Saturday, September 28, 2013

Australian Aboriginal Art

Didn't get to quilt too much this last week, just a little machine quilting on my newest art quilt.  We are having major plumbing issues at home with a leak in a pipe under our slab.  Lots of fun, as you can imagine.  So most of my time has been spent dealing with plumbers and insurance adjusters and we're still not done.  My former studio, which was turned back into my son's room when he moved home, now has a gaping hole through which you can see the mud under the slab.  More jackhammering on Monday to find yet another two leaks and then hopefully it can be patched up without us having to redirect all our plumbing overhead through the attic.

So, instead of showing you pictures of that gaping hole in the floor, I thought I'd share some of my students' Australian Art compositions because they did such a great job on them.  I hope they offer some inspiration for creating quilts.  The paint they used made the paper ripple a little, so the photos aren't quite flat looking.  Once they are framed or pinned to a wall they really look great.  My 7th graders really enjoyed making these.  Hope you enjoy them too.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Chalk Art in the Park

Yesterday was the annual Arte de Tiza Festival in the city park in Paso Robles.  I had 14 middle school students participate.  There were great paintings done by participants ranging in age from preschoolers to adults. Here are some photos.

I really liked this one for some reason.  Above shows the artist in process and below the finished piece.

Below is one done by my friend Mary, who as you can see, draws beautifully.

 Below are ones from some of my middle school students, who had such a great time there.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Using Gesso and Paint with a Little Inspiration from Paul Klee

Not too long ago, I did some experimenting with Black gesso and paint which I saw back in May, on Wen Redmond’s wonderful site,  The gesso acts somewhat like a resist to the more fluid paint.  It provides a raised surface to which to bring your paint.  I really like Paul Klee's work and was inspired by his painting of "Castle and Sun".

Castle and Sun by Paul Klee, 1928

Another one of my favorite paintings of Klee's is below.  If you've never checked out his work, I highly recommend doing so.  His use of color, value, shape, and space are very playful and delightful.

Heroic Roses by Paul Klee, 1938

Below is  a picture of my improvisational doodle in black gesso.  For whatever reason, I did not take a picture of my Klee inspired one with just the gesso.  But this will give you an idea of the process.

I allowed both pieces to dry for a week. 

I then painted within the small gesso outlined shapes using  Jackard’s Dyna Flow and Seatacolors mixed with a little water added to it and some acrylic ink.  I'm not real thrilled with how it turned out, but I really liked the process and plan to do more with it. Creating art is a lot about learning.  Not everything turns out great.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Julie Hirota at Almond Country Guild Meeting

Last night we had a wonderful guest speaker at our guild meeting, Julie Hirota.  She gave a warm and funny lecture illustrating her journey from receiving dual degrees in engineering at UC Davis, and working as a full time engineer to becoming a full time quilt artist. Like many of us, she dabbled in other areas of arts and crafts along the way as she tried to find her niche.  I could really relate to her, as I was first a macrame enthusiast, then weaver and dyer of yarns, followed by becoming a polymer clay addict and finally have emerged as mostly a surface designer/quilter, although I may not be done yet.

Here are a few pictures of her quilts.  To see more, visit her website,

Today Julie is teaching a class in subtractive applique, and this is an example of one of her pieces in that style.  Sorry, it's not a great picture, with the heads in the way, but I think you can get the idea.  Subtractive qpplique uses techniques similar to the reverse applique as practiced by the Kuna Indians of Panama.

Here is a picture of one of Julie's mosaic quilts.

I really like her tiled quilts the best.  

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Garden Update

Haven't been able to get to doing too much of my own art the last week and a half, due to getting ready for school.  Last week Tuesday, I greeted 150 some students and this next week I get another 32.  Our 6th graders get PE one week, then alternate with an elective the following week.  So I have a total of 180 students to teach, grade projects, consult with their parents, etc., but only see and teach 150 daily.  I still really enjoy teaching art to kids and love how excited they get when they create something, but it is exhausting and always a little difficult getting back into the routine after a relaxing summer.

Last June, I built a raised garden bed and posted the pictures here, so am showing you what it looks like today.

  There are tomato plants on the left side and large sunflowers dwarfing the basil plants below.  I liked how my shadow superimposed on the plants in this photo. Below is another view of the box.

Here is one of three pomegranates from a tree given to me by my friend Gail.