Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Patterns- and whether or not to follow them

Okay, I have to confess first off: I am notoriously bad at following patterns. I have a LOT of proof that supports that statement, believe me! lol I start off following, then either get bored or think I know what I am doing- and invariably, I end up doing something wrong. Most of the time I can make it work out alright, but sometimes that just isn't good enough.

So right now I have cut out pattern pieces for a bag I want to make and I HAVE to follow the pattern. It is a professional tote bag and I want to bring it on our trip to Italy this summer- so it has to be right.

Last summer we traveled to Portugal. It was my very first trip to Europe and my husband was quite insistent that we travel light, no checking luggage. We each had a carry-on roller suitcase and one personal item only, for a two-week trip. For the personal item, Rich brought his soft sided briefcase and I brought a backpack. The backpack was large, had a lot of pockets, and could be hung from my suitcase (although not well). My plan had been to use the backpack in lieu of a purse when needed and for things I would want during travel.

Bad plan. The bright pink and black backpack was too large to wear every day, flipped around on my suitcase, and though this is a small thing, didn't match anything I had to wear. Seeing as we traveled light, I wanted to get the most options out of a minimum amount of items- and all of my travel clothes are colour-coordinated in black, red, white, and tan.

Last fall a friend of mine posted a photo of a bag she had made for a friend of hers, and it occurred to me that a bag like that would be better suited for me for traveling. I kept a look out for fabrics I liked and bought them as I saw them. Mostly red and black of course- to match my clothes and also to keep from showing dirt.

I cut out all of the pieces yesterday and attached the appropriate ones to the Decor Bond, the fusible interfacing the pattern calls for. And that is as far as I have gotten. It would probably be best if I took the time to read through the instructions thoroughly before going any further, don't you think? lol

I figured if I committed myself to posting my progress online, I might be able to keep my wandering tendencies at bay, at least until I finish this bag. Personally, I think going outside of a pattern, exploring what you THINK might work rather than going with what you KNOW will, sometimes teaches you volumes more than you would learn otherwise, and also lends itself to opening your own creativity, which is so important.

But that being said; I really like this fabric and can't buy any more of it, and it's already February... so I think in this instance, I should really adhere to the given instructions. Maybe someday I will design a bag of my own. Oh. Then I would have to write instructions for someone else to blow off... lol

Friday, February 12, 2010

Along with the sketching...

I have been pretty consumed with my Suzi Blu Goddess & Poet class, I have to admit. I LOVE sketching these faces and am always astounded that they all look so different! And that I can make them change even as I go along just by changing the eyebrow angle or the fullness of the mouth or the slant of the eyes...Very cool!

I am also a member of the Free Lunch Cafe online, which is run by Linda Matthews and is also a lot of fun. You sign up and at the beginning of the month, you get instructions for your first homework, which must be completed and posted (a photo) in order to get the second lesson. Signing up and some of the classes are free, and Linda offers some outstanding detailed classes for a fee. Based on what I have seen of Linda's work, I bet anything taken with her would be well worth the money!

So this has been a busy art week. I did my graphite girls in my Moleskine journal and covered them in clear Gesso. Now I am to move on to some basic colour shading, which I am feeling apprehensive about... but that is another story! lol

I finished a little black and white optical illusion quilt that I started a couple of weeks back. I put it on stretcher bars and now just need a place to hang it. I think it's cool.

Then I did my finished piece for the Free Lunch Cafe. Our assignment involved photo transfer and I chose a photo that showed our two flags flying in front of our house. It's printed on both fabric and a dryer sheet, quilted into the log cabin pattern, embellished with Lumiere paint and ink on a stamp, there is a little journalling, and a little heart to boot! I got to use all of my Canadian and American-specific fabrics and I whipped it up in an afternoon. It was fun! I need to do these little projects once in a while to remind myself that not all things quilting take forever! lol

Please excuse the poor photos, they really don't show the projects very well. My scanner is NOT cooperating with my computer and I am having the worst time trying to figure out how to best photograph my work. So far, not much luck. I really need to take a camera course to learn how to really use my camera for what I need to.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Another face

Though I like that I can draw faces and am quite proud of myself overall, I think the eyes on my portraits so far have been a little too hard, too "slitty" (I know that isn't a word, but I don't know how else to describe it). I really want to do Suzi's sleepy-sexy eye without them looking suspicious! lol

So I keep drawing eyes on my practice page and I keep making faces in both my tiny and large sketch books. It's getting easier to remember what goes where, what the proportions are, and even though I am not great at the shading, I am starting to get it.

Here is a sweeter, softer face for the Goddess & Poet class, one that I find appealing and less harsh. I know I still have lots to learn and will only improve with doing. This photo isn't very good, but for some unknown and frustrating reason, my scanner has stopped cooperating with my computer.

I must say, very few things have enthralled me like this class has. One woman taking the class blogged that she is obsessed- and I know the feeling! So many of us in the class are feeling the same way; putting other stuff off so we can sketch, constantly thinking about it, adding little pencil strokes here and there, shading just a bit more... lol It really is a LOT of fun. And very relaxing too, I might add. Which at this juncture in time for me, is very helpful.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Learning to draw portraits- YIKES!

Just kidding, I have only been at it a week, but have had so much fun and enjoyed it so much, it's hard to believe.

I somehow stumbled upon some YouTube videos of Suzi Blu, an unconventional and completely enthralling mixed media artist. After watching a few of her art journal videos, I discovered that she has an online school, Les Petit Academy (I will list everything you might want to know at the end of this post). Well, I was hooked. I have to say, it was calling to me, I was even dreaming about it- and have also since I started. It is on my mind most of the time.

Anyway, I am at the end of a week, and have practiced the exercises for hours. I have even tucked a little 3.5 x 5" sketch book in my purse- anytime we go somewhere that I might have to wait a bit, I can practice. I really love it.

I am taking the Goddess & Poet class first; Suzi covers all of the bases in there, and we learn stylized, more realistic faces. Next I will take the Angels class; I think that builds on either the G & P or the Petit Dolls. After that, definitely the Petit Dolls; they are folk art girls and a lot of fun too, from what I can see.

I think a LOT of people wish they could draw, at least a little, and I am no exception. However, I did take the step to try and learn. I want to be less afraid of what people think of me and what I create- and just create already! lol

So, here are two faces for you to check out. The first one is alright I think, but looks a little too stern. I like the second one better, but after I finished, I realized I might have spaced her eyes a little too far apart. I don't know, I will have to wait and see how my critique goes. Chloe asked me if I wasn't going to draw any happy faces? I told her that eventually I will; but this class is about Goddesses- you know, confident, sexy women, and so they have to show that they KNOW they are cool.

If you want to learn more about mixed media fun, check out Suzi's videos here:
http://www.youtube.com/ and in the search box, type in Suzi Blu
If you like what you see and want to sign up for a class, go here:
You have to sign up for a class before you can log in to Les Petit Academy, which is here: