Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spoonflower & Guest Blogging

Who among you has heard of Spoonflower?

Just a few of the fabric designs I have created.
Spoonflower is a site that allows artists and fabric designers to upload artwork and make fabric out of it.

I think I'm hooked!
I even sneak down at night to work on my designs!
Some of my designs started as paintings, some as pen & inks, even cartoons.  
The creative process is so fun.
My sister is a quilt designer.  She has been onto me for quite awhile to check this site out.  

Finally, she said it at the right time.  That was about two weeks ago.  Now, I think I have about 30 fabric designs on the site. 

Spoonflower sponsors weekly contests.  
I entered this week.  
The contest is to design a purse/bag using only one yard of fabric. 
The site also, allows designers to have a store front. 
My entry to the Spoonflower create-a bag-panel.
So jump over to Spoonflower and cast your vote.  Vote for as many as you would like. 

I am the guest blogger on 
my sister's quilting blog.  
Actually, a fun little conversation online between sisters. 

Fabric Design: Crafty Ladies/ the artist and her sister the quilter.

Here is my purse I designed from concept to completion

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

I See Spots: Using Ink and Intuition

After teaching nearly twenty years some of my projects are just rerun projects but worth doing again.  Actually most are reruns or adaptations of an old project.  
Detail of Intuitive Ink Spot Drawings
I think this project is one that over the years has continued to entertain and challenge students. 
The one I am currently working on (below) is a new look to an old project.   

Not finished but close
The project starts as an ink spot blown around with a drinking straw to set the stage.  There is just something about blowing ink around on a paper that entertains students.   They think it is really fun.  Most of my students will ask to do this and then often ask to do it again.  
I usually only work with 5 or 6 at a time so I can control the situation.  
I use water soluble black ink in a jar with an eye dropper, and cheap drinking straws. (We don't recycle the straws, fresh straw for fresh students.)

Intuition is key to the success of this project.  
The project is a great exercise in developing creative solutions.  

This 15 yr old demonstration piece I did uses imagery in the white spaces but the ink created the edges of the images such as the folds in the dress of the dancing woman or the dogs nestling together, the caterpillar on the branch.
Start with a few drops of ink on paper. Before the ink starts to soak in take a straw and with a sudden burst of wind, begin blowing the ink, following the trails of ink, turning the paper as necessary.   
I have used three variations and I know, there are more out there. 
  • 1. Use the white space left behind to add design without any planning just allowing intuition to lead you marks.  (Top example)
  • 2. Use imagery in the white spaces created by the random ink spots.  This takes more imagination and works best with older students. (Dancing woman)
  • 3. Use the random black ink spots to make creatures.  (Below: Fantasy creatures
  •   And I guess, if all else fails, as I say to my can make anything into flowers or in this case, maybe trees.

This unfinished demonstration piece from 2 years ago uses the ink spots as the stimulus for the fantasy creatures using colored pencil over the ink.

Still waiting it's turn, the next ink challenge.  What can you see?

If Ink interests you be sure to see my post on March 6th Mixed Media: A Wash of Color and a Bit of Ink  uses ink in a more controlled method but fun just the same.   

It is feels so good to find time for creative play.
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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mixed Media: A Wash of Color and a Bit of Ink

It has been two months since I posted and I was not doing a very good job posting at that time.

There are so many projects we have completed at school that I know would be of interest to others.  Hopefully, soon I will get some more postings up.

Pen & Ink with a Wash of Color

Some projects are just more fun than others.  This project has been so much fun I am thinking I must do it again. 
Not only is the pen & ink application just a step  above drawing which is less intimidating to people who are comfortable with toning with pencil but the wash of color over the inked drawing is a great introduction to the application of watercolor paint.  I likened it to coloring in a color book when I was a child. The whole composition worked up very quickly.  

 For you art teachers out there this project has several objectives:create a strong focal point, create movement to the focal point and of course, experiment with various techniques in pen & ink and watercolor, mixing colors, etc. 
During inking process, starting to work on the values.
  • I started this piece by cutting illustration board or watercolor paper so that the paper is width of the paper is twice the length of it (12 x 24).  
  • Using a ruler select four areas that are to remain white.  As you can see in the finished painting the four areas left white are  in various sizes, shapes and locations so as not to make the composition symmetrical.  I also,was careful not to make a predictable cross out of the remaining positive shape.  
  • Decide placement of the focal point and movement to the focal point.
  • Drawing from life, I drew in flowers and leaves in pencil.
  • Once the drawing was finished I used a technical pen of permanent black ink to hatch in the drawing. (Before starting test to be sure it will not run when you add a wash of watercolor over it.  Some pens are going to be water soluble and will run. I used Zig permanent markers in nib size .05.  There are various brands to choose from.) 
  • Masking tape can be used to keep watercolor from flowing over into white areas.
  • Starting with the negative space I washed in the color, keeping my white areas clean.  
So that will do it for today.  
I hope you will find this post an inspiration to get out of your rut and try something different.  Last year at this time I challenged myself to do a painting a day.  I kept that up for a good many weeks before a busy life crashed my party.  I hope to get the momentum back soon! 
One of my students commented this week, "I love it that you have your project just like I have mine and we are all working on our projects at the same time." 
I agree!

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