Sunday, October 07, 2012
Log cabin quilt, 24" x 24", paper pieced using batik fabrics.
I uploaded these three photos and gave my post a title, and looked back to find a link on my blog for the quilt I did in another colourway...and found it has the same three shots and title...how boring and predictable! Oh well, here it is, the little quilt I've been doing off and on recently. I haven't put the backing or binding on yet. It's the same as one I've made before using autumnal colours (I'll never get tired of the log cabin pattern!) but this time I wanted the pattern to be less distinct. I've been dying to make something using these colours for a while.
Close-up of the centre. I can't decide whether to put beads on it (probably not) or free motion with some metallic threads (maybe) or leave it as it's fussy enough without. It's certainly going to cheer up the empty space on the wall in my room since I gave the last one away as a gift.
I really like that bright and colourful grid on the back. There must be a great idea for an 'inside out' quilt there somewhere.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
The creative urge to draw evaporated months ago and suddenly, inexplicably, with one drawing, it's back again. I didn't fight it, I knew it would eventually come back even if it is a bit worrying at the time.
It's simply a sketch I started last week on the way to Stockholm. The man on the left was sitting in Geneva airport, the rest on the flight back. I like drawing people with glasses because it's easy to start with the shape of them and work the face around them - and we had time to kill. But something about that woman's wonderful profile and her receding chin set me off! I do love unusual profiles!
Here's another one I drew on a flight back from Dublin earlier this year. The man had a very flat face. Something about him looked typically Irish and the man behind looked American - well, to me anyway! Funny, looking at this sketch again, I had made a note of the departure time - 6.50am, an absolute nightmare for me!
A previous page in the sketchbook from a lovely trip to Venice last year. It was fairly hot and we would spend an hour in the afternoon drinking iced tea and reading the papers in the very ornate hotel lounge. There were 'twiddly bit's on everything - the mirrors, frames, ornaments, shelves, cabinets etc. I was reminded of the sketch because it couldn't have made a greater contrast to Stockholm and we had a similar ritual. Whenever we asked for a cup of 'black' tea, it was always Earl Grey which neither of us likes very much but we found they make a wonderful pot of 'real' tea in the Radisson Blu. So we would pop in there in the afternoon to rest the legs and get out of the wind (who knew Stockholm was so windy?!) and also ring the teenager and make sure the house was still standing. Bliss.
No twiddly bits in that lounge, unlike Venice. The Swedes really do love pared down, simple design. It wouldn't have made a very interesting sketch though and besides, I was stuck in a very soft and squishy sofa!
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
I had no idea Sennelier had brought out some new watercolours until this gorgeous set arrived unexpectedly in the post. I took part in the blind tests about a year ago and forgot all about it so it was amazing to see how fast these were produced. I don't know how many artists participated in the tests but I feel very priviliged to have been a part of it. I'm already a big fan of Sennelier watercolours after initially trying other brands so I needed no convincing to try or buy them! But, credit where credit's due, what really impresses me about Sennelier is how friendly they are and how they engage with their customers and listen to what they want. I haven't tried the new formulations yet but it's going to be a great pleasure playing with this particular set!
Saturday, June 09, 2012
Carved Curves. He is a sculptor working in wood and has combined his love of wood with his passion for motorbike racing to make unique and beautiful pieces such as these
Do go and check out his work, I know he'd be delighted if you paid him a visit!
Do go and check out his work, I know he'd be delighted if you paid him a visit!
Thursday, April 26, 2012
2012 is proving to be eventful and likely to stay that way for a few months yet. So I'm not feeling guilty about doing something that is very much in my comfort zone (not that I'm a great one for stepping out of it!) - I've started another small paper pieced log cabin quilt, which may or may not end up being a copy of this one, but in another colourway. I feel like doing something fussy and colourful and I'm hoping that it will be one of those patterns that becomes clearer the further away you are from it.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The drawing is from 2010 of a woman in a former care home of Mum's, written about here.
Mum passed away a couple of weeks ago while I was in London visiting her for her birthday. She wouldn't want me to write about her but she was a very sweet, gentle person and she will be greatly missed.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
I was going call this post 'Old World Vultures' as I really like how that sounds, but to be honest, I'm not sure what the difference is between Old and New World Vultures. I think the vulture at the top is from North or South America (probably 'Old World') and the bird below is an African Fish Eagle (probably 'New'). I'm too much of a bird brain myself to work it out!
Drawing that turkey before Christmas is what set me off. I was watching some fabulous programmes about birds in flight and one followed the Condor. (And really followed, with camera atttached on it's back!) Well, I always assumed Condors were eagles, beautiful and majestic, but seeing one up close, they looked very ugly, like turkeys on testosterone! So, naturally, I had to do some digging around on the differences between eagles and vultures...That's what I love about drawing, it opens your eyes to all sorts of things you think you know and have seen but actually you don't see at all until you draw them!
Drawn with HB and B pencils in my 6x8" Winsor & Newton journal (post showing similar here).
Friday, January 06, 2012
Ah, if only! I can sketch an actual loon though! This lovely creature caught my eye on TV and after a bit of Googling, I think it's a Red-Throated Loon. It has really striking red eyes too. There will definitely be a few more TV sketches to come, I'd forgotten how much I enjoy it and it fills pages quickly.
I'm starting to enjoy filling these two sketchbooks now. The guilt of having too many half finished sketchbooks is ebbing away page by page. Above, on the right, a little dog drawn from an image in a free calendar that was put in the postbox, and left, a drawing of my messy bed. Drawing before you even get out of bed is a great way to start the day!
Thursday, January 05, 2012
From my 'doodle sketchbook' a couple of months ago. I'm trying to come up with a leaf design to make a little quilt, or at least maybe a fabric card, just so I can play with beads and threads. It takes me an age to come up with something I'm happy with because of the million and one combinations of colours, fabrics, designs, layouts etc. It usually results in a meltdown and nothing at all being produced! In the process, I was Googling leaf designs for inspiration and realised that the ones I draw in my doodle sketchbook are more interesting!
The pages of the sketchbook are a hodge podge of things usually, and not pretty enough to share, but I've found that they are very interesting to look back on. I include things like whatever is in front of me, something on the TV at the time or a view out the window. One of the pages contains a sketch of a tree with Mont Salève in the background. Now I look at it and I can see how much that tree has grown in height over the summer compared to the line of the mountain! A couple of weeks ago we had a quite a severe storm and one of the trees I drew in another sketchbook now has broken branches as much of it is dead or dying. I wonder if it will now be cut down and disappear from our view?
The new year is naturally a time of taking stock over the previous year and looking forward to the one ahead. My inspiration was very low over 2011 but looking back I see little reminders that it actually wasn't all bad. Even though the doodle sketchbook isn't pretty, it can contain some little gems that are revealed given a bit of time. I think a small and manageable resolution should include filling this book a little faster!
Thursday, December 15, 2011
..and I have as much enthusiasm as this turkey! Actually, I don't dislike Christmas but I find the fake jollity, rampant and reckless consumerism and the 'let's pretend we care for' - family, frenemies, old people, starving children, insert relevant words here - only emphasises how daft the human race is. I'd much rather we were all more tolerant and caring all year round without prompting!
These are just two little drawings from one of the two sketchbooks I'm trying to fill up. Drawing has nearly ground to a halt this year so I decided to draw something that symbolised that.
At the end of August, I did something completely out of character - I joined a gym! In fact, when I dug out my old trainers, I couldn't even remember when I bought them. I do remember that it was from a shop on King's Rd. and I'd never heard of New Balance before so probably ages ago. Anyway, this year I decided that it would be a good idea to think about my health and actually do something. Not that I need to, thankfully, but it's partly a horror of approaching a big 0 birthday, and partly worry that drawing and quilting are not very active activities! Better to invest now and not have be advised by a doctor after a health scare!
I hope I don't offend any readers here, but the seed of this was sown a few years ago while I was in Kuwait. I was totally obsessed with quilting at the time and I travelled to England to go to a quilt show, staying overnight in a nearby hotel. I had a room on the first floor facing the front not far from the entrance. I went into my room, made a cup of tea and looked out the window as coach loads of quilters arrived to check in. What I saw really gave me a jolt - coach loads with a very high percentage of very overweight and not very agile women! OK, so quilting might be a wonderful activity to take up if you suffer from ill-health or you're retired and creative, but I really don't think that explains it.
Question of Sport is a quiz show that's been running forever on the BBC. I've been watching since the 70's and used to pride myself on always getting the 'mystery guest' right. (You would see a video of the person doing some silly activity but the face was partially obscured.) I used to know all the names back then, but these days I may not guess the names but I have a 99.9% success rate guessing what sport they do! I find it fascinating that each sport has a very particular body shape. In teams sports, there can be specific body shapes depending on what position they play. With boxing and swimming, even the skin shows clues.
So, I looked out of the window and realised that quilting has a specific body shape too and it was scary! I started noticed when I was reading quilter's blogs how many of them had health and mobility problems. Why wasn't it the same for artists who paint and draw? I think the answer might be in the way that quilting is so addictive. Drawing is about observation, looking up and back down at the paper and the need to take frequent breaks to step away to see the subject anew. With quilting the blissful monotony of piecing tiny strips of fabric or free motion quilting a bed quilt can take up huge chunks of time. Drawing may be done on location or standing at an easel. Quilting is always sitting hunched over a machine. To be honest, I'm not sure, but I am convinced there is a stereotypical body shape and I don't want it!
It took quite a while for that seed to take root and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to stick it out, but I wish I had joined that gym years ago! It's mildly addictive - being naturally lazy, I do have days when I have to force myself there - but I have a couple of quilt projects I want to finish and more to start so hopefully now I can get on and quilt without the guilt!
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
It's cold and overcast here, no pretending it's late autumn anymore. After a couple of stormy nights recently, there are barely any leaves left on the trees never mind any colour. So it was a lovely surprise when I popped out to the garden this afternoon to see our strawberry plants looking so vibrant and colourful! It may be chilly outside but that warmed the cockles of my heart!
Sunday, October 23, 2011
I picked up some very beautiful leaves yesterday while I was out walking with the intention of drawing and painting them. I think this Virginia Creeper leaf is one of the loveliest leaves I have ever seen.
A Sycamore leaf. For reasons that totally mystify me 'real' artists are not supposed to enjoy detail. It seems they are supposed to gaze off into the distance and squint until everything is a blur. Good job I have no aspirations to be one of those then, or I might have missed these!
Saturday, October 22, 2011
It always amazes me that people can sit on a plane and never look out the window. Coming back from a quick trip to London, the moon was nearly full, the sun was setting and the view was awe inspiring. I wonder what people who lived only a hundred years ago would have made of this sight? We take so much for granted now that catching a plane is as convenient as catching a bus.
If only this photo could capture the amazing light and scenery as we came on over Lake Geneva with the snow capped mountains turning pink in the distance. I got in the taxi and the Chilean driver told me he flies back for Christmas every year. How lucky we are!
Sunday, September 04, 2011
Thursday, September 01, 2011
I came across this today, a Manifesto by Todd Sieling, for a movement called Slow Blogging. It's wonderful to read something that describes exactly what I've been thinking and feeling about the internet. It was written in 2006 and featured in The New York Times in 2008 so I've been slow in finding out about it!
Especially significant to me are what he describes as 'the daily outrages and ecstasies ... switching between banality, crushing heartbreak and end-of-the-world psychotic glee in the mere space between headlines'. It seems to me as if half the people on the internet are in a state of psychotic glee and the other half consumed with hate. Occasionally I feel inspired by an image or a post but most of the time I wonder what on earth the internet is doing to human beings (perhaps, rather, what we are allowing it to do to us) and is nobody concerned about where it's heading? Seemingly not.