Friday, October 2, 2015

The Art Forger - A Review - Off the Wall Friday

If you're like me, you're always looking for a new book to read.  For me, when I read, I want to have something with a little bit of substance (ie. doesn't turn my mind to mush) but doesn't cross the line into "OMG this is giving me a headache" territory.  Not to mention, I like a book where its about a subject I actually care about.    With that, The Art Forger by BA Sharpiro seemed to fit the bill.

Now I don't have an art history background nor do I paint,  but OMG this book interested me.  There was plenty to learn from this novel.  Shapiro gave us a history lesson  on Edgar Degas, the famous art heist of the Gardner Museum in Boston and on Isabella Gardner herself.  She also spent time describing the time consuming process of traditional oil painting dry on dry (which I had no idea about!)  She even went into how paintings are authenticated.  

All very interesting.  I found none of that giving me a headache.

After the Bath, Edgar Degas, 1898
But what I really found interesting is how the novel depicts this love/hate relationship an artist has with the need to be accepted by the public.  So many times, while reading, I thought OMG Claire is so insecure and weak.  I would NEVER be that weak.  But would I?  When creating art its such a personal thing and you're doing it to communicate the ideas inside you.  If the viewer is not receiving those messages, than why create?  Also, being an artist is a lifelong journey which may or may not bring you fortune and fame.  Or it might but you might be dead by then.  Does that reflect on how good an artist you really are?

After the Bath reworked 1890-1990
To answer my above question though, I don't think I would have ever made a lot of the decisions that Claire made - even when I was 30 and not looking at 50. But I can easily identify the angst you feel about putting your art out there and wanting it to be well received.  Also  it was a nice reminder, on how fickle the so-called "experts" really art in the art world.  Laughable so.

The mystery of the book was a nice vehicle to keep the novel moving but what I found totally engaging was the journey of Claire the artist.  So many times I could feel myself crying for her, routing for her, cringing for her.  At one time, I thought, OMG this girl needs a mother who will tell her some truths in life and art.  Even by the end of the novel I still thought  - wow - Claire has got a lot to learn.

So if you feel like a good art oriented read, pick up Shapiro's Art Forger. This is one that I can totally see me reading again!

So what have been up to creatively?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Easy-Peasy Value Studies - Off the Wall Friday

Okay, I admit it, I've been lazy and its getting harder and harder to get into my studio.  I could blame a lot of things - domestic tasks. working full time, getting Tessa back into the routine of her senior year.   But honestly, I think its me.

 Sometimes after a big project its hard to get back into the swing of things.  So I thought I would take it easy this time.

That said,  with the mood I'm in, I didn't want to over exert myself looking for something new.  I know I want to play around with simple shapes and keep working on my abstract. . . but after that its kinda of up in the air.  Luckily, I keep a pinterest board of inspiration.  Even when I'm lazy, I still manage to keep adding to my boards.

This time it lead me to some modern architectural pictures which I found very cool.  Using them as foundation of inspiration, I wanted to abstract them out without a lot of fuss.  Now I could go through tracing them and then doing value drawings by hand.  By why expend all that energy?

Instead I used an online site - LunaPic - to help me manipulate the images.  I could use my photoshop but I always find it a little bulky.  This online source was easy and very intuitive to use.  For my purposes today I just grayed out the picture (took the saturation of color down to 0) and pixelated them. Instant abstract value study!!!   Easy-Peasy!!!

This was so fun I think I'll work on them a bit longer finding just the right one.  I have an idea of what I want to do with that but I'll save them for another post!!

So What Have Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Fusible Webbing Review - Off the Wall Friday

Have you notice  in the quilt world that using fusible webbing has become more popular?  I mean, you can see why.  I mean why fuss with all those pins if fusible webbing products will just glue the fabric down?

Well if you've been paying attention, you'll know that I'm not really big into fusing.. . . for lots of reasons.  The biggest of which is that it tends to change the hand of the piece leaving you with this very stiff texture.  There are no little "puckers" or "puffs" with your quilting.  Its just flat.  Very flat.

Now that all said, fusing definitely  has its place in my work.  Sometimes its just easier to fuse!!  Since, I have a few spots in my latest piece that needed fusing, I thought I would take another look at the new products out there.

So I tested three "Light" fusible webbing products - Steam A Seam 2 Lite, Heat N Bond Featherweight, and MistyFuse.  Now "Light" means that you they will hold your fabric down but you'll still need to sew them.  All three claimed to leave the fabric with very little stiffness.  (Don't confuse these products with their sisters - NO SEW - fusibles).

So all I did was fuse down a little oval and sew along the edges with a zig-zag and sew my initial through it.  All sewed down fine with Heat N Bond leaving a bit of glue residue on my needle.  There didn't seem to be a difference on how the thread laid on the fabric.

Here are the results of my little test:

Some of my side notes:  

Steam-A-Seam 2 Lite - I used the new reformulated product and really like it better than the old one.  I think this one was my favorite over all.  I like how its repositionable, and it stuck well to the fabric.  The directions were nice and clear.

Heat-n-Bond Featherweight - was my least favorite.  Believe it or not, it didn't stick well to the
background fabric.  The directions said to iron own for 5-6 seconds  which I found weird.  Also there was a distinct glue residue popping sound with the needle.

Mistyfuse - gave the nicest hand of the fabric where you could barely tell it had been fused. It also was securely down.  Still I found it weird to work with.  First of all you need a teflon sheet  (which I had) so that your iron doesn't get gunked up.  It doesn't come on sheets so its hard to store once you take it out.  Plus even after reading   skimming the directions I still managed to get gunk on my iron.  Also you can't draw out a shape on the attached paper because it doesn't come on attached paper.  (Still this is perfect to fuse down sheer fabrics -  its that light)

So at least now I know to keep a bit of Steam-A-Seam Lite on hand.  Its harder to get now that its not being carried by Joann's fabric - but my Local Quilt Show does have a roll of it.  I'm still wondering how well it ages since there has been a problem in the past - we'll see!!

So what's your favorite fusible webbing and why?  Please feel free to disagree with any part of this post!!

So What Have Been Up to Creatively?:

Friday, September 11, 2015

Outdoor Quilt Show ... Off the Wall Friday

 Outdoor quilt shows are so pretty I thought I would let the pictures do all the talking.

There were over 70 quilts.

So What Have You Been up to Creatively?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Fall Cleaning! Off the Wall Friday

Quilt Show in 2009
It's September!!  How did that happen?  It seems just yesterday when I was waiting for spring to arrive.  Life is crazy sometimes. 

Right now I'm in that middle of fall cleaning.   The house definitely needs pulled together.

 Along with that, my friend, Bonnie is again  hosting a quilt show at a local garden center.  She was nice enough to ask me to share some of my work for it.  By some, I mean, 17 wall hangings!!  Yes - 17!!  They seem to be piling up around here so I thought it was a good idea to put them up for sale. Scotland Yards in Edinboro, PA is so pretty and its a great place for the show!!

 So I hope someone out there has gotten something creative done this week!

So what have you been doing creatively?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Critiquing the Critique - Off the Wall Friday

by Sarah Anderson
The moment I hear the word Critique, my mind immediately jumps to the word Criticism.  Is that a girl thing, an artist thing, or is it just human nature?  What it is . . . .its a big, fat lie.    Actually critique is more about analysis rather than criticism.

With that in mind, I've been trying to learn to critique my own work as well as others.  Not only is this a good skill to have in your artist toolbox, but it also is a great way to way to combat those nasty gremlins that keep
popping up in your mind telling you how much your art work sucks!

When I do a final self critique on a project some of the questions I ask are:

  • What is the main idea of the piece and is it being conveyed
  • Did the final design decisions flow with or against the conveyance of that main idea
  • Are the design elements being followed or where rules broken without reason
  • Is any element obviously bothersome and in obviously in discordance with the rest of the piece
  • Is there movement in the piece
  • Is my craftsmanship acceptable and craft methods not distracting to the overall main idea
 What's harder yet, is how do you give a decent critique of the work of others.

Things to remember in giving a critique:
  • Honest feedback doesn't mean bluntness
  • Don't use personal pronouns  - ie. "Your use of so many colors is distracting" rather say "Using a limited palette will solidify the piece"
  •  Offer compliments without the qualifiers - "But" & "However" 
  • Never use the phrase "No Offense" because its always offensive

Remember the goal of a critique is to provide additional information to
the artist for their own edification rather than tearing down what they have already built!

I started a list of words that would help me in critiquing my own work as well as others.  Hope they help!!

So What have you been doing creatively?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Simple Simplicity - Off the Wall Friday

Why does everything have to be a production? 

You ever notice that?

Why can't life be simple?!

Lately, I've been yearning for simplicity.  Simplicity in my work, in my home, in my thoughts!  Even when I start thinking of how to make things more simple, it seems to get complicated!!  sighhhhh!

I've been putting together a plan for my studio time for the next few months and its been a struggle.  The real world keeps pushing in and it seems, I'm going to have to get tough, fast!  I don't want to lose the  creative momentum from Quilting by the Lake.

My studio time is going to have to be the priority.  Its that simple.  And that hard.

 For me the answer is always lists and routine.  Between the two, maybe I'll be able to get my work back on track as well as my fall cleaning done!

Enough of my artist angst. . . .

What have you been up to creatively?!