Monday, October 17, 2011

Olana visit in July

Photo of my friend, Linda, painting plein aire near the steps at Olana. The bank drops off sharply all the way down to the Hudson River. You can see the Catskills in the hazy distance. It was a very warm summer day and the first time I've ever painted there. It's a very popular spot for those of us that want to try our hand at painting it. This is the view that Frederic Church enjoyed everyday! It's a beautiful place to visit and you can take a guided tour of his home overlooking the Hudson River. Here's a link to the site.

That's my French resistance guerilla painter on the tripod and here's a photo of the painting I did that day.
8" x 10"
gallery wrapped stetched canvas
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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Life and Death of Vincent Van Gogh

Did you happen to see the episode on 60 Minutes tonight about Vincent Van Gogh?  It was great.  There is debate about whether or not the artist actually killed himself or was he shot by someone else?  Here's a link to the show where you can read the transcript for yourself.  I think you can watch it on this site as well.  Just looking at the art work is worth the browse.;cbsCarousel

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bali Pops Batik lap quilt


Close up of free motion quilting

I finally finished this Bali Pops quilt! I think I started it last winter, but it seems like a decade or so ago. Bali Pops are packaged batiks that you buy in a colorway of your choice.  This one is called Kiwiberry. I liked it because it had a lot of purple in it.  The Bali Pops come in 2.5" wide and 44" long strips. 100% cotton and made in Bali for Hoffman Fabrics.
 I got enough in the pack (40 strips) to make the front of the quilt and I scrapped the back of it together with other batik odds and ends I had. I added a cotton batting to the inside.  It's a lightweight quilt. I found the pattern on-line as part of a blog from another quilter.  She had a great tutorial! If you'd like to see how it's done, click on this link.
After piecing it, I sent it to a woman in Michigan who does machine quilting.  I told her to quilt it in her choice of pattern and thread color. I think she did a great job. If you're interested in her, contact me for her info.
Now I have to finish another queen sized quilt that I started last year.  I have all 12 blocks done, but I haven't decided how to finish it off. 
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

White Line Woodcut Printmaking

My friend, Shirley, and I took part in the Saugerties/Woodstock art trail this past August.  We visited several area artists and met some really cool people.  One artist, in particular, stood out for me.  Anita Barbour.  Not only is she a super nice lady, she is very talented.  The day of the art tour, she was demonstrating White Line woodcut printmaking.  I'd never heard of it. It's an art form that was started in Provincetown MA back around the time of  WWI.  Below is a link to a website that explains it in detail with a few photos.
You don't need a lot of materials or fancy presses.  You basically have a line drawing on a piece of soft wood.  You carve the lines with either a wood gouge or a craft knife.  Next, a piece of soft watercolor paper is secured to one side of the design.  The design is painted with watercolors and you press the paper down on top of the wood and rub the back.  Peel it up and voila!, you have a color print of your artwork!  I couldn't wait to give it a whirl, so when I got home that day I used (don't laugh) a styrofoam meat tray and carved out a simple design.  No, this is no masterpiece, but it was fun to see the results.  I intend to get a proper piece of wood to try this on.  Hey, maybe I'll make my Christmas cards this year!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Review Guerrilla Painter Pochade

Almost a year ago, Ed bought me a Guerrilla painter pochade. I got the medium French Resistance model.  I wanted to review it right away, but decided to use it for awhile. I had been using a homemade box which I'll tell you about on another post.
The Guerrilla comes with a tripod mounting bracket on the bottom and it attaches to any standard tripod. I found one on that is absolutely perfect. Lightweight and easy to use. Made by Velbon CX 444.
This box measures 10 x 13 x 3. It will allow you to paint on a canvas from 4 x 6 to 16 x 20. I have never used that larger size because I tend to paint small in plein air.  You need to work quickly due to weather and lighting changes and I haven't learned yet how to accomplish that!
The box is well made considering it's made in China just about like everything else in the US.
I like that it has leather straps. The long compartment holds your brushes and there are little holes drilled so you can hang your brushes while painting. Only negative is that some of my brushes are too long for this spot and you really need to cut off an inch or so to make them fit without bending the bristles. There's also an adjustable partition where you can put your jars for mediums or turps.  Rags can store under the lid.  The palette area can be used two ways.  Either squeeze out your paints right on the bottom which allows you plenty of mixing area, or drop in a palette. I like the plastic one with the air tight lid. Not that large, but not as messy and helps keep the paint from drying out if you don't scrape your palette clean at the end of the painting session. Paint tube storage: I can keep a couple tubes inside, but most of the time I have to carry a small tackle box with me for the rest of my paints and brushes.  I know the more experienced painters out there say to limit your palette and don't carry so many paints, but I'm still working on that. I tend to get out there and wish I had a color that I didn't bring, so I throw a lot of them in the tackle box and carry it along in a tote bag. A roll of paper towels, bug spray, water bottle and the tripod go in there, too, and I find it not to heavy or cumbersome.
A nice feature is that you can carry your finished painting home on the OUTSIDE of the box by using the same little metal bar that you use on the inside to support your canvas. There are holes drilled in the top that allows you to relocate that bar.  A shoulder strap is an option that I didn't get.  I just took a strap off an old duffle bag I wasn't using and attached it to the provided rings on the box. 
I give this box a 4 out of 5 star rating. It's lightweight and I can set it up and break it down in a matter of minutes. As I said earlier, the brushes don't fit as well as I'd like them to so I can't give it a 5!   It sells for $149.99 at which is where my husband bought it. Compared to other pochades on the market, this is a good value.
*my first two photos were taken from the manufacturers website. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Guest Instructor Today

Today at our art group we had a guest instructor, Kate McGloughlin!  We all love Kate.  Her mom was my kindergarten teacher and about 22 years later my son had her for kindergarten, as well.  Kate is a wonderful artist and the president of the board of directors for the Woodstock School of Art.  She often leads groups on excursions to various locations for a week of painting.   Here's a link to Kate's blog.