Sunday, December 30, 2007

Painted panel

My daughter Nina came across some discarded ceiling fan blades by the recycling bin on our building and brought them home, thinking they might be fun to paint. Before painting, the blades had to be sanded since they were painted most likely with oil based paint.

Not having any transfer paper on hand, I made a sheet of graphite paper to transfer the drawing to the wood blade. Using a soft leaded pencil (a 6B) I covered a blank sheet of paper with graphite holding the pencil on its side to get more coverage. I taped my drawing to the panel on one side and slipped the graphite paper face down on the board under the drawing. Then I traced over the lines of my drawing with a hard lead pencil transferring the drawing to the board.

The gold background was painted first with the color Quinacridone Gold fluid acrylic watered down to a thin wash and applied with a soft bamboo brush in multiple glazing coats building up the color on the outside edges of the panel. I used textile paints and Golden fluid acrylics for the rest of the painting.

I used two different painting techniques to paint this panel. You can see the robins breast is painted using red with white, mixing shades of pink for the gradation. The wings on each bird were painted by using one color (brown for the robin) and painting thin washes to create the gradation form light to dark. It is important for each wash to dry before applying the next. Usually the paint dries rather quickly unless it is humid and then the process can be sped up with a quick hit with a blow dryer. The robins head, wings and tail were painted with brown washes and then a thin blue wash was painted over the whole thing.

The yellow birds wings were painted mainly with washes in brown paint and Sap Green fluid acrylic then painted over with a wash of lemon yellow.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

The wind is howling up to 60 mph winds and it is 15 degrees. That means a wind chill varying from -8 to 4 above zero F. brrrrrrrr....

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Holidays!

I want to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday, with good health and happiness in the coming year.

My daughter Nina illustrated this portrait of our dog Abby in photoshop for a Christmas card this year. Abby has recently discovered her love for candy canes after finding a half eaten one lying within her reach.

I don't know about you but, Christmas came so fast this year and I feel so unprepared. I never had a chance to go shopping, I bought ALL my presents online for the first time and am getting nervous that several presents for my kids may not make it on time. This feeling was not helped when I heard a train headed for Chicago derailed yesterday full of UPS packages. Today I am going out to get a tree and am looking forward to a few days to relax, with only knitting and cooking on my agenda.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas lunch with the Chicago School of Fusing

Yesterday Laura Wasilowski hosted a Christmas lunch at her home. Here you see her in the famous blue chair.

There were several sightings of famous people in the blue chair.

Jane Sassaman

Emily Parson with her daughters.

Here's Nina, Ann Fahl, Jane, and Frieda. We would have had lots of photos of food if Melody had been with us, but we all forgot to take any photos until lunch was over. You can see some cupcakes I brought made with my chocolate zucchini cake recipe and socks knit with Emily's beautiful hand dyed sock yarn that you can buy here.

We had a great time.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Quilting Arts TV

Quilting Arts TV now has a website, with descriptions of the first 13 episodes under program notes. I am on episode 106, pictorial quilts. You will be able to check the PBS listings from the site to see if and when it airs in your area as well. The site is still in progress so you will have to check it occasionally for more information.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

We just had 10 inches of snow last night, added onto a few inches already on the ground from the last week. It's beginning to feel a lot like if I only had more time to prepare.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New Houses

I just finished two more houses with a sea life theme.

I always like to put something inside for the person who looks in the door. This one has open doors like I made on a few of the fiesta ornaments.
This one has a flat decorative door.
With a goldfish inside.
Each one is different.

If you are interested in knowing how these are made, I am writing two articles for Cloth Paper Scissors about it. The project will be broken up into two separate articles in consecutive issues coming out this spring. If the whole project was in one issue, it would probably fill half the magazine. So this will be like when one of the quilting magazines has a how-to for a quilt and it runs in a few consecutive issues.

The first issue will have the step by step process that I used to collage and paint the fabric. The next issue will detail the house construction. I will keep you posted for when the articles come out.

Friday, December 07, 2007


This painting is 5" x 10" and will be used for a different project than the other little paintings. I will reveal more about them in a couple days. I was asked to contribute a postcard size quilt representative of my work for someones project.

I spent most of my life living near the ocean in Maine and California. I have a particular fondness for seaweed. I love its various shapes and colors. Unfortunately I am horribly allergic to it.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Happy St. Nicolas Day

I can't believe this one snuck up on me with out my being prepared. Every year I bake cookies for Saint Nicolas Day, except this one evidently. I guess I am just a little overwhelmed this year. I am writing a couple articles, potentially working on a new quilt with a fast approaching deadline, getting my daughter to a lot of appointments with dermatologists, following with patch testing, and helping my son study and prepare for assessment tests. He has decided he wants to go to the magnet highschool in our neighborhood. He loves math and science and at this point he is beyond my capabilities. The deadline for application is in two weeks, eek!

Christmas will be here before we know it, I have not even had much time to think about that. Yesterday when the snow was coming down so heavy and I was in a cab with my daughter on our way to yet another dermatologist appointment, all I could think about was how nice it would be to snuggle up on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea. I was grateful that at least I was not driving and looking for parking.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


It has been a long time since I have seen this old girl. This is the quilt I made for the traveling exhibit Women of Biblical Proportion. It was made in 2003 and just arrived home yesterday. This exhibit traveled to 40 venues in 25 states over the last four years. Together with The Men of Biblical Proportion $16,000 was raised and donated to Multiple Sclerosis. It was wonderful being able to participate in such a worthwhile exhibit. Kudos to Ruth Harris and Chantelle Cory for curating this!

Asenath is whole cloth painted on ivory colored raw silk with Tsukineko Inks and D'UVA Chromacoal powders. 22" x 22"

I chose Asenath because it is my sisters middle name. For years I never knew the meaning of her name, we always just thought of it as another one of those weird old names from the genealogy in our family bible and wondered why on earth our dad insisted on giving her such a bizarre name. I have since learned Asenath (meaning gift of Isis) was Josephs wife, as in “Josephs Technicolor Dreamcoat”. She was the daughter of an Egyptian priest and was given to Joseph by the Pharaoh. After falling in love with Joseph she converted to his Hebrew faith. Knowing the story behind the name has given me a whole new perspective, now I think it is a pretty cool name.


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