Archive for the ‘Drawing’ Category

still waiting for trees to leaf out!

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

At our altitude of 7500′ the scrub oak are the natives.  They wait to leaf out until there is no possibility of a heavy, wet snow.  This is why there are seldom broken branches on the scrub oaks.  They are well-adapted to our climate.

I keep photocopies of lots of actual leaves so that I can keep working through the long winter of bare branches.  The photocopier is a very good camera for things that are flat.

The sharp division between heartwood (darker) and sapwood in these bowls tempted me to draw zentangles on the sapwood portion.  Before I drew in the backgrounds, the leaves seemed a little undersized for the bowls.  Usually I like for the leaves to touch the rim in at least 2 places.

The cottonwoods are also native to this region, and they, too, are slower to leaf out than the non-natives.

I took both of these photos before applying the final finish to these bowls.  It is an acrylic lacquer with a shiny finish.  It looks silky to the eye, but my camera doesn’t like the shiny finishes, even in filtered light.

A woodturner would ask about the wood.  These were air-dryed roughed-out blanks that Dennis prepared in 2013.  Absolutely bone dry at the time I turned them, and very fine-grained for a Western Ash.  These trees are dying from the green ash borer that came to the US on a shipping pallet from China.

Rio Mio flows to SAQA show in Lakewood

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Visitors to the September Studio Tour saw this quilt in the early stages.  I read that AirBnB was the hospitality sponsor for the summer Olympics in Rio, and that led to lots of imagined little houses and other buildings climbing up the hillside from the bay.

Some of the buildings are zentangle drawings from my notebook, printed onto fabric and then painted to fit into the neighborhood.

Two micro-buses are climbing the hill.  Will Uber also be there?

Size:  43″ tall x 19.5″ wide

Rio Mio will be at a the SAQA show, ‘Above and Beyond’ at the Lakewood Cultural Center, opening January 22nd.

the humble house shape

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

We all drew the house shape in first and second grade, then our art teachers told us that houses don’t look like that.  Well, I still see them that way.  And the most important thing is not the atmospheric effect, or the accurate rendering.  It is quite simply that the house shape holds color really well.

At my stop on the studio tour, I will have some of the house shapes I used in this quilt  for visitors to color with  dye sticks, fabric  paints and water soluble crayons.

Quilting is mostly coloring with fabric scraps, but there is no reason not to start with plain fabric and color on it, too!

Quilt fragment in the photo is from ‘Rio Mio’ which will be in the SAQA ‘Above and Beyond’ show in January 2016.    Because Air BnB is the host hotel for the ’16 Olympics in Rio, I just had to imagine individual houses all piled up and waiting for guests…

The Cartoon is Mightier than the Bullet

Monday, January 12th, 2015

January 10th, 2015.   I was working on this new quilt using 9th century Mayan images.    It felt like the artist was writing ‘Je Suis Charlie’ on the tablet.

Thanks to new and old friends in Georgia

Friday, April 18th, 2014

I discovered untapped enthusiasm for enhancing wood with Zentangle® drawings at the Southern States Woodturning Symposium.    The most popular item I sold in our booth was the Staedtler pigment liner .05 pen, which works well on wood sanded to a smooth surface with 400 grit.   Woodturners need it for signing their work, as well as drawing on it.

Whenever I have made zentangles with a group, I find that their work quickly surpasses mine in creativity and artistry.  So, get to work, and let this meditative art making carry you away, too!

Why are Art Quilts small?

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Surface Design Journal’s reviewer recently commented that art quilts are getting smaller, as she reviewed a gallery show.   Of course, if you need to fill a king-size bed, or a giant wall, you will need a big piece of art, possibly a quilt.  In a time when many of customers are down-sizing their homes, it seems logical that we might choose to make smaller quilts so that we can sell them!

There are also reasons that have to do with making the quilt, as well as selling it.  First, art quilting is a more experimental size of quilting.  Many small quilts allow us to explore composition and color in a variety of ways.   We may be more imaginative with our version of ‘sketch’ that we would be with an heirloom-size quilt.  A smaller piece also prompts the viewer to ask what about the work makes it a quilt.  This is one of the primary goals of art quilting–to draw the definition of quilting to the process of making it, and not to its relationship to a bed.

Parameters defined by the process of making also govern our choices of size.  Our sewing tools are designed for accuracy in detail.  We draw on a small area because our version of the brush–the stitch–is inherently small.     Quilts have a very personal tactile appeal, maybe more like jewelry than like paintings.   I rarely hold a painting, even a favorite one, in my lap.

Scorching Scandal and Emancipation

Ornaments go on the road in April

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Dennis will be demonstrating turning the Zentangle® decorated ornaments at the Southern States Woodturning Symposium in Gainesville, NC , April 4-6.  I will do some tangling for that demonstration to encourage woodturners to explore drawing and decorating on wood.  We will also bring blanks of aspen and holly to see if there is a market for woodturning blanks, turned eggs, ornament shapes, and needle cases made here in Colorado.

The photo shows some drawings on needle cases I made from holly.

Do you Tangle?

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

It was cold and slippery the weekend of our Studio Tour holiday sale, so I brought along some blank versions of these aspen ornaments.  Nancy, Ginny, and Kathleen all spent part of the afternoon sitting by the fire, drawing their designs  on the aspen.  (See all of their work on the Front Range Open Studios page)

It turns out that Zentangle® designs are everywhere!  This creative drawing method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas.  You can find materials, instructions, and list of Certified Zentangle teachers on their website,   There are hundreds of ornaments with these types of designs on the internet.  I think ours were the most fun, however, because we made them with friends.

First study quilt finished!

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

The first of the quilts based upon Ivan Zelenin’s drawing is just 14″ square.  I began with a silk painting of the drawing, using the white of the serti technique to form the lines between the logs of the buildings.    It is machine quilted with white thread to follow the lines of the drawing.

The Zelenin drawing leaves many questions.  I wonder how he chose the frame of the drawing.   He clearly felt that the relationship between the cabins was more significant than showing the base of the tower, for example.  And, then, there is the question of color.  A line drawing simply invites color experiments.  That is what I have done here.

Taiga, taiga, burning bright…

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

During the spring snowstorms here on the Palmer Divide, I read about life in Siberia.    I found a drawing by Ivan Zelenin from 1679 of a monastery built as a group of small log cabins.  This drawing has tremendous power, even after all these years.   I am making a series of quilts using the drawing.  Log cabins are an American patchwork quilting design, using elements of light and dark colors.

These quilts will venture off the grid into the fabulous perspective of the Zelenin drawing.  The photo captures a small part of the Russian Log Cabin quilt, with my oldest cupola-shaped pincushion in the foreground.