Archive for the ‘drawing’ Category

Top Ten Tuesday – NEW Blogs!

Well, over the last two weeks, as I have been getting more heavily into marketing, I’;ve discovered a BUNCH of great new blogs. So here goes:

More Design Please – great ideas! I’m seeing some great ideas – would love to do some serious purchasing…..Love these lasercut lamps!

 Another blog called Observatory Mansions – an ongoing discovery of all that is visual yet more than just visual (from the site) –

Ball Droppings – hours of fun, and be sure to have the sound on! The picture does not do it justice!

Mood music at your fingertips….StereoMood – just a small piece of moods!

From StumbleUpon I found this interesting article  Amazingly Creative Drawing vs. Photography. My art taecher friends tell me this is similar to a drawing exercise they have students do in finishing a photography. In a class with Lyric Kinard, we needed to extend the color on a postcard – very interesting attention to details!

Loads of tutorials and DIY projects at Craft Gossip:

Another cool DIY blog – 20 Awesome Do It Yourself Projects

25 Spectacular Movies You Probably Haven’t Seen – I think I’ve seen two on this list, but the Netflix queue is going to be filling up. Interesting plots……The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is one I’ve seen – A.MA.ZING. movie…..

Some pretty amazing paper sculpture – here’s Calvin’s Behance site.

While Banned Books Week has ended, I’m getting caught up with Letters of Note, and this is a marvelous letter by Pat Conroy concerning the banning of two of his books. Well stated, quite eloquent. If you don’t like a book, then don’t read it, but stay away from telling me what I can read myself.

Have a great week – let me know cool stuff that you find on line!

Work in Progress Wednesday – Learning Lots!!

Well, this has been a week of learning experiences, including running the machine needle through the tip of my finger. I’m somewhat frazzled deciding on a project, since I don’t have any looming deadlines. I do, however, have a list of projects that need doing, so I picked one from that list and then added another.

First, from the UFO list. Several years ago (going on three?) I took a class with a friend on a Judy Niemeyer pattern, Stepping Stones. You can see the pattern here. Originally it was going to be a king-sized bed quilt, but I was still teaching, so that got put on hold. When I reorganized the studio (twice), the blocks made it into the UFO pile, and when I made my list in May of projects, I listed these. But….I listed them as a potential table runner, figuring that way they would be done, and I could actually use the table runner, as we have a new dining room set (new to us – we’re babysitting it for a friend). I would also have enough for 6 placemats, too.

Well, there were loads of problems. Could I find the black fabric I was using for connector strips (three searches)? Could I do all the matching, since it had been about 3 years? How would I quilt it? What would I use for backing? I got the four completed blocks into one runner, and then I spent the next three hours taking out all the paper….note to self: you still need to vacuum. The blue I thought to use for backing was a stretchy polyester that wasn’t long enough, so plan B was leftover dark blue from another quilt back. Then I had to buy batting.

Finally everything is together and ready for quilting…..and I had no idea what to do for the quilting. Didn’t seem like feathers would work. Didn’t want to do a stitch-in-the-ditch. Tried some outlining, but I didn’t like it. Then I thought about the overall loopy pattern from the May challenge, but ended up picking all that out. I realized I would need to go with monopoly thread, so the stitching wasn’t obvious. And I was playing around with tension, including two more ripping sessions.

I tried doing some partial circles on each block, so it would look like rippled water. And then I discovered the settings on my machine were set for the decorative stitch I used in the black borders. Seems like I still had the setting on one of the decorative stitches, and I was trying to free motion and there was a lot of drag. I also discovered that I could use a variation of a zigzag stitch and still have the feed dogs up. Turns out I liked the ripple effect, and that’s what I went with for the rest of the runner. Here’s a pic:

Here’s the finished table runner, which is absolutely perfect on the table. It will work with any of the leaves when we put them in.

Then I was feeling somewhat at loose ends. I had been watching The Quilt Show and following the color lessons from Michelle Jackson. I decided to do the first color study, and again I learned a huge amount. The first lesson was really interesting, especially since I have a lot of trouble choosing and working with color. This was to take  a monochromatic color and determine dark, medium, and light. I chose greens, because I have a lot in the stash. I discovered that when I’m choosing, I really need to analyze tones and hues. I also need to be sure there is definite contrast. The first study I did was the one where you had a light, medium, and dark, with not a huge amount of contrast. I did not have enough contrast within those three colors.

I also was working with fusing for like the second time ever, and my pattern pieces were not always meeting up. I spent a lot of time trying to make this piece look like something – going back to linear me and not being able to just work without it having to be “something.”

I finally got all the pieces ironed down, and I felt I was moderately successful. Mostly because I learned a great deal about choosing the colors. I was still trying to figure out what to do with the piece. Yes, it’s just an exercise, but the linear part of me needs it to be “something.” Ideally I want to be able to work with light, medium, and dark marbled fabric, but I can see I have a long way to go.

Again, I couldn’t figure out what to do with quilting it. I tried out one decorative stitch and didn’t like it. I reverted back to the satin stitch I was doing two table runners ago. All of a sudden I began to like the piece more. It began to look more “painterly,” and pretty abstract in a pleasing way. I ended up binding in, and the piece would work as a nice little runner or table mat for a vase. It’s going up in my Etsy store.

Who knows where I’m headed next? There are 6 placemats to finish…..

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Tuesday….never know what you’re going to find! Plus I love reading about what people are doing. And blogs about history – but I’m staying away from current politics – makes me too angry and depressed, and I just don’t need that! So here’s just the cool stuff….

Speaking of politics (and this will be the last time, I promise), when I do look at headlines, I scan Al Jazeera in English. If you depended on just the US media, you wouldn’t know nearly 75% of what is actually going on around the world. Forget your previous conceptions of Al Jazeera – this is good all-round news.

From Cool Hunting – a really interesting take on working with crystal – including rings and weapons….

From Cool Hunting this week also comes where to play on Bora Bora. I REALLY want to go on vacation now!!

From the JPG Blog,  a new contest – photos are FABULOUS!!

Antelope Canyon, Abstract #1 by Linda Clifford

Also from Cool Hunting, a short video of an art show in Mexico:

Cool Hunting Capsule Video: Liquid Sculptures from Cool Hunting on Vimeo.

From MAD Magazine, a look at the class of 2015 (hey, it’s the teacher in me…..).

Seven Steps that May Dramatically Boost Your Happiness from Dumb Little Man – some good ideas here. One step? Follow your bliss.

If you have not discovered fractals yet (and forget about all the math involved – just go for the beauty), you need to look at Fractal World. Here’s their fractal of the week:

Shopping more at Farmer’s Markets more? If you follow Summer Tomato, you will be able to tour farmers’ markets around the world. Here’s Shanghai….

Mix zentangles, ATC’s and color, and you get Enthusiastic Artist‘s  gorgeous work!

Have a great week – send me cool stuff you find online!

Zentangle Party

Last Saturday a group of us (mostly our Mixed Media group) got together with a CZT – a certified zentangle teacher from the Northwest side of Tucson. With some planning, and some ooh-ing and ah-ing over zentangle designs, we spent a great three hours learning the official way to zentangle, and a whole bunch of us are seriously hooked. Our next arts meeting on March 1 should have lots of new art to look at! We ranged from age 8 to 82 at the party and had a great time – even managed to keep the chocolate fingers off the tiles.

Even though I’ve been working on “doing” zentangles for over a year, it’s only been since this fall that I started looking at official zentangle patterns. I do like working a little large, so my new ones are more a 4.5 square, instead of the 3.5 square. But first, a word about the Christmas presents I did for my second family this year. Two by three inch refrigerator magnets, based on their initials, none of which I have as pictures. For my friend Alison I did her initial as a five by seven, and I left a lot of white space, as her letter A reminded me of the Eiffel Tower, and Alison has lived in France.

It is delicate and frilly, which Alison is not, but it just has such a great feel, and it was quite a hit. Since I couldn’t resist, I also tried a gradient on it (marbled fabric) from Photoshop.

Now for my first “official” zentangle….there are some new patterns that I can see using a lot. I also love the tools for shading to enhance the patterns.

Now the ones I am doing in my sketchbook for The Sketchbook Challenge this year.

I find on these I am looking at the play of black and white, positive and negative space, and straight vs. curved. Creating a pleasing balance is definitely interesting.I just finished this last one, and there are a lot more official patterns invoved in this one. I want to look at creating the comedy/tragedy masks for my next one, plus continue to look at lots of new patterns. But the best part of all this is how relaxing it all is. The “zen” part really takes over your process, which is a good antidote to a lot of stress at school this year.

The Sketchbook Challenge

I hesitated to sign up for The Sketchbook Challenge, especially when seeing the sketchbooks of the people who are coordinating the challenge. Intimidating, to say the least….But I can’t let that stop me. I want to explore this idea of a sketchbook and break through some of my own barriers, the main one being that my sketch has to look like something “arty.” I’m sure I’m not alone in that thought….

Anyway, enough about them. This challenge is for me to break some long-standing barriers. I have to stop worrying about what the final product is going to look like. So I started thinking about items/things/ideas that are highly prized by me and came up with Peace. So I did a peace sign, complete with all the zentangles, since I’m really working on zentangles over the last month. And…since I had trouble going to sleep last night, I kept thinking about more “highly prized” items and how I could work on them through the zentangle process. So that’s how I’m starting. If I feel like sketching, then I will. Here’s my peace sign:

I might try playing around in Photoshop and add some color, but I am so taken with black and white and Pigma pens. It goes back to childhood, and I’m just going to go with it. I did buy some new colored markers, and I will play with those, but I LOVE the black and white effect.

I also prize books, and I am halfway through a book sketch. If I have time tonight I’ll finish that up. I must say it’s looking quite cool. But I don’t plan on keeping any kind of daily schedule with this. I may try some other challenges this year, just to get myself to expand my thinking and to diversify my skills. And I have an idea for Fish Follies this year that I need to mull.

All in all a good start to the new year.

Quilting Designs and Illustrator – and a GIVEAWAY!

The high school I work at is the arts magnet high school for the city. The kids have some amazing opportunities in both performing and visual arts. Imagine taking a class three times a week in all the Adobe programs – all updated, where you don’t have to worry about buying the programs, getting updates, and making sure your computer always works, plus hands-on instruction rather than learning yourself. Can you say “jealous?”

I think back to learning Pagemill waaaaayyyyy back when I was just starting my website in 1998…I still know a little code from teaching myself. Everything I’ve done has been self-taught, so I love the opportunities the kids have. About two weeks ago I walked to the end of the hallway to discover a new exhibit of student work, using Illustrator – a program I just haven’t had time to explore. The kids had to recreate some organic shapes (the pen tool makes me nuts….) and use some filters to develop their piece even further. All I could think of was what cool quilts these would make. There is glare (and the remains of some graffiti) on the showcase window, but I think you can get a good idea of what the kids are doing.

What I like about this is the blossoms. I am thinking they would look good in free-motion on a solid area of a quilt. See my dilemma below the pictures…….

Now, speaking of quilting designs….I need some help. I have two “older” quilts that I am requilting. I took the stitches out of one while in the hospital, and I’m working on the other one. I need suggestions as to quilting. I have grown beyond stippling, but I am still having trouble with actual designs that will work with the patterns. Here’s the first – four traditional blocks with marbled stars in a neon paint.

You can see all the old quilting. When I get all the invisible thread out, I’m going to soak it in warm water to see if I can make the lines disappear. But what should I do for quilting?

Here’s the other – a log cabin table runner done with marbled fabrics. What do you think? Just stitch in the ditch??

Leave me comments on the blog, and I’ll do a giveaway for the best suggestions for each – some digital note cards based on marbled patterns. Come on, help me out!!

Top Ten from the Web

Even though I haven’t been blogging much lately, and not reading my usual blogs, I have still managed to accumulate some really interesting websites. When I go back through all the bookmarks, I am reminded about what an awesome thing the internet is. You can find just about anything, and then some. While I so enjoy the eye candy from fiber sites, there are still so many things that interest me. Here’s a mere ten for this week. I’m going to try and get back in the habit of doing this once a week.

Cabinet magazine cover

Cabinet Magazine(from the website) Cabinet is an award-winning quarterly magazine of art and culture that confounds expectations of what is typically meant by the words “art,” “culture,” and sometimes even “magazine.” Like the 17th-century cabinet of curiosities to which its name alludes, Cabinet is as interested in the margins of culture as its center. Presenting wide-ranging, multi-disciplinary content in each issue through the varied formats of regular columns, essays, interviews, and special artist projects, Cabinet‘s hybrid sensibility merges the popular appeal of an arts periodical, the visually engaging style of a design magazine, and the in-depth exploration of a scholarly journal.

Sounds like a potentially great look into today’s art and culture!

Homework shelters

Homework – Hand-Built Shelters – (from the website) features: homes, cabins, cottages, bungalows, homesteads,   sheds, shacks, huts, treehouses, bottle houses, yurts, hogans, tipis, tents, beach shacks, stilt houses, greenhouses, small houses designs, and MORE!

The sheer scope of different types of homes boggles the mind.

A Moment in Time – from the Lens project to document one moment of one day on the earth. As the site says, “make no plans for the rest of the day.” You get to look at photos from around the world, all taken at the same time on the same day – a great look at “us.”

When Graphic Artists Get Bored – a great selection of graphic art. Take a good close look – you won’t be disappointed!

Real World Math – Using Google Earth in the Math Curriculum. Oh, to use this in the classroom – and if this had only been available when I was in school! My ideal job would be a curriculum coordinator for Google Earth. I would never be off the computer!

While I have had my own blog about teaching, I occasionally read others, like this one – A Teacher’s Education. I can so relate, and if you are a teacher and any good in the classroom, you will relate, too.

Urban Homestead

Urban Homestead – since I have become very interested in sustainability and locally grown food, I found this interesting. Path to Freedom – the Original Modern Urban Homestead.

The Scribbler – be prepared to waste lots of time, because after all, you have to get good at this – scribbling, that is…who knew it could be so much fun to just doodle – no, make that scribble, and in color – and you can save them! Here’s info about how it got started. You have been warned…..

Quantum Learning – Visiting Auschwitz –  interesting blog. “Help build a world where everyone is valued irrespective of wealth, origin, colour or beliefs and conflicts are solved peacefully. Here you’ll learn how to do this in day to day life.”

Gray Eagles

And finally, Gray Eagles, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the stories of World War II pilots. “The Gray Eagles Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping aviation history alive through dynamic audio-visual media created to educate and inspire those from all generations. Specifically, it is our hope that our films will encourage others to share their stories, and by doing so, build family connections, foster community, and nurture a culture of multi-generational understanding and respect.” After all, the past is prologue.

Other Top Ten Website articles:

Thoughts for a Thursday

Sunday Sampler

Top Ten Tuesday – Cool Stuff

Visual Delights

Visual Delights 2

Top Ten Tuesday – July

Top Ten Tuesday – San Diego

Top Ten Tuesday – Getting Here

Teaching Perspective


I started an assignment on perspective last week, with really very little idea of how to teach this. I stumbled onto it by way of preparing a worksheet, since I had a substitute in my class on Monday, and I would need to have something for the kids to do. I found a site on line about perspective, and I really liked it. Drawing One-Point Perspective is a nice step-by-step for the kids. I printed out the “map grid” of lines and decided to do a worksheet for the kids, so that they could fill in the various lines. Turns out that was a great map, and the kids could now keep that as a “template” and create the furniture for their “dream room.”Most of the kids have really gotten in to creating fun stuff – with the help of this site, which actually takes them a line at a time.

What I was discovering was just how much math vocabulary we were working with. Vertical, horizontal, and parallel were definitely reinforced! And I am tempted now to try some drawing. Understanding the relationship of the lines to create depth is just fascinating – and I stumbled on a way of teaching it.

Finally – Lesson 3 Redux

So I played some more today to try to come up with something that does more with linking and gradients. I must confess gradients are still a puzzlement – I keep getting weird colors. I am pleased, however, with the sky gradient in this piece. And I am having trouble with getting the grass brushes to be the greens I want instead of a series of mottled colors.

With this piece – Ocotillo – an abstract look at the almost dead-looking cactus that doesn’t bloom until rainy season – seems to be a cross with autumn. Oh well, it’s my vision! I linked the veins with the flowers – mostly. I had each flower (mostly) on a separate layer – except for the one falling, which got connected with one of the others. I do have a better sense of how this stuff works. I am enjoying just creating little pieces to work with the tools.

Reminder to me: LABEL LAYERS!!! Here goes –


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