Monday, 29 July 2013

From sketch book to quilt

When I work in my sketchbook I use a lot of layers.  Layers give a lot of depth to art work and bring the viewer closer to the art work to study it in more detail.  Paint on paper can be layered until it is quite thick.  On the other hand using paint on fabric is a completely different technique. Because the fabric will be stitched we have to keep the fabric as soft as possible.  This adds quite a bit of challenge to create a similar effect as in my sketchbook but with the flexibility to add stitch once it is dry.  

This is one of my layered sketchbook pages for the sketchbook challenge theme "into the woods:

It is created using acrylic paints, metallic paints, stencils and stamps. 
 I have added layer upon layer of paint. 

So I am going to show you how to transfer this idea to fabric.  I am not aiming to get an exact replica of this page but to transfer the feeling and intention from this page to fabric.

1) Mix up the colours of paint (I use a textile ink) needed for this art quilt.  I usually mix the basic colours and then mix the other colours I need as I go.Add a little water to the paint so they will go on thinly.

2)  Wet the fabric you will be working on.

3)  Paint the fabric with the base colours.  Use 3 or more colours to create a very textured base.  I have used white, warm yellow, cool yellow,  orange and a red orange. Keep the paintbrush wet so that the base layer will be very thin.

4) Take off any excess paint with an old towel or rag.  Not only does this help the paint layer to be thin it also blends the paint colours well

5)Place the fabric on to a piece of batting.  This is to assist in getting a good stamping surface. Choose 2 stamps and 2 different colours of paint to print on the surface.  I have used 2 different types of circles in white and orange.

6) Choose another stamp and paint colour.  I have chosen a contrasting square stamp and used a brown yellow to add more texture.  You want to see the stamp but you don't want it to stand out too much.

7)  What the fabric looks like at this stage of the process.

8)  Take the fabric to the ironing board.  Lay an old towel or cloth on the board place your art work on the board then place a pressing cloth on top.  Iron the fabric until dry.  The pressing cloth will help remove any extra paint. 

9)  The fabric once pressed

10)  Add more texture with sequin waste and a stencil brush and a darker paint.

11)  Using a medium sized stencil randomly stencil a design all over the cloth.  I have used a flower designed by me.  The stencil was cut out of an old piece of OHP transparency. I have added gold paint to the brown yellow paint.  Metallic paint used on its own is best left till after the quilting is complete as it is very thick.  But when metallic paint is used with textile ink it is able to be stitched through. 

12)  Stencil a large design in the middle of the cloth. I have used a orange red paint with a little red metallic in it.  Try to vary the paint colour in the stencil to create more interest.

13)  Iron the cloth with a pressing cloth over the top.  Again this will remove any excess paint.  

Now your art top is ready to be quilted.  
Tune in next week for the progress of my wee little quilt xxxx

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Photography this week: Winter

Winter can be difficult to take photos. It can be hard getting enough light especially indoors.  We live in an area where we get  lot of fog too, which also adds to the difficulty of getting enough light.

A few tips that help me to get better photos in winter light conditions

  1. Try and use a tripod so that if the light is really low the shot can be kept still
  2. Look for as much natural light as possible.  I try and take all inside photos next to a window or in brighter rooms
  3. Practice using manual settings to create more light without using the flash
  4. Turn on lights in a room during the day to create more light 
  5. Use a white piece of card angled in the direction of the light to reflect more light into the room

Light from a window. See how it reflects on to his face to create a focal point

The light is from the window again.  He is closer to the light source

I have used the window to get light into his eyes to make the eyes the focal point.  


The light source in this room was from 2 points, the window behind her and to the side.

These are the best photos I can get from her at the moment.............The age!!

These were taken through the window.  The light hit the side of the rose hip 

A few moments later the light changed and the rose hip became less defined changing the photo.

Try and look at the light source before you take photos in low light conditions.  With a bit of simple creativity you can capture more light without any expense or challenging set up. 

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Live now

I have woken up today so grateful and thankful for my family.  I am so grateful for my children and hubby.  I feel blessed to have them in my life.  I am grateful to have my mum still present in my life.  She is such a blessing to me and my family.  Her, my dad and my youngest sister are all moving down to Te Awamutu next week.  It willl be so lovely to have them close to me.

Today is my normal sketchbook page day but I felt like breaking slightly from tradition to pay tribute to a friend of mine who passed away yesterday following a battle with cancer.  She is younger than me and has a older teenage son and an 11 year old who was a good friend of my son. She was a wonderful woman so gracious and beautiful.

She was wonderful to work with and a delight to be around.  She and I shared  many times of laughter and love together.  I am so grateful to have known her and to have had a chance to be her friend.  My heart is sad not for her as she is now free from pain but for her family left behind.  I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it must be for them.  My prayers and love go out to them all.

It is at times like these I realise how fragile life is and that we should never live with regrets, lost opportunities,  or forgotten dreams.  We need to create our lives into something worthwhile,
something special and something we can be proud of.  We need to leave a legacy of love to everyone in our lives to carry on for future generations.

Life is meant to be lived and needs to be lived.  We cannot live in what if's, maybes or behind fear of what could come.  We need to live now, in the present and be all we are meant to be.  Just like my friend.  We need to take time to spend with those significant people in our lives and to value what time we have.  God bless xxxxx

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Book review: Painting absracts

Book Review: Painting abstracts 
Ideas, projects and techniques.
By Rolina Van Vliet
Publisher: Search press

I found this book at the local library last week while I was sifting through the shelves.  When I started flicking through the book I instantly noticed how easy it looked to follow the exercises in the book and how beautifully it was set out.

This book is a collection of 64 exercises that an artist can progress through to learn about composition and freedom of abstract art.  

I have never tried this technique of art before and up till recently I was finding it difficult to even get my head around abstract art work but thanks to my patient sister I am now beginning to appreciate this art form.

I decided that this book though it is written for painters can easily be used for art quilters.  

Each page has clear and precise instructions and beautiful clear illustrations.  The exercises can be done on paper then modified to transfer them to material.

The first exercise I did was placing lines on the paper and using a palette knife move paint in large blocks of colour within those lines.  Then I use a brush to smooth out the paint to the edges of the page/canvas.

For my fabric I couldn't use a palette knife.  The paint would be too thick and I couldn't stitch into it.  I used a large paint brush instead to move around the thinned paint. I blotted the excess paint off before it dried so the paint layer would be a thin as possible.

The exercise asked for the artist to scratch lines into the paint with a sharp tool.  I used stitch to do this instead as the paint layer is so thin that it is difficult to get too much texture in the paint by scratching.

This is my first piece of abstract art I have done.  I was not sure what to expect but I loved the freedom of this art form and loved the effect of the stitch on the cloth.   By changing the stitch direction and shape I was able to add quite a bit of texture to the painting.  I think I would like to try some appliqué and stamping to this to add even more texture.

Watch this space for some more abstract art in the future :) 

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Photography this week


My son turned 12 this week.  It is a really special birthday for us.  It marks the passing of childhood into early teen years.  The moving of a child from the children's programme at church to the youth programme and for the boys when they receive the Aaronic priesthood. 

We had family down to celebrate with us.  To capture the day I took some photos with his dad and made him a birthday cake with 12 candles (of course!!)

Happy Birthday my boy

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Sketchbook this week

Into the woods

This page is done with Water colour paint and waterproof black ink pen

This page is based on bark and leaves in the woods

Another page based on bark

A layered painted page 

The same stencil in different colours. 

Monday, 15 July 2013

Layered art pages

How to create a layered Art journalling page

I love to use paint on my art pages in my sketchbook.  I love the texture that can be created when using different materials put paint on.  A lot of objects that I use are commonly found at home others are made from cheap materials. 

To make a layered art journal page all you need is
  • ·       Acrylic paint
  • ·       A couple of different sized paint brushes
  • ·       A stencil brush
  • ·       An old ice cream container lid
  • ·       A sharp knife
  • ·       A pen
  • ·       Some snowflakes cut out from an old magazine or scrap paper
  • ·       An eraser stamp
  • ·       Old sequin waste or something that can print some texture onto your page
  • ·       A pencil/pen


1.  Draw the picture onto the plastic ice cream lid with a pencil or permanent marker.  Make sure the shape is complete so it can be cut out.

2.  Cut out the shape with a sharp knife. 

3.  You will be left with a positive and a negative shape.

4. Cut the edge of the ice cream container lid off so the plastic sits flat.

5.  Using the stencil brush go around the shape of the stencil.  then once it is dry add with a paint brush 3 colours of paint next to each other on the colour wheel or different tones of the same colour.  I.E. Yellow, orange, red and white or Bright yellow,  mustard, orange yellow and lemon.  Blend the colours all together.

6.  Blend white through the wet paint.

7.  Still working on the wet paint with a clean paintbrush place the snowflakes you have made on the page and stencil white paint into them.

8.  Try using 2 or more different snowflakes for added texture.  You could try using a darker or lighter colour on the page depending on the effect you want.

9.  Find an object at home you can print with.  I have used an old car part. Brush on paint and stamp onto the page.

10.  Use a pre made stamp in a darker colour to add more texture.

11. Add more texture with sequin waste or bubble wrap 

12.  Use an old cork to print with

13.  Take the original stencil and place onto the page.  Use a contrasting colour to make the stencil stand out.I have used white on this page.

14.  Use a white pen to add detail to the stencil and to define any lines you would like and voilà you have a finished page.

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