Friday, March 24, 2017

The Value of Black & White - Part II - Off The Wall Friday

 Black and White #2, Kay Sorensen
Figure/Ground Study #3, Sandra Palmer Ciolino

So with my latest lesson on value, I've fallen in love with the monochromatic palette of White through Black.  I admit, I never thought I would.  I mean with all the gorgeous colors in the world why stick to only Black and White?  Not to mention, SHOW OF HANDS, who here became a quilter because it was just an extension of coloring left over from childhood?

That all said, I had a thoroughly fun time doing my latest Project, Cropped.  Katie asked us to crop a photo and recreate it in only black, gray and white paying specific attention to the values.  Once I got the crop right (thanks again for all the help), the piece wasn't too hard.  But I do love how it came out!

Legends Never Die, Maria Dlugosch

Cropped, Nina-Marie Sayre

Here's my self critique -
  • This is a diagonal cruciform composition using a monochromatic palette
  •  A visual pathway is created though the quilt, with the darkest of darks leading the eye
  • There is plenty of variety of shapes as well as negative space to rest the eye.
  • The palette chosen reflects the nostalgic mood of the piece.
  • The photo has been cropped to show a more interesting portrayal of  the original.
  • The focal point - although having contrast - could have even more emphasis.  Is it the O or is it the W? Or is the star?  UGH?!  (there is always something isn't there!)

Star Dreams of Snow, Kari Anderson, @andersondesignworks

Zen, Beth Schellenberger

Still I don't know what was more fun with this piece - doing the actual work to see the finish product or researching all the signs!  With all the new super bright In-Your-Face LED signs out there yelling at us to "Like Us on Facebook" - I really do miss these retro masterpieces  of an era not so long ago.

Anyways, before I get even more melancholy, Cropped has started me looking  at what other quilters have done with this particular palette.  And let me tell you - there is some AMAZING work out there.  A few artists have granted permission to share some here!  I have included links to their online presence so you can check out the rest of their truly fantastic work!

Nicole Dunn

I hope this has inspired you to take the plunge in the monochromatic gray scale world.  Without Katie to nudge me in that direction, I might never have tried it!  So glad she did!!

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Value of Black and White - Off the Wall Friday

Final Crop
I want to say a big thank you for all the comments and suggestions last week on which sign to pick.  Smart move of the month?  Ask women smarter than yourself for their opinion.

 So I especially want to give thanks to Glen, who said  " I would crop a bit further even." She was right of course - they needed to be cropped MORE.

Margaret, who said, " I think they must be very challenging to crop, because our brains don't want us to leave out any of the we focus on keeping that in the picture instead of cropping for shape."  

O-M-G!! How smart are they??  So did end up going back - cropping for shape & composition.  The lesson is on value so I really needed to make sure I included enough areas to play with value a little.

Work in Progress
Once the crop was done properly, the lesson itself wasn't too hard.

  We are to use a monochromatic palette of black.  To tell you the truth, I really should have had this done last weekend.  What I ran into trouble is that, I just don't like fusing patterns down perfectly.  I don't think I have the "precise" gene one needs for that kind of work.  Also, I'm not thrilled with working with fusibles.  I know they are perfect for this kind of project.  But spending an afternoon glueing your piece down is NOT fun to me.  Once the drawing was done, values of the fabrics picked out - it was like all the fun stuff was complete and I just had to glue it all down.  Sighhhhh - I know - I'm whining!!

What I did have fun with was delving into the world of high contrast fashion in my research for this project.  Who knew it was such a trend?!!  Mixing patterns of black and white is VERY now - VERY in.  It does make for interesting outfits!!

So I'll buckle down and finish this up!!  Thanks again for all the help everyone!!

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Spot the Crop A Lot - Off the Wall Friday

Lesson 4's Hard & Soft's Edges Piece - this one is gong on MY wall!!

(Please excuse the post's title - its my homage to Dr. Suess who celebrated a birthday this week!)

Sooooooooooo .. . .  .  . we're onto Lesson 5 where Katie P-M's  wants us to study cropping a photo to find the interesting spots.  If you've been reading, I love to edit me a photo!  I mean, am I the only one that thinks all these little photo editing app's are a gift from God?  You can take your favorite inspiration photo - crop it - manipulate it - and then use that to guide you into your next masterpiece.  In fact, sometimes you can totally manipulate it so much that the original subject is barely recognizable!  How cool is THAT?!

For this lesson though I didn't want to get all excited with just little bits of interesting photos.  I decided I wanted to explore my fascination with vintage neon signs.  Now there is nothing I would like more than to drive around the country collecting photos of signs, but since a girl has to work for a living, I relied on Pinterest for inspiration.  Obviously, I'm not the only one who sees the charm in these bits of the past!

Katie reminded us that as we were cropping, not to forget the lessons on composition we learned in the last two months!  So I studied many, many signs.  AND I cropped many, many, signs.  I'm not ashamed that maybe, I got a little carried away!!  I finally had to narrow it down to handful so that I could finally choose 1 to do!!

I wanted to share them with you - so you could give your advice on which one you think is the most interesting!!
So which would you choose???

What Have You Been Up to Creatively? 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Hard and Soft Edges - Off the Wall Friday

Quilt I made in Joan Colvin's Class in 2002

I won't lie.  When I opened up my latest lesson in Katie P-M's online class and saw that we were going to explore Hard and Soft Edges, I literally G-R-O-A-N-ed. I mean, hard and soft edges again???  I explored them for the first time when I was taking Elizabeth Barton's masterclass and I didn't really understand them then.  I blundered my way through the lesson and although I wouldn't say it was a failure, I wouldn't say it was a win either.  Not to mention its really hard to achieve them using fabric which by its nature fabric is hard edge kind of thing.

BUT,  I put on my big girl pants and once again tackled the use of edges.

So what is hard and soft edges???  Well in the art sense, a hard edge is the term used when the edge of an object is made in a well defined or definite way. There's a strong sense of where the object ends. A soft edge is when it is made so that it disappears or fades into the background.

Easy right?  Well in painting it isn't so hard.  Here is an example I made where I thought the watercolorist used hard and soft edges effectively.

Why worry about it?  Using hard and soft edges can be very effective to create the mood in a piece like the one above.  Using the soft edges you definitely get the feeling of  WET!!  Also,  if you didn't use hard and soft edges, everything begins to look very graphic and 2-d.  Its bold and illustrative.  Too many hard edges can get a little loud and leaves out the mystery of art.    Too many soft edges make a piece feel all blurry and jumbled together.  That's fine if that's what you're going for.  But for me I like a little soft with my hard.

Now in fabric, its not so easy.  One can't just blend fabrics like one can blend paint! BUT  Once I started investigating and researching, there have been some really skilled fiber artists that have done it quite successfully.  One of which, is the late, great Joan Colvin.  I took a class with her back in 2002, where she taught me to blend my commercial and hand dyed fabric together to get a cohesive and natural look.

Her work is simply amazing.  If you look closely at her pieces, you can see how so many of her larger area are made up of many different types of fabric.  This creates the soft line and adds dimension and interest to her work.  Then she'll use hard line to move your eye around the piece and draw attention to the focal point.  All without you really noticing it - its all so quietly and masterfully done!  (by the way she did it all without fusible too!)

If you want to take a closer look at Joan's work and hear her talking about her process there is an excellent video of Alex Anderson's interview with her.  Watching it, I thought, I never really got to thank her for setting me on this art quilt path that I've explored for the last 15 yrs.

Because this is such a hard subject, I'm still working on my lesson's piece.  Its coming along nicely - but slowwwwwwwwwwwwwly!  Hopefully it will be done in time for Monday!!

So What Have Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Positives about Negative Space - Off the Wall Friday

The Curves II
I love negative space!  Well, that's in the art sense, I mean.  Anybody who has been paying attention to my developing artist voice could tell you that I pretty much spend as much time and energy on the
Notice the Arrow??
negative space of a design as the positive.

So what is NEGATIVE SPACE?  Its all the space that isn't included in the subject of a piece.  So basically - think - background.  The thing that I love about negative space is that it can be as interesting as the actual foreground (think subject of the piece).

Notice the Continent??
Now graphic designers have for years been using negative space to capture the eye.  When you look at an  a logo, you immediately see the bold, graphic subject matter.  BUT WAIT! The advertiser wants you to spend a bit more time on their impressive logo.  So using negative space, it makes the consumer linger a bit longer to see the hidden secrets that lie within the background.

Usually in the graphic world negative space is void of color and lets the subject matter dictate the shape,  But, in Nina's World,  I like to add so much interest to the background that it leaves the viewer saying, "Oh I think the background is my favorite part".

Watercolor Gateway

Clapboards &Lilies

In the Curves II and Watercolor Gateway, the negative space actually creates the lightest part of the quilt and therefore makes it the focal point.  In Clapboards and Lilies the negative space adds depth. Anddddddddddd in my latest creation, Lesson 3 (in the on-going Katie Pasquini-Masopust online design class) , the negative space adds movement and interest.  For that matter in Lesson 1 and 2 - both negative spaces added interest and depth
Lesson 3

For me its easier to come up with a great background, than to give a bigger "WOW" factor to the subject matter.  With the background being such a supportive partner to the subject, it makes the piece that much stronger.

So next time, you design a new piece, why don't you give a little positive attention to the neglected negative space!

So What Have Been Up to Creatively??

Friday, February 17, 2017

Guest Artist - Paula Jolly - Off the Wall Friday

Now, as you know, I'm in the middle of taking Katie Pasquini-Masopust's online class.  Taking a class online is a bit different then in real life because for the most part you don't have a lot of interaction with your fellow classmates.  Life is busy for everyone and just getting the lessons done can be a challenge.

Still, after seeing her work, I reached out to a classmate, Paula Jolly.  Paula's first assignment looked so lovely - abstract and painterly  - it left me scratching my head thinking ... "How did she do that?"  Little did I know, until digging a bit, that Paula is a VERY accomplished Canadian artist.  So I asked if she would share a bit about herself here.

 Paula, Thanks for being a guest on my blog.  Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

"My husband and I have retired from farming and spend our winters in  Arizona.  We have three children and seven grandchildren.  Home is and always will be Mossbank, Saskatchewn."

How did you start sewing and creating?

"I have always been creative, it's just a part of me!  So at the age of 10 I began sewing.  I've dabbled in many hobbies through the years, finally deciding on art quilts and paper collage."

You're work is amazing.  Can you share a bit about your process?

" I love to hunt for fabric!  Everything has potential in my world!  I audition fabrics on my design wall until an idea forms.  My pieces are not pre planned nor is the stitching I do on them.  I use Inktense paints, oil and wax pastels, kids paints etc., to enhance my pieces.  It is not unusual for me to have several works on the go.  If I get stalled, I move on to another...... "

Thanks Paula!!  And yes, I've been working Lesson 3 this week!

What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Lesson 2 - Composition - Off the Wall Friday

So, I made it through my second lesson of Katie Pasquini Masopust's class - barely!!  When I first read that it was going to center on composition, I was all happy.  I mean, wasn't it I who had tried and true rules concerning composition?   So hard could it be?? 

I picked Cruciform structure.  And yes, that is exactly what it sounds like . . . . you organize your objects to make a cross.  So I did that using lines because that's easy enough.  The problem came in when I added my accent shape.  I decided to use circles because don't lines and circles go together like peanut butter and jelly?  Well apparently when I added my big circle it top my sketch over into the asymmetrical  composition structure.  So my lovely cruciform composition was now asymmetrical.  Luckily, that was one of the ones we could choose so that was fine!

I did the normal value sketches and picked one.  Also, I had to pick a color palette -so I went with my favorite yellow-green, green and blue-green and added a complimentary of red for some spark.  I've learned in the past that if I use this palette in the past that it just reads  "Calm", "Serene" and "Peaceful".  Without its complementary (remember complementary means opposite - not  natural partner) 

it would have been too wishy-washy for my taste.  This was a bold graphic sketch - it needed a bolder palette.

I thought I was going to use steam a seam 2 lite again but it was so big that I just pinned it down and started adding the thread work.  So while the rest of the country was watching the superbowl, I was machine quilting.

It got a good critique and it works fine - buttttttttttt - I don't know - I'm not too keen on it.  Its not something  I want to put up in a space on my wall.  I gotta remember that when making these little samples to make them pretty enough that I want to keep them around a bit!!

On to Lesson 3!!

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?