Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Painted Quilt Square

Another project from my studio--a painted quilt square. This design is painted on a piece of white cotton. The theme of the quilt is the state flowers and birds of the 13 original colonies. Since I grew up in Delaware, I volunteered to do the Delaware square. Each person who participated in the quilt project was given the fabric square and the design for her quilt block from an old embroidery book that included the birds and flowers of all 50 states. In this way, the designs were consistent, even though the painting on each one may be a different style. Each one has a banner, along with a design that includes the bird and the flower for that state.

The Delaware state bird is the Blue Hen Chicken. It was originally bred for cock fighting, which, of course, is illegal today. I don't know if this breed of chicken is widely grown today. If it is, it probably ends up on the dinner table. It is not a flashy bird. Its feathers are grey with some white markings. The only real color on this bird is the red of its wattle and comb. The Blue Hen is the mascot of the University of Delaware. although the University of Delaware Fighting Blue Hen is actually blue. The state flower is the Peach Blossom.

So here is the quilt square. It is painted with DecoArt SoSoft fabric paint.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Another pastel painting

Here is another little pastel painting from my studio this week. This time of year, the sunflowers are in bloom. In our area there are fields of sunflowers--a very impressive site. this piece will be matted with a black mat before it is framed.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tea for Me -- design ideas

I found a charming little tea-for-one set that was covered with funky teapots. The set consists of a cup, saucer, and teapot that stack together when not in use. From this came an idea for a gift basket. The funky teapots made a perfect decoration for a tray, a cookie plate, and a framed pastel painting. What a fun basket this will be. Some teabags, cookies, a napkin and crocheted napkin ring, and a copy of the first book in the Tea Shop Mystery Series will give someone everything they need to enjoy a quiet cup of afternoon tea.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

New Technique--to me

How time flies! I didn't realize how long it had been since I posted anything. September has been a busy month.

Last week the Town and Country Decorative Painters hosted a 3-day seminar with Connie Parkinson. She came in a couple of days early and spent some time with me playing in my studio. It was a joy to have someone to paint with. We painted from 9am until 1:30am the next day and only stopped long enough to eat our lunch and dinner.

The paintings we did used an underpainting technique. They were painted on gesso board. The design was first painted in Burnt Sienna acrylic paint using a bit of water to thin it when we needed to created lighter tones. The result was a sepia-like painting. This technique is like grisaille (pronounced gris-eye) in which an underpainting is done in shades of gray. Once the underpainting is completed, the painting is completed with oil paints. In this case, we used the water-mixable oils.

The advantage to using Burnt Sienna rather than shades of gray for the underpainting is that Burnt Sienna is a warm color and puts life into the painting. All oils are somewhat translucent so whatever color is underneath will influence the finished work.

Here is one of the pieces we painted. This bowl of grapes is painted from a photo that appeared in Gourmet magazine in 2002. I loved the photo and wrote tot he photographer, Romulo Vanes, to ask permission to use it as a reference. He called me and was most gracious about giving his permission. Please remember that all photos in magazines are copyright and you must ask permission to use them or you could find yourself in legal difficulties. Not every magazine or photographer will be flattered or cooperative about giving their permission.

Grape Compote in sepia tones

Grape Compote
finished painting

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Ewe and Me -- another design inspiration

I am participating in a basket lunch project. A basket lunch is a luncheon where gift baskets are auctioned off. The luncheon has a theme. Our luncheon theme is Luncheon in the Pumpkin Patch. The table centerpieces and place favors for each person attending all relate to the theme. In this case, our dessert is going to be pumpkin cake to fit our theme as well. Various people create gift baskets. Each basket is themed, but not necessarily to match the luncheon theme. Each basket must contain at least three painted items and must have a retail value of at least $35.

With that as background, my friend found a wooden box with sides made of sheep cutouts. Together we decided on the theme "Ewe and Me Is Friends" (disregard the grammatical errors, they are not as important as the effect of the theme). She has painted the box. My contribution is two mugs and a scrapbook album. I have painted the sheep, she is going to do the lettering. Each item will have the saying "Ewe and Me is Friends" painted above and below the sheep. The mugs are painted with Plaid Enamel for Glass. The little 3"x3" insert in the photo album is done with colored pencil and soft pastels on blue Color Lock paper. Here are photos of the items as I handed them off.