review of 2021

Last year started off well (creatively) as I signed up for a drawing class with Susan Shie called Lucky Drawing # 000. At the time, I didn’t appreciate how much of a benefit this class was to me. It really kick-started me into working solidly on something, rather than wandering around my head, ‘should I or should I not do this?” It definitely pushed me into directions I wasn’t used to or tended to fight against. I used the sketchbook one time after that to record my feelings about the big Freeze in Texas last February. It was brutal. I need to get that sketchbook out again!

Quilting was my main focus last year, as it was in 2020. However, I have got to the stage where I know I don’t want to do traditional quilting, but where do I go next? I started off the year by finishing a UFO, which dated back to when I started to quilt in 2018, my Oops quilt. After that, I did a bit of exploring, beginning with a class curated by Lisa Walton called Aurora. I liked it so much, I did another class with her called Fantastic fusion. It was very similar to another course I had taken at the end of 2020 with Susan Carlson. I did a couple of other small quilts after these classes, and then I did a deep dive into Ruler work quilting. I am an OK free motion quilter. I think my ability to draw makes it easier for me than a lot of quilters. I am not a good piecer which is why I have decided I will not be doing traditional quilts, as they cause me too much stress which takes out the enjoyment for me. Given my recent obsession, it is really no surprise that I was drawn to the preciseness and patterns of ruler work. Ruler work, as the name implies, uses a ‘ruler’ or “template’ so you have more control over the shape and size as you sew. With free-motion sewing, it’s harder to keep the stitching regular and the shapes uniform. Well, that is the theory but both methods require a lot of practice. That is what I ended up doing much of the year! By the end of October, after spending too much money on templates after watching videos on YouTube, I came to the realisation that maybe ruler work quilting wasn’t for me unless (pause) I could find a way of using it in my freeform work which is what I did with 2 of the small quilts I made, Solar and Standing stones on a wall. My breaking point came with a set of placemats and a table runner. They are still waiting to be finished and the truth is, it could be done in a day or so; I am that close. But I hate them!
So, where am I going to go with my quilting in 2022? More freeform and mixed media. I have an idea which, given how slow I work, will take me until we move in 2024, at least! It will be a series of smaller wall quilts that could be hung separately or together. I want to explore painting my own fabric and printing on that fabric. I will use all the skills I have gathered over the last decade with beads and embroidery. It will be exciting and nerve-wracking. It will be FUN!

My very 1st project of the year, which I have already started, is a t-shirt quilt. It’s a practice piece before I tackle the main project, making three wall hangings from the t-shirts of my former daughter-in-law. Her mother gave them to me late last year to share among her family in her memory. This is one project I need to get right!

In November, to drive me out of my now familiar funk (I think it must be a seasonal thing), I began trying out my hand with Zentangles and drawing on the digital drawing tablet my son got me last Christmas.
I began my foray into the digital drawing world by downloading Krita, a professional drawing website. The 1st page was daunting enough, without the thought of drawing, although my nine-year-old granddaughter uses a drawing app all the time! Youtube to the rescue again. One particular video channel was very useful. ‘Learn Krita with Bob Ross’ on the Age of Asparagus channel. It was great fun as well as being a good learning experience.

I do a regular countdown to Christmas project on Instagram, and originally I intended to practice my digital drawing by drawing a day up to the 24th of December. I quickly realised that was way beyond my abilities. The tablet has been put away for now but I fully intend to get back to it once I am back into my routine.

At the same time I was delving into the world of digital drawing/painting, I decided to look at Zentangles. I had some experience of them as I was given an instructional book by one of my kids, a few years ago. I tried it out but the book wasn’t overly inspiring. I noticed that one of my long-time Facebook friends was exploring them and posting the results. I knew it had an aspect of mindfulness that I thought might help with my current state of mind (it helped me stop using sleeping tablets after nearly a decade!). I was only going to do it for a week or so. Yet again, Youtube came up trumps! I have found a few very useful channels and have used them with my drawings. However, they take a long time to complete and on some days, I had to stop or end up frustrated. The opposite of the intended effect! I am doing them in a bullet journal which I have never used dued to the pandemic. Not much to plan when there is so little to do!

My Christmas project turned out particularly well, although I never quite completed all 24 days as normal! Next year, I will start a few days ahead of December. Then I might complete all 24 days.

That about sums up my year of work. I did forget one period and that was when I signed up to do a free course by Louise Fletcher called finding your joy. Sometimes I feel guilty about not painting anymore. It was an effort to rediscover the love I have for painting. Maybe I will find it again when, or if we move back to Scotland, I hope so. This course did not help in that regard. You can read my posts about my feelings on this program. In my head, it’s forgotten. It’s the art world’s pryamid scheme basically.
The highlight of this dull year (apart from my art, of course) was receiving the people’s choice award at our local quilt guild’s annual show. I loved making this quilt, and yes, I painted it and quilted it on a domestic machine, but the real credit should go to Helen Godden, who designed it.

Quirky Collections designed by Helen Godden.

That is my round up for 2021. Now onward to 2022 with even more success than last year!

Sketch 12 & 13

So I have been a little lax in with the sketching over the last few days. I managed to push myself out very late yesterday despite the heat as I know if I don’t keep it up I will soon let the days slip by and before I know its months. I really want to make this a habit and not slip into my usual routine which is to browse the internet all day!

sketch #12

Notes:8/24/2015 time 2.47pm 97f feels like 100f  36c feels like 37c.

Had to force myself out as I missed my golden hr today. Restarted my running training today. Only 20 mins but it has put a stamp on my day. Tomorrow I will not load my time* until I have done all the things I plan, it starts with browsing the internet and end(s) up later hours later that (I) stop.  Anyway I am at the play park which is deserted as (1) its too hot to play outside and (2) school starts either today (Austin) or tomorrow (Pflugerville). I will try to keep going for 30 mins.2.53pm

3.29 pm 36c feels like 37c  97f feels like 100f  Slight breeze which is cooling. Started too small and too focus(ed) = unbalance. Banging in back ground – some kid on basket ball court, very distracting. 

* I am going to be training on alternative days so tomorrow is the day I will have to put this in practice 

I wasn’t particularly happy with this sketch and it might be because I am using a small sketch book. 8″ x 5¼” . I have thought of changing sketch books but this one will be one I will use until 12/31/2015. Also I started to the right again, so managed to miss most to the left part of the page unlike the sketch below where I used most of the page.

sketch #13

Notes: 08/25/2015 sketch #13 10.04 88f feels like 93f  31c feels like 33c  slight breeze

Back to pencil today. I am going to start moving out of the Park into town of Pflugerville from today. 

11.08 am  32c feels like 35c  91f feels like 95f 

Not very good with perspective!  Need to practice.  had a problem of smudging as my hand dragged across the page – need to learn to life hand off, difficult when you are standing and holding sketch book. Will come back to this again as its a challenge. 

So I think I have identified a key issue for me – interest, much as I like to see the green trees (I used one today to provide the necessary shade), I am not really that interested in drawing or painting them.  So I am going to try for a more urban mix. The above building are situated on the edge of the original old town before suburbia arrived. They are remnants of the old railway that used to run through the town, thence the name of the main artery road in old town Pflugerville (Railway Ave). It really is a gold mine for some one who is sketching and I look forward to exploring it more. This was a view from the Heritage loop trail which is an extension of Pfluger Park.

Still life with wine bottle Jar

Yesterday as promised I started a new still life.  I like the background fabric on the last still life so much I decided to reuse it in this painting and then I coordinated the rest of the still life to complement the fabric.  I feel I am going to struggle with the base fabric as it also has a pattern on it and at the moment, I am not sure how I am going to deal with it.   It not a bold pattern and it’s not striped like the orange fabric.  The pattern is actually leaves which are textured stripes and blackish, so not solid and reflecting light.

So I managed to get the basics done on this painting before the light faded completely. As I was drawing it in I wasn’t too concerned about the light but it actually turned out to be quite a bright afternoon, after the morning fog and showers. Looks like today might be the same but I will working this afternoon so the light will be fading by the time I finish, so will probably continue tomorrow when I know the weather will be sunny.

altered

Today I think I will try to draw something as my drawing skill definitely need brushing up. When I was Camberwell, I constantly used my sketchbook, even for the Saturday morning classes and was actually a requirement in my foundation year. I sort of kept it up at Bath but with the lack of encouragement from the staff, it wasn’t a high priority (in the painting dept anyway.), it soon became an infrequent habit. So really my sketchbook has not been a priority since I was about 20, so its time it regained its importance, if only to reinforce the habit of looking, rather than roaming with my eye.

That is one thing I was always doing in my painting, redrawing, you can sort of see it with the wine bottle as I reaslised when I was working on the background fabric, that it was much taller than I had originally drawn it.  The little red vase is also a little more squat and fatter than I have it here, so  that will be altered  as will the some of the small satsumas. Still I have plenty of time as next week the weather is returning to the normal TX sunshine so I am not going panic.

So far, I am happy with what I have on the painting board.  Materials used so far, Daler Canvas board 16×12  Golden acrylic paint and some primsacolour pencil.