Sep 052017

Only two paintings last week – new work project is sucking up a lot of time, including lunch breaks. Grrr.

Lunch hour painting.
Friday was impatient with me while I was trimming up the latest quilt and I decided to paint her as big as her stare.

Lunch hour painting.
A creature considering the path to the Haunted Forest. Inspired by a comment from two hikers about skipping the path to the Haunted Forest. I would go, all things being equal.

I don’t know how to squeeze more time out of my life without giving something else up. I am selfish, I want to keep all the things. Maybe there is a way, a space between the known, that I can exploit.

Sep 042017

Earth's moon.
Sometimes, when you spy a beautiful, glowing moon on a Friday night, you simply have to spend half an hour crawling around your front yard with your tripod to find a shot mostly clear of tree branches that will allow you to catch some crater edges.

Sep 012017

This quilt has been done for a while, but I’m struggling to keep up with documentation lately.
Partitioned Batch Quilt - front
The Partitioned Batch Quilt!
57 x 81″ This is the first actual usage of my ice and snow dyed fabrics. At first I refrained from using them so that I could show them as examples during the ice dying session I had. When that was done, it took me a couple weeks to realize they were fair game and were now part of the usable fabric stash.

Partitioned Batch Quilt - detail
Then, I couldn’t figure out how to use them. I wanted to make a quilt, but I was concerned that cutting up these pretty fabrics would suck away their special-ness. If you can’t see the whorls and fades of all the dyed colors, why bother?

Partitioned Batch Quilt - detail
After a lot of hypothesis, folding, squinting, and arranging, I settled upon this design. I didn’t want to use only the dyed fabrics, nor dyed and solids, so I made it “anything goes” as far as source fabric.

Partitioned Batch Quilt - detail
As I began creating blocks of these special fabrics, I also began personifying them and their visual personalities.

Partitioned Batch Quilt - detail
This made me start thinking of them as people. Some are the same, but never identical. Some group together, while still retaining their individuality, but also becoming something more as a group.

Partitioned Batch Quilt - detail
Even groups with similar sizes, shapes, and colors have distinct visual and textural characteristics comparatively.

Partitioned Batch Quilt - detail
Perhaps I needed a more dramatic difference in the gray used in the background. There are actually two noticeably (maybe?), purposely mismatched shades of the background, but they look more similar now that the whole thing is completed.

Partitioned Batch Quilt - detail
I used raw edges on the layered blocks and I will NEVER do that on a quilt again. NEVER, you hear me, Future-Sarcastra?! Don’t fucking do it. Usually, I spend an hour or two finding loose thread ends and removing lint. This thing took nine. NINE HOURS! Even Friday was irritated with me taking so long on “her” new quilt.

Spoiled cat!

Partitioned Batch Quilt - back
And the back, previously discussed. This back makes me want to do a whole cloth quilt so badly, but my project list is too long and I am too busy for the foreseeable future.

Speaking of busy, documentation (blog posts) of projects and life will lessen for the next few months, unless I find some time between the cracks somehow. Work is going to be mad-busy, and after that I prioritize things like Slick, sleep, creative pursuits, and … and .. shit. What else do I do? Occasional social outings, hikes, moonlit walks? Fuck it, you get the idea.

Aug 282017

The week before last was very busy at work, so I only got one painting done. I”ve combined it in this post.
Previous week’s single painting:
Spider queen in her web.
Spider queen in her web.
I decided to paint a spider this time, and while sorting out how to go about that, came across the Moche, an ancient civilization in Peru. From artifacts, it is believed they were a matriarchy (women led, queens and/or priestesses) and one of their sacred animals was the spider. Thus, this spider lady wears a crown. I took my design inspiration from their pottery and jewelry artifacts. Also, I got a masking pen recently and was able to try it out on the web.

Last week’s paintings:
As of this painting, I started a new theme selection process. Instead of agonizing over what to paint that will fit into a lunch hour, I open my draw/paint inspiration folder, close my eyes and scroll wildly for a bit, then click. Whatever is selected, I have to paint somehow. It is working.

Lunch hour painting, Cave Cats
[Selection was the title “Cave Cats”] This is not the way I thought this title would lead – I envisioned pointy, lithe. dark cats changed from generations in caves. Instead, I came across some Irish mythology involving a cave and giant cats to defeat. This two-headed cat monster guards the Oweyngat (Cave of Cats) and the rare, magical flowers which grow at the entrance. Smart questors will bring treats and be ready to provide chin scratches. Furthering Irish myths into my graveyard world. I used Scottish wild cats for a creature reference. Originally thought the green was too green, technicolor, unrealistic, but then I remembered the way Ireland was green and I think I nailed it. Search my blog for Ireland and recall all the green for yourself!

Painiting of ensign wasp on bittersweet nightshade flower.
[Selection was a microscopic close up of an ensign wasp] Killer of cockroaches. Ensign wasp (aka nightshade wasp) on a bittersweet nightshade flower (solanum dulcamara). For an idea of actual size, these flowers are about half an inch across and the ensign wasp is about 1cm. The ensign wasps are mislabeled as parasitic, since they will insert their baby eggs into roach eggs. The wasps then devour the roach in the egg as they grow, and later hunt and kill cockroaches. Good job, insects!

Brain Corrugator 1000 painting.
[Selection was an image of a brain and various notes & ideas]
Thought it would be funny to have a product for your brain. The new Corrugator 1000 will empower you to wrinkle your gray matter faster and more efficiently than ever before. Don’t be left behind!

Pumpkin Vine
[Selection was a sketch of vines with flowers in a circle.] Decided it was okay to go ahead and get excited about autumn a little. I hope to grow pumpkins in the wasteland of my backyard one day. I may turn this into a sticker or card or something.

Another week of artistic productivity over lunch!

Aug 222017

Slick and I drove to the center of the path of totality for the solar eclipse. It was excellent and I’m glad we went to the effort. Here is an animation of the field where we parked, had a picnic and laid on quilts in the grass, staring at the sun through protective glasses.

Very cool. I know the traffic was terrible for many, but we were close to our goal to start and stuck to the back roads. There was about an hour total spent on gravel roads, but we had almost no traffic woes at all. That was nice.

Aug 182017

Moxie checking out my bagel with cream cheese.
Moxie came over to inspect my bagel to see if I was worth her energy to be sweet to, for the price of sharing my breakfast. She is a complicated little cat, but this trade is a simple and obvious one, to her.

Aug 172017

Rabbit in the side yard.
Whilst in the backyard propping up my broken echinacea plant (I’ll share if it survives) I saw a rabbit who’d found the perfect sunbeam through the hedgerow. It was shining only on her and she was stretched out in it, practically glowing.

Rabbit in the side yard.
I tired to get closer for a better shot, but she turned to flee. They are prey animals, after all.

Rabbit in the side yard.
Immediately, I stopped, then stepped back slowly. She returned to her spot cautiously.

Rabbit in the side yard.
Mostly obscured by the corner of the house, I watched her start to relax again. Then I went inside and relaxed also.

Aug 142017

Lunch Hour Paintings
Ever since I discovered the existence of pangolins (through an art museum) I have loved them. They’re as incredible as armored dinosaurs. They are REALLY hard to paint though, not because of technique, but because of reference images. If you do an image search, you’ll see that about half the photos of pangolins depict their horrendous abuse, poaching, hunting, and worse. Hard to look at.

Lunch Hour Paintings
This dog is having a relaxing time with his new record.

Only two paintings to share from last week. I have other projects taking time, but they are not in a state ready for sharing.

Aug 072017

Lunch hour painting
Thinking about fish and space. The two work together. Space is where the really big, rare, idea-fish live.

Lunch hour painting
Sure, you can summon a cat spirit; easy with some cat nip and sacrificial moths, but they give terrible advice, lick the flavor off your Doritos and shed spirit fur everywhere. You just can’t sticky-roller that stuff away. The purrs are otherworldly, though.

Lunch hour painting
A bit random, I’ve been thinking about how to make large numbers of small poppets. This came about when it was time to paint. Two of the white rabbits are suspicious of the black cat in their safe rainbow area.

Lunch hour painting
The Bone Raven, one of the magical creatures in the graveyard. He’s not awake often.

Lunch hour painting
Wanted to paint a squirrel doing something human and as a human, I definitely wait impatiently on Amazon deliveries. Once I thought it, I had to paint it since squirrels are so fast and jumpy.

Aug 032017

Recall how I said I’d be working on the latest quilt over the weekend to get it done?
Remember when I explained that I had enough fabric to last decades?


When I went to bed on Friday night, I had the perfect vision of a zip pouch made of a fabric, the print of the fabric was a bit grunky, the background was a deep, sweet red. The zipper on the pouch was black. I was enamoured.

So, instead of doing what I said I would, I spent the weekend making this fabric design.

The red I wanted doesn’t exist in Kona cotton, so I took three yards the darkest hot pink that does exist and overdyed it with cherry red. It took a lot of time, but the color was perfect. Meanwhile, I drew the design, scanned, printed, exposed screens and mixed up printing inks.
Making fabric
It took another day to get the printing done, there was a lot of mess. It is excellent! Just what I envisioned.

Making fabric
This is the first layer alone, in a silver-glitter white combo.

Used my handmade fabric to make a pencil case.
Then, using my max-visibility zip pouch method (calling it a pattern seems wrong, since it can be made in any size instead of a limited pattern) I made a zip pouch from my new fabric. It is EXACTLY like I saw it and wanted it.

Used my handmade fabric to make a pencil case.
The start tab has a cheeky eyelet for hanging.

Used my handmade fabric to make a pencil case.
The interior lining is a thick, silver glitter star print.

Now I have in my possession the precise thing I saw in my head. I don’t think I can appropriately convey how happy, satisfied, and generally blissed-out this makes me. I swear I get a warm feeling in my chest when I see it and hold it. As well, I have somewhere to corral my drawing pencils for my latest drawing sketchbook. To maximize chances of success, I made two in one go; the second is listed in my Etsy shop, if this is somehow your dream, too.

After all that, I did finish the quilt; although, it is awaiting the final de-lint and de-thread session before photography.

Aaaah. Excellent.

Jul 312017

Collection of paintings from last week.

Lunch hour painting
Blue milk cap (lactarius indigo) mushroom and field mouse, above its burrow. I’d wondered about unusual blues in nature and discovered this mushroom, which is edible but its taste varies greatly.

Lunch hour painting
Attracted by the pancake breakfast, a mutant giant slug incidentally destroys the Depot Plaza, bringing a halt to many CFD activities and breaking the record for slowest destruction of a building. I was inspired y this giant snail meme:
Snail meme
… which I found hilarious.

Lunch hour painting
Reindeer, somewhat out of place in this part of the graveyard.

Lunch hour painting
What I saw on the shower door this morning. The condensation formed a leaf on a stem and a tiny mushroom floating above it. Was pleased to observe shapes in the droplets. They were crisp and distinct.

Jul 282017

The Captain, napping.
The Captain is the cutest napper. I love it when cats put their heads on pillows. Not only because I am amused by animals doing human things, but also because I feel, in some modest fashion, that something I did made a cat have a more comfortable life.

Jul 272017

Last Sunday I cleared out the center of our living room to lay out and pin the latest quilt.
Latest quilt
The upper right corner had direct sunlight on it and somehow the color vanished in the pic. That corner looks gray for some reason, but I assure you it is not.
It fit with just enough room for me to get around it. This picture shows it pinned, edges trimmed, about to be folded up and taken downstairs for quilting, which I finished last night. Now I only have to bind it and the rest is wash, dry, photograph.

This quilt is also a first for me. I usually piece my backings together from multiple pieces of fabric. This one with so many pieces on the front didn’t feel right do that for, so I (dah, dah, DAH!!) ordered a piece of backing fabric! Woot! This fabric is 108″ wide and made for this very purpose, especially for folks who quilt on a longarm machine – those big, room-eating monsters that allow you the possibility of quilting a king size in an hour. I don’t have one those, but I wanted to have a single piece on the back. This was a conflict to decide for me for a few reasons:
1. I have plenty of fabric. I likely have enough fabric to keep me stocked for the next 25-30 years, seriously. I could absolutely use some of that fabric to piece a back instead of buying more fabric.
2. One solid piece of fabric at that size calls out to me for a purposeful quilting design on it, since that is the only visual interest such a piece will have. This quilt front, however; does absolutely NOT support some free design dedicated to a back. The front is boxy, piece-y and demands quilting that furthers its composition, and deserves it.
3. After some fun, but significant expenditures this year, I am really trying NOT to spend money on things I don’t need. I don’t NEED this fabric.

Those are the biggies, but I did it anyway. In hindsight, I still think it was the right choice. And now I’m even more excited to do a wholecloth quilt one day. The back, being solid black with my quilting in black, looks enticing in a way only monochrome texture can. Yes, despite my love of color (passion?) I do like monochrome. I like the visual fabric interest in all its forms, I suppose. All black patchwork makes my heart race a bit.

Anyway, the backing piece goes down first and I’d started taping it down, but the masking tape I’d grabbed was one of the super-delicate painting tapes I bought so it wouldn’t rip up my watercolor paper. I chose it because I assumed it would still be sticky enough, but it seems their claims of gentle stick were true. Who knew, truth in advertising!?! Anyhow, I went back downstairs, grabbed the regular cheapo, crap masking tape and by the time I came back up, Friday was having a spree. She was taking running slides at the backing fabric, diving underneath it and looking around the new world there – same as cats do when you’re making a bed. I had to take a picture.

Friday on the quilt backing
By this time she’d somehow managed to get it accidentally flat again and laid on top of it to catch her breath. Silly cat.

That went well, after Friday and Oz lost interest with my yelling at them, and now the quilting is done, as mentioned. I will likely get the binding done this weekend and should have photos up next week. As for naming, there is word that fits this quilt very well, but I cannot bring it to mind. My second biggest problem with having a decent vocabulary is that I cannot always find the explicit one I want – similar to my trouble finding the perfect item in an overcrowded workshop!

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