Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Perspecitve, Shadows, and Freckles

You might remember that I commented on my desire to stretch my drawing capabilities when I last posted something drawn (see "Detach"). Well today, I decided I'd take some time to push myself. I looked around the house for something interesting and found a small stone pot
(1 1/2 inches tall or so) and an empty cinnamon tin, and sat down to draw. My challenge to self was to focus on perspective and shadows. It was pretty hard. I'm not at all used to so closely studying an object. I noted the times I finished each one because the shadows are so drastically different for each of them. Indeed, I took a lunch break and called my mom before starting the cinnamon tin! When I came back to the table, I was totally surprised by how different both objects looked.
(Remember to click on the picture for a closer look.)

After the cinnamon tin was done, I decided to have a go at a person. One of my favorite photos of me & Paul hangs on the wall right above my desk, so I decided that mine was as good a face as any to try. It, too, was very hard to draw. Besides the challenges of the head-on perspective and shadows--which can either make the subject look like she has a black eye or, if done effectively, can provide definition to a drawing--I've got freckles! How to not make them seem like mistakes or moles or disfigurements... sheesh!

I'm really proud of myself for giving myself this time to do something I've been wanting to try for awhile. Now I know what I'm capable of if I give it time, and what I need to do to get (again) where I want to be: practice! (And I hope to take a drawing class sometime soon too!)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving
(my fave holiday ever!).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Obsessed with Aprons!

Lately, I've been obsessed with aprons! I made my first apron in 2002, when I lived in Hameln, Germany. It was a crazy quilt-like experiment that was faithfully worn through many a cooking adventure. Since then, I have acquired quite a few others. I must admit, my aspiration is to be like my baking/cooking friend Kyran, who always has a dozen (it seems) aprons for me to choose from when we bake together at her house. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm getting close! Today I made this fabulous thing. I am SO pleased! Up till now, I've only ever worn full aprons (you know, with the tie around the neck), but Ambra wears these half-aprons (for lack of a better description), and told me the other day that it is a matter of changing your hand-wiping habit, but otherwise they serve the purpose just as well.

You'll notice to the right that I've got links to websites and blogs I think are great. Ambra's blog has a link to the Apronista blog. I found the Apronista so inspiring that I had to add the link to my own blog. If you're interested in seeing some super stylish aprons, go there. When my mom viewed the site today, she wrote to me and said: "Seeing these aprons gives me a paradigm shift into another world where people have time to enjoy pretty things, and tinker around in the kitchen for fun." No kidding! Having a fun apron makes it seem like there is nothing but fun to be had in any task you do while wearing it!

The Apronista site is one place I drew my inspiration from for this project today. Other inspiration came from, well, Ambra looking so good her her apron, Martha's quick Christmas apron instructions in the December issue of her mag (which actually were too simple for my liking, but still worthy of inspiration!), and a photo I came across the other day in a slide show of a quilt show in Italy. The apron jumped right out at me from amidst the sea of artistic quilts. When I saw it, I just knew I
had to make one.

I have four favorite things about this apron:
1. The brown retro flowers fabric. I got a fat quarter of it in a lovely little fabric store in Glenwood Springs over a year ago. I knew it would be perfect for some project.
2. The ribbon across the orange that perfectly matches the brown fabric! Thanks, Am, for that fantastically serendipitous souvenier from France!
3. The tiny corner of turquoise velveteen, which I found at an estate sale a few weeks ago and got a good deal on. Perfect for adding some texture.
4. The tapering of the ties around the sides to the narrower black ties in the back. That really turned out well.

OK, I thought of a fifth favorite thing: the big white decorative flower! That was inspired by Jennifer. She's done some thread art and her quilts are always so artfully quilted... pictures made of thread and little scraps of rough-edged fabric.

If I'm lucky, I'll have a chance to post one more time before T-giving, after another full day of arting tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Thanks so much for viewing my blog!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Birthday cards

Today I've had most of the day to create, and it has been splendid! Here are two of the three birthday cards I've made this week. On the left, for my friend and neighbor Chris, the black card stock that serves as the border on three sides is also the back piece of the card (the part you write on). The sign is "hung" with dark blue satin ribbon, and to accent the print on the blue paper, a 3D swirl to match the black. On the right, made for my cousin Addie, I sewed some of my favorite fabric lying around to a card, then embellished it with paper flowers, a metal label frame, and red brads.

Since I plan to art most of Tuesday and Wednesday before heading to CA for Thanksgiving, come back soon for at least one more posting this week!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tiny Moments of Art

On October 29 I went to a great little presentation during my lunch hour called "Not Your Grandma's Crafts." The presenters were sure to state in a disclaimer at the start that they in no way intended offense to any grandmas or their crafts, and that in fact the crafts that they were going to show us today were just some newer, simple ideas using modern materials to make chic things. We learned that day about stenciling using the internet for images, freezer paper, an iron, and fabric paint, and also about wallets made of colored duct tape. Indeed, I was in heaven for an hour, drastically making mental notes!

The election, Halloween, and the prospect of guests in our home once again have kept me from spending much time at length in my art room these last couple weeks. Meanwhile, I've taken respite in tiny moments of art, like the lunchtime presentation I just mentioned. Another day, my friend Haley and I had just collected our "I voted" stickers after voting early, and used another lunch hour to make pins with our stickers. Nothing like a little cardstock, scissors, a safety pin, and a glue gun! I wore my "I voted" sticker proudly until the end of election day, when I finally settled into bed after a long day working at a voting center, reveling in the day's outcomes and Obama's speech.

An invitation to a potluck dinner, where we "wouldn't be let in the house without a costume," inspired my idea to be a pack of Big Red gum, along with the fact that I own all-red clothing, and, well, the hair.... I thought the idea was pretty original, myself. And there's my hero next to me, trusty ol' Captain America. A friend of ours who saw this photo emailed and said, "Does it look to anyone else that Captain America's muscles have atrophied a bit since he first came to America three years ago?" I thought that was funny, considering the great effort that was made for this photo to fluff them up!

And this was my edible contribution to the meal, which I thought turned out so well considering my lack of experience with ganache and cake-decorating! It was copied straight up from a Martha recipe/idea, but instead of just looking at her food editor's perfect crust and candy spider, we got to eat this amazing concoction, a no-bake cheesecake with oreo-cookie crust, lined and decorated with chocolate ganache. And we got the spider from the internet.

Here's to any moments of art we can fit in our daily (sometimes so busy) lives.