Friday, March 27, 2015

Keys to Good Composition - Off the Wall Friday

As I finish up the my many - many hours of quilting, I started thinking about the composition of my next piece.  I'm planning on using my annual lily piece as an excuse to experiment with silk.  Still, I can't just experiment.  I have to have a plan - a composition that I'm working toward.  I've learned from past attempts, that the words intuitive and spontaneous are adjectives that will never be used in describing my creative style.  Well, at least not in the near future. So I'm in search of a good composition.  Hmmmmmm, but how does one go about that???


all of which can be rearranged, edited, added to,or ignored all together 

Nina-Marie Sayre
Rule of Thirds - Focal Point
1. Decide what you want to say in your piece - pick the main theme and mood

2. Draw your borders and pick a focal spot. Don't pick the dead middle.  Using the rule of thirds, you can split the piece into thirds, horizontally and vertically and place the focal point on one of the intersections.

Nina-Marie Sayre
Balance the Elements

3. Draw your main shapes (figurative or abstracted) but make sure they are varied in shape, scale and the space between them are all different.  Also, an odd number of elements is always more pleasing to the human eye than an even - so think 3 - 5 - 7

4. Create balance in the piece - the elements should be scatter throughout the piece with the main focus balanced by lesser elements

5. Lead the eye into the work using diagonals and curves that engage the edge of the piece - Use the power of line effectively!

Nina-Marie Sayre

6. A sense of depth is created by overlapping your pieces and using scale to create the right sense of perspective

7. Avoid symmetry  - make sure there is enough "differentness" to create tension

8. Edit out clutter - highlighting the essential - give quiet space in the piece

Nina-Marie Sayre
Edit! Edit! Edit!
Now remember composition isn't just about the initial sketch.  Value will have a huge part in the piece too.   You can use value to highlight the focal spot - to create depth  - to establish movement through out piece.  Color (hue) plays it part too in creating mood, movement and tension within a piece.

I just want to add that I wrote this post to help me as much as it is to help you!  Its much easier to critique a sketch if you have a list of what to look for in front of you.  Not to mention taking an hour out of the week looking at well composed photos!!

So What Have you been up to creatively?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Off the Wall Friday

My mind is a mass of ideas this week - too many ideas in fact.  I need to calm them so that I can focus on getting the quilting done on the Curves2.

  So with that in mind, I decided to not blog out anything new - just play host this week.   
As is my custom - I'll leave you with my favorite Art quotes of the  moment!

What have been up to creatively?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Free Photos For Off the Wall Friday

With the Curves2  safely under my sewing machine's foot, my mind has begun to wonder on what's the  next. big project.

 I'm always on the look out for free inspiration. . . isn't everyone?  Free is good. . . . Inspiration is even better.

On that topic I thought I would share  some of my favorite sites that have a ton of free photos to inspire any creative creature!

1.  Freeimages  Over 350,000 images that can be used for creative purposes as inspiration or digitally.  Certain images might  contain the request to contact  the photographer if you're going to use the image or to give proper attribution

2.  Freefoto   Has over 100,000 photos to that can be used for blogging purposes (following the required attribution rules).  Most photos have small watermarks. There is a creative commons for images that an be used in artistic derivative work.

3. Pixabay Over 300,000 images that are in public domain that you can use any way you want without any kind of proper attribution.

4. Stockphotosforfree About a 100,000 images that  are still shots taken from video imagery.  Their royalty free licencing agreement lets the downloader use the images in virtually any creative way possible.

5.  Everystockphoto - This site has license specific photos - so you  need to check what you can and can not do with the photo - Most are free to use under specific conditions.

Of course, there are many more - so sometimes I like to use PhotoPin which searches several creative commons at once.  Also like I've shared before Flikr has a great creative commons.

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Reality Check . . . . . Design Wall Friday

Well this week, I had a Reality Check and realize I wasn't going to get this piece done in time for Sacred Threads.  sighhhhhhhh.  Its not like me to miss a deadline when I get it in my head to make it.  I'm such a task oriented person, that I can get a little anal.  But this week, I remembered that my Word for the 2015 was CONSUMMATE to finish with excellence, to bring to a state of perfection.  So rushing this process is counterproductive to where I wanted to go this year.

Tooooo Muddy!!
Case in point is the last swish of yellow.  It was suppose to be dark yellow, but it came out just a medium yellow - not giving me the contrast in value the design called for.  So I took some good advice and used a Dy-na-flow brown wash and gave it a quick paint job!  Good idea right?!  Nope  - too muddy now.  Not only did it change the value of the Swish - it changed the saturation.  So what is a girl to do?  Yep!  Re-piece that part which - of course - worked perfectly.  Still all of that took a whole morning.

Much Better!

But with two long studio days, I did manage to get the top done and trash my studio in the process.  I mean there were scraps EVERYWHERE.  Its amazing how many little bits of yellow, pink, and turquoise can be in one little space.  So decided to give it a good clean - put away all the fabric and get ready for the layering process.

With the studio all cleaned for the first time in three months, it seemed to focus me.  I'm really looking forward to getting some quilting lines in on this!!

It seems like this project is dragging, but the reality is that its only been 8 weeks from idea to top and that's not all that bad for a 65" by 48"  piece.  The one thing is that is nice is that it totally skipped the "OMG this sucks" phase.  I can truly say that its exactly what I had in mind when I settled on a the design and palette.

So what have been up to creatively?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Taking the Mystery out of Silk - Off the Wall Friday

Although I have 4 feet of snow in my yard and the temperature has not climbed much higher than 20 degrees F in two weeks, I'm thinking spring.  A girl can hope right?  I have an annual habit of starting a  new spring project  and this year I wanted to incorporate silk.  So many times I see how silk is
used in the art quilts and fiber work I admire the most.  Not to mention, I do place orders for a company called Wintersilks.  So it might not be a bad idea if I learn something about this mysterious fabric.

As you might or might not know, silk is harvested from a silkworm's cocoon (really not a worm at all but a larva for a future moth).  That is why silk is a protein fiber rather than cellulose  fiber (like cotton or rayon) and will behave differently when you use your reactive procion dyes on them. You can use the same textiles paints on silks as you use on their cellulose sisters.

So of course, silk is made into all sorts of fabrics with all sorts of weights.  Its a little overwhelming!!  I took the advice of Marlene Glickman and bought some samples from Thai Silks in California.  Its so much easier to put a swatch with a name that it was a worthwhile investment.  Here are some of my favorites!

Organza - sheer open weave fabric that has a smooth flat finish.  It has a stiff crisp hand and comes in a variety of weights that effect its translucence.

Charmeuse - satin weave silk with a crepe back - think lingerie and silk pajamas!

Chiffon - sheer fabric with a soft limp hand to it.  Will drape wonderfully

Habotai  - is a plain weave fabric  - has a "silky" hand (mostly but it does come in crinkle varieties) its soft and lustrous. 

Dupioni - this is a double weave fabric (often with two close but different colors).  Its a substantial plain weave with a nubby texture.  Still has a nice luster to it.

Noil has a nubby feel and a low sheen.  It comparable to cotton in texture  easily sewn

That is only a small sampling but at least it got me started on knowing what I was looking for.  I'm looking forward to playing with translucence and organza this spring.  Its been on my to do list but when I tried with synthetic fabrics last summer I got lack luster results.  So hopefully silk will put me on the right road!

So what have been up to creatively?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Little by Little - Design Wall Monday

  After a long day in studio yesterday - 10 hours! - I'm getting close and closer to the finish of the piecing of Curves2.

I finally got my studio up to 70 degrees which makes it just that much easier to stay productive in there.  By the end of the night, I was tired!

 Still I did notice something.  The last yellow piece I put on did not read "Dark Yellow" under the studio lights.  When the lights are off you can tell its suppose to be dark yellow, but with the lights on it just reads a touch darker than its curving counterpart.

You know what that means right?  sighhhhhhhhh

I'll have to do that section again.  It shouldn't take  that long.  I'm hoping to  get the bottom section piecing done this week so I can layer it up on my studio day on Thursday.

See other great design walls at Judy's Patchwork Times!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Baby Its Cold Outside - Off the Wall Friday

Did I need to make it 55 by 45??

Hat, Gloves AND my blankie!

I am not at my creative best  during the winter months, especially February when it seems like the cold is never going to end.  This year though my latest project has really kept me going.  Too bad it can't keep me warm!  This week, we've had sub zero  temps for most of the week  - as low as -18!

You know what that means??  My studio doesn't get much warmer than 60 degrees.  Can anyone say - Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr?!?!?!

Little by little though, I am getting the Curves2 done.  I was hoping to have all the piecing done by today but who knew it would take this long?!  I'm literally on the 9th bobbin of thread on this baby!  Geesh - like winter, I'm thinking the piecing is never going to end!!!

p.s.  this is what I woke up this fine Friday morning......guess the cold isn't ending soon either!!!

Hopefully you're warmer than I and don't have to create with gloves on!

What are you up to creatively?