Saturday, June 30, 2012

Random Thoughts

It's been a busy few weeks and June is over.  With temps over 100 degrees today, I'm not looking forward to July and August.  And, could we please have a little rain?  My whole world has gone from green to brown and it's not a pretty shade.

The garden has ruled my world this week.  I've put corn and peas in the freezer that we'll certainly enjoy this winter.  My biggest chore, however, involved peaches--lots and lots of peaches.  We live close to a peach orchard and Robin and I try to make peach preserves every year.  I don't know what I was thinking, but I bought way too many and ended up spending two full days and one evening making peach preserves.  They are delicious.  If you're ever in the area near Woodbury, GA in the summer, you owe it to yourself to find the Carroll Farm Peach Orchard.  They have different varieties that ripen throughout the summer and they're all wonderful.

Some of my earliest memories involve sitting with my mother, aunts, and female cousins on our front porch on summer evenings and working together to shell peas, peel tomatoes, shuck corn, or work to prepare whatever was in season for canning.  We didn't have a freezer in those days, so everything went into jars and had to be heated in a pressure cooker to seal.  We also didn't have air conditioning--thus the evening work time.  Those were  our groceries through the winter.  I don't remember my mother ever buying canned goods at the store.

Funny thing is, it didn't seem like work because we were all involved and we shared lots of fun and a bit of gossip during those sessions.  My time with Robin and the peaches was like that.  The day went by in a flash and we got so much done.  I accomplished half the production on the day I worked alone.  Face time is so much nicer than Facebook.     

I picked up my art quilt from the Artists' Guild show in Columbus.  I'm still very pleased to have received recognition from a show that was strictly about art.  I will return the piece to hang in the Rankin Gallery on Broadway in Columbus for the month of August, along with the other patron award winners.

I've recently joined SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Assoc) and I am considering entering some of my work for consideration in the exhibits the group puts together.  I don't know how well accepted my realistic works will be--there are a lot of abstract artists in the group, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I have my newest piece (tentatively named "Black Hills September") ready to be quilted.  I've used several different techniques and I'm anxious to see how it develops.  I also have a quilt ready to quilt for my bed, but I want to do the smaller piece first.  I haven't had much time in the studio this week and next week may not be much better.

Can't have a post without a photo, so I thought I'd put up a couple of my smaller pieces.  They're mostly just for fun.  The first one is called "Distortion" and it's an attempt at something abstract--way outside my comfort zone.  The second piece, "Into the Woods" was practice for using the little cut up pieces of fabric that I've now done in two larger works.  It's kind of like occupational therapy, so I should feel right at home when I move to the institution. 


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Award Winner!

I'm home from the Columbus Artists' Guild Member Show and I'm excited.  "Smoky Mountain High" won a patron's award at the show.  I'm reminded of Sally Field's speech many years ago when she won an Oscar.  She said, "You like me!  You really like me!"  That kinda sums up my reaction to winning an award at an art show that includes some pretty impressive artists. 

Sometimes, as an art quilter, you feel as though you have your face pressed up to the glass and you can see all the "real" artists on the other side, but you don't think there's a place for you there.  Well, somebody opened the door.

By the way, if you're in Columbus, GA between now and June 23rd, the show is open Mon-Sat at the Illges Gallery in the Corn Center, Columbus State University--corner of Front Ave. & Dillingham St.

I know you've already seen her, but I couldn't resist--"Smoky Mountain High".

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Flowers and Mushrooms and Bonsai--Oh My!

I love color.  As I recently told someone, I couldn't live in a white or beige world.  My walls are red, navy blue, dark green--and most of them have an art quilt hanging on them.  That way, I get a double dose of color in my world.

A couple of days after Robin and I went to the plantation house to take photos, she sent me an e-mail with a few shots attached.  One of them made my mouth drop open.  She had placed my "Just One Day" among some day lilies and taken what I thought was a perfect photo.  Is she good, or what?

Sunflowers are just about my favorite flower, so, a couple of years ago when my husband had some extra room in the garden, he planted some for me.  I took lots of photos, knowing there was an art quilt in there somewhere.  "Summer's Gold" was the result.  It was entered in the Fine Arts show at the GA Nat'l Fair last Fall and won a blue ribbon.  It hangs in my guest bathroom, against that dark blue wall.  My close-up doesn't show the true color--it was taken indoors.  The full shot was done in natural light and is a better look at the color.

I've already posted "Dos Amigos", but thought I'd add it here, with a detail shot.

You've seen "Bonsai", too, but not the detail. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Landscapes and My Love Affair With Trees

I take pictures--lots of pictures--pictures of animals, flowers, mushrooms, insects, birds, pond scum--you name it and I'll point a camera at it.  I especially like to zoom in and get the details that aren't evident at first glance.  Digital cameras are one of the world's greatest inventions.  They have saved me a fortune in film and developing and being able to download them to my computer and edit--well that's just the icing on the cake.

Trees are so interesting--the effects of the changes of the seasons, the intricacies of patterns on the bark and the variety of bark from the rough, somewhat spongy pine to the hard, tough oak, the peeling paper bark of the birch and sycamore.  I could go on and on, but you get the picture.  I have a thing for trees.  That's why they appear so often in my work.  I'm not good at taking people pictures--it seems awkward and intrusive, so I'm much more comfortable with scenery and inanimate objects.

I've done a number of landscape pieces and I'd like to share some of those.  My first landscape was "Peggy's Cove", based on a photo I took before digital cameras came along.  It's the lighthouse at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia.  It was awarded 3rd place in Fine Arts at the 2007 GA National Fair and 1st place at the 2008 Southern Quilt Show in Warm Springs, GA.  It was also juried into the 2007 Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Virginia.  This piece was sold to a private collector.

My next landscape was based on a photo I took many years ago in New England.  "The Road Not Taken" has been donated to the planned Southeast Quilt Museum in Carrollton, GA.  It will be part of their first exhibit when the museum opens and then will be auctioned off to raise funds for the museum.  It was awarded 1st place in Fine Arts at the 2007 GA National Fair and 2nd place overall at the 2009 Southern Quilt Show.  It was also juried into the 2008 Denver Nat'l Quilt Festival and the AQS Nashville Quilt Show.

"Smoky Mountain High" is based on another photo from many years ago in the Smoky Mountains.  It received an Award of Merit at the 2010 GA Nat'l Fair Fine Arts competition.  I've entered it in the upcoming Columbus Artists Guild show in Columbus, GA.  The show opens Sunday, June 10th and runs through June 23rd at the Illges Gallery at the Columbus State University Corn Center.  I'm usually the only fiber artist in the show.  I'm really in some great company with many very talented painters, sculptors, and potters.

"Still Standing" came about because I made this totally cool puff paint tree when I was working on my "Bonsai" piece.  It didn't work for that piece, so I kept it, knowing it would eventually tell me where it needed to go.  After a couple of years, I finally got around to making a home for it.  This piece is not based on a photo.  I just put it together based on the tree.  It was awarded 2nd place in Fine Arts at the 2011 GA Nat'l Fair.

"Where The Pavement Ends" is my latest work.  It is also based on a photo I took near my home--one of many, many photos I took of this spot.  I snapped it in all four seasons and at different times of day.  I must have at least 50 shots.  The scene intrigued me and I love the play of light and shadows on the road.  I think this is my best work, thus far.

 I used a technique that is somewhat like the confetti landscapes by Noriko Endo, but in order to keep control of all the little bits of fabric (generally about 1/4 inch) I applied a fusible to the back of the fabric, then cut it into itty bitty pieces and placed each one individually.  I was very pleased that it really does look like leaves, grass, etc.  Of course, the tree trunks, road, and sign are made from larger pieces of fabric.

My husband has a room reserved for me at a nice institution, but I think as long as I continue to cook something now and again, he won't send me away.  Although, he did discover this morning that I'm working on another piece using this same technique--oops!