Sunday, May 31, 2009

End of Day Dragon

As others have said, the neutral thing is not easy. Either the colours become so muted that they all blend as one value, or you try to bring them out and they stop being so neutral.

Having said that, I'm fairly satisfied with the results.

What I did to make the scene was to have a paper around the same size which I tore the mountain area and other areas to create masks. I then sprayed the various unmasked areas with Tseuniko antiquing inks. The dragon was done seperately, the shapes cut and formed and then addded. I worked metallic crayon into it to try to add the accent.

At that stage I was quite discouraged. It looked like this.
Finally, I started working into the dragon with sharpie markers. That started to help. So, I worked into the rest with marker as well. That gave me confidence to do the stitch. The green blob in the front is meant to be a tree or bush, but I think if I worked it more, I'd have more problems.
The actual piece is slightly more muted than the top photo.

There isn't a big story for the dragon. He is just resting after a long flight at the end of the day.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Zen in Sand

I've had a picture in my file for years of a rock in a raked sand garden. We've all seen the zen sandboxes that can be raked, smoothed, sculpted. That's what it reminds me of....
This piece was first sewn with a double needle to create the pintucks to form the grooves in the sand. I used a dark thread in one needle to give it some depth but it really didn't show enough. The rock is appliqued and shaded with pigment and watercolor pencils. Gently quilted in the grooves and around the rock, and that's all.
A quick one since I'm getting ready to go on vacation.... but I'll be back in time for the next challenge. Comments of course are welcome.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Leaving Town on a Greyhound

Challenge #33.
'Bus Stop' is finished. I sometimes wonder how these ideas enter my mind. On the weekend visiting with old friends, talking about how many of us 'got out of town' inspired this piece. Coming from small town Canada, I think many of us dream about the big does not always turn out how we want and small town is where we return to find security, happiness and to be content.
Hopefully I've used neutral colors, the red dress is a red/black color, the only thing that didn't turn out as neutral as I had thought is the tree fabric. The mountains are a black purple color. This was a difficult challenge, I always think of neutrals as cream/tan/ a whole new thought process for me. I did more machine stitching on this piece, just a bit of hand stitching on her dress.
Thanks for the challenge,Kathy it is a great one.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Challenge 33

I'm almost ashamed to post this meager quilt after all the wonderful ones that have been posted. But here it is with an explanation. It was one that I did for an exercise in Katie P. Masopaust's book "Color and Composition" in March. That was a monochromatic color scheme with a focal point. I was unhappy with it since I didn't use enough of a variance of green and it all was very 'BLAH' and nothing could be picked out due to the overuse of medium color choices I made. I was contemplating what to do for this challenge when I found this buried in a pile of fabric and thought, "Aha! A muted, grayed color scheme." I got some permanent markers out and began to paint the berries a maroon color so that they could be seen and not be lost other than in the focal point area. I began to paint them before I took a picture so I took a partial before photo and an after photo. It's not completely quilted and I don't know if I will finish it but it does look much better and I feel that I've learned from both the before and after exercises.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mountain Magic/ Do I know You?

Here is my WIP...
I really have worked HARD on this one. I see one thing in my mind and another emerges in the cloth.
This piece has been through the mill... literally... I made it,... boring... then I added other elements, still not so good. Cut up some of the pieces, getting better... not good yet.
So I painted, I dyed it and added a few more elements, like the stylized flowers and the rabbits.
It has a long way to go yet... but if you can comment at all... good or bad, I would appreciate it.
Thank you in advance.

Inner Spirit

Continuing with my “spirit” series, this month challenge entry is called “Inner Spirit”. I took a little liberty with the color theme, using a rather bright rust pretending it was neutral, and the background is actually grey not blue as the photo indicates. Starting with a sketch I attempted to show depth by using layers and decreasing shapes. The yellow veins are the only non-muted colors in the piece and I feel they give the piece a little more life that way. I will probably add some beading to this at a later date, but am not sure quite what to do right now. This was an excellent challenge and I enjoy using the neutral tones in my work. Comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Sketch I started with.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memories of Paris

I have several nature scenes I want to tackle using the neutral color concept but I opted to go a different route for this challenge for two reasons:

1) I have to leave early tomorrow morning to judge a quilt show in the southern part of the state and I won't be home again until Saturday. I needed something I could accomplish quickly!
2) I am teaching a class on fabric painting using Dye-na-flo paints at Quilt Wyoming in July and I really need a couple more samples to show my students.

This, therefore, is a small (12" x 14") painted wholecloth with an added border. I set up a still life in my dining room and made a sketch which I then transferred to fabric. I tried to keep all the colors neutral but I have a limited palette of Dye-na-flo paints and despite my best efforts, the green of the bottle came out greener than I wanted and the burgundy of the wine showed up as more red than planned. While both are certainly greyed versions of the pure hue, they are not what I consider neutrals.
I think I did better on the depth part of the challenge. I used primarily placement of objects to indicate space. Both size and color (shadows) are also used to a lesser degree.
At this point the piece is very minimally quilted with just enough stitching to stabilize it as I want to wait until I am home next week so I can concentrate on doing a good job.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Fuji by Cynthia Ann Morgan

Fuji 17 x 11"

My piece is based on a vintage Japanese black and white woodcut. I used very grayed colors to give it more life than the black & white original…some blues, pinks, greens along with true gray (light black). Turns out I had lots of grayed fabric choices from my hand dyeing experiments with mixing colors and adding black to colors.
For the depth portion of the challenge, I used perspective with the shore line as well as varying sizing of the mountain in the distance, trees in the mid ground and rocks in the foreground. Of course, these elements were present in the woodcut I used for inspiration, so the challenge was recognizing the elements, how they work and recreating them.

Comments and greetings welcome!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Challenge 33 - Neutral with Accent/Depth

Challenge # 33 - Friday, May 22, 2008

Guest Hostess – Kathy Lichtendahl

Color Concept: Neutrals with accent

Okay, I can hear collective minds all thinking the same thing; “neutrals = beige = boooring!” But please stick around just a little longer and take a look at some of the examples below. Although neutrals are often thought of as unexciting background fillers, the truth is they can be so much more. Add in an accent color of your choice and it suddenly becomes a star in contrast to the more muted surroundings. Many people envision neutral colors as being brown and grey. While it is true those two are part of this particular palette, they are but a small portion of the options available. It may be more accurate to say that neutrals are “greyed” or “browned” versions of other colors. They are in fact the colors you get when you mix two complementary colors together. They are sometimes described as being situated in the middle of the color wheel as they are made up of a combination of colors on the wheel rather than being found on the outer ring. Depending on how much of each color you use to create the neutral, you can end up with a warm hue or a cool one. Add black or white to your created neutral and you get the tones and shades with which we are already familiar, allowing for value variation even within the limited color range. So much of what is found in nature is composed of neutrals. That is one reason those natural accents, such as the brilliant red flower or the bright orange butterfly, tend to stand out with such clarity.

Neutrals tend to create a sense of calm within a work but that doesn’t mean they are boring. Take a look at some of the examples below and see just how exciting neutrals can be!

One of the masters in use of neutrals, Hollis Chatelaine:

Cynthia St. Charles often uses neutrals to create her wonderful pieces:

Another quilt artist I admire who often works in neutrals is Rayna Gillman. See several of her creations here:

Katie Pasquini Masopust’s wonderful redwoods are created with neutrals plus an accent of green:

See some possible combinations here:

Many of the old masters of the painting world worked extensively in neutrals (although it must be admitted that much of that may have been due to supplies available at the time!) Even in modern times, there are countless painters who continue to create their works using mostly neutrals to depict their subjects. Just take a look at some of the paintings by Boucher (Madame de Pompadour 1758), Vermeer (View of Delft 1660), Bierstadt (Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains 1868), de Goya (Clothed Maja 1800), Caillebotte (The Floor Scrapers 1875), Bonnard (The White Cat 1894) and even Picasso (Guernica 1937).

Composition Concept: Depth
Creation of depth is one of the basic teachings in art. Visual depth means creating a sense of space in even a 2-D or flat surface. Students are taught that to create a sense of space within a work they must consider a number of elementary principles:

1) Placement of objects: Objects placed behind other objects are interpreted as being further in the distance.
See how the placement of the robins in Ruth Powers’ amazing quilt is used to show depth by their overlapping.

2) Color: Remember there is more to color than hue. There is also saturation, value and temperature. Objects seen in the distance are usually lighter in tone and value than those closer to the viewer. Cool colors recede, warm colors advance. Items in the distance may appear slightly out of focus or to run into each other whereas those in the foreground are shaper and more distinct. The use of shadows can also help create a sense of depth.
See Wendy Butler Berns’ quilt “Trees in the Mist”

3) Size: As we know from looking at the idea of perspective in an earlier challenge, objects in the distance tend to appear smaller than those close to hand. If we pick a vanishing point on the horizon (even in an abstract composition), we can use an angle from that spot to an item in the foreground to determine how large things should appear between the “front” of the image and the horizon. Proportion and scale both come into play in this concept.
One of my favorite quilt artists is Jane Blair. Look how well she achieves a sense of depth in this quilt by using placement, color and size!

One final requirement - HAVE FUN WITH THIS!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The One That Got Away (I know I'm really late!)

My home guild does charity quilts all year long. We support a variety of shelters for displaced women and children, especially those who are homeless after domestic violence. The committee makes kits that we can pick up and complete. Easy peasy. I grabbed a kit last month and found that the focus fabric was this great underwater print with funky fishes and plants. I kept thinking this could be an aquarium!

So, doing double duty (FFC and a completed quilt for the guild), I started playing with attic windows... and lo and behold, the colors in the kit sort of fit this challenge! What got very interesting was the flow of the blue thru the quilt (I wish I could have photographed what I saw thru the Ruby Glass! It was very cool). And since I limited myself to the fabric in the kit and nothing from my stash, the borders looked a bit barren, so I cut out some of the motifs from the focus fabric and raw edge appliqued them into the border. Finished size about 40 x 54", machine quilted and bound. Comments of course, are welcome!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Through the Fence--stitched

I have finally done the miles of stitching on this little piece. I really like the end results but would think hard about doing something with this many stops and starts again!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Through the Fence

After arriving home late Sunday from a 2 week, 3500 mile car trip and getting done all those things that need attention, I really wanted to do this challenge.  We had a laptop with us--so I knew what the challenge was about.  I even went to the store and bought markers, scissors, and tape.  I played with an idea and was fascinated by it.  

This little piece is 14" square. 

Everything is attached with WonderUnder.  I made the petals for the flower and attached them to the background.  Then I took a rotary cutter and made curvy cuts.  The pieces were then fused to the "fence". 

My colors are yellow, yellow-orange, orange.  The "fence" (grid) is blue-violet.  The quilt is not backed or been to the sewing machine.  I had a good time with this.  Even though I'm late I just couldn't let this pass me by!

Now that I have this "done", I have visited the photo collection and the blog to see what everyone else has done. It has been hard not to look ahead of time!  There is some wonderful work.  This year the challenges based on design and color have been great.


Monday, May 04, 2009


Here is my effort for this challenge. I have to say that I have a very good excuse for being late - I was attending an art quilt retreat most of last week. My dragon is two shades of yellow ochre with fins of the complement of lavender. The background is also analogous - green and blue. The dragon scales are each cut individually, fused then stitiched with gold thread. I added some sparkle to the fire with Angelina nd holographic thread.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Washday Blues

"Washday Blues" is finished. You will note a bit of happiness for this hard working gal in the water bucket. There is lot's of texture in her dress and the cloth she's holding, I had fun with this one!
Continuing with my 'woman' theme, and thinking about my Mom and grandmother and the hard work those pioneer women did, brought this one to life. My grandmother had a scrub board and washing machine like this one.
I've used the analogous hues of red to
yellow orange, and the compliment of blue.
I wove the background fabric, and am quite pleased how it turned out, it is a grid isn't it?
Great challenge Joni

Fly Over

I knew exactly how to do the grid for this. I used a technique I read in Stitch magazine (a British embroiders guild magazine) by Sandra Middleton. I have used this technique in several different variations of my own on other projects. It is one of those techniques that makes it look like you worked very hard. However, it is mainly about fusing and slicing fabric.

What I couldn't work out was how to get it to fit with the dragon series. I showed some friends from my art group. One lady said it looked like a city from above...and so the idea was born that the dragon was flying overhead.

I used orangeyreds, peach, through to yellow, but not pure yellow. So, I used a bluey-purple for the complementary. I happened to have a sheer synthetic organza shot with the deep peach and bluey purple, so I have made a "shadow" of the dragon over the city.
And so, the Dragon Sentinel flies over the city in a routine surveillance round, protecting and keeping watch over those in his charge.

This slightly to the side photo shows the shadow better. It was taken before I did the edge stitching.

The piece is 6"x12".


I had a very hard time getting started on this challange but once I started I found it to be a lot of fun. Thank you for the stretch! This piece is 23"x 30. My colors are red, red orange, red violet with a complementary of green. I pieced, fused and quilted with varigtaed thread. All comments and critiques are more than welcome.

Pat Havey

Saved by Cynthia Ann Morgan

I’m not going to finish on time and want to take a lot of time putting in some more details and on the quilting of my piece. It’s 37 x27” and based on a vintage Japanese woodcut of a myth depicting a royal child being saved by lightening.

I used the framing concept as incorporated in the scene. Analogous colors are Red through Yellow Orange with blue complement. I’ll post the final version, but it will be weeks! Comments welcome...please and thank you!

Thanks for a great challenge, Joni. This might be my favorite color concept yet.


Earth, fire, wind, water

This challenge came exactly at the right time when I needed a small project to get myself back into quilting after the local quilt guild quilt show that I was co-chair of was over. My theme is what ever is going on in my life at the time-and I think this fits my theme in that I was ready to do something fun, not too mentally taxing, and just for myself! My inspiration was a quilt on my computer without any name attached to it-its definitely not a copy but used the idea of the square within a square in different sizes. My analogous colors are blue and green, with the compliment of rust-orange (one of my favorite color combinations). It turned out to be 38" x 26"-kept growing as I kept having fun with it. It still needs quilting and maybe some embellishment with dark orange thread or beads or whatever. Thanks for providing just the impetus I needed this week to get back into gear, Joni.

Mahjong Impressions

With many different images floating through my head, I started sketching rectangular patterns in an attempt to create a grid. What started to emerge was a stacked collection of tiles that reminded me of a Mahjong game board. (I play way too many computer games). I started thinking this could be the source for a new series using the grid construction. I started this piece by selecting my analogous colors, yellow-green, yellow and yellow-orange, and adding a purple as my complementary accent. I made each tile a separate little quilt-let, and finished the edges with the pillow-case method. Then I was forced to put it the whole design into my drafting program to play with the relationship of the pieces. So much for artistic expression. I guess the word “grid” brought out the draftsman side of me. After printing out my pattern, the whole piece was carefully pinned to my design board, and I took the photo at that time (this morning). The tiles still have to become attached to each other, so any comments about my arrangement can be fixed. I like the basic result of this piece, and wish that it could be a little larger. Please note that the tan background is my design board and not part of the piece. One thing learned is that it sure is easier to quilt and embellish a small piece, however the logistics of putting it all together is quite a challenge in itself. I look forward to making some more quilts using a grid construction, and also look forward to any comments I may receive. This was a fun challenge for me.

Friday, May 01, 2009


After a two month sewing hiatus, it felt good to play with fabric and my machine. I made my grid on Monday but wasn’t happy with the outcome as it looks more like a background. I thought about adding some dimensional flowers as the grid reminded me of a garden trellis.

Tuesday, I decided to draft a new quilt with a garden trellis as my grid challenge when my daughter came to town unexpectantly. I do plan on making the trellis with a variety of dimensional flowers and experimenting with some of Kumiko Sudo’s origami designs. This will be one of my retreat projects.

This was a fun project for me as I enjoy the random cutting and piecing with no plan or design in mind. I do think I will cut off the black border and square it up as it isn’t enough out of square to look like part of the design and add some surface embellishment. For now, it will hang on the design wall until something comes to mind.

I used blue-violet, violet, red violet, purple and fuchsia for my analogous scheme with chartreuse as the compliment. This piece measures 16”x 18”.

Thank you, Joni, for the challenge and as always, each challenge is a learning experience with all the great concepts and examples.

Comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.