Mr Right for so many years to actually find him.
He's holding a 2 year old Westie named Cooper.
Oh. My.Gosh!!

We've been looking for a poodle to help make us a family of three again. This weekend at the Sugarloaf craft show we stopped to visit the booth of Jill Stern who makes hand dyed and hand painted clothing/shoes. They had Cooper there in his supervisory capacity.
Now I am in lurve with a Westie!
 He has a deep and meaningful look like Cole did. Knowing. Loving.

#2 I like hand made clothing
I managed to only buy one more of Jill's shirts, which brings my total to two.
They are one of a kind and wash easily.
In person it's an intense turquoise blue with brilliant flowers.

Perfect for the summer with cap sleeves
Perfect for the spring and fall layered over a shirt somewhat like a vest.

I love hand dyed clothing

#3 I like cool coffee cups
From artist Michael Natale. We have four already that sit on the counter holding various items. Now we are actually using these. They are dishwasher safe and feel so special. It's like I'm an artist, just using them. It might be a statement too, use the good stuff. Don't save it. We drink coffee every day so why not use a mug we love!

#4  I like this designer Fabric with metallic gold in it (click to see the intense gold on fabric on the right)
Hold onto your hats!
I bought more fabric!

I was just going to "look" in Capital Quilts in Gaithersburg since we were so close anyway...

In the time it took my husband to park the car and walk in from the parking lot, I already found four fat quarters I "needed".

Very Klimt, no? I LOVE Klimt's work.

He was censored by Nazi Germany. We have to be very careful around here not to censor art, right??

Like opinions, there is room for all. It's an American right to be free to peacefully disagree, to express oneself. Guard Free Speech.

#5 I like.felted items by Ram's Horn Connections, an artist living on a farm in PA.
Maureen and I had a grand time talking about inspiration and farms, animals and injuries overcome. What a joy to unexpectedly meet a kindred spirit at a craft show. She makes amazing creatures from wool, which I don't know how to do...yet...although I tried once and nearly impaled myself on the barbed needle.
When asked about her studio, neat or mess, she laughed and said "mess!"
It's my belief that most working artists have a messy studio. At least in my informal interviews that's true.
 That's a goat, a cow (I heart cows), a donkey and a sheep on a toboggan! Sitting still for the picture obviously or their ears would be flying in the wind! She has an etsy shop...

#6 the Brit TV series recently shown on PBS...

 the "Durells in Corfu". You can see the shows online probably. It's my new favorite series on PBS and I'm ticked off the season is so short!!! What fun! I want to be a part of that wacky family. What a wonderful family of individuals each with talents and personality.

#7   the tutorial page at BuzzNBumble
for instance that's a pin cushion!! Adorable! the link is:
I visit a lot of tutorial and pattern pages, as if I can make all the patterns I want to in this life time. I want to make nearly all of these! Thanks girl!

#8  finding a new blog to open my mind to new thought
This woman is focused on clearing out stuff and living a less materialistic life. Link is:
While she takes it to more of an extreme than  is right for my life, I learned  lots by reading her posts. It's relatively new so there are not many posts, maybe part of her minimalist beliefs lol! Check it out.

#9 I like learning new things and friends who give you stuff
My friend Judy passed this tool on to me

I have been meaning to try needle punch. There are lots of youtube tutorials on how to do it. I am headed out to find the fabric one uses. They recommend weaver's cloth. I have, ahem, plenty of embroidery thread to try.

Now where is a good poodle image???

#10  I like Great Big Fir trees
That's it for this week...

I start collecting these likes about Saturday... and keep adding items til I publish on  Thursday.
That means I  add to it all week as I notice something I like which keeps me more positive.

 If you did that, you could link to my post with likes of your own. I think it's fun to see things people enjoy along with sewing items because we know we like sewing!

In fact these people have done that, please visit them too!
1. http://littlepenguinquilts.blogspot.com/

SO Thankful you visited me!! Love to all this week, LeeAnna

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Fall, y'all

My Favorite Fall quilt on the wall. This is my seasonal display area although I place seasonal quilts all over.
This is not from this year, but it's one of my four seasonal abstracts. When I showed Summer I said I'd show you all of them.
Here is Fall, and Summer (click for that post). Winter and Spring to follow...and they are more abstract.
Just to show you a few details on Fall:
I remember my thoughts on making this.
I pulled out my squares box, chose fall colors and don't forget bright blue and green.

When the background was pleasing, I cut tree limbs.

I pieced some of them with free form curves and thin strips

I do not love fusible web so I just place the fabric on the background and go to the machine to free motion quilt it in place.
quilted with repetitive lines and gold metallic YLI thread. VERY well behaved in most machines. Note some fun leaf fabric on the border. The side borders are Carol Breyer Fallert fabric. She often answers the phone when you call to place an order! And she's a dancer!
 squares are perfectly evenly sewn and not rippled as it looks in this picture.
Swirling breezes quilted in with madeira metallic blue thread. I love the soft edge of non fused raw edge fabric, heavily quilted it creates a lovely texture seen close up.

Forgive my photo skills. My back is hurting, and I didn't square myself up to the quilt for taking a picture.
 Repeated lines of quilting add to the sense of sunlight at the top. Repeated lines on tree add to sense of bark. Border quilting done with walking foot, all other quilting done with free motion.

Again, this quilt is very flat and well sewn! I should not take photos when hurting but life being what it is... well you'll understand!
just enjoy the colors,(ignore the angled photos) like the real life days.

I love the hollow in the trunk here. Depth is created with shade and contrast. Splashes of color created with scissors and scraps.
I am inspired by colors, and how they relate to each other. I walk a lot and note colors I see, often coming home jazzed to pull some scraps to play.

I could dither over placement for years, so I make snap judgements for the most part on these quilts. Go ahead and move pieces around til you're happy, just don't try for perfection. I admit to taking more time with borders.

I have learned a lot while exploring abstraction concepts. Capture an essence. Create a feeling.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

can you have too many Sewing machines??

I think there are just enough!
These are my Rainbow Scrap challenge blocks for this year. I still think I may quilt them individually and hang them in a banner style. This is the last one, a red one, maybe my favorite one.
close ups...
Mary Englebreit cherries, flowers, dogs, sewing notions

music, 20's flappers dancing to it, hearts and a leg lamp.
Words on the background fabric are sweet too

Enjoy some of my fave fabrics on past machines too

and not to overwhelm you with pictures, I like something on each one. This was fun to do, and on previous posts I described the technique. (you can click on pics for details)
I expect to finish them as blocks, with binding. Maybe a black and white binding for all. Then join them.
Pattern source is: aquiltingsheep

Thursday, November 17, 2016

"I Like" Thursdays #10

In the effort to find joy in life I continue my series on "things I like" and hope you enjoy reading my choices this week.
 The above image is from a flannel scrappy Thanksgiving quilt I made last year. I did it in the same construction process I used to make this year's Halloween quilt. I will explain the approach another time.
It's a big throw sized, perfect for tv watching!

I love Fall, and Thanksgiving sometimes becomes lost between flashy Halloween, and Christmas.

I like leaves, so how about this "Mitten Leaf" as a bridge from Thanksgiving to Christmas?

I like the Canadian tv show "Bomb Girls" (I watched on Netflicks)
It had great character development, writing, acting and history. I learned more about the strength of women, in trying times. The show introduced a bit of how women supported freedom during WW2.

Guess what's baaaaaack?
 Turkey Summer sausage!
Wonderful with crackers and a bit of hot and sweet jam (not with tzatziki sauce)

We recently realized this tzatiki sauce we like on gyros is available at the store.
It tastes fabulous! creamy and tart.

When we're being healthy we put it on cooked fish
When I'm home alone, I dip chips into it, heh heh (don't tell my husband that's why it's getting used up!)

Also back are the tall grass fronds for winter viewing
they look so frothy in a snow covered landscape

Last but not least, I offer this beautiful video of one of my favorite songs by Leonard Cohen

The song is "Dance me to the Ends of Love"  by Leonard Cohen, recently departed.
This video is one of the most stirring I've ever seen!

The horses running free reminded my friend Sonja of her Arabian: Lily
 they are called "drinkers of the wind"   (what glorious imagery)

Oh! how lovely to be held in the arms of a man who is strong and sure, who respects you, who will not overpower you.... but one you can trust, knowing he will lead you through a dance.
I have such a lovely partner. (I love you Drew)

In case it doesn't play here please enjoy the song, and beautiful imagery in the: youtube video

Leonard Cohen left a legacy of beautiful songs. What legacy will you leave?
I hope to  leave beautiful words, artwork, & a clean environment.

I hope to have made a difference.

As always, let me know if you did an I Like post and I'll add it to this list: please enjoy these posts
Little Penguin Quilts
magpie's nest

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"A Litter of Extroverts" A short story of love

A litter of Extroverts
Once upon a time there was a wee small cat family. The litter was small, only three kittens but they were highly interesting kittens. 

Even as babies,  they were different… Not a one was shy.
They were special. They would lead extraordinary lives.
And one human lady met them all… here is her story:

The woman had just said goodbye to her beloved poodle-son as he returned to Heaven. She was sad and a little lost without him. She felt lonely with no soft hair to pet, no expressive eyes to gaze into. Life felt so lonely. 

She took long walks. One day on such a walk she was taken by surprise when a bright sturdy orange cat ran toward her. Meowing loudly, it’s gaze was steady as it RAN toward her from half a block away! 

This cat smiled as if it recognized her, and had been waiting for her for years!
 “Finally! There you are! I’ve been waiting!”
This woman smiled for the first time in a long time. 

The orange cat loved her and the love of another creature was a link to her perished poodle. The cat was thrilled to wind in and around her legs, purring, meowing, accepting and giving love.
The woman’s heart swelled with the connection.
 After a bit she said goodbye to the little stranger and continued her walk. However, this cat was not done. He followed her matching step for step prepared to accompany her for miles. No leash needed to connect them. They walked on until, the woman became concerned that he might get lost or hit by a car. She told him this. 

He sat and looked up gently into her eyes, understanding her reluctance to break the connection, and her concern for his welfare. 
They looked into each other’s eyes for a while. 
He remained there while she took steps away, turned back to see him watching her leave. 

She marveled at this event for the rest of the walk, really she still does. 

Miraculously she saw him again days later and they now met as friends! Glorious meows and hellos mingled with petting from both! Again he was reluctant to watch her walk away, following her a block. Reluctantly they parted, both looking back. 

She let the good feelings of connection heal her broken heart. 
Again she assumed they would never meet again.

A third time, as she walked with a friend, telling her the story of the healing cat, he appeared. Again they met as friends, this cat sending a message that he loved her. Reminding her she was lovable.
She never saw him again after the third time but later met another from what she began to know was the litter of extroverts. 

On another long walk, with her husband, in a new neighborhood, another orange cat appeared. She was stunned to see this one running toward her, meowing loudly,
“Finally! There you are! I’ve been waiting for you! “

Just like the first cat, this one loudly meowed, adding in some Mreep! Sounds. Just like the other cat this one was waiting for her with an open heart. This one wanted her. This one also walked alongside her til she reluctantly asked it to stay near it’s home. 

As she turned back to check, there was no cat to be seen! 

“ OH! She’s gone! Did I imagine her?” 
Then she heard a loud Mreep! I’m here, do you need me? Stepping out from behind a hedge the cat said, "I’ll be here, I love you, you are lovable". 
And she was there when they returned to get in their car, as if she hadn’t seen them in weeks!

“Meow! Remember, I love you!” The woman looked back as they drove away.
Happy and a bit sad.

The woman walked and walked for weeks, wondering would she ever see the healing cats again. Don’t things happen in threes? But week after week no cats appeared. 

One evening a tortoiseshell cat ran toward her. 
Mouth open, trying to meow! 
He limped on an old paw injury, his tail was bent, he couldn’t sing like he used to. 

He was old and bent from age, but love is ageless. 
She wondered if his ears were bent from listening. 
Again he ran to her, wrapping her legs in a caress. Tying her up to keep her there. 

He tried to walk with her, stopping when she stopped, walking when she walked.  

 He was skinny under her hands, old and wise in the ways of the world, old in the ways of love.
Again she reluctantly explained he must not go far from home, and should be careful of cars. He looked deeply into her eyes, said he was old and knew that, but he walked by her side as long as possible.
 He said, “I love you, you are lovable” 

Later she learned, he lived nearby. He had lived in that house through two owners, and conveyed with the house. 

“Oh my little friend, what have you seen? Won’t you give lessons in connection to humans who need to learn?”

She was content now, having met three.

Never in her life had this happened! It was a message of some kind. A litter of extroverts…not born of the same parents, not sharing a home, but all the same in a big way. 

They all reached out to a woman…a walking wounded woman.
A woman who needed love.
And they gave it freely. 

The woman, me, recognized how special these encounters were. I was reminded in a very real way just how love is shared. How meaningful the love is that connects us. We are different yet all respond to love. 

One day I’ll find another poodle to love. The new poodle will not be Cole, as he wasn’t her labradaughter Chelsea.   Each bond has taught her about love.
Each bond told her she was not alone. 

The end (of a true story)

Ps just as I thought I would never have another cat encounter, an orange cat met us in Frederick City this weekend

“Meow! Finally! I’ve been waiting for you!” 
My husband and I looked at each other incredulously. Can it be? Again, he walked by our sides. This time he turned up toward a house and looked back as if to say, “if you lived here we could be together every day” 

We considered that