Apr 022018

Over the weekend, I had an almost an entire Saturday in the workshop. A small pot of coffee and some dark, moody music helped fuel what I can only call a creative frenzy.
Finishing up a rabbit stamp.
This little guy is the only pic I have from the day, but I did quite a lot. It started as a desire to do a quick collage, then realized I wanted to more than that. Okay, two pieces. Found some ambiguous and commitment-neutral art board to fit the bill – and almost fit on my desk.

Tangent, I really have to sort out my workshop. I’ve been making and not cleaning up or organizing much. That and having WAY TOO MUCH art stuff (of all types) means I am crammed in there with my stuff. My workspace is reduced to my desk top. I have GOT to stop, and clear off surfaces, organize items into their homes and spiff up the other work areas. Can’t use the painting spot because all my unloved metal working stuff is there instead. Can’t use my carving area because I have woodworking stuff stacked in front of it. Etc. Must deal with my stuff.

Back on track. I had fun doing a collage item pull, then failing to consider my composition and instead creating a new drawing, which I then turned into a sweet papercut, which I then turned into a block print. I can’t do anything easy, some things have to have three (or five) variations and renditions before I can accept them as done. Arrangement started, color theme began, meaning danced at the edges, but then I needed a rabbit stamp. Yes, I’ve carved about 20 rabbit stamps already, but none of those are this one. Got some progress in and realized I had a sub-theme, so (of-fucking-course) I had to cease progress again and explore, develop, define and create small items for this sub-theme. You know, because it isn’t enough that I have a fucking sub-theme, but I also have to create complimentary items for it, then go back to the original theme, again. Meta, layers; meta-layers.

I didn’t get done by 0020 (yeah, I wrecked my bedtime) but I got a solid start on it – maybe close to halfway even. It was great; a packed day making things and having FUN mostly nonstop. The next day I was creatively exhausted. Like an artistic hangover. I tried a few times to go back to the collages and finish them, but it was a one-sided effort. My willpower against my empty imagination bank.

Willpower: should I glue down these pieces here, or find another one for balance?
Muse: Ummm…
Willpower: Okay, leave that one. What about a color wash?
Muse: Eh.
Willpower: Alright, what about this piece? Does it go here, or over here? Or both? Or neither?
Muse: (zzzz…)
Willpower: This is pointless.

Then I cleaned, folded laundry, and organized stuff in multiple rooms. At least a little bit of the stuffs organized was in the workshop, so that is good.

Mar 262018

Half dozen home made pizzas this winter!
This one was made from the leftover dough of pizza #5. I didn’t let it warm up, just smooshed it out onto the pan cold. Parbaked for 5 min and went for it.
Freshly made pizza.
The dough was too thick and it isn’t an ingredient combination that makes for a good thick crust pizza. The mushrooms were about to go and I only had a handful of mozzarella left. This was essentially a use it or lose it pizza. I used it, and it was tasty enough. I have to work on the dough, the taste is pretty good, but the texture and moisture need work. This is largely moot, since the pizza-making frenzy will die down soon enough.

Mar 202018

Pizza dough, parbake.
Did a few things different on this one. I let it rise longer, parbaked it longer and the texture and doneness was better, but it was also a bit dry and I didn’t put as many spices in it, which made it dull.

Pizza done.
Pizza number five (a few days later) didn’t get a photo because I was very hungry and couldn’t make myself NOT eat the whole pizza before grabbing a camera. I have about seven cameras, but hunger won out. It looked the same as this one.
I adjusted a few more things and it was fine – not that I’d really notice with how fast I wolfed that thing down. Funny though, I split half the dough for Slick to use later, but he didn’t get to it that night. When I checked on it before bed, the dough had grown and burst out of the plastic wrap, forming a sci-fi looking bulge as if the dough was going to keep growing and take over the fridge. It didn’t, but it was a fun sight.

Mar 112018

Cherry pie, baking.

It even looks like pie!

Cherry pie, baked.

I think next time I’ll drop the temp a bit and bake it longer. Used a premade crust that had zero flavor to it, so that is a big change, too. Although, the usefulness of these improvements is debatable because I make pie so rarely. I love pie, but eating an entire one before it expired is not likely.

Mar 062018

small painting from Sketchbox supplies
Got the March Sketchbox Premium over the weekend and made this painting. The box included a small canvas panel, which is uncommon, but it was nice that I had something to paint on immediately. Something besides the box, which I often do. I have very artistic trash. The bronze color is a Liquitex acrylic metallic ink. It was unusual in that it was thicker and more viscous than regular acrylic ink, and also more fluid than other metallic inks I have. Used the Princeton velvet touch brush (the handles on these are like a micro-flocked or short nap velvet feel, posh) to spread the ink on the canvas and the viscosity left swoops in the coverage. After it dried, hours later, the swoops were still there and looked like falling, twisting leaves, so that is what I went with. The box also contained a Faber-Castell Polychromos (my fav cp brand, I have the 120 set and love it) color pencil in “Orange Glaze” color, which I used to add body to the leaves. Next was a Kuretake #7 brush pen. Got one of these in the first art supply box I ever received, over a year ago, and I like it still. Did leaf outlines and details in black with this pen. Finally, the Copic opaque white watercolor ink, which has a fine, long brush tip on the end of that silly cap on the bottle. I used it for leaf highlights, but it was pretty opaque so I knocked it back with water and a stray tissue.
That’s it. Art from an art supply box, made entirely on the sofa.

Mar 042018

Third this winter, this year, anyway.
Homemade pizza
Not great.
Dough undercooked – lower temperature and longer parbake. Maybe longer, warmer rise time, too.
Dough taste – used an ale instead of cheap-ass beer. Prefer taste with cheap-ass beer.
Leftover chicken as topping – fine
Cheese – blend of provolone, asiago, and mozzarella on base; topped with more mozzarella. Fine.
Allover – lower temperature and longer bake time.
Sauce – go back to original sauce recipe, the more marinara style was okay, not good

Feb 262018

On the weekends I have time to bake things, but this especially happens in the winter when the weather is inhospitable. I don’t want to leave the house and it is cold outside. These things contribute to my baking, which doesn’t happen much at all in the summer.
Last weekend I made pizza dough, and some pizza sauce.
Pretty tasty looking; it was good.
I also made some cookies while I had my mixer out and thought I’d use it instead of a bowl and spoon. Low-grade fun.
I made them with some chocolate (obvs), but at the end thought they might need a bit of oomphf to register as special. I pressed pieces of pearl sugar, which I have for making the extra-fancy dough waffles, into the tops before baking. Gave it a gentle, sweet crunch.
I also made some quesadilla sauce, pretzel dough, and banana walnut bread, but I didn’t take pictures of any of that, so there ya’ go. Need more groceries, now.

Feb 242018

This whole “Saturday Morning” + thing title theme was feeling prosaic and tired, but now that it is something different each Saturday, I rather like it, in an obstinate sort of way.

Almost done mixed media pieces.

This morning, I wanted to do a collage, although I ended up painting quite a bit more than I thought I would. More of a general mixed media piece instead of collage. Coffee and music and art – such a good time. Some parts have to dry before I can finish it, but this is pretty close to done. I used the recent stamp test sheet from making niece’s fabric for the bag lining. Cats, skulls, stars, all very me. Had a good time. Think this Saturday morning art stuff is the cat’s pyjamas.

Feb 132018

On Friday night, as I was laying in bed and NOT falling asleep, I was thinking about singing wineglasses and crystal bowls – that particular sweet sound their resonance makes when played. At the same time, I was remembering the cold outside that I’d spent an unusual amount of time in, earlier in the day. (At one point I realized I was thinking poetry about the cold and had to grab a notebook and catch the words, but I diverge – the poetry is not part of this.) That night was a foggy, wet cold we don’t often get in dry Wyoming, with the temperature at 7F (-14C) at that time. Those two things blended together with the mental inventory I had of the excessive fabric scraps in my workshop. I’d spent the previous evening at the sewing machine mending (blech) some clothes and had to keep clearing spaces. So, as I finally drifted off on those Alpha waves towards sleep, I had the visual and texture of my too many blue and violet fabric scraps laying around, the feel of that clingy, damp cold against my face from earlier (alongside the even-colder, black, night a few feet away), the sound of singing crystal resonance, and an ardent desire to sew for pleasure.

This is how quilt inspiration works for me – I tend to think in concepts. Ymabean and Christina have both mentioned to me that the explanation of my inspiration enhances their experience of my work and they’d like more of that. I’m trying it out here and plan on making small zines exploring the inspirations for the quilts, or other items. Although, background inspiration for smaller items like paintings or pouches won’t fill a zine – those will probably be a postcard size.

Cut to Saturday, fresh baked goods are done and I’m in my workshop. I love Saturday mornings in the workshop; it’s the best feeling. Quilt “planning” based on the inspiration that gelled the night before. Some friends gave us a HUGE crystal bowl as a wedding gift – it has an incredible sound – and YouTube has a variety of pieces played on glass harps by hard-working musicians around the world. Bach’s toccata and fugue in D minor by Robert Tiso got played many times.

Music-inspired sketched flower and stamp.
While high on coffee and music, I was compelled to draw and the lines were all very long and swoopy. I ended up with a simple flower in my nearest sketchbook and turned it into a small carving. There’s also a separate leaf I shaped from the off-cuts to go with it.
I threw some almost indigo colored procion powder into the dye pot. I’d thought to stamp it after dying, but I found a small pot of Jacquard Color Magnet which is a dye attractant. It is meant for silk screening, not stamping, and I can understand why; this stuff has the viscosity of ectoplasm from the movies. Slimer-type stuff right out of Ghostbusters. A bit of water and I mostly got it onto the stamp and partly onto the fabric before being dried thoroughly, then going into the dye pot. It worked well, considering my inability to get it onto the fabric neatly. Gloopy! The pic below is post-dye-processing.
Dyed fabric with dye attractant stamping.

You can see the Dye Magnet worked as titled. Everywhere I did manage to glob this stuff on pulled more intense dye concentration than surrounding areas. I’ll use this stuff again, but will have to put some more thought into the handling and thinning of it. Then I used a mix of black and violet fabric paint to stamp on top of the same spots as if it was a surround glow background.
Dyed fabric with stamping.
A closer look at a single stamping. Looks okay, especially for something I’m planning on cutting up and adding to a small-scraps quilt.

Dyed fabric with stamping.
I did another piece of fabric in a more blue-gray shade and without the dye attractant, only with fabric paint stamping on top of the dry, dyed fabric. I like this better – the look is cleaner. The lines in the fabric are because I did a gentle accordion fold on the prepped fabric before putting it in the pot and then didn’t stir it around at all, just let it sit in the dye pot for 10 or 20 minutes. A sublte, resonance line echo.

Thus, without purchasing any new supplies, I was able to have brand new, custom, inspired fabric to use in this quilt. This quilt will look similar to Tintamarre with its small-scrap base, although this will be more harmonious in the color palette. Progress to come!

Feb 122018

On Saturday morning I was full of energy and decided to bake some tasty stuff for us to eat over the weekend. It was quite cold and I didn’t want to leave the house at all. Hence, baking!
First up, a simple quiche.
Used a frozen pie shell because making dough was going to be too much bother for me when I wanted to get to sewing. Ham, swiss, green onions, and a bit of Dijon mustard. Fast, easy, and simple ingredients so there was nothing to deter the picky-eater, Slick. It was pretty good – there are even a couple pieces left.

Banana bread
While the quiche was in the oven, I brought up my bread machine and made use of some fairly ripe bananas. I didn’t have any walnuts, which would have tasted best, so I used almonds in the loaf and candied pecans on the top and upped the spices to sorta balance the flavors. It worked. The taste is best when I slice it, pop it in the toaster oven for a minute, and dot it with butter. Yum.

The house smelled fantastic and I will put walnuts on the list so I can make the same use of those last two bananas this weekend.

Feb 082018

I don’t have consistent lunch breaks anymore, so this habit isn’t going to continue much.
Lunch paintings
I wanted to convey the feeling of sitting inside with a cup of coffee while looking out at a snowy landscape. I do not like how these turned out.

Lunch paintings
Short break, so I went for a simple subject I might be able to complete in time. I like these.

I’m going to have to get around to explaining my sketchbook testing this year, but today is not that day. Such suspense, I know!

Jan 292018

Last week I found myself with 13 minutes of lunch time left before the next work round started. I’d wasted the other 45 minutes doing work that needs done. Foolish me. I decided to use the same watercolor crayons I’ve been playing with and do a sketch of pears, one for each of today’s notebooks.
A pair of pears.

I was still putting away items as I got on to my work call, but I did it. Art over lunch = success. Now, maybe I can focus on getting more shit done at home instead of getting sucked into video games. Nothing wrong with spending hours on games if you enjoy it, but I also need to fold laundry, take out the trash, and get a whole bunch of other stuff done. After a full work day of dealing with bullshit, the lure of an engrossing round of amusement tends to win out.

Guess this turned into more of a frustration vent than a post about art.

Jan 262018

After the speeding roller coaster that was my December, I completely missed getting my niece a present for the wretched winter holiday. Upon offer, she suggested I make her something, so I did. After much brain-poking, I settled on a small bag which I’ve seen referred to as a lunch bag. Can’t just make a bag though, I had to put my own stamp on it, literally.

Carving cat head stamps.
Carved a few, small cat head stamps for the project. Might make a couple more yet, for my own fabric printing.
Printing a strip of cat head fabric.
Printing onto the darkest pink fabric I had left, using black fabric paint and a wedge sponge. Worked pretty well. The most issues I had were with my own fingertips getting messy. I only printed enough fabric for this project on this piece.

Bag, side view
The finished bag. Not sure about the exterior fabric choice matching her tastes, but that is a problem I always have when making for someone I don’t know well and don’t interact with often. This size is a little larger than the one I made before and I prefer the slightly smaller (couple inches, here and there) size better.

Bag, cover inside.
The printed fabric as the cinchable cover. I like it, although future prints of this will be on a different color background. So bright.

Bag, cover closed.
The cover, closed by drawstring. Honestly, one of the reasons this project took me so long is because I cannot find the damn string spring closures. Finally, I found one that was keeping a spool of elastic cord closed and stole it. Hope I find them this year.

Bag, interior.
The usually hidden interior lining. Niece is a cat fiend, after all.

Did new stuff, learned better methods, fulfilled a gift need, and all is well.

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