Sunday, September 16, 2018

Summer Sketching Results

I'm sure you all know my obsession with a sketchbook. If I haven't drawn it, it may not have happened.

And really, what better way to train your eye and get new ideas than drawing. It's the basis for all the artwork I do and think about in my life.


Olbrich Park in Madison...beautiful breeze that day


UW Memorial Union along Lake Mendota


Emily relaxes before the visitors come



Last drawings of Porkchop



The day Mom found her lost bike lock key by the tomato plant.

When I look at each one of these the memories of that moment come flooding back. These sketches are all done in a Stillman & Birn 10 x 7 inch sketchbook with micron ink pens, colored pencils and watercolor.

Stay creative....

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Self Portraits: The Summer Ends

I realize the calendar isn't telling us that, we have at least a month...but really, when Labor Day arrives, it feels as though the seasons are changing.

And it also feels as though my exploratory series of self portraits, a surprise really, have come to a temporary end. After all, self portraits are a continuing interest of mine so certainly more will follow. For now I need to stop and think.

from the left, Eyes Shut, The Line, Prisms


I have three pieces to show for my summer efforts, the idea is based on some issues I had this summer with my eyes. Amazing how your life changes when your eyes are effected, naturally one feels compelled to make art.



The surprise of this series was the impact of the holes in the tapestries. As you may remember, if you are a regular reader, I have made no cartoons, preferring to let the tapestry language tell me where to go. The final piece in this trio, Prisms, found me exploring open warps within the piece. I'm still not clear how the effect I want will be resolved, but that's part of this process.



Most importantly I'm pushing my boundaries, heading into risky territory which is what artists need to do.



What might happen?

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Self Portraits, Continued.

So when we last met I showed you the first of what is turning out to be a summer of self-portraits. I wanted to work very informally on a sturdy 8 x 10 inch picture frame with the intention of NOT having even edges. I called the first piece Self Portrait:Eyes Shut.



Now I'm back to show you the other side. Same warp, just turned the frame over. I made no sketch, simply started with the aluminum wire and a glittery ribbon type yarn I bought at a knitting shop years ago. The weaving guided me in this design and told me what should come next. At this point the title is Self Portrait:The Line.



One interesting thing about this warp is the stiffness, although it is quite fine. I like the little bends at the top of this piece and am trying to bend some into place with the other. I'm pretty sure these warps will be exposed.




And I'll be thinking awhile about how to present them. But then thinking and playing are what my summer is about this year.

Next up, a third self portrait on this little frame a friend once sent...


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Self Portrait: Eyes Shut

I'm getting more interested in unusual materials this summer, to see how they my impact the portraits I do. I've been in a bit of a rut lately.

So I put some very fine and hairy linen on my low tech tiny picture frame (aspiring tapestry weavers please do as I say, not as I do) and decided to focus on my stranded aluminum I've had a couple years. I've used it in small bits, but not much more than that.

the spool of aluminum also doubles as a great end table.

I did do a very rough sketch but left it in my journal, only as an idea, not a cartoon to follow. This idea developed from the weaving, but I stuck to the mood and the closed eyes.

4 inches wide, 10 epi


I have only a few passes to go and will keep the uneven edge at the top when I knot the warps. No turnback needed, this linen is awesomely kinky when you cut off the warp and will remain exposed.

I'm thinking the shiny aluminum is a pretty good match for my hair...


And delightfully, as it's a circular warp, there's another side.

Which means another portrait.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

It's Summer

You know it's summer in Madison, these people are back on their bikes and walking their dogs now that the weather has turned summer wonderful.
For me I've fallen into a routine of dye pots and sketching outdoors. I like the break from weaving and spend more time thinking about things instead of immersing myself in process for the winter.

My friend Nina dropped off a bag of rhubarb from her back yard. There's dye inspiration there.

that red to green transition would make some cook skin colors...

I have been fiddling around with my idea of weaving 3 strips showing students passing in the halls at a high school. It's very much a work in progress, nothing has really jelled yet.
But these things take time.

black crayon sketches from my substitute journal


trying color ideas...i'm still not sure I'll weave this


I've headed off on a few bike drawing adventures, I always find a day of sketching satisfies me.





Yes it's summer mode...wonder what I'll do tomorrow?

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

What's off the loom today

Well I have to admit I cut it off a couple weeks ago, but I was involved with finishing  my Arlington piece, so it feels like today, now that the ends are done.

8 inch wide warp, 10 epi

All three were done by combining wedge weave distortion with traditional tapestry technique. I'm still finding the effects of this interesting

These three portraits were done over the past nine months. Tapestry is a long haul for me. Not just the labor, but the thought. I do not like to rush, why bother?



Two of these pieces are part of my Substitute Tales, going into its last phase, Act 3 you might call it. I have a couple more pieces to weave this fall and winter but then I think the idea has come to a close.



The other is an ongoing series of pieces I do while watching  my granddaughter grow.

Now that's a series that can go on for a long time to come....

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Arlington 2017 Completed

Arlington 2017, my winter focus, is completed. Sew the tapes on, make the hanging stick and it's off to the new owner. I thought I would review what I got out of the the entire project.

Arlington 2017, 12" x 22", 10 epi


1. Working with an idea
- I started with some photos the client had taken of her father's funeral. How do I express this in a fairly small piece? The solemnity of the day, the beauty of the park and a sense of hopefulness...I like that challenge.

I started with a watercolor


2. Manipulating values
- I dye nearly all the yarn I use and the control of values is important. How can I lead the eye where I want it to go? Can I show the soldiers in the foreground against the caisson?

3. Technique
- How do I show stars on the caisson with so few warps? Will I be able to 'collage' the three themes of the piece - the funeral procession, the bugler and the Capitol, how will that sense of distance work?



4. Green
- I have had a lifetime of trouble with green, wearing it, dyeing it, working with it. It's tricky.



A commission is a great opportunity to work within the parameters of another person's wants and needs. I remembered the many portraits pieces I used to do from photos and how each one was different.

I enjoyed this recent challenge.

Now it's time to experiment once again....

Latest warp cut, who knows what will  happen next....