Archive for April, 2010

SAQA The Design Line – Day 2

April 9, 2010

Three more pages done and a chapter on Line read.  This time I used India ink and a flat brush for one page:

India ink and a round brush for this next page:

And a Sharpie for the 3rd page:

I was surprised by how long it took the India ink to dry.  And I liked how easy it was to change the line with the flat brush.   Tip it on edge and you get a fine line, flat and you get a nice plump line.  If the bristles clump, lots of little closely spaced lines result.   This was a good day.  I learned how to get different effects with some of my brushes, and learned it’s not a great idea to mix different orientations on the same page.  It confuses the eye too much.  From now on I’m going to stick to one orientation a page. 

As for the chapter on Line?  It took me 2 days to read it.  I wanted to take my time, look at the reference pictures and study each one so I could SEE the lines.  My eye tends to look for color, and it was a different way for me to look at the pictures. Training my eye to look at pictures/quilts a different way, and learning about design is going to take time, probably the rest of my life.  What an enjoyable life I have ahead of me.

As you can tell, I’m still enthused about studying good design principles, and am continuing to do the line pages every day.  I won’t post anymore pictures of them though.  You must be  getting bored of looking at lines on a white piece of paper.  Instead, I’ll start posting the results of some exercises. 

Have a great weekend everyone.  I’ll be back posting again on Monday. 



SAQA The Design Line – Day 1

April 6, 2010

Today I decided to experiment with 3 different line orientations: horizontal, vertical and diagonal.  I used a #2 pencil and some printer paper as they were handy. 

This first page has 2 horizontal lines drawn on it:


The first block I drew (at the top) was very geometric with semi-evenly spaced marks.  I crossed the border between line and shape by making the boxes and circles though.  It was really hard for me not to draw shapes.  

Having that straight horizontal line also made me want to stick with straight, horizontal rows.  This was constricting, as my brain felt it had to maintain order, instead of making freeform marks.

Realizing what was happening, I consciously tried using more curved lines in the middle section.  Again, the circle in the corner crossed over from creating lines to creating shapes.  My mind wants to make sense out of the lines.  That’s probably why it ended up looking vaguely like a landscape.  Here I thought  I was a free spirit.  Evidently, that is not true.

The bottom section proves that point.  Yes, it’s lines, but my right brain exerted itself and made me write words. 

It’s not easy for me to make random line marks.  This requires practice, and I’m a product oriented person, not process oriented.  The only way I’m going to work through this exercise is by making a game out of it.  I’ll work on the same page orientations everyday for a week to see if I can loosen up a bit.  It’ll be interesting to see what the last 3 pages look like.  If there is some progress, I’ll continue practicing this one exercise everyday for the rest of the month.

Back to the other 2 pages though.  Here is what the vertical segmented paper looks like:

Already I can see some differences.  The 2 side sections are more random line work.  Yes, the one on the left resembles a tree a bit, but the one on the right is just line after line.  The middle is a mixture.  And I did draw from the left to the right, so the closer I got to end of the page, the better I got at making just lines.

This is the diagonal paper:

I started with the squiggles on the left, went to the cross hatching, then the alternating directional straight lines, and crossed into shapes again with the triangles, followed by the writing and, lastly back to line work.

 The last section reminds me of a crazy quilt pieced section as I drew it with that in mind.   The only reason I included the words in one of the wedges was because I had included words in the first 2 pages. There’s my must “matchy-matchy”  desire asserting itself again.  I’ll break that habit with tomorrow’s papers. 

The horizontal lines are supposed to evoke a sense of calmness, the vertical a sense of strength, and the diagonal a sense of motion.  It’s spot on as far as I’m concerned, although making each wedge different on the diagonal paper makes you stop to view each section individually.  That is not necessarily a bad thing.  It certainly stops a person from looking quickly and then moving onto the next image.

It’s good to add to my knowlege base which lines to use when I want to evoke one of those emotions.  Already I’m learning and and it’s only the first day.

Tonight I’ll read a chapter in one of my reference books that focuses on line.  Hopefully, my brain will work on what I’ve read while I sleep and tomorrow’s papers will reflect the material.


SAQA Visioning Goal Progress

April 4, 2010

Another bright, sunny day today – cooler, but still a wonderful day. I got my 15 minutes of sunshine and came back inside enthused about studying design principles.

This is what I’ve accomplished so far: 

I’m using the internet, some books purchased with my goal in mind, and articles from Quilting Arts Magaine to research the elements of design.

My reference materials are – in no particular order:

The Art Quilt Workbook by Jane Davila and Elin Waterston – which I really like as it has exercises to do while you learn the subject matter, and it is clearly written.

Finding Your Own Visual Language – A practical guide to design and composition by Jane Dunnewold, Clair Benn and Leslie Morgan – another book I really like as the exercises are numerous and there are lot of variations suggested.

I’ve worked through some of the chapters in both of these books and need to continue working through more of them and revisiting some of my favorite exercises.

Quilting Arts Magazine Issue #42 – an interview with architect/art quilter Valerie Goodwin.  Having a design background in architecture instead of textiles opened my eyes to a different approach on how to create an art quilt.  In fact, this is the article that inspired me to change my Visioning Goal.

The Quilters’ Book of Design by Ann Johnston – this a new book to my library, but I love everything Ann Johnston has ever published so figured this would be a good resource.  I will post a review of it in later posts as I get a chance to read through it.

The Visual Dance by Joean Wolfrom – this woman is a genius with fabric and color, but this book focus on design. I also own her Color Play, and The Magical Effects of Color books, and plan on using them when I explore that aspect of design.

A good internet site I found is John Lovett’s website.  It is for painters, but I found a lot of useful information there.

After spending a couple of  hours trying to narrow down the Principles and Elements of Design, I came to the conclusion that there are a lot of varying opinions on exactly what they are. There were some held in common, but nobody had the exact same list.  All mentioned agreed on:






John included Direction and Size for a total of 7 elements of design.

Valerie Goodwin included Form and Space for a total of 7 also.

Ann Johnston included Pattern and had a total of 6.

My plan is to spend a month on each of the 5 elements of design all the above sources have in common. Line will be the focus for April’s piece, Shape will be the focus for May’s piece, etc… until all 5 of the elements have been explored.  This won’t be an in depth study, but it will be a beginning.  I’m a product of Catholic school education – plenty of religion classes, but no art classes.  sigh   It’s never too late to learn something though. 

Hopefully, I’ll be creating a foundation of knowledge that will enable me to stretch and grow as an art quilter and in all my other textile interests. Who knows how my next crazy quilted, beaded or knitting project will be influenced by what I learn?

I’m so excited. Can you tell I’ve found something that has captured my interest?  Bliss, this is utter and complete bliss.


Changed My SAQA Visioning Goal for 2010

April 3, 2010

We are experiencing record breaking warm weather in the northeast and I’m enjoying every minute of it.  We can sleep with the windows open at night, the songbirds wake us up in the morning, and we are getting lots of glorious sunshine – all with low humidity.  It doesn’t get any better than this.

The 3rd and last crib quilt for my physical therapist’s babies has been completed:

This is my original design and I enjoyed making this very much.  I love the way the Battenburg doilies create the curves without any curved piecing required.  The borders echo the tulip design in the fabric and was an embroidery design that was in my sewing machine.  I flipped it so the tulip stems were curving in different directions but the tulip heads were all going in the same direction.

You can’t see in the photo, but I used Sulky 12wt cotton variegated cotton thread and Madeira 20wt veriegated cotton thread in different greens.  It’s quite pretty in person and having all the different shades of green makes the stems look more natural.

Now onto what has been bothering me since January 1st.  Some of you might remember that I stated 3 personal goals  I wanted to accomplish in 2010 last January.  Well, my SAQA Visioning Goal was intimidating the bejeebers out of me, so I avoided starting it.  After much thinking, I decided to change it. 

For me, it is more important to accomplish something I’d enjoy learning and working on, than to force myself to stick with an original goal that filled me with dread and trepidation.  So, here is my new “Official Now Posted on SAQA’s Visioning Wiki Space” goal for 2010: to study design principles and learn to combine them in my artwork to create layers of interest.   I’m the only person in the group with that as a goal and am hoping someone else will decided it’s a worthy goal so we can bounce ideas off each other. 

To work towards accomplishing my goal,  I’ve purchased several design books and will work my way through them, chapter by chapter.  I will make a piece every month to show what I’ve learned and applied to my work, and pictures will be posted on my blog, and on SAQA’s wiki space.  It feels so good to be positive about working on this Visioning project now.  A weight has been lifted by simply giving myself permission to change my goal. 

Only 2 pictures from our Florida vacation today.  Both from the Everglades National Park – of alligators of course.  This one looks like it’s taking a “love” bite out of it’s fellow alligator:


And this one was way too close for comfort:

I could not get over how close the walking paths were to the alligators.  That is my husband’s foot on the path.  I was way too chicken to get that close.  My excuse?  I have bum knees and can’t run fast anymore.  Hey, I’ll grab any excuse  to avoid saying I really don’t like alligators, and I really didn’t want to get too close to them.  😉

It was hot as all get out when we were there, and we took a couple of breaks because I was beet red from the heat.  Most people perspire.  Not me. I get beet red then pass out, but I did love our time spent in the Everglades.  It was one of the highlights of the trip. 

We were blessed to go on a windy day, so the bugs left us alone, till the Eco Pond site we visited last.  They started biting at dusk, and we were pretty much well ready to leave anyway, so it wasn’t a huge inconvenience. 

Now I’m a city loving person, married to a guy who loves country life.  It really surprised me how much I enjoyed walking through 4 of the trails, and driving all the way through the park.  If we had more time, we would have walked all the trails, and both of us would like to go back to Florida to do just that. 

I thoroughly enjoyed taking hundreds, and I mean hundreds, of pictures of the trees and plants, and some of the birds.   My preference was definitely for the trees and plants though.  I loved the sounds of the Everglades, I loved the peace, I loved the slower pace.  There is something about walking under the tree hammocks that gives you a sense of rightness.   It was an experience I will treasure and remember for the rest of my life. 

My wish for all of you is to experience that sense of rightness in your life.