Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pathways : Sketchbook Challenge

My new laptop is an Apple with a non-Windows operating system, which means I can't use on it. So I've been playing with some alternative image manipulation software. Today, it's Seaside 3. These started out as pictures of windfall helicopter seeds (Do you realize that every one of those millions of seeds is different? Some have this lovely curve, others are rail straight ... they are like snowflakes in that way.)

Anyway, I wanted to bring out the "pathways" and veining in the wing. I was just playing around and not taking any notes, so I don't think I could recreate these effects deliberately--yet. I'm just getting comfortable with the software.

This one looks like an old etching.

I think I used the Sepia filter on this one. This is my favorite one so far.

This one is one of the original photos where the veining stands out nicely. No special effects needed.

This is one of the first pictures I took of these seeds. The veining shows up pretty well, but the background is way too busy. So that was lesson #1 : Use a neutral background.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Marsh Sunset : June Journal Quilt

This journal quilt is made from some of the leftover fabrics from this quilt.
When I lived in Madison, WI, I used to drive out to Cherokee Marsh several times a week to watch the best light show in town! Even now when I go back, I try to make the pilgrimage to Cherokee. Sigh!

The Techniques:
After the basic background block came together, I made a freezer paper stencil and painted on black fabric paint for the heron silhouette.
Then I made my quilt sandwich and stitched an outline of the sun. I used a different free-motion pattern inside the sun (Pebbles) vs. outside the sun (Water). I needed a clear demarcation of where to stitch each pattern, as well as a trough for the beadwork to come later. Once the freemotion work was done, things were a bit wonky, so I spritzed it with water and steamed it back into shape. I like Hobbs 80/20 batting because it crinkles up so nicely after it;s washed, or spritzed. It gives it an antique look. That's also when some of the lines on the bird appeared. I tried stitching through the paint, but my machine and the thread put up all manner of protest, until I gave up on that idea.

Next it was time for the beadwork. I strung several sunset/fire colored beads onto a string, and then couched them down by hand. I'm getting more comfortable with that whole process.

It's the usual envelope binding with a machine-stitched cord to frame it.

Detail of the heron, beadwork, quilting and the yarn border.

Monday, June 06, 2011

In the Tornado's Path : Sketchbook Challenge : Pathways

Materials : Neocolor 2 water color Crayons
Blending many colors is the key to richness in these pages. The Tornado is not just black, but gray and blue (several shades). I tend to keep the shapes simple, letting the colors add complexity.
I also used the hard tip of a paint brush (not the brush end) and "drew" scribbles on the white of the page, to add a lower spots where the crayons would not penetrate. You can see the scribbly swirls around the tornado column that resisted the color. (Leftover from last month's theme.)

May has been a particularly bad month for Tornadoes. Like everyone else in the Midwest, I feel it, too. I think most of us have had to go down to the basement, or hide under a desk at some time in our lives to let the storm pass. I must be working out some terrors with this one ...

This is the page just after I colored it with the Neocolor 2 watercolor crayons. Not so impressive at this stage, is it? Just a little water and the colors blend and deepen. I love these crayons!