Thursday, December 17, 2009

for my daughter

Out running errands late this afternoon, I saw this sky, and had to take a photo, inspired by my younger daughter's love of clouds. Pretty spectacular.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I haven't been doing much drawing or painting, but I have been busy. Yep. More baby quilts. Well, maybe I haven't talked about baby quilts here, but in the last year and a half I have made 5 baby quilts. The one pictured here is by far the most colorful, and is right up there with unique and creative, too. It actually started its life as the beginning of an "art" quilt. I had put it away, and while looking for something else found it (oh, the joys of being not-so-tidy) and thought, "Not art quilt. Nope. But maybe for a baby?" It's about a yard square, and it was a gift for a friend of mine who became a grandmother for the first time. I didn't dye the fabric, but I did everything else on this quilt. Design, sewing, quilting. I've had the chance to do more longarm quilting; in fact I even took a class from one of the local experts. Fun fun fun.

The trouble with baby quilts is they go away. But they are small enough to get finished. And now I can start something new. I hear my nephew and his wife are expecting...

And for next semester, I have signed up for Photoshop. I am going to learn how to do all those things. And print them on fabric maybe, and make them into quilts. I'm having fun. Life is good.
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Don't Faint

Those of you who have believed in me, when I said I would post the quilt once I finished the binding--here it is. Not the best quilt, not the best photo, but hey, it's my first! Let me hasten to say that I did NOT do the piecing, nor choose the colors. As I may have said before, we who volunteer to rescue these unfinished projects had applied a rather impolite pejorative title to it while we were working on it. Many of us now feel that the *duckling has become almost a swan! Quilting makes a BIG difference. I've included a closeup shot of a small section so you can see the lovely meandering pattern I free-handed. I love to pat myself on the back.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009


As I promised last time (my goodness, only a few days ago!) here is the inked version of the watercolor postcard I did in Montgomery Woods. I didn't apply the ink to the original watercolor, but used the printout I did onto watercolor paper cut to fit the printer. I printed the image 2-up, so I actually have another to play with. So here are the details: first I added ink lines with an EF point fountain pen, and Noodler's black ink. Then I got out the watercolor pencils and did some additional defining of shadowy areas. I think it's a lot more interesting than the plain watercolor, and still has a sketchy feel.

I like the idea of doing more of this kind of "mixed media" stuff. On another note, I had the opportunity yesterday to learn how and to operate a longarm quilting machine, working on a charity quilt some friends and I put together. What fun! And so fast compared to doing the quilting on a regular sewing machine! I am very pleased with the result, and with myself. As soon as the binding is on it, I'll take a picture and post it. That will take longer than the actual quilting!
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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Continued progress

By which I mean that I am continuing to do creative things some of the time in my life. Last week I visited my sister and we sewed together; she worked on a lovely corduroy jacket for herself, I put together some bags (purses, if you will) from donated unfinished quilt projects for the local Senior Center to sell at a craft boutique. The creative part for me is using up what others didn't finish then discarded, making something totally new.

The weekend before that one of my daughters came to visit, and we went to nearby Montgomery Woods, a redwood grove, for a sort of a hike. She took photos, I painted a little watercolor (postcard size--4x6 inches), here posted. After scanning it, I printed it out onto watercolor paper, and now my plan is to do some ink work on it. I'll post the results of that effort soon.

Friday, August 28, 2009

End of Summer

This little watercolor (postcard size) just looks like summer to me...the coolness of the blue chair, the water in the background, the bag on the ground. I had a busy summer--didn't spend much time just sitting in a chair looking at the view. Instead I traveled up and down the state of California, indeed, into OREGON.

So now it's time for me to sit back, and get back to my creative muse. Time to do more watercolors, and start a new art quilt. I have some ideas.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Promises, promises

In May I posted a photo of a watercolor collage that I had done, and said I planned to use it as inspiration for a small art quilt. Well, I did it. This small wall quilt is 19"x32". For the background, I cut up a silk charmeuse scarf that I hand dyed. The koi and the greenery are hand-dyed cottons. Some parts are fused on, and all the stitching was done by machine. I'm quite happy with it, and have named it "Koi Dance".

Sunday, August 9, 2009

No excuses

So, okay, I haven't been posting, but I have been creating some. During July I did a house sit for friends, took their chocolate lab for walks every day, enjoyed their air-conditioned home during a real HOT spell here. My 13-year-old granddaughter stayed with me most of the time, and we had a good time. To escape the heat, we went to a nearby lake with inexpensive air mattresses, and laughed and laughed, playing a game I think should be called "Dunk the Grandma", which she did many times. Then we both laughed until we nearly cried, while I tried to get back ONTO the air mattress. It's a challenge in deeper water, nothing to brace against. I had so much practice that I figured out how to remount the inflatable. I certainly slept well at night!

The other game we played is cribbage, which she had just learned how to play. Her novice status didn't stop her from skunking me a couple of times.... Fun fun fun.

And I can't believe it, but community college classes begin the week of August 17. The summer has flown.
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Monday, May 25, 2009

Take a deep breath...

Finally, the semester is over. I enrolled in too many classes, in that I only had one day a week that was totally free. Not enough for this retired soul. The classes were all wonderful--Modern Dance, Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement, Textile History, Fabric Printing and Dyeing, and Beyond Traditional Watercolor. Speaking of which, I am posting herewith one of the projects from that class. Take an old painting that is unsatisfactory in one way or another, cut it up, and combine it with another old painting or a new background... So I cut up my koi painting. I liked the fish, so I cut them out first, then chopped the poured and swirled background into strips and wove them togther. Pasted it all onto another practice piece, and voila! Something I like!

In fact, I'm thinking of using this design as the basis for a small art quilt, and I can hardly wait to get started. So I'm taking a deep breath, and getting to work on the things I've been neglecting while dancing and dyeing.... More to come, I promise.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


My apologies to anyone who actually reads/follows this blog. I keep not posting anything, because I want to include artwork, and I haven't scanned anything new in ages. Until today, that is. The highlighted artwork is from the Beyond Traditional Watercolor class that I've been taking. I blocked out the white swashes with homemade masking fluid (Mold Builder, diluted with water, applied with a rough "brush" made from the end of a rope). The color is all poured on watercolor; first I applied the warm yellows and red, then when that was DRY, added the blues, and more red, to make purple-y violets. I think I am finished with it. I'm working on two or three other pieces using similar techniques, but they were too large to scan. I'll get my camera out in the next few days and have a photo session, see if anything looks worth posting.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Grey skies

Several years ago, I finally got my act together and planted lots of daffodil bulbs in November, and each Spring they bloom, lighting up my front yard. I think of them as my gift to the neighborhood, and very seldom cut any, preferring to leave them there for everyone to enjoy. Imagine my distress this morning when I looked out the window and saw only 3 tired blooms left. I hope the person who HAD to have them is at least sharing them with someone else. I just want to cry; it's going to take a lot of effort to put this behind me. They're only flowers, I know. But it cuts me to the heart.

Friday, March 13, 2009


My first thought with this blog was to post recently completed artwork, but last week these gorgeous daffodils with the sun shining through them caught my eye, my attention, and my digital camera. I've done lots of little watercolors of daffodils, but none recently. They are just too good not to share. And one does not often see them from the back like this.

These gorgeous Spring days in Northern California are one of the reasons I love living here. The world is fresh and new, even though we have not lived through snow and ice. The air is like a tonic, an elixir; I can't breathe it in deeply enough. And these daffodils are symbolic of that freshness. Enjoy.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Some new watercolor

So today in the Beyond Traditional Watercolor class we practiced a very traditional method: glazing. Laying down a wash, letting it dry, then painting another wash over to achieve darker tones. I used a photo of canna leaves that I took several years ago, when I moved to Ukiah. The canna plants have long since disappeared...wait, maybe these were at that vineyard I used to visit to paint plein matter, it's a great photo, the sun shining through some of the leaves, creating shadows and complex patterns. The painting exercise ended up not looking very much like the photo, but I enjoyed the process, watching the colors change and deepen. And I learned some things, too. And even though it doesn't look like the photo, it pleases me on several levels. So there you are. It's about 8 x 10 inches.
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Sunday, February 22, 2009

More Fabric Fun

Part 2 of yesterday's fun in fabric class. This piece, also about 13 x 15 inches, was done with clear water-based resist. After that dried, I painted on different colors of fiber-reactive dye. It "batched" (rested, folded up in plastic) overnight, and was washed out and ironed this afternoon. I'm not thrilled with the colors, but it was the process that was intriguing. More to come, I'm sure. It's the painting part of fabric surface design that I enjoy.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fun with fabric

My friend Teri keeps after me. She says I never post any of my fabric fun on my flickr. She's absolutely correct. Most of my fabric things won't fit in my scanner, and I just get lazy, too lazy to photograph them and post them. But here, for your viewing pleasure, is the first step on what might turn out to be a "project" for the Fabric Printing and Dyeing class that I'm taking. The blue outline is a water based colored gutta resist. The colors are fabric paints, applied with a brush after the gutta dried and was heat-set with an iron. I'm rather pleased with this piece, which might find its way into a sort of wall-hanging. Other people in the class expressed admiration also. I blush. And enjoy the praise.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Please be patient....

I just let my life get soooooo complicated, taking a few too many units at the local community college, but what can I drop? Modern Dance? NOOOOOOO way. Feldenkrais..."Lie down on the floor and feel how your body connects to the surface beneath it. Think about how you move." Can't drop that one: it's only one hour a week!
Then there is Beyond Traditional Watercolor. That's just plain fun. And Textile History is so interesting; 3 hours of slides of historical textiles, after the watercolor class. Makes for a full Friday. Then there is all day Saturday Fabric Printing and Dyeing. I guess I'll just have to work through it.
But I'm tired this week, after spending most of the weekend in the SF Bay Area, visiting family.

This afternoon on the way to my car after class, I caught some gorgeous sky photos. I'll paint these clouds one day soon.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm never blue when the sky is...

...and lately we have had clear blue skies, cold, crisp mornings and sunny days. We desperately need rain, and we all will welcome it when it comes, but I can't help loving these gorgeous days. It's the truth: when the sky is this bright clear blue, I am NOT depressed. I spent enough years living in Coastal Northern California with high grey overcast that deadened all shadows, feeling tired and sad and defeated. Since moving to Ukiah, where the sun shines almost every day, my emotional life has improved immeasurably. And not too long ago, I got back in touch with the dancer within me, who had been hiding, dormant, waiting to emerge, and what I feel now is JOY. The phrase "jump for joy" makes sense to me now.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Something New

Something is better than nothing, right? Well, here's something. My sweetie gave me this tiny rose in a little tin "pail" and I decided before it dies (I do not have a naturally green thumb) I should preserve it somehow. Here's how I did my larger Moleskine sketchbook, with Pentel brush pen and watercolor crayon applied with a waterbrush. Personally, I don't think it is a great drawing, so many things are "wrong"--the perspective and the colors, to name a couple--but it speaks to me, and will always remind me of a loving gesture. For me, that's more important than being correct. And it makes me smile.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I guess I should have waited until I was feeling better to start this blog. Although the URL for this blog is I seem to have misnamed it when I set it up. How could that have happened? It's only now at matters. I guess I'll leave it as a reminder that perfection is not my goal. But as I promised, I've included some eye candy, a photo of a fabric postcard which I made, and sent through the mail to someone special.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New beginnings

Well, that didn't hurt much. And it was quick. So here I am, responding to the challenge of my friend TeriJane. Life is pretty complex for those of us who have retired from the workaday world and now entertain ourselves with classes like "Beyond Traditional Watercolor" and "Fabric Printing and Dyeing". And then there is Modern Dance, and Feldenkrais, and yoga, of course. In addition to getting together with a couple of friends twice a week to practice speaking French.

I've managed to program a pretty full schedule this semester, so I figure I need a place to review and plan. A blog? Who could possibly be interested in hearing about my life? Well, I don't know, but here I am, and I'll be posting samples of my artwork, just to make the pages more attractive. My hope is this blog will help me be more consistent in scanning and posting artwork, especially for the Every Day Matters group, which has inspired me greatly.

Thanks for looking. Leave a comment if anything touches you....