Last week I took a quick trip up to the Hudson Valley to attend the funeral of my uncle Joe. Although it was a sad reason for gathering, it was fantastic to see cousins I haven’t seen in a long time and be able to give and receive much-needed hugs in person. I was glad for the first time this year to not be worried about lambing this season; otherwise I might not have been able to go.
Unfortunately the weather wasn’t very spring-like (indeed, it snowed the day I left), which is too bad, because my father and stepmom live in a really lovely spot overlooking the Rondout Canal. I’ll definitely be going back when the weather’s nicer. At the very least, I plan to stay there in October, as I will be there for Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool this year.
Back home in Virginia the daffodils are blooming, my hyacinth are growing, and I’m seeing the dark pink shoots that mean my peonies are on their way.
The peas we planted not long ago are sprouting, and we’ve got radishes, beets, various lettuces, arugula, kale and chard seeds in the ground.
The sheep are playing and kicking up their feet as they run, the bees are happily foraging for pollen and nectar. The songbirds are chirping. It’s a great time of year!
March comes in like a lion and out like … a GOAT !!!
The saying says a lamb, but this little kid sure looks like he’s out :)
After taking some general online courses on Surface Design, I came upon this one by Bonnie Christine on Skillshare. I started this project in late February, and kept a lot of detailed notes on my progress. Can I tell you how much I've learned in the videos from Bonnie Christine's class? It's crazy! I have been using Adobe Illustrator for over 10 years, and I thought I knew my way around, but I learned so many new tricks in this class that I hadn't ever even thought to try!
I was humbled by the class and how much I have left to learn about design and my favorite software.
Also, as you know, I've spent all of March working on MATS projects. So, in between my projects and the fast-pace of each week, I've been tweaking and applying my new skills to this pattern repeat.
Here's what I did for the class:
And here's the diary of my entire process...
February 23, 2015
Choose a word, short phrase... Bloom? Blossom? Botanical? Not sure yet, but I think I'll go with one of those.
Favorite things in nature... red squirrels, muscari azureum (grape hyacinths, and also bluebonnets and bluebells), new leaves, buds of flowers, dogwood blossoms, peonies and round blossoms, cacti, lithops & succulents, daffodils and narcissus, orchids, etc. Bright saturated colors.
1 colorful photograph (for palette) & 3-5 photographs (thematically related, to draw from) -- See mood board labeled "Botanical #1". I love this bouquet I found on Pinterest. And, I found other beautiful photographs on several photography sites. I'm personally not that great of a photographer and so I looked on Pinterest, Flickr, and used keywords of my favorite things to find inspirational photographs.
Mood-board Photo Origins: I searched for the origins of the peonies bouquet, but to no avail. The leaves, curled seed pod are from photographer Alan MacKenzie a very talented wildlife photographer. The daffodils and muscari azureum on the top right of the moodboard are from Better Homes and Gardens magazine. And the red squirrel is from Birds in Berlin blog.
February 24, 2015: Choose 10 - 15 simple/med complex sketches I'm thinking the squirrel, hyacinths, and the succulents will be my complex elements and perhaps I'll simplify everything else into 1 or 2 colors. Maybe I'll use just the filled-in outline for some, and/or the line-art. Time to play!
February 25, 2015: Digitizing the sketches
This was somewhat tedious, but in a zen-like way. It's digital tracing using a bunch of different techniques. Some I used my own custom brushes in Illustrator, then expanded the stroke. Others I used the blob brush as instructed in the videos. Then Others I used a black marker and filled in areas using my tracing table, and then scanned, and did "live trace".
March 1, 2015: Simple Repeat
Alright. I have to say it. This class is ROCKING my world! I just tested my simple pattern repeat, and using my palette, I "recolored" the artwork. To my amazement and wonder, I now have 3 colorways that I absolutely love.
What do you think?
March 4: Complex Repeat WIP
Here's where I am with the motif for the complex repeat. I've struggled a bit to get it where I want because one of my goals was to add texture to my work. So, I made some textures, scanned them, etc. and got them to be vector-friendly. Then, I learned that you can't make a pattern repeat from something with a pattern in it... so be sure to expand all your elements before trying to make a pattern from it! I learned that after a while of trying to drag it into the swatches panel with no success. Oops! Lesson learned!
March 18, 2015: Complex Repeat WIP The past few weeks I've learned a few things about repeats. I bought and read several of the books that Bonnie recommended (mastering the art of fabric printing and design & the field guide to...). I also learned some new work-flow for Photoshop and back to Illustrator in order to add texture and correct alleys and holes and too easily recognizable repeated motifs.
Also, I went back and re-inked some of the original motifs that felt a bit lacking, and here are the newly inked icons.
March 30, 2015 And, if you look at the version I submitted, you'll see the versions above were the ones I used.
The next steps for this project:
- add more geometric/abstract patterns
- refine the color palette
- find a fabric manufacturer who would like to work with me to print the collection!
In April 2008 my daughter Deb, her dog Chappy, and I went to a shearing on Martha’s Vineyard, our first shearing ever. The weather was gorgeous… low 70’s, bright sunshine, soft breezes, good food, good friends… it was great.
The sheep and goats and the older kids (goats, not humans) were already out and about when we got there a little before 10 am. You’ll notice in the bottom picture the adults have closed ranks around one of the young kids and are all focusing their attention in one direction…
They are staring at Chappy, our Boykin Spaniel who to them is a predator. Chappy on the other hand is looking at them increduously and wondering, what the heck are these animals?
Whenever Deb and Chappy moved to another spot the sheep would move and face them… it was really interesting,
I’d never seen shearing before and it’s very interesting. The sheep and goats look almost in a Zen state while they’re being sheared and having their hooves clipped. The wool is mostly in one piece when the shearing is finished, it’s amazing. The wool is so soft you can hardly feel it, it’s also still a little warm to the touch.
They seemed really happy to get their coats off.
Random pictures from a lovely day.
In the beginning of my post I said the ‘older kids’ were here at the shearing… the ‘little kids’ were not. The following day however we got to meet them up close and personal at the farm.
The moms kept an eye on us, especially on Chappy, but they let the kids come and sniff at us and let us pet and snuzzle them.
It was a great weekend for all of us.
This week was a very freeing experience for me. Before this year's Bootcamp and MATS class, I hadn't done a proper painting in forever. I was a scenic artist for half of my 20's and had painted giant scenic backdrops, kitschy scenic flats, furniture, design illustrations, etc. And, this week felt like I was taking all that experience, plus a distinct perspective as an adult and I was able to just let it flow.
Here is the final mocked up in a frame...
The assignment called on several specific requirements - choose a pair of colors based on our zodiac sign, use collage, include text. My sign corresponded to the colors pink & yellow. I was really excited about pink & yellow, but truthfully, I would have been excited no matter what the color combo. I love getting direction and parameters to work within, and I also love color. Yay color!
Next we had to collect 2-D and smallish 3-D items that were in our colors, a color scavenger hunt! My studio is lightyears beyond the mess that it was last year. I've tossed so much, and even then, I managed to have no shortage of things in these colors.
|button collection and swatch for gloves WIP|
|ancient i-pod and lovely silks|
And, once I figured out how I was gonna work, I was off to the races. I didn't have a large enough canvas so I worked on five little canvases that I would seam together digitally. Dekopatch, gesso, matte medium, acrylics, markers, pens, post-it notes, paper, rice paper, fabric, buttons, tissue paper, cardboard, and stamps... to name some of the things I used to make this piece. While things were drying, I rotated the canvases and made linocut plates. I had a really good flow going, and I was listening to my fave tunes on the ancient i-pod.
|lino cut and watercolor dots|
The next part, the digital seaming, was a bit more tedious, but it allowed for a kind of freedom that I hadn't had before with paint. The ability to "undo" is an amazing weight lifted off one's shoulders. The fear of making the next mark is completely gone, and it was great!
This project was tons of fun, y'all. Tons.
The prompt is to show us what ephemeral means to you.
The definition of ephemeral is: lasting a very short time; short-lived.
These icicles definitely qualify as short-lived.
Do you carry a book around with you? Inside the house? Whenever you go out? Always, everywhere, it’s practically glued to your fingers?
(And yes, digital books very much DO count as long as you’re spending time reading on your Kindle or iPad and not just loading them with books that you never actually read.)
Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!
In this episode I talk about a different sort of DIP for me; review a couple books; discuss stash storage; teach you about skin for the At Home Pet Check; and update you on my progress on the health challenge. And congrats to Trilinda and Claude on Ravelry for winning last episode’s contests!
DESIGNS IN PROGRESS
Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted cotton for spa cloths.
The Fibre Company: Sweater still in progress.
Kate on Ravelry
Pattern Writing for Knit Designers
Mary Jane Mucklestone
150 Scandinavian Motifs
Mother Bear Project
AT HOME PET CHECK: SKIN
Animal Dermatology Clinic (local referral clinic)
American College of Veterinary Dermatology
HEALTH CHALLENGE: UPDATE
Avengers Half Marathon
Sturtevant Falls or Cooper Canyon
Tecate Run by The Del-Vipers on Double Crown Records.
When life is speeding by…
take a moment to slow it down…
and enjoy the big picture.