Monday, December 9, 2013

Snail Drawing on Window

We apparently have a very talented snail on Rabbit Hop! Look what he drew on our storm door glass! It showed up when the glass frosted over. The boot heel doesn't show up much in the top one, but it has one!

Here it looks more like a foot and leg...

Can you see the boot?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

"Loose and Raw Painting" with Sue Pelletier

I recently took an online workshop from Sue Pelletier and loved it! The workshop was "Loose and Raw Painting" at a more than reasonable price, and Sue teaches a lot of stuff in it. There is a video about the class on the link.

Below are a few pics in progress and the finished painting, which I love, and someone wanted to buy (a high compliment), but it's not for sale, and I have it hanging over my couch in the living room, right next to my pink Christmas tree.

I didn't have some of the supplies that Sue used, so I improvised with what I did have, my intuition, and patience, with some fearlessness thrown in, and I had so much fun with the process!

I started with an idea page in my sketchbook...

or two...

Wait! I thought of something else!...

A little collage with various textures on a 24" x 30" stretched cotton canvas...

Played with some modeling paste in a syringe and some ink on some light weight denim and added to the collage...

Put it all together and came out with this! It got a little busy on me, and the color isn't as vibrant here as it really is (bad lighting and not great photography), but I love it, and the images all have sentimental meaning for me. In a way, it is a mixed media life portrait of me, my parents, and both sets of grandparents.

The little flour sack dress was made for me by my paternal grandmother, and I still have it. In fact I laid it on the canvas and loosely drew around it, so it's the actual size. I was not a skinny baby! Still not! lol 

The house is the old home place where my maternal grandpa grew up and much of the time I was growing up, he and my grandma lived there. My parents lived just a very short distance away so I, too, have grown up on the same little farm and spent a lot of time at this house as a child. When I married, my husband and I also built a house nearby, so this old house, which is now falling down, has been a part of my life for longer than I can remember.

The teddy bear, not actual size, represents my mama's love for me. She picked cotton to buy it for me for my tenth birthday. It was one of my best friends and slept with me, protecting me from scary things for several years of my childhood. I am 64 years old now and gratefully still have both it and my mama.

My dad liked tulips, and since we lost him suddenly in 2004, I gave the painting tulips. The teardrops represent the million tears I've shed since loosing him. Loosing a parent at any age is a very traumatic thing, especially if you were really close and spent a lot of time together.

The shoe is a saddle oxford, which I had to wear with a shoe brace for fourteen years of my childhood, due to a bout of polio at age two. At age 16 I was given permission by the doctor to wear other kinds of shoes and no brace!

The bunny in the heart represents the little community of Rabbit Hop, where I've lived all but two of my 64 years. I was an only child, but I grew up with great neighbors who were like family, with children to play with, and lots of love. This place is my heart.

The cross represents my faith in God and has my fingerprint in the center.

The dark spots above the dress are my adult fingerprints, and the rest are doodles and scribbles. It is intended to look loose, raw, and gritty.

The writing says, "She wore flour sack dresses made with love." I did too, very proudly! 

There are many layers on this painting under the top layer of paint,  just as my life has many layers underneath the person I am at this moment. This painting is finished, but life will keep adding layers onto me until eternity claims me, and beyond...

I really enjoyed the process of this painting, and already have another small one in progress. I hope you enjoyed my attempt and the story behind the images.

Happy creating! :)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Playing with Photo Images for Memory Portraits

Trying out random photos of much loved relatives on canvases to use in mixed media portraits! I think I have one ready to start the process on! Stay tuned! :)

Quirky Doodle Sketch...

A quick quirky doodle sketch made by drawing an image out of a lot of lines I made on paper with my eyes closed. What do you suppose they've been up to?

Friday, November 1, 2013

4 Projects On My Table Right Now

On my small Cricket loom- a scarf using Bamboo crochet thread in coral and plain stitch with a row of the Brooks Bouquet stitch for interest...

A large king sized headboard canvas in mixed media...

The second step of a mixed media "Loose and Raw Painting" online class on canvas that I'm taking from Sue Pelletier...

Images and canvases for another mixed media memory portrait, which I learned from Heather Murray...

Plus several other things laying around. :o
Sometimes, I think I should just focus on one thing at a time and get really good at that one thing, but then, I think how bored I would get. I love jumping around from one thing to the other, depending on how much time I have or what else is going on at the time. Life happens, and I have to squeeze in creative time on something or I can't cope. So thankful for creative stuff to take my mind off things I can do nothing about. :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Second Rug on the Kromski Harp

Not nearly as much trouble, weaving OR wrestling, on this rug! It was sheer pleasure!

In the first place, I ordered an 8 dent reed to use, and I used cotton warp thread. The sett is 8, and the rug is 24" wide and 45" long in a plain weave. No pattern/draft. The weft is Lion Brand Homespun Stripe. The Kromski Harp stand is also a big plus, as far as the wrestling goes! Much better than the TV trays! And I paid close attention to the tension, so I didn't have to separate the warp threads in the sheds every time. Yay! 

The finished rug beside my bed. My furniture isn't actually black. It's hunter green with light coral walls. I found out that I should have packed the weft harder than I did on the rug, but it's not in a heavy traffic area and usually only bare feet touch it, so I think it'll be ok. I LOVE the look and feel of it, so I'm happy. :)
Next project is a coral and sage green cotton rug for the bathroom in front of the shower! Just waiting to get the yarn!

First Woven Rug On A Kromski Harp

So I still love my Schacht Cricket for smaller projects, but I wanted to weave larger things, like rugs and blankies without having to stitch them together in blocks or panels. Hence the Kromski Harp 32" loom (I was warned that one loom is never enough) situated on two side by side TV trays (above), which was not working out at all for me. A lot of wrestling and intimidation going on here! :/

Hence the stand was also purchased, along with an 8 dent reed, because the loom came with a 10 dent reed, which didn't exactly cater to the Peaches and Cream cotton yarn I had planned to use for my first rug warp...

I had one heck of a time getting used to the larger rigid heddle loom, mainly because I didn't know what I was doing and couldn't hold it in my lap. Pulling the cotton thread through the too small holes and slots, which I re-started about 3x, was frustrating. I didn't know to skip slots and holes, so I put a thread in every one for almost the width of the loom. Above is what the warp looked liked when I got done. Waaaay too dense! But I couldn't bare to unravel it. :(
I wove a header (turquoise), then started weaving with the Lions Brand Homespun yarn that I REALLY wanted the rug made of. This is as far as I got. It didn't look right, plus the cotton warp was sticking and I was having to separate every shed with my pick up stick.
I didn't want to waste the Homespun, so I unraveled it and picked out some navy, denim blue, and red cotton yarn from my stash and decided to make this adventure a learning experience. I made up the pattern stripes and started weaving. I still had to separate every shed, which made it take a lot longer, and there are two unintentional stripes lengthways where I skipped one hole and forced two threads through another hole. The other side has some different yarn in the warp because I ran out of the solid, plus there are a few skipped threads. It's all good! I learned a lot about rugs and wrestling. Besides, it has character, I think! lol
Here it is finished! Not happy that it looks "netted", but I can live with it, and we've already thought of several uses for it. Chalking it up to a great, but frustrating, first experience with rug weaving!
Now on to the rug I intended to weave in the first place! I already have it warped and ready to go! :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Woven Towels

Okay, sometimes it pays to have a draft/pattern to go by. I decided to make some dish towels to practice making stripes, checks, etc. I just guessed at the size and for some reason thought a 12" length would be enough for a drying towel. NOT! 

So what I have is four dish cloths, but that's okay! They will be used and next time I'll remember to make them longer! Mistakes are the best teachers! :)

I used Sugar and Cream cotton yarn in both warp and weave on a Schacht Cricket rigid heddle loom with an 8 dent reed, except for the gold stripes. They are rug warp cotton. I would have sworn that I made one of them denim blue. Guess not! They are all on the same warp in a plain weave and haven't been cut apart in this picture. I also practiced hem stitching on them.
Someone mentioned that I could use them for gifts as bath cloths with bars of soap. Good idea, but I think I'll chalk these up to learning practice and use them myself. What fun!
Maybe I'll get some more done for Christmas gifts!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

"Cirque du Rabbit Hop" -A Story of Faction

Sharon Prater-Pope

It was the fifties. Ten year old Sharon sat on the front porch steps on a beautiful Saturday morning with no one to play with. She had no siblings and none of the neighborhood kids that she usually played with were at home.

She wasn't in the mood for the cartoons on television or reading. She sat her chocolate milk on the porch beside her as she pondered what she wanted to do.

She looked down at her blue and white wide striped pajamas and, for some reason, thought of a circus tent.

"I know!" she said to herself. "I'll put on a circus!"

Sharon did not lack in the imagination department.

She jumped up, ran into the house, and changed into her red and white bathing suit and red sneakers, which seemed appropriate for circus attire in her opinion. Her golden blonde, baby fine, hair was pulled up into a pony tail with a red bow, and she added a touch of her mama's red lipstick to her lips and checks for effect.

Now she was ready to begin!

Back outside with her beloved stuffed horse, Benny, she started assembling the circus in the front yard. People passing in their cars must have thought she was crazy, but that was okay. She liked playing with other kids, but she was equally good at entertaining herself, and she was about to have a blast! The kids would be sorry they missed it.

She sat Benny down on the walk for the time being, while she wrote the words "cirque du rabbit hop" (Rabbit Hop was the name of the community where she lived) on an old blue scarf with a black magic marker and added a little design work, hoping mama didn't notice any time soon.

She brought in her first horse from the sixties, whose name was "Old Pat", because Pat was already her name when daddy bought the mare, and she was an old gray mare. Old Pat was also very gentle and patient, and was already wearing a faded red halter. Now she was wearing a blue with gold fringed scarf on her back, and she didn't mind one bit.

Sharon gathered up her two imaginary friends, Madamojell, a southern belle, and Jessie Brown, a tomboy if there ever was one, along with an imaginary audience, full of very interesting characters, plus Benny, and ushered them to seats on the porch steps and along the porch edge.

The audience waited in anticipation as she started the music on her record player, which only played 45 speed records that had to be stacked on the spindle. Her uncle had raided an old jukebox and brought her the records.

The first song was "Davy Crockett", which played while she called in her Pekingese dog companion from the eighties, Kibbles Marie, and climbed up onto Old Pat's back, via a stump. Kibbles joined the audience for the time being.

Sharon rode Old Pat back and forth across the yard a couple of times, then stopped in front of the crowd, which got bigger by the minute, and pulling her legs up, she sat cross-legged and made large sweeping gestures with her arms. She was rewarded with clapping.

The crowd roared as she twisted around and lay on her stomach across Old Pat's back, holding her arms out, as her feet dangled off the other side. She followed this by laying flat on her back along Old Pat's back. She was not brave enough to stand all the way up, but she did get on her feet and do a squat, while holding on to Old Pat's mane.

She concluded her act by sliding off Old Pat's back onto the ground and crawling under her stomach to face the crowd, throwing her arms up and out in a victory stance. The crowd loved it!

Then Kibbles was called over to do her thing. Sharon noticed a squirrel sitting in the tree nearby watching intently while nibbling on a nut or something.

Kibbles wound around back and forth in and around Old Pat's feet a few times before Sharon lifted her onto Old Pat's back, where she stretched out on her side for a minute, walked on to Old Pat's rump and back, the laid down atop the scarf on Old Pat's back and posed for applause, which she got in abundance.

By this time "Good Golly Miss Molly" was playing on the record player and Sharon was getting bored, so she took a final bow to thunderous clapping and whistling and a standing ovation, before leading Old Pat and Kibbles back to the future, as the imaginary audience filed out and went home.

Madamojell and Jessie Brown assured her that the Rabbit Hop Circus had been a huge success and that she should put on another one soon. They went back to her imagination as she sat back down on the porch steps and thought about what to do next.

"What are you doing, Sharon? Why on earth are you wearing your bathing suit?" mama asked, as she noticed her sitting outside alone. She didn't notice the lipstick.

"Nothing. Just sitting here thinking." Sharon shrugged her shoulders and smiled to herself.

She could still hear the applause...

The End
PS-A portion of this story is written in the background, under the layers, on the final painting. Some of the story is fiction, some is fact, thus it is faction! The characters are real, and the names have not been changed to protect the innocent. :) 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pinwheel Scarf in Turq

It took a while, but I finally figured out how to do a pinwheel pattern, thanks to Joyce Brisebois's youtube video on same. She is also the administrator of the Facebook group "Rigid Heddle Weaving" that I belong to. It's a wonderful group, full of very generous and helpful weavers.

 It was a lot of fun to do, once I got the hang of it! I used Peaches and Crème cotton yarn for both warp and weft in turquoise and off white with little bits of color on my Schacht Cricket 15" loom with an 8 dent reed and a sett of 8.

Below is the warped loom and the beginning weaving....

The finished scarf, before the fringe is trimmed and the header yarn (hot pink)  removed...

 Finished! I like it, and I don't think I did too bad a job for a beginner! :)

Memory Portrait-Harlequin Violin

Okay, here is what started out as a timed 20 minute painting for the group at the Trodden Path (see sidebar for link), but the phone rang before time was up and I lost my train of thought on the painting, which, by the way, is on an 8"x10" mixed media board.

The "roses" were made with rolled up paper dipped in acrylic paint. I wasn't liking where the painting was going, so I added some stenciling with a harlequin pattern stencil, some white gesso, and some umber drips and runs, then turned it upside down and decided to make a memory portrait (inspired by Heather Murray's class at the Trodden Path) out of it...

These are the same figures from the other two portraits, because I had already printed and cut out extras, and I didn't want to take time to find something different right then. Only part of the girl in the bathing suit got printed, so I drew her a skirt...

I tried out a butterfly stamp on her peplum style gown and added touches of acrylic paint here and there...

It was too bright and busy for me, so I add a wash of white gesso and gel medium and let dry...

Too much whiteness for me, so I took part of it off with an alcohol pad, along with some of the bright colors, then added more paint...

Still a little too bright, so I took some more paint off the dress and added the oversized rose, plus a few other details, and called it finished. The girl is me at age 10 (the fifties), an ancestor from the turn of the 20th century, and my Pekingese, Kibbles, from the eighties. Music transcends generations, centuries, and species, after all.
If you look closely, you can still see the butterfly image in her skirt and the harlequin pattern and paint runs amidst the layers. I like it!
The next one will have totally different figures, and I am choosing them at this time. If you want to see more of these memory portraits from other students and the teacher, go to the trodden path (link on sidebar). I am also sharing this on Paint Party Friday, Creative Every Day, and my FB page (links also on sidebar), where you can visit and see a lot of wonderful art by many talented artists.
I have also finished my first two woven rugs, which I will be sharing in another blog. I am loving weaving almost as much as painting and writing!
Hope you all have a wonderful creative week! Thanks for visiting! :)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Rose Bleu-20 min Painting

A twenty minute painting inspired by the group at the Trodden Path (link on sidebar). I used alizarin crimson and indigo blue plus white gesso on a 6x6" gallery canvas, set the timer and let loose without thinking too much about it. This is what I had when the timer went off.
I have since gone back and darkened the area by her neck a little. I just love her!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Clasped and Other Weaves- More Samples For Learning

I found out that the rubber webbing that you use under area rugs is also good to help keep my cricket loom from sliding on my TV tray!

I learned to do the clasp weave and the hemstitch to finish the ends off! Above is a close up, still on the loom, and below is all the samples right after I took them off the loom and before I cut them apart. This was fun!

More close ups of the samples and patterns after they were hemstitched and cut apart below...

I tried to make a sitting up bunny pattern on this one. Not very successful, but I learned! Well, maybe it was a little successful, since I didn't use a pattern...

I decided to try using a pick up stick to make a new pattern on both of these. I loved the way it looked on the front until I turned it over and saw all the threads I had missed that were hanging loose on the back. I stopped on it, moved up on the warp, and started another sample! :o Again, I learned!

Back to plain stitch for this one!

All seven from one warp! I used all Peaches and Crème cotton yarn and no patterns, only imagination (I HATE math). Now, they can be used for mug rugs, dish cloths, stitched together to make something bigger, or any number of other things my imagination can conjure up! I had fun making them and look forward to making more!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Flag Love-Mixed Media on Canvas

I love Sue Pelletier's work and am about to take one of her online classes "Loose and Raw Painting." And I know that the patriotic holidays are over for now, but I saw this idea and article by her in the July/Aug 2013 issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors after I had seen some pictures from some online artist friends who had taken the live class, and I immediately loved it and wanted to make one too!

In the article, Sue uses a 16 x 20" gallery canvas, but I didn't have one handy, nor did I have the room right now, so mine is a 5 x 7" gallery canvas. It is composed of layers of collage, acrylic paints, a shoe soul stamp (stars), writing with different things, and of course, gel medium and gesso.

I had so much fun with it! Now I want to make a bigger better one! :)

Work in progress: I've been brushing my excess paint onto this blank mixed media board while I worked on the flag. Today I added a butterfly stencil, some writing, spray inks, and some spatters. We'll see what comes next!

Also sharing on Creative Every Day and Paint Party Friday (see sidebar for links) challenges. :)