Friday, July 22, 2016

Big Idea at QBL - Off the Wall Friday

Greetings from Quilting by the Lake 2016 Wow!  What a great week I'm having in Rosalie Dace's class, Skin Deep.    We're studying layering and transparency using sheers and other non-traditional quilting fabric - aka NOT cotton!  Its was so fun getting out my vast collection of sheers for this
class. Its finally a chance to play with all the shiny princess fabrics I've been hording!

Rosalie, as always, is great!  She has been suggesting a series of exercises each day for us aimed at getting us comfortable with manipulating the sheers to reveal and conceal our work.  Now, since she's the type of teacher that understands that each student is unique, she also gave us the choice to do those or  work on a couple of smaller pieces the whole week or work on one big piece.

And what did I choose??  Yep!  You guessed it - one big piece.  Now, this week I wasn't going to - truly!   But when one gets a big idea - one has to go with it!  So I did!!

As always, I started with a value sketch and then picked a palette.  Luckily I only brought one palette
with me so that made that part VERY easy.   I recreated the sketch by just working out the proportions of the jars when blown up.  Then just matched the jar with the right fabric - easy right?  Not!!  I spent a bunch of time in trials.  Here's  a peek into the process ...


It is nice to have a splash of red in the corner

This one is just right - BUT it blends so well that it changes the focal point to the patterned hand dyed vase on the upper right.

The rest of the designing went pretty easily.  In fact, so easily that I'm the process of adding thread work and quilting.  Next week I'll share with you a complete review of my week of QBL as well as the finished piece!

So What Have You Been up to lately???

Friday, July 15, 2016

8 Things You Didn't Know about Bob Ross - Off the Wall Friday

During the lazy, hazy days of summers, the Sayre family has been known to study new things.  Like the summer my husband and 7th grade daughter decided they were going to learn Japanese.  (I'm still finding taped Japanese words on things all over the house!)  Well this summer, it seems that its the summer to discover the treasures of Netflix.

To that extent, we've re-discovered  Bob Ross.  Yes the soft spoken Happy Tree painter from PBS.    Something about his gentile way of painting peaceful paintings really is soothing during this summer of turmoil.  Its amazing too how much you can learn about color, value, and composition watching him paint too.  He's inspired me with all new ideas of how to mix colors as well as how to shade effectively.  Because of this I've done a little research on him!

8 Things You Didn't Know about Bob Ross 

1.  He painted a lot of paintings.  A REALLY lot of paintings to the tune of at least 30,000 in his lifetime which equals to over 500 a year!  Once he connected with PBS, he donated most of his work to their fundraisers.

2.  He was into "Branding" before branding was cool!  Bob Ross never was paid for his work on PBS.  Instead he used his name to build a 15 million dollar a year business selling supplies, books, and videos that continues to this day.

3.  He wasn't always a PBS icon.  First, he spent 20 years in the Air Force rising to the rank of Master Sargent.  His time stationed in Alaska developed his love of mountain ranges and yes, trees.  He retired from the military, when he started making more money selling his paintings and giving lessons.

4. His iconic hair-do was a perm that he originally had done as a cost saving measure.  It became so much of his image that when he grew to hate it, he couldn't change it!

5.  Most episode paintings were painted 3 times - one done beforehand planning the composition, the second on the episode itself and third for close ups shots.

6.  90% of Bob Ross Joy of Painting viewers don't paint - ever.    And yes you can count the Sayre family as part of this statistic.

7.  His fast paint style wasn't a TV trick.  He literally would tape a whole season of  Joy of Painting in just two days doing one episode after another.  The show only ran for 11 seasons but still the 403 episodes are  played to this day.

8.  Sadly, Bob lost his fight with lymphoma in 1995 but his peaceful presence is felt to this day.

Even as a teen I would sit memorized  as Bob created a pretty world were nothing bad ever happened.  Isn't it nice that we can still visit that  world today even if its only for 30 minutes at a time? 

So What Have You Been Up Creatively?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Creative Blocks & Their Solutions - Off the Wall Friday

The last few weeks, I've given in to a bit of introspection.  I mean, seriously, its not a bad idea to take a bit of time  to do a  self review.  What did I find?  That I'm not really in the middle of a creative block more like a  motivational block.  Of course, a good argument could be made that if I was feeling creative, I wouldn't have any trouble getting motivated.

So I thought I would look at the causes of different creative blocks and some suggestions to help resolve them.  If it doesn't help me - who knows it -  it might help one of you!

4 Creative Blocks

  1.  The Inner Critic - Yeah, we know this guy.  He's the obnoxious fellow that lives in your head and tells you that your work is crap, your not talented and you smell AND why do you even both anyways?!?  Solution???  Stop the comparison game.  Remember why you are creating and hold fast to that.  You are creating first and foremost for you.  Then work on communicating what you want to say.  If the Inner Critic doesn't get it  - well - he probably smells!
  2. Fear - Let's face it,
    making art is a bit scary.  Now I'm not talking, Freddy Krueger scary, but the  kind of scary that comes with revealing to the world a part of yourself.  Maybe the subject is emotionally painful or embarrassing or just plain strange!  Maybe people will disagree with what you are trying to communicate or worse -  not care at allSolution???  Practically  - you'll have to start a routine and start creating no matter what.  Emotionally, you'll have to accept the good with the bad.  There is always acceptance as well as rejection in every avenue of life.  Why not in our art??  Start with that attitude and its easier not to get blind sided when your best friend says she'd rather put her Thomas Kinkaide print up  rather than the piece you offered to her.

  3. Personal Drama - Hey life is messy and at times it can get real messy!  Who can create when your dog dies, your pick up breaks and you run out of beer?  Ooops - sorry - been listening to too much country music - but you get the picture.  There is nothing to be done about these things - they are inevitable.  Solution???  Accept the Inevitable!  Ride out the drama or at least learn to cope with the stress of it.  To quote my friend Kristen, "Don't let yourself get stuck in that awful moment" - ride through it so you can eventually get to the other side.  And yes, I'm old enough to realize that sometimes that easier said than done.  Creative rituals will help - even if its 15 minutes a day.
  4. Swamped & Besieged - The world is too busy, we're too busy.  There are demands on us coming from all directions -  work, family, social, even creative.  Creative???  Yes!  Too many ideas, too many deadlines, too many inspirations, too many classes, too many tools - too many too many's!!  How is a girl suppose to sort through all THAT and get anything done??  Solution??? Set your priorities.  Yes - set limits.  More is NOT more.  Be brutal but cut, cut, cut things out of your life.  Enjoy the quiet and you'll want to creative.

So of course, this is just my opinion and truth be told, I've suffered from all of these at one time or other.  But what do you think??  How have you gotten over blocks??

So What Have You've Been Up to Creatively ?

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Edges Continue - Off the Wall Friday

Its been a while since I've shown the slow progression of a Work in Progress.  Mostly that is because I don't think its that interesting unless there is something groundbreaking happening.  But obviously, I can't be trusted to get anything done in my studio unless I'm being held accountable - so thank you for your patience. 

I have learned that creativity is an ebb and flow kind of thing,  so I don't sweat times like this.  Still I do like to keep somewhat productive and I did manage to put in a few more hours into the piece this week.  One thing that I'm learning is that although I drafted out a nice detailed value drawing as well as a loose main pattern, I'm not really following them very well.  What I am doing is following the grey scale manipulation of the photo inspiration.  Not to mention letting the piece direct what goes next.  I mean, geesh, its always good to make visual decisions visually.

It definitely is becoming a study in edges - soft and hard - so I think I'll nickname it the Edges.

"I was born a copper. And I'll die one, I expect"

Ohhhh and  the suggestion of the week - if you're looking for something to watch on TV that will not rot your brain - the third season of Endeavour is playing this summer at a PBS station near you.

Endeavour, is the prequel for the long running UK series, Inspector Morse and is a period mystery set in 1960's Oxford.  Its part cop mystery - part - 60's period piece.  Its filled with plot twists rather than guns.

 I've been known to get a little obsessed with a good Masterpiece Theatre series and Endeavour is no different.  Not only is Shaun Evan's  dreamy blue eyes  perfect  for a summer crush, but his mentor Thursday, played by Robert Allum is a "Real Man's" man.

 Its the kind of series that you really need to watch each episode a few times to get all the nuances of the story.  Not to mention, it will have you googling exactly what all the English idioms mean. (Warning:  we always watch with the captions on!)

If you need to catch up on Season 3 - its online at   If you are looking for the first two  seasons of the show you can find them for rent on Amazon (or free on AmazonPrime).

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?? 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Picking Up the Pieces II - Off the Wall Friday

As  you could have guessed, picking up the pieces was harder than it looked.  Several times during the week,  I found my self puttering in my studio without making much progress.  First I had to track down the remnants of the piece.  Then I had to put them all in neat little piles.  Then I had to make sense of my value map.

Finally, with Thursday night looming, I managed to get a big hunk of time piecing.  Once I got back into the groove, I totally lost track of time.  One thing I noticed was that getting 7-8 hrs sleep really did wonders for sustaining me in my studio.  For the last few months I've been getting 5-6 and that's not just enough.

One of the biggest problems was picking up right where I left off in the value gradations.  This whole piece is based around subtle value gradations and a few hard edges.  I had to take out a few rows this week because they weren't quite right.  It was hard, but I kept reminding myself that they will most likely find another place in the piece.  The thing about my method of improved piecing is that its only partially improvisational.  I'm constantly checking value and color placements.  What looks random is only random to a certain degree.

Kinda like me.

So although I only finished up the top, I really feel like I'm over the hump of this slump!

Thank you for all the encouragement last week - it really does mean a lot.  I read the comments - SEVERAL times this week reminding myself that I like to create!

So What have been up Creatively?

Friday, June 17, 2016

PIcking Up the Pieces - Off the Wall Friday

Motherhood is not for wimps.  I know all you mothers out there, know exactly what I mean.  Children, even the best of them (like mine) can literally suck all your energy from you. That is,  if you let them.  And lately, I have been.  For the last 2 months, my life has literally revolved around my child.  First, her final musical, then  the prom, finals, graduation and finally her graduation party.  Enough!!!

Now that I have her finally settled nicely into her first job (at the university library) and driving on her own (got her license today!) - I can return to my studio and try to find my creative self!  But when I looked into my studio, I could barely find it!  And if I did find it, what did I want to do in there????

So while cleaning  - and CLEANING  some more  - I hatched a plan. Ohhh and you're going to help!!   I took out the abstract piece I was working on last fall and thought I would finish that up before Quilting by the Lake. I love where this piece is going and it seems like I have a good start on it.  Since I'm working home now, I have more time that I can dedicate to my studio - which I have not been doing (I blame Tessa - did I mention she can suck the energy from you?)

And what's your part???  I'm going to report back my progress every week until its completely done - yep quilting and binding and all.  Please feel free to give cheers of encouragement or raspberries of disappointment if I'm not living up to my end of the bargain.

So today, I cleaned my studio and there is where I'm at on my abstract!

I'll report next week how much I get done!

So What have you been up to creatively?

Friday, June 10, 2016

Off the Wall Friday

So Let's Connect!!

What have  you been up to creatively?