I am not a good planner and I procrastinate a lot. Now we have decided to move back to Scotland; we need to downsize considerably! Although it will tug at our hearts to get rid of our book collection, that is relatively easy. We did that to come here and I still miss some of those books 20 yrs later. Art on the wall (not my work), equally easy. Just take the originals or get the kids to chose which ones they want. Two pieces might be an issue as they are both large and are artworks by my two daughters. I don’t think they want them. My biggest headache will be my artwork. I have stuff from high school, my foundation course and my degree course. Then I have the work I have made in 40 yrs since then! As I have never sold anything, I have been hoarding a lot of work, and I don’t want to get rid of it! But I will have to been strict with myself and burn work that really should have been gone a long time ago. It’s not as if I don’t have a record of my artwork; I have photographed (poorly) most of it already. Plus, I don’t think people will be clambering to get hold of them once I am dead and buried, much as I like to delude myself. Ah well, I have about 30- 34 months to get my sh## together

On the creative side, I have had a more productive month. I finished both of the Lisa Walton courses.

This is my piece for the Aurora course.

I was very happy with the outcome of this quilted piece. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed bead embroidery as I have been concentrating on teaching myself various quilting techniques over the last few years.

I also dyed my own fabric on this course, using it like paint, rather than immerse the cloth. I plan on doing more this month plus some indigo dyeing. I tried out bobbin work in some places. It was fine but I think I prefer to hand embroider to get a similar effect. Obviously its quicker, so I won’t say, never again. Finished size 19.75 x 14.5 inches (50 x 37 cm)

Fantastic Fusion

The next project was based more on a traditional quilt. By fusing the fabric before I cut it, the design became more flexible. As there were no seams, it wasn’t bulky and using Mistyfuse as the base made the result more like making your own fabric. I decided to free motion quilt the surface as if I was doodling on a page. There was only one area that didn’t work after I quilted it. I promptly unpicked it! Hopefully, not a mistake I will make again but I probably will. This piece ended up measuring 17.5 x 20.75 inches (44.5 X 53 cm) I finished it by facing the design, rather than do a traditional binding that is generally used in quilting. I also added hanging triangles so it could be hung on a wall. I also faced the Aurora piece like this, as seen above the Fantastic Fusion image.

I loved using Mistyfuse as a way of creating a design. I will continue to use it in conjunction with the painting of the fabric. I am feeling much more optimistic about this direction my work is going. I have already started another piece. As I listened to Kate Bryan’s podcast “How to be an artist”, I was mulling other ideas that were percolating in my brain.

Now I need to get the sketchbook out and work on those ideas. Yes, sketchbook, something I don’t use much. After Susan Shie’s class, I realised that although I couldn’t continue with that way of working, I need to use my sketchbook more to ramble around my brain.

Matchbox Museum entry

So I reworked my matchbox entry and returned to my bead embroidery skills.

I did have an idea of making a box of paper dolls to represent my kids. I had made some beaded dolls a few years back based on some old photos of them. On working with a few ways of doing this, I knew this was non starter as the matchbox was too small for such an elaborate idea.  I must I was struggling to get an idea (2/20/2015) and time was running out as I needed to get it in the post by today (2/23/2015) if it was to get to London on time.

Out of interest, I typed in Matchbox art into Google search and was amazed at the number of hits I got. I hadn’t realised it was such a big movement.  It didn’t really inspire me though, as working so small seemed like an impossible task.

My studio is jumble of stuff that I have collected over the years but my biggest collection is from the time I did exclusively bead embroidery. I also have folders with samples of things I have done over the years, like embroidery stitches and making felt. So I decided to rummage through those folders and hope inspiration would strike. I came across a scrap of felting I had made with wool roving, a piece from a silk shirt which had been my husbands, some applique butterflies and some fabric daisies from a hobby store. I had machine felted them altogether and then just tucked it away in case I could use it some day. The butterfly and the daisy tied in with the previous painting so I thought I could work with that.  The following is the result. I just let my hand and needle just roam across the fabric and it grew much like the subject.

The little box beside the finished piece is the mock box I had made, so you can see it pretty small – 35mm X 47mm X 17mm however with the added beads and felt, that has added a few more mm, so I am not sure if that will acceptable. Fingers crossed.

Originally I was going to have the cover slide as it would if it was still a matchbox . As I worked though I though it would work better if was like little stage, like the one you made as a child and it would also act as a picture frame for the internal image.  So you could just view it as the butterfly or as the little scene, which ever took your fancy.

The material used were glass beads size 15, flower sequins, a fabric flower, white oblong beads for the daisy, flower beads and the 2 charms. The background felt included the main daisy and butterfly.

I really enjoyed making this piece although working with size 15 beads can be quite a strain on the eyes!

Last post of the year

and looking back  there haven’t been many this year! 5 in total and in most I am moaning 😦

So that last month or so I have fallen into more a slump than normal after the terrible mixed media class . So no more classes!  It was also unusually cold at the end of November and beginning of Dec. I only have blinds in the studio, so it was bit cold so in effort to keep the cold out I put up some temporary covers but that only made the studio even more uninviting.

I have been doing some creative stuff but not in the painting sphere, making a couple of gifts for Christmas.  Below is a painting I have been playing with for a few weeks. In a fit of ‘I’m going to paint’ I order some sample acrylic grounds. I had an old painting hanging on my wall which I had done in conjunction with my bead Calendar project.


As you can see it was barely a painting  (darker more red-orange in real life) so not something I felt particularly precious about. I began by looking at the original calendar photo it was based on, some rocky landscape in Australia.  I decided to use the crackle medium.  So I pasted it on with a large brush everywhere but the tree.  It barely worked, so I put on more with a palette knife. Not much difference to be honest and I put on about another couple of layers but it really didn’t work. Very disappointed.

So I had to work with what I had which wasn’t much and as it was experiment, I wasn’t too concerned if nothing worked. So having used soft pastels on the last painting, I decided to go in that direction.  I don’t think it really improved the image much but it did reaffirm that I enjoyed working with soft pastels.DSC01510Again the colour is quite right, more orangey red that this image.  However comparing images here, I can definitely see more depth and obviously more textured in this painting.

So the new year starts in 2 days (or less) and my work shift changes on 6th Jan.  I am hoping to work more outside, especially as the weather is perfect at this time of year (bit cool for us Texans but not cold for us Brits!) Only fly in this  picture is there is good chance I will be babysitting my grand-daughter during the day from the middle of Jan. It might be only for a couple of hours or it might be a few days. (to honest, looking after Juniper will be a joy and I would give up painting any day, to be with her).  I should have at least one day a week to go out into the Hill Country and get to grips with this landscape I have lived with for the last 13 yrs. Also as a Christmas gift I got a box of Landscape Mungyo Soft Pastels. They are not the ones I wanted but they are better than the ones I have now.May Journal Page

Above is the bead page I made for the bead journal project I was involved at the  time.

Whilst I am not painting, I am reading about artists, mostly painters and one in particular at the moment, Vincent Van Gogh. You get so complacent about some artists as they reprinted so much and you really don’t know that much about the actual artist and how they got to where they achieved their break through moment.  The book I am reading is very long, dense and I don’t think they particularly like the artist that much, well the person, not the work.   I did not know that Van Gogh started his artist career so late and how brief a period it was.  I was surprised in who he thought was the best artist and whose work he aspired to.  I did not know that Gauguin was basically bribed to move to Arles and how brief a time it was. As it has taken me several months of reading the book, I suspect it might be a while before I get to the tragic conclusion.

As this book is a bit of mammoth, I have been dipping into several other books I already have and need to rediscover. I also bought a new book this weekend called ‘What are looking at? the surprising, shocking and sometimes strange story of 150 yrs of modern art. by Will Gompertz.   So far I have read the first chapter and the influence of Marcel Duchamp’s ready-mades, in particular  the ‘Fountain’ Its a pretty light read compared to the Van Gogh book and makes no pretense its an art history tome.  I think I might actually finish it before the Van Gogh book!