Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gramma Too

Last week my cousin sent me a couple of family pictures she had gotten from her dad - the last of seven siblings in our parents generation. This is a picture of my paternal grandmother who my kids called Gramma Too. When my children met her someone said 'she is your gramma, too'. So that moniker stuck. She was an interesting woman. Those she loved she really loved. But get on her bad side and you didn't exist! I was one of those she loved fiercely and I loved her in return. As a teen I ran away from home and she sheltered me. My parents found me because an aunt called them (that was a good thing).
My sister and I spent the summer I was six at grammas farm. We lived there with my grandparents, three aunts, two uncles and several cousins. One thing I loved to do was sit atop the stump of a huge redwood tree and pick cherries from the tree in the backyard. The stump had big, shiny black ants crawling on it. My youngest aunt was 17 at the time. Once she was butchering chickens. It was fascinating to see headless chickens running around!
So the pictures my cousin sent cranked up lots of childhood memories. They made me want to go over to my storage and haul out my box of geneology.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from our dog, Roxy. This post really isn't about Halloween but the picture is timely and I don't have a subject specific picture to use. I was talking to my grandchild about scheduling blog postings and the comment made was that I should schedule one for 3005 and say "Hi, I'm actually dead now so this blog doesn't really matter!" The grandchild is almost a teenager - first school dance is tomorrow - we only have a month and two days of pre-teen left. The sense of humor has always been there but it is being honed to a fine point. I only have one grandchild so of course there is no better one in existence! I, luckily, have been able to be involved in the child's life since hour seven after birth. What a joyous ride it has been. The maquette from the previous post hangs in the child's room. We draw in each other's sketchbooks and spend one day a week together. I hope I stay around as long as my mom has been in my children's lives.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More Street Painting

This is the maquette for a street painting I did at the San Rafael Street Painting Festival. It is colored pencil on paper. I have myself on the ground in the lower left and again on the right about a third of the way up. There are also many of the people I met while street painting in this drawing. It was fun to do and everyone liked seeing themselves when I transferred it to the actual street. The spot in the middle is from using the flash on my camera but when I took the picture without the flash the color was way off. I wish I had framed this large drawing better as the paper is rippling. I could probably re-frame it when I find time and my framing tools. I know those tools are here somewhere! But unlike my carving tools, which I don't need at all, I haven't been able to find them. One of these days I'll get organized. Maybe after I finish my UFOs, or learn French and get back from Paris!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ducky Mama

I took a class at the Marin Needle Arts Guild on wool roving. I bought a kit to make a duck but didn't like the pictured duck so let my imagination go and came up with this duck mama with her baby under her arm. It was a lot of fun - I worked on it obsessively for about three days. Haven't done another one since! There are so many arts and crafts and techniques and styles to learn. How does one learn to focus on one thing so that ones own style develops and improves? I want to learn how to do everything! The other day we were over at the Senior Center looking at the classes offered. There is an ongoing quilt class that would be great - I could devote four hours a week to finishing all my UFOs. But there is also a woodcarving class and I have the tools already (and I know where they are!) and I have always wanted to learn to carve. But then again there is an ongoing drawing and painting class, I could hone my skills in that area. Do I really want to spend most of the week at the Senior Center? Well, I could have lunch there, too. Then I wouldn't have to cook so much! Or do dishes. That is a real plus. Could sit in on the French class and plan a trip to Paris! Or improve my driving with the AARP safety class. Gee, maybe I should volunteer and teach others how to do all this stuff! WHOA lady, calm down. Maybe putting all these opportunities into a hat and pulling one out is the way to go! Will let you know what I decide!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Summer Tomatoes

Here is another panel from the Susan Shie class I took at EBHQ. It celebrates the great crop of tomatoes my friend Margo had. I did finish it the soon after the class was over but can't find the picture of the finished piece! I didn't write on it as heavily as Susan does but am happy with the way it turned out. I really enjoyed the watercolor paints and drawing on fabric as drawing is my first love but fabric is a very close second. This combination of drawing and painting is perfect. If I could just get off the computer and do more of these!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 26, 2009

Love Catcher

Earlier this year I took a class with Susan Shie. She does story quilts using watercolor painted images and lots of writing. This piece is the painting. I haven't decided if I want to write on it yet. It is called Love Catcher because, as the story Susan told goes, one sees love coming and catches it in the left hand. Initially I had planned to fold it and make a purse. But changed my mind after looking at it a while. So this panel has been relegated to my UFO pile! I still have tons of paint and PFD fabric and plans to do more of this. I did finish one panel but haven't photographed it yet. Maybe that will be my next blog..........

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Story Quilt - Little Rooster

Little Rooster is what the recipient of this quilt called his son. They lived near the beach and surfing lessons were a summer activity. Motorcycle riding was also a favorite past time. So Little Rooster is surfing against a skullish sky! I love the checkerboard feet!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Story Quilt - Truman

Here is another patch from my story quilt. This is Truman the Akita I mentioned in my last posting. He was a great dog. When I would go to visit he came to the door, grabbed my arm in his jaws and pulled me into the house, all the while whining as if to say "Gram - where have you been?" I loved making Truman from dog fabric. This is an original design, as are most of the patches in this quilt. I love designing my own quilts. They are kind of quirky (I know, daughter dear, you are saying "KIND OF???"). I draw from my dressmaking and art backgrounds and figure there is always a way to do what I want in my quilts. I usually have a general idea of what I'm going to do but the finished product is usually nothing like I thought it was going to be. I get an idea and run with it. It is great fun! The only problem I've had doing that is that the quilts often are a wonky size, either a king size for a baby or long and skinny when a full or queen would have worked better. Oh, well. No one has complained yet!
Posted by Picasa

Red Dog

Here is another patch from the story quilt. This one, called "Red Dog" is an image of my granddog, Red. He is actually a fawn colored Boxer/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix. If you know the RR breed then you know they were bred to hunt big cats like lions and cheetahs. The only cats Red chases are domestic ones he doesn't know. That is why his eyes are fussy cut from the cat fabric border of this patch. Red is a sweetheart of a BIG dog -he must weigh at least 100 pounds and is probably 30" at the shoulder. For all of that he is gentle and loving and one of my favorite animals. He and his late step-brother, Truman, stayed with us for several months right after we moved to the rural area where we live on 80 acres. He sure loved to run! Once he escaped the property and went over to the ranch on the next ridge where they breed miniature horses. Boy were they fun to chase. The rancher, however didn't think that was such a hot idea and fired a gun over Red and Truman's heads to scare them off (it did)! Truman was much older than Red and the big adventure wore him out. He climbed into our bed and wouldn't move. Truman was an Akita - papered - who was too big to show. He was bigger than red by 30 lbs and six inches at least. That night we had a cozy sleep with our furry friend.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Last month my daughter and I went to LALA land to visit my mother - "Granny". We were there several days and decided to go to the LA Museum of Contemporary Art. My daughter has a fancy phone that gets Google map service. I had a pretty good idea of which way we needed to go but we agreed to use the Googler. The journal drawing above was based on our trip that day! We drove (I drove) all over downtown Los Angeles and Google never did find the museum for us! It kept directing us to a residential area. But the drive was interesting. I grew up in Los Angeles and had spent a good bit of time downtown but not in the last few years. I was impressed with how cleaned-up the area looks. Buildings were painted, there were very few vacancies in the business areas and there were lots of people walking around. Next time I plan on going to MOCA I am going to check out the directions with the museum directly!
This journal sketchbook is a Moleskine brand which I just discovered this year. I love the smooth, cream colored paper and am happy that it will accept watercolor without disintegrating. I like puting my own design on the cardboard cover, too. I have a large one for my journaling and a pocket sized one to carry in my purse.
Run down to the art supply store or to Borders and pick up a sketchbook. Then, fill it up!

Street Painting - San Rafael

For several years I participated in street painting festivals. The medium is pastel and the ground is, literally, the ground! Or rather the street - asphalt. This image was created for the San Rafael Italian Street Painting Festival in 2001. It shows my cat, Bear, looking at the Rafael Theater, the Civic Center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Mission San Rafael and Mount Tam as well as my hands full of chalk. This was a two day festival and seemed to always take place on the hottest 2 days of the year! I did the San Rafael festival several times and met many great people and saw lots of good (and bad) art. It is a fund raiser to keep the arts in the Marin County schools. If you have a chance, attend or participate in one of these events.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Raggedy Quilt

Have all of you made a raggedy quilt? It is fast, easy and fun. I made this one for one of my children in just two days! The picture is a detail but shows all the colors. The back is a solid color. A nice thing about raggedy quilts is that they don't need batting and each square is quilted before the squares are assembled. The most difficult part is clipping the edges after putting the squares together.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Journal Pages #1

This doodle from my sketchbook was inspired by a tea bag! It was made of a transparent fabric, pyramidal, and the string had a small leaf at the end. I was fascinated by it and have kept it around.
My sketchbook is a stream of consciousness thing. This page is one of a series with the pyramid as the main object. The materials I used include watercolor pencils, a roller ball pen and some stuff from the scrapbook store that looks like blush but comes in about ten different metallic colors. Sorry I don't know what it is called.
The page flows as I draw and write. I usually write backwards or upside down or randomly around the page because sometimes I put down private stuff. The writing is mostly unintelligible but it suits my purpose which is just to get the words (thoughts, feelings) out of my head and to be able to show people this work. I really enjoy the drawing part of the journaling. I was inspired by a book on the private sketchbooks of artists called "An Illustrated Life" by Danny Gregory.
I work in my sketchbook several times a week. I consider it exercise, like walking, and necessary for my health.
In the classes I teach I try to encourage all my students to keep a sketchbook. The students who grow and develop their art are usually the ones who do sketch and draw regularly.
As the teabag shows, inspiration can come from many sources. Look around and be inspired.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Motorcycle Angel"

This is Motorcycle Angel from the story quilt I posted the other day (the really bad photo!). She is one of my favorite patches and she is an original design of mine. I put a Laurel Birch cat under her arm because the recipient of the quilt had several cats (and dogs) at the time I made this. I intended 'Angel' to protect him when he is on his motorcycle. Again, this quilt was machine quilted by Colleen Granger of 'Sew Little Time Quilting" in San Rafael, CA.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Three O'clock Cat

Here is the second in the series which started with "Doggy Dawn". We have a cat but this one isn't even remotely like ours!

I found these drawings to be a lot of fun and just kept on doing them for several days. Unfortunately, they were done a couple of years ago and I'm not sure I still have them. Doggy and Cat are the only two I have photos of. If I can find the sketchbook I did them in, I'll keep adding them to my blog. In the meantime, I have lots of quilts to show you.

But back to Cat. Once again, I let my imagination flow and put in everything that came to mind. When I look at Cat now, I wonder how long he has been sitting on that windowsill looking at the goldfish. Does the goldfish know its days are numbered? Has Cat noticed the gecko on the wall? Or the blue bird of happiness above his head?

As with Dog, Cat is done with color pencils. I mostly used watercolor pencils but did throw in a few wax based color pencils. I prefer the watercolor pencils because they can be erased and they have a creamy feel to them when I draw. There is less drag on the paper with them. That sounds funny but if you draw you know what I mean. For example, tonight I was taking notes as my eldest daughter taught me how to do something on the computer. I was using ordinary lined paper but had grabbed an art pencil. It was an old Staetler brand pencil and was lovely to use. It had such a velvety feel to it that it took no effort to write at all. It isn't often that I can find a pencil like that anymore.

So, blog friends, what is your favorite pencil?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Doggy Dawn

We have a great little dog who just turned five this summer. She is the inspiration for the drawing I did titled "Doggy Dawn". I included all the things she loves,and some she doesn't, like water. This drawing is in a cartoon style which is new for me. It was a lot of fun to do and I just let myself go with the flow. I had in mind when I started that I would use it as a maquette for a quilt. However, when I finished I new I didn't want to do a quilt that intricate. So it is still a drawing in one of my many sketchbooks. This drawing did inspire a series of other drawings in the same style. Stay tuned for the rest!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Story Quilt

This is a really bad picture of a great story quilt I did for a family member.  I started it in a quilting class at College of Marin and finished it in about a year.  It was a lot of fun collecting the fabrics and designing each special square.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Recent Drawing

I mentioned in my bio that I had an art degree. My favorite form of art is drawing with graphite pencils. So today I included the most recent drawing I've done. It took about eight hours to complete, with two or three preliminary sketches before I started on the final one.

I encourage everyone to draw, doodle, sketch and whatever else one feels up to doing. It is surprising how relaxing drawing is and the results are often surprising, too!

Grand Baby's flower garden

This is a detail of a baby quilt I made for my great nephew in law - one of my grandchild's favorite cousins. It is the 'Grandmother's Flower Garden' design. Talk about a tough quilt to put together. At the baby shower all the quests, male and female, drew on hex patches, I added hex patches made from conversationals. The thing grew and grew! It turned out to be big enough for a queen size bed. Probably a good thing as the babe was half grown by the time I got it done!

My new blog!! AND a couple of old quilts.

Hi, everyone. Here I am, getting into the 21st century! I am a 64 y.o. woman, grandmother, mom and wife who loves to quilt, draw and paint.

The above quilt was started in a class with Gwen Marsten at the Marin Needle Arts Guild seminar several years ago. Gwen's style really clicked with me and I thoroughly enjoyed making this quilt. It was exceptionally quilted by Colleen Granger of Sew Little Time Quilting in San Rafael. At my request she put a flying cow in the sky and then had fun with the design. There is a horse, pick-up truck, family of farmers and many other unique motifs.

The mom part of me wanted to make a quilt for my eldest daughter so I asked her what she wanted. She said a red and white star quilt. Well, I was still in the Gwen Marsten mode and this is what she got! I call it "O Holy Night". In addition to Gwen's stars I used my dress making skills to inset seams and piece it. It is an original design that I am afraid will never be able to be reproduced!