Archives for 2013

Collage-New Work

The wateimagercolor journaling courses revived my interest in working on and with paper. I consider paper as fabric, it is fiber after all.  I have made art that you would not know wasn’t fabric but is actually paper. I love working with paper. The results are mysterious…people are intrigued, which I like. I began to work on the collages in September. I was thinking about Autumn and decided to use leaves as a motif. imageI use primarily tissue paper and old book pages. First I apply paint on the tissue papers. They are too thin to keep tidy…thus this is how I work:image I use craft tissue which is slightly thicker and a better quality than gift tissue. I spread out several layers of tissue and spray with Ranger Ink Color Wash….I love this stuff! No matter how many colors you spray and mingle…they do not make mud. Great for beginners. The colors I like to use are: Denim, Butterscotch and Eggplant. The papers stick together when wet. I dry the papers with a heat gun and as they dry they  separate easily. The paper is stronger once it is dried. I used a 5″ x 7″ piece of watercolor paper for the base of the collage. Some of the base paper was left white and some I added a wash of watercolor in a 4″ x 5″ defined area. The layering process evolves. The papers have beautiful unique qualities that when combined and overlapped create amazing results.  It is impossible to detail what happens during this time as I go with it…I don’t think much, rather I enjoy the process. Some progress faster, some fizzle out, but most become truly amazing.imageimage After the papers are layered and adhered with acid free glue or adhesive, I place them under weights to dry. The next step is the stitching. The stitching is spontaneous. I stop sewing when I run out of ideas and proceed to sew a different one. Many times I realize what else can be added after sewing othimageimageers.

This image shows a collage prior to stitching. This particular collage did not have a  leaf motif so, I used stamps and gold ink instead. One stamp has fine detail that I purchased and one is larger that I made.

The collage truly came to life after stitching. This image shows the threads still hanging. At some point I started to like the thread hanging revealed on the front. I purposely pulled the bobbin thread to the front, tied a knot and trimmed each thread to a good length. image The leaf motif was added to this collage with a piece of paper that was the negative shape of a leaf.


When I finished with 18 pieces. The next step was to show them. The rep at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts where I exhibit my work, was very delighted to see them. He asked me to prepare them right away for December. Cutting mats and mounting takes time, but I completed the work in time and they are now at the gallery. 10″ x 12″ $165 I am very proud of this work. I enjoyed the process immensely so much so that I was motivated to write an outline. I consider collage as playing….allowing the elements to talk and evolve. The materials are simple and the methods are easy. I hope others find this intriguing enough to ask about it and invite me to teach.

Dyeing Fabric-Summer Project

My dying session turned out to last three weeks! This was unplanned….but, when you have it all set up..

AND, you are seeing great results…AND,  you are learning a lot….AND, the weather is perfect..

yes, you keep going. At least I did. What a crazy time. I was completely drained by the end. I had worn old stained clothes too many days. My feet were unsightly…getting a pedicure was embarrassing…the poor woman must have thought I had trudged through swamps!

The first week my friend Barb joined me for 2 days. She dyed 40 yards of fabric in solid colors. She was much more productive than me.


I discovered I have the perfect set up. I have a side porch on the ground floor that opens to the laundry room. Which also has a fold down ironing board. The porch is covered and on a shady side of the house. The breezes were fantastic. It was perfect.

We could set the fabrics in the sun to cure. Both of us were trying to get mostly a solid color. The colors came out great.


Barb laid her fabric on the grass to dry. What a picture!

We used a method that is detailed by Lisa Call.  She has figured out how to dye 60-80 yards of fabric in one day. Yes! And, how to dye 4 yards with 1 cup of dye. We did this, it works! The fabric is soaked in clear water only. The first yard is placed in the bin, wrung out and damp. The dye is added and pressed into the fabric. Next, the soda ash solution is poured on and pressed in minimally. Next, the 2nd yard is placed on top of the first yard, and pressed to distribute the dye, followed by soda ash solution. Each yard is done this way. The yard on the bottom will be the darkest most saturated and the subsequent yards will be slightly lighter; creating a gradation.  Read the details and amounts on her blog.

There are several associated posts about her dying methods. They are very easy to understand.image

She also sells PFD  pimatex cotton. This is what we used and I really like it.

The main ingredient she uses that produces bright colors is SALT.

I mixed the chemical water with UREA and SALT.



This is my batch. The turquoise and marigold produced 5 yards from 1 cup of dye.




My cats loved the fabric too!









The following week, I spent with my granddaughter Madeleine. She is now 11. We dyed together. She thought that it was so funny every time I said “I was dying.”

We went to some second-hand shops and found some t-shirts and old linens to dye.

We had lots of fun together.image

She is modeling an old linen scarf that had beautiful embroidery. It would have made a great skirt.

The last week I spent dyeing clothing with a neighbor. We had even more fun! We dyed dresses, slips, linens, place mats, table cloths and more.

In addition, I used good paper to catch the drips. What great papers! I have enough dyed things and ideas to last a lifetime.

Finally, I had to stop. I was completely exhausted.




Watercolor Journaling/Mixed Media Course

In my previous post, I described the first watercolor course that Jane LaFazio offered this summer.  Jane is also a quilt artist. She incorporates various mediums to create her work. I love her versatility and enjoy seeing what creative hat she has on from day to day. Following her blog is highly informative and inspirational.

The second course she offered this summer continued the journaling techniques. This course added mixed media. This was very appealing to me. I enjoyed it immensely.

Watercolor is challenging, you can’t control it and you shouldn’t try.

That is my theory. It takes a lot of restraint to NOT try to take control. The medium must flow and create nuances that are unpredictable. This is always a gamble.

Jane offers a relaxed casual approach to painting with watercolor. First, the act of journaling is meant to be quick and not labored. Do a quick sketch, refine it, add some watercolor, add some text, add various elements to bring it together like stamps.

Jane’s use of watercolor borders on illustration and graphic art. She defines the drawings with permanent black ink before painting. This was something new for me. It took some getting used to. Jane also believes in setting up a pane or field around the composition. This is a defined area outlined in ink that links the elements and adds a nice quality.

In the mixed media course she includes a method using tissue paper. Drawings are traced onto the paper and then adhered over an area of the watercolor paper. She introduced new art tools like the TomBow pen. This pen is felt tipped and water soluble.

lesson 2 resized

In this composition I broke the 9×12″ page into sections by drawing several different size and shape frames. The center tray with stones is overlapped by the candle stick and the tray overlaps one of the frames. This creates depth. The pen was fun to use.

 tombo pen_section

This close up shows the stippling I did. The candle stick was aged and had a crunchy texture on the finish. The stippling described this texture well. Then I used the stippling again for the shadow on the tray. The pens come in various colors. I used gray and black.

 One of the lesson’s was to draw one subject nine ways. Varying the scale, the tool, the method.


lesson 4 part 1 2nd page resizedlesson 5 page 2 resized







The image on the left shows the first sections. I numbered each one in text. 1. The top left section has a succulent plant defined with ink and no watercolor. 2. The Bottom left section has a hydrangea blossom drawn in pencil, no ink outline and painted with watercolor. 3.The large flower in the center is several branches and blossoms of the hydrangea plant.

In the right image the page is developed further. 4. Top center is an ink drawing of a small cone flower, watercolor background. 5. Top right has another larger cone flower drawn with water soluble pencil. 6. Is mid-left, Tombow pen drawing of a succulent, watercolor background. 7. Top right corner has another hydrangea blossom drawn with ink and painted with watercolor with a book page as background that is also painted with watercolor. 8. Is another succulent plant drawn with ink with faded text from a book page tinted with pale turquoise watercolor. 9. is a very small cone flower located between 2 and 4. which was first traced onto tissue paper and then applied to the watercolor paper with gel medium, then painted with watercolor.

Jane offers art walk tours in Europe. This summer she conducted one in Italy. Next summer she is conducting one in France on the Riviera. As it turns out, my husband and I had planned to be in that region at the same time for our 40th wedding anniversary. So, we will be joining Jane in Nice for a week. She has things planned for husbands too.

I encourage you to check out what she is up to.




Summer of Watercolor

I revisited my love of watercolor painting this spring and summer. Watercolor was once my favorite medium. However, even though I did many paintings I did not experience the magical elusive success I desired.

Watercolor challenges and you. You cannot control it, you must go with it.

My primary love is drawing from life which I miss.

I took three consecutive courses on-line with Lisa Call over the winter and spring. These courses were outstanding. Lisa delivers an incredible package. She compels you to dig deep and stretch your self. The courses focus on piecing and creating compositions from various points of view. I am very glad I took the courses. However, after the last lesson, I needed a break from sewing.


I took three consecutive courses on-line with Lisa Call over the winter and spring. These courses were outstanding. Lisa delivers an incredible package. She compels you to dig deep and stretch your self.  The courses focus on piecing and creating compositions from various points of view. I am very glad I took the courses. However, after the last lesson, I needed a break from sewing.

The watercolor courses provided just the switch up I needed.

The instructor Jane LaFazio offers a fun and light-hearted course focused on painting from life and not getting too serious. This is the most important element, to not try to hard. To enjoy the medium and the world around you. You can check out her courses here.

The first course was Sketching and Watercolor Journal Style.

This was conducted in the spring. There were plenty of wonderful subjects all around me. It was delightful to do each lesson. Observing nature and drawing what you see is very satisfying and joyful.

Here are some of the results of the assignments:

(click on an image to enlarge it)

citrus_quilt corrected_wash added

leaves 3 flowers 1 flowers-2






New Art

I have completed five new pieces.

This collection can be seen at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts, Bainbridge Island Washington

The original inspiration came from this piece:

Circle the Block V 14"h x 31"w

Circle the Block V
14″h x 31″w

(Yes this is the source for my header above.)

The onset of this application began with a pieced composition that was good but the color was not. I would have liked the colors to be more vibrant. How can I accomplish that? Is there any solution for this composition? I thought that if I could enhance the color of each section that might work so I spontaneously began to cut small rectangles out of colors that would contrast and relate to the base color but also enhance it. I realized that putting one layer of pieces over the base color improved it but not quite enough. I began to place a second layer strategically and this worked. However, because I was working spontaneously, I didn’t think the process through and I begin to panic. How will I attach these without messing up the placement? They were too small to pin and too many. My only choice was to carefully carry it to the machine and begin to sew….while holding my breath. This was next to impossible but somehow I managed to sew each one in place.

I was so happy with the results I wanted to do another, but with a better method. I left it out where I could see it hoping I would think of a solution. A year passed and one day I decided to make another attempt. This time I would attach the pieces with adhesive.

I began with new gusto feeling confident that I could focus on the creative process rather than the method.

Fusing is done with a product called fusible web. This is an adhesive that is acid free and is a thin layer on a backing paper. The fusible web is applied to the back of a piece of fabric with an iron. The backing paper remains on the back until you are ready to fuse the fabric to a surface.

I sketched several compositions with a concept: While thinking about hand stitches and how they are rhythmic running in rows. I also set up sections similar to the original piece.

The stitches (as shapes) were enlarged within the sections. Using this concept I decided to make the first piece 12″ x 12″ with rectangle shapes about 1/2″ wide by 1 1/4″ long. circle the block I_detail

Using cotton fabric with various solid colors and batiks many shapes are cut out to have an assortment to work with. The shapes are layered with smaller rectangles in multiple contrasting colors. The colors interplay and create a vibrant texture and effect.


Circle the Block I in progress

Circle the Block I in progress

The process:

Each composition is divided into several sections. The base layer (background) was cut from several hand dyed cotton fabrics for each section. Specific colors are used to provide a vibrant background for the shapes. Strips of contrasting fabric cover the raw edges of the sections. Each section was developed separately with shapes in color collections.  Each section of the composition stands out but also integrates the composition.

The design, batting and a backing fabric are layered together and machine stitched with various colors of thread to add texture and further secure the shapes.

The process was tedious. As each section was developed more ideas for color combinations were realized. In addition to rectangular shapes, squares and circles found there way into the combination.

As the art developed inspiration from the enlarged stitch shapes evolved. Once the composition was complete I studied it and decided the design resembled cars parked in a parking lot. This made me think about looking for a place to park and often times we must circle the block to find the best lot.

Thus the titles: Circle the Block


Circle the Block I 12" x 12"

Circle the Block I
12″ x 12″

Circle the Block II

Circle the Block II
12″ x 12″


Circle The Block III 12" x 12"

Circle The Block III
12″ x 12″

Circle the Block IV

Circle the Block IV
10″h x 20″w

All of the pieces are mounted to painted canvas. They look really sharp hanging on the wall.

circle the block I_hangingA

Circle the Block II_hanging 2

Circle the Block III_hangingCircle the Block V_hanging

New Updated Menu

I have uploaded all of my artwork. There are now 42 images. This collection is from 2010 to now. In addition, I have updated the menu on the home page. Instead of having one gallery I have created two galleries. The main menu tab is titled:  GALLERIES with two drop down menus below.

 Textile Paintings


Mixed Media

The textile paintings are made with various fabrics. The mixed media pieces are made with various materials. Such as: fabric, assorted papers, wire, buttons, beads. In addition various methods are combined. Such as: Painted fabric, painted paper, paper combined with fabric as “paper cloth”, collage, hand stitching, hand embroidery, to name a few.

Each gallery shows eleven thumbnail images on each page in one column. This makes it easier to see each one separately. Click on an image to see the full image.

I think this is a big improvement. I hope you enjoy seeing all of my artwork. Let me know what you think.


Up-Cycle-Just Do It

Nancy Crow is currently in my little town conducting a two week workshop. I attended one two years ago. This experience taught me many good things. One was, how much I dislike strip piecing. Nancy’s assignments are complex and the amount of time for each one is limited. The pressure to produce is intense. The first assignment was to strip piece several units of black and white fabric using precise measurements ranging from very narrow to wider. This took me until about 1 p.m. Then we were to create a composition and stitch it. It was due first thing the next morning.

Pieced units

I tried several layouts.

Layout #1

This was very challenging. Most every layout I did looked the same: busy. I finally decided on this one and sewed it together. This was challenging too as some of the seams were very thin. There were a lot of bumpy seams to sew over.

Stitched composition

Honestly, I thought all the compositions looked alike. Way too many black and white bands, boxes and lines.

We continued to make compositions all week. The last assignment was to make a 4’x8′ composition using the units made with various colors of fabric. This next photo shows my final composition along with the black and white composition and several experiments on the design wall.


I did not like the large composition. When I got home I took it completely apart. I was full of emotions from the workshop. It was nothing like I expected. But, I am glad I took it. It made me do a lot of thinking. So that was two years ago. I have not looked at the work I did since. This week a friend of mine took the current workshop and stayed at my home. I told her I had not looked or worked with my pieces that I sewed in the workshop. That I didn’t know what to do with them. She convinced me there was something worthwhile in the stack. She commented that one person made a grocery bag from the black and white composition. Wow! I loved that idea.


While she was attending the workshop, I proceeded to make a bag from the black and white composition. I was very motivated. I first studied it and concluded it needed something.  I layered it with batting and backing and proceeded to quilt it vertically one inch apart using variegated grey and white thread.  Afterwards, I decided the black and white is so stark that paint would tone it down and unite the pieces. So I decided to stamp it with paint.

I pondered the spaces and saw that the white spaces would be perfect for a specific shape, but what? Then it came to me…CROWS; to commemorate my workshop experience.  I loved this idea! I made two stamps, one of a crow and one of an abstract set of bars. I didn’t have black paint so I used India ink. This worked well as it soaked in and created a nice medium grey. I then applied white paint with the bars. The combination of the greys united the surface and muted the harsh black and white spaces. The white paint dried transparent so in some spots I stamped again changing the position. I loved the results.

b_W_paintedThe bars remind me of telephone poles which crows sit on.

b_W_painted_full viewI was very happy with the results. This piece was looking great. Next came more quilting; this took about four hours. I stitched horizontally with black thread going around the crows. Then I stitched vertically again with the variegated thread.

I love to add text by quilting free hand. I decided to add one of Nancy’s comments in red thread:



Detailed view

The quilting and the paint made this composition come to life.

Now I had to decide what kind of bag to make. The fabric looked sophisticated now so no grocery bag was in mind. Instead I studied bags online and researched in some of my books. I had to make the size of the bag fit the area I had to work with and I wanted the JUST DO IT on the front. I decided upon a 10×19″ finished bag. Most of the crows that were fully stamped wound up on the back.

I worked the next day for about eight hours and finished the bag all except the handle. The lining is a white and tan linen stripe. The next day I decided to add two pockets on the inside in red fabric. I stamped a crow on each one. The perfect final detail.


I am very proud of this bag. It is functional and beautiful.

This project was satisfying and helped me to think of the positives in the workshop. I am grateful for the advice my friend gave me (thanks Barb!).

I took pictures of the construction process and plan to make a tutorial for this bag. I will put a notice when it is available.





Journal Paintings

I have been inspired by the working methods of Jane LaFazio.

One of her posts about journal paintings motivated me to take out my painting supplies and sketchbook with watercolor paper.

My first attempt is okay. Not great, but at least I did it.



Camellias are in bloom in my garden. I used them as subject matter.

I used a paint brush she recommends that holds water. This works great. No need for a water bowl and rinsing.

She recommends to paint for a few minutes every morning. This will take discipline. I’m geared up to sew most of the time. Painting took a lot of concentration, more than I realized. But, it was a good exercise and made me use parts of my mind that get very little use.

I highly recommend this exercise.

My next subject will come from photos I took on a recent trip to San Diego. I went to an event held every Saturday morning in Little Italy.

Little Italy San Diego, CA

Little Italy San Diego, CA

Several streets are blocked off and vendors set up tents and sell their wares. Fabulous prepared foods, fresh veggies, pastries, fish and jewelry to name a few. Fresh flowers were abundant as well as potted orchids.

Potted Orchids

Potted Orchids

Cut Gerber Daisies

Cut Gerber Daisies

Fresh Kale

Fresh Kale

The red veins caught my eye.

I took pictures with journal paintings in mind. It is an excellent way to document the events and experiences in your daily life.



Modern Design

I am really enjoying seeing the new modern designs that are popular now. These inspire me. The simplicity and lots of negative space relates to my current series:


The negative space is where the bridges will extend.

Recently, I decided to make a modern design as a baby gift.

full view resized

The fabric on the lower right inspired the quilting motif.

I never mark my work prior to quilting. I prefer to work free hand. The frames around the outside are more traditional than modern, but I think they set of the center rather well.

I have never attempted so many free hand circles before, but they came out good.

center washed resized

The baby’s name is BROOKE. I added this detail to the center.

What I like the most is that the design is not limited to BABY. This design can span time.

right side resized

The baby’s first and last name starts with a B.

The fabric (lower right) has the shape of the letter B. So, I used this shape and repeated it in various patterns. This worked really well.

A modern heirloom that turned out great.



Fabric Bridges and Blending

UFO’s (unfinished objects) wait patiently to be finished. Some of mine are being very patient. Some UFO’s present challenges that I am not up for or do not have solutions for. Some are reminders of courses I took that didn’t pan out the way I hoped. Some have good ideas but need to be finished with new ideas and techniques that I have not come across or thought of yet. What I love the most about UFO’s is the potential;  the opportunity to create something totally unexpected. Having the space of time from initiation to the final (new) steps is valuable. I rarely throw out a project as I am hopeful for good things to come. The benefits are worth the wait as I found in my most recent attempts.


In November I decided to revisit a quilt design that I started over three years ago, done with a traditional snow ball block design. But, what I like most about it is the fabrics and the way they blend and build bridges. I used some of Kaffe Fassett’s fabrics which have fabulous colors and batiks that complimented.

This quilt was intended for my daughter Michelle. I was shooting for a lap quilt but somehow the finished size grew beyond that, 60″ square. After I had the quilt top about 1/3 done, I showed her a book of Kaffe Fassett’s work and asked her if she liked it and she turned her nose up. That dashed my spirits and I lost all interest. It has been in a box ever since.

Since I started my new series titled Bridges, I now notice fabrics that are good candidates for building a bridge. A bridge is an element in a design that travels across from one point to another in a bold or dynamic fashion; that unite and blend as well.

I think Kaffe’s fabric has marvelous blending qualities.However, I included some batiks to compliment them. I like the combinations.

My daughters old lap quilt that I made her about 14 years ago has completely disintegrated. It was made of flannel and not a good quality either. I made it as one of my very first projects. I had no idea of the various qualities of fabric at the time. This quilt has gone everywhere even to the labor/delivery room 3 times. She has been needing a new one for quite some time. I thought about starting a new one, letting her pick out the fabrics. Instead, I decided to take out the one I started and rethink things. When I took it out, I realized how much it fit into my current series theme of blending and bridges. Was I ahead of myself when I started it? Did I need to wait for experience? I think so. I do love the fabrics and the design.

My daughter likes pineapples and butterflies. I put a large pineapple as the center piece and found a fabric that had butterflies (border).


I drew the design of the pineapple and created it on a interfacing foundation, hand appliqued and then attached as one unit. This is a favorite applique technique of mine.

center 2 I rather like working in a square format it sets up different observations.

This one is too large for me to quilt so now I am searching for a long arm quilter that does creative work. I hope I find a good one.

I was able to finish the top before Christmas and could present it to my daughter. I was delighted to see the WOW! expression on her face. She LOVED it. Success. Not only did I need to wait to finish it, but she needed time to appreciate new things.


 Another UFO complete.