Green leaves and weeding 

I really don’t like to weed but with the rain that came pouring down last week everything sprouted overnight. Not a good time to have the lawn mower die either. 

The rain broke two weeks of oppressive heat and humidity making for a wonderful day to be outside. As I began to trim the wandering vines and volunteer trees that are an unending battle, I begin to notice distinct leave shapes and colors. It always surprises me when you take the time to look you really can see beauty in the common everyday things. 

Of course I had to take pictures for reference later. This common weed is just about spent with it’s light colored seedlings waiting for a strong breeze. 

There is precision in the direction of each seed. Lined up all in the same upward direction, one across from each other. However looking closer I see some are bigger than the other and not nearly as precise as they appear. 

I move to another part of the yard to find what appears to be a weed from the fern family. No I am not any kind of plant authority but I like looking at plants. Leonardo believed that you had to truly observe something before you could even try to replicate it in art. I like the shape of these plants and they would be good to remember for my next landscape. 

Okay I will just show you the rest of the pictures I took before I bore you all to tears. 

So as you can see everything is green around here right now. I am awed by the various shapes, sizes and texture in each leaf. Something I admit I usually just pass by each day. But just in case you want some color here is a picture found on line of some colorful flowers, peonies I do believe. 

This color and the wild looking greenery just may show up in my next artwork. I certainly have several reference photos of green leaves to consider including now. 

Hot, hot summer

It has been a very hot summer here in the United States. The kind of burning sunshine and sticky humidity that makes you run for the closest shade and iced lemonade. I have been staying inside most days but I long to take a walk and be in nature. However that longing is not stronger than my comfort so inside I stay. 

As I look out my studio window I see my neighbors volunteer hollyhocks have sprouted again. Planted by a bird years ago it is beautiful in this heat. Tall strong stalks with large lush green leaves at the bottom. I notice the blooms have come up a pink color this year. With bees cross pollinating you never know what color they may be. The flower is a soft pink but not a pastel. The bloom has almost a cone shape that flares out at the opening with a ruffled edge. I see a yellow staemen contrasting the pale pink of the flower. 

The stalks rise high with more leaves that are smaller now along with distinctive buds ready to replace spent blooms. I have always been fascinated by the leaves of the hollyhock as they begin to dry and yellow. They dry with holes across the surface making them lacy and delicate. Reminds me of the lacy florentine cookies I ate as a kid.  I decide that these flowers will be the inspiration for my latest piece so I start sketching some ideas. 

I decided to place the flowers in front of a garden gate. I want to have a bright green door with a pale gray fence, light foreground and perhaps some green leafy branches overhanging the fence. Using one of my small wrapped canvases I lay out fabric in a medium blue for sky, the gray boards for the fence and a warm gray for the ground. Out come the colored pencils to add shadows, depth and contrast. I add bright green fabric for the gate and sketch in a whimsical crescent moon shape at the top of the door. Lastly I locate some fabric printed as bricks to anchor the door to something. 

Here is the top of picture showing the trunk and trailing leaves for the background. 

I really like using various colors of green silk ribbon for leaves. Makes it more realistic and interesting. I then used cotton embroidery thread to establish the stalks of my hollyhocks. A large French knot works for the buds. At the top of the stalks I wrapped these knots with silk ribbon. The ribbon was persnickety so stopped after 4 or 5 were done.

It seems silly to worry about these details that will just be covered up with leaves and flower petals but I believe they add to the depth and reality of the piece as a whole.  I bought a bit of fabric with printed leaves in the scale I needed at a quilt show. Cutting the leaves was a bit tedious but well worth it. I attached the leaves with a silk thread allowing most of the fabric looseto hang loose giving them demension. 

Now to tackle the flowers. I had bought some pink silk thinking they would make beautiful flowers. Cutting strips I then gathered them into a circle, adjusting the gathers so the flowers would lay the direction I wanted. I then added some darker shades of red with a fabric marker in the center and a bit on the outside edges. A loop or two of fuzzy yellow thread works for the stamens. I love the way this came out. 

Summer is booming

 I have been busy entering online for shows getting new work finished and photographed. Due to my month long two person show in May, I had put off entering shows. So because all of my work was up for this show I see I need more inventory. 

I managed to complete two new pieces, one made just for the member only show of Missouri Fiber Artist, MOFA. I found out I was accepted in the show earlier this week. Yet even better I received a wonderful critique of the accepted artwork today from the juror. 

This is what she said  “Immediately the colour and contrast in this work draw(s) me in. I’m seeing the piece now as a small thumbnail image and even at this size, I can sense the detail and texture in the work. I find the mixing of rich blues and greens with the brighter white coral forms to be full of harmony as well as visual interest. ” 

There is a theme for this show,  an altered environment. This is to show our air, water and ground is being polluted by human practices. The work could be realistic or not but each has a statement explaining what inspired the work. Only other requirement was the artwork had to be made of some form of fiber. My piece is 14 X 11 and is based on the bleaching of the coral in the Barrier Reef area. This is caused by the warming of the oceans and acid pollution. 

Here is Barrier Reefs. 

Here is a closeup. 

I really am digging the fan coral on my seascapes now. The turtles are pre-printed on cotton fabric that a good friend gave me to use. Thank you Marci! I just had to add more color to the turtles with my colored pencils too. The heavy white kelp is from white lace embellishments for wedding dresses. 

The show, Speaking of Fiber! 2017, will be at Maryville University’s Morton J May Gallery in St. Louis, Mo. It will run from November 9 through December 15, 2017. Reception will be Thursday November 9, 2017, 5:00 – 7:00 with a juror’s talk at the reception at 6:00. I know this is a way off so will repost when it is closer to that date. 

Boom it is now July. Oh how is this year half over? Stay tuned to see what else is popping!