Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In the Newspaper

I was recently fortunate to be the subject of a profile in a local NY newspaper, The East Hampton Star. Writer/photojournalist Carrie Ann Salvi did a great job interviewing me, and was really accurate and also a sensitive writer.

I felt like a little kid on her birthday...in a happy bubble all day, a mini-star for a day. Here is the link to the article for anyone who has not seen it: http://www.easthamptonstar.com/?q=Arts/2012221/Mixed-Media-Artwork-Therapy

(That is my Maltese, Coco in the photo with me.)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Favorite Abstract Modern Painters

I am working on an ATC project about favorite artists. I love so many artists it was hard to choose, but I settled on two abstract painters: French artist and fabric designer Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979)and American painter Richard Deibenkorn (1922-1993).

I puttered with an assortment of paints and color-giving art supplies--watercolors, chalk pastels, oil pastels and watercolor pencils. Working on 2.5" x 3.5" ATCs kind of cramped my style, so I used a big sheet of good quality Japanese rag watercolor paper, penciled in the space for 16 ATCs, and left 1/2 inch between them.

I did about half ala Deibenkorn, and half ala Delaunay. The overall effect was kind of interesting, so I snapped a picture of it before cutting them down to size. I almost didn't cut them, and thought about saving the whole piece as a single painting, but decided to go ahead and cut them up, resolving that my next artquilt should be a Deibenkornish piece painted on tyvek or thin paper, then quilted.

I have been busy with new art supplies, new techniques, and new ideas, so it was really nice to revisit plain old paper and paint. It reinforced one of my art 'rules': NEVER skimp on art supplies. Buy the best paints, paper and brushes that you can afford. The colors will be richer, the paint will stay where you want it to and go on properly, and the texture will be right. Skip the new clothes, the restaurant meal, but splurge on art supplies. You won't be sorry.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Lime is the theme for Arts in the Cards for March. Limes are delicious and refreshing, and lime is one of my favorite colors. I use it so much that I think of it as a neutral...when I don't know what to do with a piece of art, I use lime thread to stitch it, or dab on lime paint.

For these ATCs, I started with some hand carved block prints that I had printed with lime paint on white paper. They are part of my edzellinni fabric line that I did for my SAQA visioning project. I combined the blockprints in photoshop, and then added the word lime and the mirror image of the word. I arranged the words at the top and bottom, but cut off part of each to make the words less obvious.

I liked what I had, but then I decided to take another angle. I used some Graphics Fairy royalty free antique clipart, http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/--a dress form, some antique shoes, a lilly of the valley plant in a pot, an Marie Antoinette style woman, and a hand holding a rose. I changed the color to be limey on all the clipart except the hand holding the rose. It looked okay, but seemed not quite finished, so I put the blockprints and words behind the photoshop woman that I had constructed. After I printed the ATCs on cardstock,the design still needed something, so I decided to embellish it with lime stitching--a straight stitch and a zig zag.

These small pieces combines many things that I love--mixed media,photoshop, antique clipart, fashion design, flowers (especially roses), fabric design, typography and carving/printing my own designs.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

From Doodle to Art Quilt

I’m a doodler. I can sketch, I can paint, but what I really love to do is doodle. I can’t sit still in a meeting—I doodle as I take notes. So, I am trying to embrace what I do naturally and expand on that to create artwork, rather than trying to do what is popular, or what other people do, or what other people want me to do, so that my work will be unique and really express what is inside me. I doodle flowers, faces, letters and numbers, and abstract designs. I am also trying to stop being a perfectionist, and not feel like a failure when something is a little sloppy or lopsided.

This 8.5” x 11” artquilt started with a little doodle using an orange marker on ATC sized watercolor paper. I scanned that and played with it in Photoshop, creating my ‘red’ themed ATCs for our Arts in the Cards February exchange.

The theme for our very first Arts in the Cards REvisioned art quilts is ‘rebirth’…so I chose to try a different interpretation of the orange doodle. In photoshop, I changed it from orange to black, enlarged it, then did a positive/negative and flipped and repeated it. It was the same process I used for the red ATCs, but larger and in black and white. I ironed freezer paper [shiny side down] to white cotton, then cut the fabric/paper to 8.5x11 and printed it out of my computer.

The question was…what do I do around the edge? I designed a black and white checkerboard border in QuarkXpress, which looked cool. But then it seemed too puttery to cut little pieces out of fabric and piece them together, and too time-consuming to paint them on fabric. So, I tried a white border with big red buttons, a black border with big red buttons, an abstract b/w border of painted recycled tyvek, and a black felt border with smaller white buttons—which was the one I decided to use.

It was fun doing this just for me for a change—no jury committee or magazine editor to worry about, no concerns about mailing it, no duplication so that everyone could have one. I enjoyed the therapy of hand-sewing the buttons. There were a few mistakes; I didn’t have my rotary cutter and had to hand-cut the felt edging, so one of the sides is not quite the right width, and I miscounted on the buttons…the top row has a different number than the bottom. Also, I am not a super skillful quilter technically, so my machine quilting lines are wobbly. Rather than re-doing the edge, the machine stitching and the buttons, I finished it anyway, allowing myself to be imperfect…not an easy thing for a Virgo perfectionist!