Saturday, June 30, 2012

Drawing Challenge - Dnah Tnanimodnon

The challenge evoked a memory of drawing class at University with one of my favorite and most demanding professors who often gave us this type of assignment.
non-dominant hand in 8x6 'gamma' sketchbook
Also, this week: much new work flying up on the old design wall.  I washed out the procion dye paintings started last week.  (The best was to do this: soak the cured paintings in ice water for half an hour or so, followed by washing them in the machine with cold water and synthrapol detergent followed by a hot water machine washing).
The three on the right below are textile paint on low-water immersion dyed cotton. These paintings and the ones above will all be machine stitched and who know what else on the way to completion.
Lots of miles to go on the way to hanging my show in September, but I feel very fired up about the journey!  Where are you headed next?

Make sure you go have a look at the other non-dominant links over at Norma's!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Extremely Quiet and Incredibly Close

blueberry (not ripe yet, they are late)

salmonberry (also not ripe yet, and very late)

wild violets are in bloom in droves out in the woods

Flossy on Three Lakes trail, establishing the size of a GIANT tree blown down during last September's storm

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dye Painting Process - Condensed Version

I promised to put together a little explanation of dye painting for Zom.  I hesitate to call this a tutorial, because the process is rather complex (lots of recipes, more than one way to do things, health and safety considerations).  The aim here is to show how I do things in my studio.  Everything I know I learned from Ann Johnston and Jane Dunnewold (oh, and experience).  I urge those interested in pursuing dye painting to read the excellent books available from these two artists, or better yet, take their workshops.

I work on cotton which has been pre-soaked in a soda ash solution.  The soda ash functions as the binding agent, fixing the dye molecules to the fabric. 
Procion MX dye comes as a powder and its dust is toxic to breathe, so use a good filter mask when mixing dye with water to make concentrates.  

I like to make my dye up in squeeze bottles, 1/2 cup at a time.  Dye concentrate lasts months in cool temps, but does loose strength over time.  Once the dye is exposed to soda ash however, it exhausts rapidly – 15 minutes.  I work with small amounts of dye at a time so my brushes which are contaminated with soda ash from the cloth don’t exhaust my dye too fast.  I use little water color palettes to paint out of.
Dye can be thickened for applying with stamps, and to control the flow of color on the cloth.  Prochem makes a dandy print paste which lasts a very long time once you mix it up with water.  Follow the directions on the package.  
Once you have good, thick print paste mixed up, you add dye concentrate at a 50/50 ratio or more.  A plastic fork is the best tool to blend paste with dye.  A consistency like honey is perfect for applying to rubber stamps.  I use a foam brush to pat the thickened dye onto the stamp.
In order to produce good strong color, the dye must be allowed to cure for 24 hours.  The moisture has to be held in the cloth and the room temperature must be above 65 degrees during curing.  To help the water be ‘wetter’, urea is used.  Urea mixed with water is used to thin the dye paste and to lighten values when using un-thickened dye.
Brushes for applying dye should be synthetic only because of the soda ash tends to destroy natural bristle brushes over time.  The best surface to work on is a work table covered with two layers of felt and an old sheet over that.  Plastic is a nuisance underneath your work but you will need it to cover your paintings while they cure.

I hope this is helpful to readers and sparks interest in trying this endlessly fascinating medium.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Who - AM I?

The drawing challenge from Patrice - who am i - was a good companion thought all week and lots to draw about.  As the philosopher said, the unexamined life is not worth living.

I found I am lots things...
'Who Am I' gouache and pencil in 8x6 'gamma' sketchbook
 And I wondered, these things, they are things I do, and roles I take, but does that really answer the question of who I am, or does it answer rather what I am? 

pigma pen and prismacolor pencil in 8x6 'gamma' sketchbook
Who I am, I think, is most truly revealed in the free-form wanderings of my subconscious laid down in my daily drawings. 

'Help Me Help Me Help Me - Thank You!' - pigma pen and water color in 8x6 'gamma' sketchbook
The who, for real, served up daily through the Grace of the One who made me an artist.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Our days are at their longest - the green and silver hours dim to twilight around 11pm and birds sing me awake with the full onset of daylight at 3 am, but no insomnia.   

View across to Kupreanof from the top of the 40,000 Road on Sunday afternoon

 There is good change afoot in the family again, so I drop back asleep under my quilts until the alarm at 5am.   

40,000 Road on Sunday afternoon
Across the Bay, morning clouds rise like yeasty dough to drape themselves in languid lovers embrace across Tonka Mountain and I begin the day grateful.  Grateful to be one of the Living Ones, one of the Humans, even when it’s hard sorrow to be lived through as in mourning the death of old friends as we have done on this island lately.  This beautiful summer light won’t last forever.

Happy Solstice to All!  Hope you are walking in gratitude today.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

favorite object drawing challenge

'Featherweight' pencil in 9x12 sketchbook
I was hard pressed to pick from amongst my objects for a favorite.  In the end, I drew the first thing I saw when I entered the studio this morning, my little Singer Featherweight.  Born in the late 60's in Great Britain, she has a trusty stitch - forward and reverse only - and always makes me smile!  You can take a look at the other participants in this challenge by visiting Helen.

Also this week I began some new work - paintings with Procion on cotton.  Here are some process shots of that - a long way from completed, but on the way!
Once all the dye was applied, I covered the work with plastic to hold the moisture while it cures.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Complaint Department

'In the Mirror' ink drawn with alder stick in 8x6 'gamma'

'Better in the Morning' Pigma Pen and Prismacolor pencil in 8x6 'gamma'

'Talktalk' watercolor and Pigma pen in 8x6 'gamma'
Last evening I wasted an hour trying to get into my flickr account to load new images without any success at all.  Problem is (I think) I had inadvertently set up two accounts and although I had my accounts with yahoo and google talking to each other at one point, they no longer are for whatever reason.  I keep getting an error message when trying to sign in - BAHHH! If only I could talk to a living human being at Yahoo about this problem, you know, like an old fashion complaint department.

Thanks for listening to my whinging!  I'm off to the Mighty Mighty Day Job - my 'Friday' there today.  Tomorrow will be in the studio where I will be dyeing -YES!!!  Happy mid-week, All.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Two Sunny Days

Lucky for us, there were two sunny days this week.  Waterfalls caught my eye on the afternoon walk Wednesday.

These long summer evenings afford plenty of time for an after dinner stroll in our woods.

Blue sky is a blessing I can't get enough of.  There was more today.

I spent most of my studio day stitching beads on my Fiberactions challenge - shhh - the reveal is still weeks away!  I think my color inspiration is obvious.

Flossy and I drove out the road after work to enjoy a walk and cook a hot dog at Crescent Beach.
 The skunk cabbages are big enough to dwarf my diminutive dog.

Wild flowers grace the roadside.

There was a ring about the sun, signal that the weather will be changing overnight.

Layers of green - such a proliferation of texture!  These sunny days are the reason we endure all the rainy ones here in Alaska.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Daily Drawing

'Relative of Snow Goggles' - watercolor and pigma pen in 8x6 'gamma' sketchbook
I checked Veronica Lawlor's 'One Drawing A Day' out from our library and began going through the exercises there a couple days ago.  It is fun to have a little direction and focus for a change in my daily sketchbook drawings.  Usually I work totally out of my head, as in the drawing above.  Veronica has me actually drawing what I see and it's good.

Here are the first two exercises in the book, according to my eye:
our kindling bin, contour drawing in 8x6 'gamma'

This is a shell the Sailor brought me, dip pen in 8x6 'gamma'
How do you change it up for yourself? 
Happy mid-week to all!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Scene Recently, #27

While I was away, the scene turned GREEN. 

Even with the temperature hovering below 55 degrees F (13 degrees C) and steady rain our hardy plants are growing and flowering.

Salmonberry - we are going to have a great berry year, I think.

This muskeg plant is called Labrador Tea.  The leaves can be brewed in the fall.

Flossy, looking - wise?   Inscrutable?  Steely-eyed?


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