Monday, March 30, 2015

A Fun Workshop

The past two Sundays I went to a Pet Portrait workshop.  Originally I signed up because my daughter was interested, but she decided it was not for her, but I finished the workshop yesterday.  I have never been into drawing with colored pencils, but it was a fun process run by a local artist here on Bainbridge who works at the Bainbridge Arts and Crafts.

We started with 8x10 photographs, used tracing paper to trace out key lines, then transferred those lines to nice paper.  We then used colored pencils to fill in with color.

My first drawing was of our dog Giallo as a puppy.

It was a fun process.  I am not sure how I will mount this piece.  I don't usually frame things, so I am in a quandary.  The teacher said she is playing with mounting work on wood boards, but we will see.  Yesterday I started one of our older dog Elsie.  You can see this one in the process.

I have just started, and it will take a lot more work to get all of her fur in the drawing.  It is a fun process.  It reminds me of my embroidery work with layers and layers of small marks of various colors to get the depth you want.  I don't think I will rush out and hang my shingle out for drawing pet portraits, but it is fun.  Although, these portraits would probably be much easier to sell these than tapestries!

Here is the latest photo of my blackbird tapestry.  I am halfway through the weaving process.  I am pleased with the progress so far.  I took some photographs of crows at the beach yesterday looking for dinner at low tide along the sound.  I may have to weave that image as the next blackbird tapestry.

I am off to do chores now, with little hope of weaving today.  The kids are on spring break, and maybe I can get my son out to help with finishing our table today.  Okay, maybe not, but I can be optimistic!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Finally Weaving Again

We have unpacked most of our boxes.  I now have to give away boxes of books which I am loathe to do, but we don't have enough bookshelves and after many years of marriage and adulthood my husband and I have accumulated quite a few books.  I have saved the ones I use for reference and those I may read again, the old friends that I can't part with.  But the others we will pass on to the local library for their fundraising sale.

I have more or less set up my new studio, unfortunately it is the darkest room in the house.  At some point I will try and figure out a way to get more light in the studio with a combination of skylights and lighting, but for now, I struggle to weave with a couple of lamps.  I do have a peaceful view from the studio.  Here is a typically grey PNW (Pacific NorthWest) day full of light rain.

I started a new tapestry on one of my pipe looms.  I don't have enough light to work on my peony tapestry right now, and I need to finish a couple of new tapestries to submit for jurying for a studio tour in August.  

Bainbridge Island is full of images of blackbirds.  We do have a lot of what I call crows.  Of course we had a lot of crows on our farm in Virginia too, but we also had the arrival of the grackles in the spring.  I never really minded the grackles, but I am now reading how they have begun to be a real pest in some areas.  Our grackles arrived in the early spring, made a lot of noise for a few days, wandered around the farm and then disappeared until fall.  One day as I worked at my computer, I grabbed our camera and snapped several photos of them as they wandered around our backyard.  I decided to start with those images.

This is the start of my first blackbird tapestry, and I hope to do at least two of them.  It is nice to get back to weaving and creating.  It makes me feel as if I am accomplishing something.

Now I know that science backs up that feeling.  If you don't get American Craft and haven't read this article ("Making it Better") you should.  Using your hands makes you feel better, decreases depression, lowers anxiety and stress, and increases self-esteem.  Now if someone wants to know why you weave, or knit, or embroider, you have a good scientific reason.

Plus, now I will give you another good reason to work with your hands.  It gives you a great excuse to listen to good literature and learn something new listening to CraftLit.  If you haven't found this podcast yet you should.  I learned of it from the blog My Life is but a Tapestry...  It has changed my life.  I can listen to great books that I would never get around to reading, get online "cliff" notes from Heather, the host of craft lit, and learn about the crafting world all at once.  I started with one of my favorite books, Jane Eyre, moved on to Gulliver's Travels, a book I had never read and would probably not have read on my own, and then onto Dicken's Bleak House, a very long book which I have not finished listening to yet, and I am now listening to Herland, a really interesting book that has a lot to say about our society in the early 1900s.  If you haven't given it a try, go on over and check it out.  It is free, unless like me you get really hooked and then I pay $5 per month to listen to extra books.

Hope you are having a wonderful spring.