Sunday, 30 April 2017

A Year of ATCs.

While looking for something quite different I came across this collection of Artist Trading cards that I made some time ago over the course of a year. For each month we had a theme and each of the group made a card on that theme. Starting on the left at the bottom of the photo there was the theme of horses, insects, animals beginning with the letter 'A', I did an armadillo.
Next came butterflies, and I obviously made 3 for this theme, as I'm very fond of butterflies. Then teapots, trees and flowers.
Next shoes, another butterfly and wheels followed on the next row up by vegetables, patterns from a little Mexican pot, and the next one I really can't remember the theme at all.
Last row on the left is more trees....... or is it more flowers? Then a piece made along the lines of a work by Australian surrealist artist James Gleeson, shells and finally patterns.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Final Solution.

 I've been thinking over how to achieve the soft fluffy look of the Native Rose flower  for a day or so and I think I've come up with a solution. Rather than using velvet I tried out some felt, colouring it the same way that I coloured the plain cotton with stamp pad ink and acrylic paint. The original orange felt is to the right in this picture and the left shows the treated felt.
 This is a much better way to proceed, but the calyx of the plant needs to be changed too, this beige felt is too plainly coloured without any indicated softness at all.
 The beige felt has turned a bit yellow, but I think it'll be O.K when it's all assembled. I need to add another piece to the left as well, now that I'm not appliqueing leaves all over the background fabric.
 Here all the components, including some embroidery yarn for the stamens have been adhered to the background.
 Stitching the flower adds a lot more dimension to it and it's beginning to come together quite well I think. The addition of the small piece of calyx to the left certainly improves the over all design.
 I didn't want to add leaves all over the piece, but just a few at the top left is a definite improvement.
I've added some beads to the stamen area, some white paint to the leaves and bound the back and front together with machine satin stitch. It's finished!

Friday, 28 April 2017

Fun with Tiles.

 Just a little bit of fun today carving a small piece of rubber to make 4 different orientation variations. Unfortunately I wasn't quite carful enough cutting the original block, as one side is a couple of millimetres longer than the other, just enough so that some of the patterns don't quite meet up accurately.
Here are the 4 variations of the one block, made by making each corner  the centre in turn. You need to label the corners if you want to keep track of which one you have used, especially if 2 are very similar as I have made them.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Garden Flower Background.

 I felt like a change from the carving and printing yesterday, so I returned to the third in the series of flowers from gardens that I have visited over the month of April. This new one is of a 'Native Rose' Diplolaena grandiflora, and the flower is indeed grand. Here I'm selecting fabrics for the piece, which will be pretty naturalistic as are the other two in the series.
 As I suspected, getting the speckled velvety look of the petals is a challenge. I tried dotting the base orange fabric with various stamped dyes, which looks O.K close up but doesn't give the almost furry look that I want. I don't really want to go with actual velvet, but it might be the only way in the end.
 Not much luck with the background either, but it's the only fabric that I have in the stash that's possible.
Here I've printed the background on sealed Lutradur. I used matt gel medium on the left which shows more of the Lutradur's transparency and with white gesso on the right which gives a more opaque white look to the print. The more white version is closer to the actual colour of the plant leaves. The lower piece of duplicated print is to add to my sample book for Lutradur, showing the different results of various sealants.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A Change of Scene.

 As a change from the garden series of textile pieces I've turned to a lino-cut/stamp block that has been waiting to be completed for some time. I finished this version, but discovered that not only had I made a few quite serious slips of the cutting tool, I had the hands and arms of the little guitarist around the wrong way! The fret board is to the left not right in the printed copy. I'm not sure that I like the cut out boots either, so it's back to the cutting again.
            Allowing for the reversing of the cut block when it's printed, this outline is now correct.
 A stamped try-out of the carving to see how I'm going. These thick blocks of 'rubber' are pretty expensive, so I chose to carve this new one on the back of the old one, big mistake! Not only does it have a defect in the rubber, see the white dot between the child's thighs, but where the boots are carved out on the other side the paper doesn't make a good contact for a print.
 After several attempts with various printing inks and stuffing the boots on the reverse with tissue, I managed to get one half way decent print...below.
                I've painted over the white dot and also a couple of other misprints too.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Out in the Bush.

 This huge toadstool looks just like an illustration from Alice in Wonderland, all that's missing is the sign saying 'eat me'.
The Swamp Wallaby or Black-Tailed Wallaby was keeping a close eye on the dog accompanying me, but of course the dog is well trained to leave the wildlife alone. Pity about the grass seed head across the animal's face, I didn't see it when I took the photo.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Wood Moths.

These are a pair of Wood Moths, the female above and the male below. The male is very much smaller than the female and has long feathery antennae to pick up her scent. The female moth is huge, some 8 - 10 cm long, so when she bangs against a window, attracted by the light at night, she makes a really loud noise.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Glowing Resin

 This amazing formation is solidified resin or sap oozing from an Acacia tree trunk. Just like amber from millions of years ago, it drips around anything in its path and encloses it. I couldn't see anything trapped in this cascade though.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Next Garden Flower.

This is the flower that I have chosen to work on next, which I think will be more of a challenge than the previous two. Mainly because of the speckled colour of the petals, and the velvety nature of the leaves.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Final Stages.

 I decided that I wouldn't add beads to the Blood Lily stamens, as the only ones that I had, and I wasn't going to buy any more beads!, were a bit out of proportion. That is, too big. I added some shading and so on with felt tip pens and some stitching to give a bit of a lift to the flat areas of petals.
A backing and satin stitch to join it all together and it's finished. I added a small name plate on the back, as I did with the Lotus, giving the name of the garden that I photographed the flower in and the date that I visited the garden.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Blood Lily.

 With a little time available this afternoon I returned to the Blood Lily panel and outlined all the petals in 3 different shades of red/orange in satin stitch.  Looking at the image, I realise that the front petal should have been behind the 2 on either side, but it's too late now!
 Stitching the central area in free motion embroidery backwards and forwards to give the impression of stamens.
 With white thread in the bobbin and a darker thread on top, the jerking of the fabric backwards and forwards draws up the white thread to give white speckles through the area.
Now with bright yellow and a really loose bobbin thread I can give more distinct yellow speckles for the tips of the stamens. I might need to add some fabric marker to give direction to the look of the stamens. I also intend adding some yellow beads to the foreground stamens...............I think.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Marbled Papers.

 A friend recently returned from a teaching trip to Turkey and amongst the gifts that she was given and the end of her courses were 3 sheets of marbled paper. This is the one that I particularly like, the image being somewhat organic. I can see a cross section of a plant or algae perhaps.
 I'm not so keen on this one, as I find the red too dominant, however I'm sure that a bit of inversion in Photoshop, which would change the red to a turquoise blue, would be an improvement.
This is of course is a more traditional design in marbling, the sort of pattern that one would see as end papers in old books. Made with a very fine toothed comb dragged though the floating inks, it's a beautifully detailed piece of work.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Blood Lily

Today I started work on the Blood Lily Picture, with the main pieces and colours cut out and adhered to the background fabric. I've divided the image into 3 values of red, dark, medium and light, with the centre area light red, as I will need to do a lot of dense stitching and beading to this area, but I do need to have a background in place. I now wish that I had started the base of the lily further to the right, but it's too late now! The stalk of the lily is basically green, but I have added some red paint to the top of it.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Lotus Completed.

     The addition of some beads, a backing fabric and a stitched border, completes the Lotus.

Moving on to the next garden, I started work on the background for it.  The pebbled commercial fabric on the left is too red/orange for contrast with the red Blood Lily, so I painted over it with a dilute wash of Paynes Grey acrylic paint. As the piece will not be washed, it doesn't really matter that the paint is probably not water fast. Still a bit too orange I think, but I'll go ahead with the lily and  see how it looks, as I can always add a bit more grey if it needs it.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Further Lotus Work.

 My first sewing step on this small panel was to satin stitch around the lotus petals and the mid green elements.  The dark green was already behind everything, so didn't need any more work on it.
 Next came the stamens, all various shades of yellow and orange with the lighter pollen tips on each one. The original photo showed a huge tangle of stamens, but to avoid creating a dense mat for the sewing machine to stitch through, I needed to reduce the number of stamens quite a bit.  After all, this is not trying to faithfully reproduce the original photo, although it's quite close to it!
Enough stamens I think, now to choose some beads to sew in place for the seeds on top of the central column. This apparently becomes quite hot at times, as it actually generates heat. The smell is pretty awful unfortunately, rather like a menthol rub.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

New Project.

 The art group that I belong to have set a new challenge for this year, focussing on the gardens that we have visited from month to month. We are all keen gardeners, all but 1 of the 7 that is, but even a non-gardener can appreciate the gardens of others. I am already behind in my pieces, as we started in February, but I did visit the Lotus garden that month and took masses of photos. I decided to start with 2 of my favourite images, the lotus and the blood lily, so pulled out suitable fabrics from my stash for just those 2.
 The challenge pieces are to be 21 cm x 15 cm (A5) so big enough to work on but not so big that the challenge is daunting! Here I've changed the photos to black and white so as to make the shapes easier to define.
 I've written on each piece the colour to aim for from the photo and more prominently delineated the individual petals
 The beginning of the piece with a raw silk top to the central seed head and heavy white satin for the petals all mounted on a dark green slightly patterned fabric.
 Next I coloured the petals with very dilute acrylic paint. I'm not sure if the sheen of the satin will be visible through the paint, but the very pale petals at the top of the image will have a little sheen I think.
I had fun selecting the thread colours that fit the colour scheme.  I use plain cotton or polyester cotton blend thread for machine embroidery normally, as the vegetation and flowers that I usually depict don't really shine, but for this I intend using synthetic thread to bring out the shine of the lotus petals.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Rufus Night Heron.

Another photo from our visit to the Botanic gardens on Sunday, this time a Rufus Night heron in amongst  the reeds on the edge of a well vegetated water filtration pond. It looks a bit miserable, maybe wishing that people wouldn't rush up to take photos. This was taken from the other side of the lake using a telephoto lens so it wouldn't have been disturbed this time.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Gorgeous Lily

 A visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne this morning was rewarded by the sight of these wonderful Blood Lilies.
 Without any leaves visible at this time of the year, the lilies just pop up 'naked' from the ground.
     Thank goodness they had good signage, as I wouldn't have had any idea what the flowers were!