Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Making Tuesday: Personal Critique

Hello Tuesday! It is now cool and cloudy but not raining, there is some brightness, at least I'd like to think the sun is trying to peak through, the weather is quite enjoyable at the moment.

There has been a few posts on watercolor paintings, I used to paint in watercolors ages ago but they made a comeback recently for no apparent reason. I thank you again for your lovely comments on the paintings, they are much appreciated and very encouraging. But truth to the matter, not all the paintings were as successful as the ones posted.

After the creation of Gingko Biloba Leaves, I got into my head that every painting after that would be better, better in what way I do not know. This added some undesired pressure which made it difficult to get the creative process going. The piece below is the first of my idle attempts, I wanted the leaf to be bright like the ginko biloba, but it turned out too flashy and unreal. Due to the lighting situation its shadow was unrealistic, though the dark blue outlines of the shell was quite good, the painting turned out looking rather disjointed.

The second effort was an oak leaf, I tried so hard to match the colors the effort took too long and by the end there was little energy spent on the shadow, the result was unfavorable.

One more go at a different oak leak, the midrib was a most awkward shape... I didn't bother finishing the piece!

So why do I show these paintings? Because art is a learning process, it is important to move past the fruitless trials and strive forward. If I had not done this, Of Land and Sea would not have existed. This is something I find very interesting about the creative affair, I like the possibility of gaining knowledge and new skills each time I work on a project. And on this note, I bid you farewell and see you next week!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Making Wednesday: Of Land and Sea

And Stone and Shell. My latest watercolor adventure, just 2 small pieces of memories collected from a past visit to the beach, the colors in the painting are more vibrant than the real objects. I had fun choosing the shades but the final detail was in the dots, which were at first plain brown tones, then afterwards painted over in orange and greenish blue in some parts.

It is very gray and wet here, and has been for the past few days. On some days the wind blew so hard I don't think there are any leaves left on the trees. I am missing the sunny days at the beach. Painting size 5" x 6.5" or 12 cm x 16 cm.

Thank you so much for your lovely comments on my watercolor posts. I hope there is warmth and sunshine wherever you are. XOXO

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Making Tuesday: Ginkgo Biloba Leaves

In the neighborhood where George lives all the trees were shedding their leaves, including a Ginkgo biloba tree. It stood there in the rain, amongst its fallen companions, all of them bright yellow and cheery despite the grey weather. "We've got to collect some of them on our way home," I said to Dave, and that was what we did after a leisurely visit with our friend George.

I took a good look at my little collection when we got home, fresh and fertile from the rain water, they lay drying on a piece of tissue. I've always liked their shape and I wanted to paint them right away, but it was only after a few days before there was enough time. By then, the leaves had shrivelled up a bit but the golden hue remained with hints of green and deep orange. It took about 2 hours for the painting to complete, extra attention was spent to include all the colors I saw, but the final detail was in the shadows, soon as that was added the painting was complete. Size is 7.5" x 11".

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Making Wednesday: Watercolor Lichen Pair

Another watercolor pair created the same way as last week's set of 2, the painting subject some lichen I had collected on one of our camping trips. I found the outlines of the delicate plant matter challenging to decipher, quite a bit of time was spent simplifying the intricate puzzle of tiny branches. More hours were devoted to color exploration, a few combinations were not what I had envisioned but perseverance ruled the day. I like the blue. Painting size 4.5" x 4.5".

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Making Tuesday: A Watercolor Pair

Hello Tuesday! This week started out with plenty of grey and lots of rain... but there was a bit of sunshine on Sunday that brought about some Novi creation. On the table sat a new pad of Opus Finest Watercolor Paper and an old set of watercolors. A couple of pencil sketches were made, which led to more detailed drawings with a fine tip permanent marker. Colors were quickly mixed and painted on, layers of detail soon followed. It was not long until 2 paintings were completed, the first a set of 3 seashells, obtained from the shores of Indonesia almost 2 decades ago. The second a collection of stones from a recent camping trip, all of them oval shaped.

I've forgotten how simple it was to paint with watercolors, I think the last time was close to 2 decades ago. I remembered enjoying the process back then, and on Saturday I quite liked the way the project came along. So we wonder, will there be more watercolor paintings?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Making Thursday: Briny the Studio Fish

After Stripy the Wonder Dog was created, he was quickly shipped off to a far away land and was well received by a loving family. Though it felt good to know something so simple brought about such joy, I miss him dearly. I could not get my mind off those orange and blue stripes on that thrifted sweater I used, something will have to be done.

No pattern was used, everything was roughed out with a white thread and running stitches, shapes cut out with a sharp scissors. Before long, a needle was sewing blanket stitches all around the elliptical form, fins were attached as it went along and an old button was sewn on for an eye. A few running stitches in dark red and... Briny the Studio Fish was born!

She sat relaxed in the corner bookshelf, not much has been going on in the studio for the past few months, not personal projects anyways. Will there be some Novi creating time this coming week, she wonders?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Making Wednesday: A Summer Necklace

A summer necklace on a not so summery day, a continuation of posts on jewellery. This was made a few months ago, inspired by the colors of the Chinese Emperor's robe. At the bead store I was attracted to a strand of oily jade, its shade an almost greenish yellow. It found its place amongst bits of coral, turquoise, yellow resin and various glass beads, the main focus a crystal quartz. A light piece worn many time this summer with purples and greys.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Follow the White Rabbit

A BIG Hello to all!! I admit it has been quiet for quite some time on my blog but I have not forgotten about you. There has been a lot of going and not a whole lot of stopping. There has been some changes, but all good. Today a huge hurdle was overcome, let it be known I have no control whatsoever in the end result, so I let it rest and move forward.

I say hello with my new soap dish, acquired some time ago at a dollar store in Chinatown. I could not resist it's simple shape, not to mention the ears! Its snout lifts the soap up and keeps it dry, every time I soap my hands the eyes peek out at me.

A short post today, but I have more posts planned for the rest of the week. Until then, follow the white rabbit!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Making Tuesday: Summer Blanket

A continuation of Saturday's post, here is the final product, a summer blanket in all its glory! Made of the softest second hand men's shirts in blues and browns, some bright squares of new fabric were thrown in as well. The backing, a soft pale blue cotton were folded twice around the edges to give it a good border. The entire blanket was machine quilted in straight stitches, I am a fairly new quilter, past projects did not finish as well as this. The summer blanket is well received on cool evenings when the sun has set

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Making Saturday: Fabric Squares on the go

Dropping in this warm Saturday evening to say Hello! Some fabric squares laid out on the couch, what am I making? Any guesses?

It is somewhat difficult to concentrate in this heat but thanks to 2 fans on the go we are keeping cool. Stay tuned Tuesday for the finished product!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Making Tuesday: Feet Cushions for the Coffee Table

The hunt for a coffee table kept us on the trail for the last couple of years. With high requirements for practicality and a small budget, the search ended just 2 weekends ago. The tiled surface allowed for casual placements of food and drinks, there was even a shelf that housed remote controls, a tissue box, pens and pads. Its measurements were near perfect, longer in length and lower in height than the old table, it quickly served as an ottoman. But a much softer resting ground for tired feet was needed, which led to a speedy sewing project that very same weekend. In just 2 hours the green on green cushions were completed, created in the same Batik fabric used in the couch cushions they are a welcome addition to the living room.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Making Thursday: Hallway Banner

A continuation from Tuesday's
post, today the finished project:
banner for the hallway... Tah Dah!

The newly painted teal wall was
one source of inspiration, the
other came from a recent movie

If you haven't seen it,
you must, for it told of a
most wonderful journey in
the exotic land of India. But
somewhere along the story
line, there appeared the
umbrella in the courtyard.
Its faded fabric had seen
better days but I could not
take my eyes off it. As I
went about the rest of the night
preparing for next day's work,
the idea of the hallway
banner came to light.

The shape was quickly
sketched out, the making was
swift, the banner now hung
at the end of our hallway,
a companion to two
wooden Bali heads.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Making Tuesday: Mystery Project

Hi Hi! It has been very grey and rainy for this past long weekend. Hopes for enjoying the outdoors this Canada Day were dashed when we found out about the weather. But all was not lost, tons of unfinished projects commanded some indoor attention, like this one which has been brewing in my head for quite some time. Careful selection of fabric colors were involved, then there was some sewing and cautious snipping around the edges. What am I making... Any guesses? Check back Thursday for the finished result!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Making Tuesday: A Trio of Necklaces

Hello this grey and humid Tuesday! As promised from last week's post more necklaces will be shared today. The first a muted blue grey dotted with golden resin, orange coral and turquoise. Pale green fluorite and soft lavender ceramic beads were added to tone down the colorful mix, the odd Swarovski crystal gave a bit of sparkle. Also incorporated were seed beads of neon pink, tossed in for a bit of fiery but cheerful surprise, the result a variation of colors and shapes throughout this piece.

The second necklace a much deeper coloration than the first, its hues of dark greens and blues reminiscent of peacock feathers. I could not get enough of the Swarovski crystals thus included were twinkling amethyst, emerald and deep grey sapphire. To warm up the cool tones, rich earthy jasper and amber resin were mixed in, this simple neckpiece went well with a lot of my darker t-shirts.

The last necklace started off with a focal crystal tear drop. I wanted to make something completely different, somehow this led to silver bugles paired with lapis lazuli, more crystals and more seed beads in neon shades of various kinds. I just think the end product reminded me of the eighties.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Making Tuesday: A Tale of Two Necklaces

Hello... Tuesday! Just dropping in to say hello after some silence on my blog. A quick recount of the last 2 months, April started off with a last minute trip out of town to see some family, upon my return a cold bug forced me into resting and taking it easy for a while. Many days of wet and grey haunted the month of May, thus several hours was spent indoors crafting away in my studio.

What did I make? Well... it all started with a closet cleaning mission earlier in the year, where boxes of beads collected some 20 years ago were discovered. A brief rummage revealed a creative possibility and one afternoon later the pale green fluorite with jasper, turquoise and coral necklace was born. Heavier and longer than any neckpiece I normally wear, it turned out to be a good accompaniment to many of my older shirts, including some newer ones. I admit I have worn it a few times, the shapes a mix of cubes and tubes, its soft earth tones inspired by the colors encountered on our New Mexico road trip.

The other chain started off with a purchase of white coral bugles at a newly opened bead store last year. After the completion of the first piece I was motivated to make another, one with the same merriment. Brighter hues of golden resin mingled with sea green amazonite, red and orange coral of various irregular forms accented the entire length. It even utilized some handmade ceramic rounds and hand carved bone beads, an additional personal touch to an already unique creation. More and more items were included until all the white coral bugles were used up, its total length came to 28 inches, the longest piece I ever made. I have yet to debut this necklace in public, as I do with other works, more to be shared on future making posts!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New Mexico Journal Day 3 Of Houses and Mountains and Colors

Hello and welcome to this week's edition of midweek escape to... New Mexico! Last week we were on our way to Red Canyon from Salt Lake City, just past the city limits the camera was constantly snapping away at one spectacular scenery after another. There was such an endless array of picturesque landscapes it was difficult to decide which ones end up in the final post. The challenge continues in this post, apart from capturing the countryside views, there was a welcoming change of homes which we encountered each time we neared a town. Sightings of older buildings were of particular interest, such as the ones pictured below. A row of identical looking cottages, were these for residential or livestock purposes?
Just a couple of miles away another home stood alone, this one a much older generation than the ones above, interestingly enough it was furnished with not one but two chimneys. Its weathered roof spoke of country charm, the scalloped design around the front door frame was a pretty detail.
A business we came across, the alphabets from the former sign had left a shadowy trace, if it was not for the flashy yellow sign one might assume this was an abandoned property.
The freeway led the little car into the distant blue, we were accompanied by the the rich tones of the bordering land on both sides.
A closer look of the mountains on the left, more triple colored ridges... 
... followed by dunes, an overall deep ochre with hints of reddish earth peeking through. 
It was delightful to come across such intense shades but the cooler and subtler palette below was a refreshing and soothing presence. This was the first time I came across something like it, I had no idea such shades existed in this part of the country. 
As the road pressed on, we were reminded earlier that morning the radio forecasted a good chance of grey and wet weather, some gathering clouds were witnessed along the way but none were as dense as this.
The sky grew darker and heavier until it was almost impossible to see the white, but strangely enough the cloud cover began to split up into two distinguishable sections. Lightning flashed and thunder was heard, but there was no sign of rain as the highway zoomed by, the ride was traveling at such a high speed we were too fast to get caught in the storm. Soon the clouds began to dissipate and... 
... we returned back to brighter pastures. 
The fortunate escape from bad weather was shortly followed by the lookout for a washroom stop, a sign for Hoovers Rest Area beckoned us to get off the road. A few minutes was spent freshening up, refilling the water bottles and re-organizing the snacks before heading back to the road. It was one of the nicest stopovers, a quiet little parking lot just steps away from the main road pleasant enough to have a nap. There was even a short trail to explore the mountains and trees, birds of unknown species were spotted chirping about the bushes.
Back on the route a vista similar to what we saw beforehand, grey mountains with sage green shrubbery and tan colored grass that were ever so typical of this region.
Just as we thought the drive would proceed through identical fields the sun decided to break through, it shone on the existing green grass and created a lovely glow, the result was this brilliant lime color. What a difference the sunshine made!
Happy to see the sunlight, the camera began to pick out anything it illuminated including some unusual buildings like this one captured below. It appeared to be a residential home, the rear a standard Western structure but its front a modified wall that encompassed a Southwestern theme. 
Another unique construction, its sandy stucco exterior well suited to the sunburst design on the arch, the plastered windows and doors forever sealed, whatever happened to this business or its occupants?
Not far away an old wood cabin, the bricks on the front yard seemed recently delivered, how long had the cottage been there and what would be its future purpose?
The shabby hut above was the first to welcome us to the rest of the farmstead, which comprised of several more structures just like it.
The camera could not stop snapping away, there was something captivating about the way the building frames were left to decay over the decades.
Perhaps it was because of the warmth that glowed within the deteriorating lumber, maybe it was the sentimental notion of what it would be like to live off such a land.
Just as the houses were roughened by the harsh climate so were the bordering terrain, the menacing rugged ridges a sharp contrast to the gentle rolling grass.
The camera detected some water nearby, this must be the reason for the healthy looking turf, it's amazing how great of a difference such little moisture made...
... even the shrubs on the hillside looked prolific. 
After 7 hours of driving we were finally getting close to Red Canyon, the road that took us through peaceful landscapes were suddenly bombarded by a mishmash of signs, each screaming louder than the next to alert us of available accommodations. Our plan was to stay at the campground located in the park, as informed by the staff at Salt Lake City visitor centre... well, if all the sites were occupied there would be many second options.
We drove on and went by a meandering river, paired with this waterway the faded far-off mountains felt everlastingly peaceful.
A glimpse of red were noted on the hills despite the falling evening dusk, colors seemed more saturated at this time of day.
The rain cloud we had previously escaped finally caught up to us... sigh, one could be lucky for only a limited amount of time. The change in weather did not stop the camera from recording, some lovely shades pulled through on the fluid speckled window. What will we find at Red Canyon? Our New Mexico adventure will continue next week!