trip back in time December 2010 and the December diptych. The crazy hazy time of the holiday season has kept me from planned posts, but the art did get finished within the time frame. As usual I started with an inspiration from the December 2009 sketch journal. Which oddly enough was the last sketch in the book.I decided to experiment with abandon for this last diptych of the year. First step was taking out two pieces of silk prepared for printing and painting on them a la water color with Tsukineko ink. Here are several in progress shots and a close up. Then I went to play with Photoshop and created a stamp image of the original sketch. Which I then printed on the painted silk. I layered the printed silk on two pieces of silk dupioni that happened to work perfectly with the color scheme. You'll see the dupioni peeking through in later pictures. My base all usual is canvas board which for the fun of it I painted in large happy circles. I free hand machine stitched a few of the circles with variegated rayon thread and then hand stitched the printed silk on to the dupioni silk with different variegated embroidery floss. I outlined some circles and gathered two of the edges. Then I trimmed away the excess. And added a bit more embroidery floss stitches. I used matte medium to adhere the fabric to the canvas boards and to darken the edges and keep them from fraying. Then I used Pebeo gloss puff paint to draw circles around the edges, emphasize other circles and add some fun. Here's a detail. And the final (literally) December 2010 diptych.


Kristin's comment on my previous post resulted in a slap on the forehead for me.

She said -
Nice interpretation. I miss the big white dots from the original though.

Of course! I completely forgot that I totally intended to add those big white dots! Just spaced out I guess, or more likely too busy thinking of the next project in queue.Back down to the studio I went and rummaged through my rarely used button stash.
And voila! here is the better (in my humble opinion) November diptych and detail.

november diptych

Skidding in to the end of the year! This is the 2009 journal sketch that I chose to interpret for the November diptych. This is when I was going crazy with shredding magazines, fingers covered in matte medium and loving every messy moment. I didn't want to get as messy this year, but did want capture the feeling of this collage which was one of my favorites. First I dove into my scrap basket and selected the materials. Then I lightly sponge-painted the canvas boards with a silvery gray and a cadmium red acrylic paints, and started laying out the rectangular swatches. Here's a further progression of my design. This about where, all of a sudden, I realized that I had not thought things through far enough and had no idea how I would adhere the swatches to the surface. (I'll blame that on being frazzled by the start of the holiday season...) Soooo....I cut four pieces of light light pink netting and very carefully transferred all the little pieces on the netting and trapped with another piece of netting. grumble.....Then I put the netting sandwich onto a piece of stabilizer and pinned. Took it to my machine and stitched parallel free motion lines to secure all the tiny pieces and keep the brick like feel. Here they are all stitched and still on the stabilizer. Then the messy part of the project started, ripping away the stabilizer.... my vacuum loves me! Here's a detail. And the final diptych. Now off to start on December....

october diptych

I know it's November, it sneaked up on me...but technically I have been working on this diptych all of October. I chose the sketch to interpret in October and it has percolating in my head since then, just did not have the opportunity to get into the physical till this morning. So glad it happened this morning though, because it turned out exactly as I wanted it to despite the fact that I wasn't sure how I was going to proceed when I started. By now some of you might know that I work intuitively and this diptych is the perfect example of it.I started off like I always do by sizing and cropping my sketch in Photoshop. This eventually goes on the back of my diptych as a handy reference of what the inspiration was, but it is also handy to look at it in the correct scale as I plan my approach. Usually the next step is painting my canvases with a base color. But I could not decide what it should be, so I left them blank. I knew I wanted to thread sketch my figure and it occurred to me that I could print it on the stabilizer sheets to use as a guide. I decided to pin them on top of my white cotton sheeting and picked out thread to machine sketch with and thread to embroider with later. Here's the thread sketching with black cotton thread and gray rayon thread. I then tore away most of the stabilizer. I decided not to torture myself with removing all the stabilizer, especially since I liked how the small pieces left over were giving a shadow effect. At this point I also decided to change my approach entirely... I flipped the two quilt sandwiches over and trimmed away most of the batting. Then I trimmed away the excess white fabric and that's when the diptych told me what color I needed to paint the canvas boards.I sponge painted the edges with silver metallic and black acrylic paint, trying to achieve a charcoal look. I was not worried about the center as I knew it would get covered up entirely. I decided not to wait for the paint to dry, added matte medium to the back of my sketches and glued them on the canvases. Then I dug into my recyclables stash and came up with a black plastic mesh bag and black tulle. I tore and ripped and glued little pieces to my hearts content. This part was way more fun then I thought it would be. I really liked the brush stroke like effect that the pieces produced and that I was able to keep the look of the spontaneity and the quickness of the initial sketch. I must admit I did work pretty quick on the whole thing! The longest and most painful part was waiting for the matte medium to dry so I can scan the diptych in for the final jpeg. Tell me what you think!

finally caught up to september!

Yes. I know it's October. But I'm caught up now and that's what counts! This is the inspiration for my September diptych, the simple sketch from 2009. I started off by painting my canvas boards with three (yes three) different shades of red. Why? Because I wanted achieve a slightly mottled background color. Naphthol crimson, cadmium red medium hue and cadmium red deep. I love paint names...Then I started cutting strips of painted dryer sheets (painted a while back just for the sake of painting and knowing they'll come in handy one day), stacking the different lengths and widths and then hand stitching them together with a cotton variegated thread. That's when I decided that I needed something a bit more substantial with the dryer sheets. White spongy packing material fit the bill perfectly. Here it is freshly glued down. And layered with dryer sheet strips. And with more packing strips added on top. Then I found a very light yellow plastic shopping bag, cut out small squares and glued them on in several layers. Here a textural close up for your pleasure! and tah-dah! The September diptych.
I'm starting on October tomorrow so I can be done before November...ahem...

catching up with myself

Catching up with my own expectations and promises... Remember my journals for this year? Or rather journal diptychs? Haven't posted about them for a while, because I haven't done them since June. Life got in the way... But I have caught up, almost, with July and August anyway. Here is the journal sketch from July 2009 that I chose to interpret for the July 2010 diptych. It was a negative space drawing of my aunt's vases in St. Petersburg. The ornate vase is a lovely example of Russian art deco that used to belong to my grandmother. For the back ground on the 8x10 canvas boards I chose newsprint that was a test print for another project that I was working on, it seemed appropriate as the subject matter was poetry about St. Petersburg.Here it is wrapped around the canvas boards, adhered with matte gel medium and the outline of my shapes sketched with pencil. I went over my pencil lines with a brush tipped Pigma pen and pulled out various sheers that I thought would work for my purposes. I cut the sheers into strips of different lengths and widths and layered them on to the surface.Here's a close up of several layers. This a progress shot of several layers. I adhered the sheers with dabs of matte gel medium. Then comes a point in my work where I get so involved in the process that I forget to document it. I added several more layers of sheer strips and added a few lines of delicate cotton thread. This is the final July 2010 diptych. For August I chose this sketch. And decided on a light blue back ground. I mixed my blue and white acrylic paint right on the canvases. It was fun to be messy! Here are the canvases in pale blue. Then I found some light green organza in my stash, layered it with green felt strips and started machine stitching away. Added some more stitching in my doodly style. And as above got carried away and forgot to take more progress shots... I added more stitching, cut away the organza and adhered the pieces to the canvas. And then I added some white paint...So here is the August 2010 diptych. to work on September....

june diptych

How did we get to the end of June already??? Time is flying by so fast I feel like I'm running behind trying to catch it by the tail....
At least I managed to get my June diptych journal done in time! This is the sketch from last year that I started with. I was playing with pictures of wrought iron fences in Photoshop, printed out an image, ripped and glued it into my journal and colored with a marker. Having recently taken a wet felting workshop I wanted to try wet felting for a journal. Here are my possible ingredients laid out on the already painted canvas boards. There is wool roving there, yarn, dryer sheets, silk scraps and sari ribbon.And here they are assembled on bubble wrap ready for felting. Here's a luscious close up. An in progress shot with one of the diptychs rolled around a rolling pin. (I never bake anymore with a great French bakery down the road, so I'm sure my rolling pin is happy to be used for something creative again!) This is what the rolled diptych looked opened. Here's the other after some more manipulations. Another luscious closeup. Here they both are, rather wet, but done. At this point I decided to layer them on pieces of tear away stabilizer and machine stitch the fence lines with thick silk thread.Then I went through a few alterations for the canvas boards, as I did not like the way they looked plain. I was sure I was going to like the bubble wrap stamped version, but it was quite underwhelming in reality. But after several layers of paint and almost starting over, I was finally happy with the final textural background. What do you think? Not sure that I'll do July diptych in wet felting, but I'll definitely revisit it again.

ahead of schedule

shocking I know....But true: the May diptych is done. Above you see the May page from my 2009 sketch journal that inspired it. I gave myself the challenge to make this diptych completely recycled except for the canvas boards. Here we have layers of plastic bags, plastic lemon netting and dye catcher sheets with marker and pencil lines indicating where the curved lines will be. Here's a close up. I used variegated embroidery thread to indicate the lines and then cut away the excess. The tree trunks are made from painted dryer sheets with a plastic bag. Layered and drawn here, ready to stitch. Stitched with variegated embroidery thread, dryer sheets cut away. Assembled on top of bronze painted canvas boards. At this point I realized how much I liked the purple outlines I had on my sketch, so I figured out a new way of achieving them. I painted two sheets of tear away stabilizer purple. Mainly because I didn't want to spend much time tearing away little bits and pieces of it like I did last month... so I figured if they were already purple I wouldn't have to. Then of course I got so carried away with my process that I forgot to photograph the steps...sorry. But here's what I did: pinned my collage to the stabilizer sheets and with a lavender rayon embroidery thread outlined all the sections; tore away the stabilizer and used matte medium to glue the collages to the canvas boards trimming away the excesses. Pretty simple, but the colors make me happy...

April diptych

Done! Only a few days into May, not too bad me thinks.... Above is the inspiration from April 2009 journal sketches (see slide show on the side bar ->). I layered writings of poems about spring, but I do not remember which poem and I cannot read it due to all the layering. So I chose a new poem by Anna Akhmatova. It's a poem that references the month of April, I have found the translation here. Not a bad translation, but to me it's impossible to translate nuances of language. I cannot do better as I am not a poet by any stretch of imagination, I'll stick to art. I started by painting my canvas boards with yellow acrylic. Then I wrote the verse in red acrylic with a large paint brush. A wash of orange went on next, which I partially wiped away with a paper towel. Then I wrote the verse on pale yellow chiffon that I pinned to sheets of tear-away stabilizer. Here's a close up. I then put the pedal to the metal and free-hand machine embroidered the writing. Here's a close up of the embroidery. I then wrote the verse on the stabilizer larger and embroidered that. What was I thinking?? Next time I will use water soluble stabilizer and just wash it away, instead of spending hours picking at it... grrrrr..... Here's the chiffon on top of painted canvas boards.And here's the larger lettering on top of the chiffon. I added some parchment colored acrylic paint on top of it all later for some obscuring effects. This is a close up of the final diptych. And this the full view.

march diptych take two

Yes, I realize that's nearly the end of April. Unfortunately when I realized that my original plan for the March Diptych failed miserably, it took me a while to get motivated on the corrected version. But inspiration struck and it's here finally. You might remember that I stated with this as inspiration. And it went wrong from there. I wanted to achieve something luscious, rich, textural. What I achieved was just overdone and flat. So I took it apart, actually ripped it off I should say, because it had already been glued to canvas. This is what I had been left with. Painted canvas panels with drips and drabs of overpainted bits left on it. But as an artist working towards my goal to be the ultimate recycler I decided to use this canvas anyway... On the inspiration front I went back to the tried and true tactic of printing out my original image, this time on cotton. Then I had the "brilliant" idea of painting it with gloss gel medium. Why you ask? Well at the time I did not know why, just saw the jar of medium on my desk and thought why not? The reason why came to me later when it was all dry. Because now I could cut it almost like paper and it would not unravel and shred.That's what I did with embroidery scissors and an exacto knife. I achieved a slightly lacy look and then I knew just what to do! I added hot pink netting, cut out bits and pieces from the earlier failed version and meshed it all together. Now I don't feel that the earlier version was a complete waste, as now parts of it live on in the final product. Here are some close ups of the achieved lusciousness. Very girly, don't you think? And here is the official March Diptych 2010.
(April is being worked on now, cross your fingers that I'll actually get it done on time!)

March diptych...

I have been toiling away on my March diptych inspired by the journal sketch above for quite some time now. I had very good intentions, I envisioned sheers hand-stitched and free-hand machine embroidered and painted..... Things looked pretty good at the hand-stitched stage, but I ignored that little voice that kept saying STOP! IT'S FLAWED!!! because I had invested too much time into the hand stitching already. Surely I could fix it with the next few steps... well.... surely I could not... Various family happenings kept in the way of my art time and I snatched away two minutes here and two minutes there, when really I should just have left it alone. So now it is glued to canvas with many a different layer of paint on it and other doodads that I mistakenly thought would save it... And no I'm not showing it to anyone, I'm just starting over... Though I might one day rip it off that canvas and find another use for it, just might... Stay tuned!

february journal diptych

Just in the nick of time I'm squeaking in with February diptych. What you see above is my inspiration from my sketch journal of 2009. It's a doodle I did on 2/2, watercolor and ink. I printed the images out full size on regular copy paper. Tore the edges and used matte medium to glue them onto the 8"x10" canvas boards. I used acrylic paint to go over the exposed canvas and smudged it over the edge of the prints also. Then I printed the images again, this time on ExtravOrganza (silk organza ready for printing). Trimmed the edges and layered wool roving, ripped dyed paper dryer sheets and needle felted into place (without drawing blood this time!). Here they are layered over the canvas boards with more felting and trimming away of the non doodled parts. Here are some close ups of the luscious doodly felting. Then as usual I got too involved in the making and forgot to record my process.... But here's what I did: I used matte medium to adhere the felted organza in a few places to the canvas boards; again with the matte medium I attached bits and pieces of previously dyed vintage lace and the paper dryer sheets; I molded everything into place with a brush dipped into the matte medium, waiting for things to dry a bit and adding and adjusting. And here is the finished February diptych...

hello 2010!

After the euphoria of welcoming the new year, the lovely dinner with friends, the fun times with friends and family in snowy cold Boston.. the reality sets in. Back home cleaning up after the festivities, getting ready for more (Russian Christmas), doing loads and loads of can really hit the winter doldrums...

My antidote? To see what I accomplished in 2009 and plan for 2010! So while I cannot possibly come up with a list as extensive as Lisa's (my head can't handle that much, but she always inspires me to do more), I have come up with a small list of my own:

~ I created 26 new artworks.
~ I made 30 4"x4" pieces for an art exchange with a group of artists that I belong to.
~ among those 26 new pieces are three that are part of the figure series that I am really excited about.
~ and also among those new pieces are three larger new artworks for the St. Pete series that I am still passionate about
~ I reworked nine old okoshechki/little windows pieces that I wasn't happy with.
~ I had work accepted into 10 juried exhibitions
~ one of those exhibitions is Art Quilt Elements (which still makes me want to pinch myself!)
~ I sold two pieces of art!
~ I taped a DVD for Cloth Paper Scissors Workshop!!!
~ I wrote two online tutorials for Quilting Daily
~ I answered interview questions for Embellishments Newsletter from Quilting Arts Magazine
~ I taped a segment for Quilting Arts TV Series 500
~ I designed and made costumes for Russian school Christmas play
~ I designed and am still working on costumes for the new Russian school Christmas play
~ I attended a workshop with Jane Davila
~ I spent five weeks in St. Petersburg, Russia with my children
~ I spent a week on Hawai'i for our second honeymoon
~ I shepherded a second grader and kindergartener (my most important job!)
~ I took figure drawing classes for a semester
~ and I kept a sketch journal everyday....

OK so not too shabby... I feel better now! Thanks for indulging me.

Now I am ready to dive into 2010 with enthusiasm! I have chosen my word for the year, well, two actually ~ CLARITY and PURPOSE. Those are two things that I want to achieve in 2010 for my art. Which path do I want to pursue? Why do I want to pursue it? To get myself going on this I sighed up for a Blast Off class with Alyson Stanfield which starts tomorrow (aack!!)

Now you are probably wondering what that old journal sketch from last January is doing up there at the top of the post? I'll tell ya. I will not be doing a daily sketch journal this year or a weekly journal quilt. I decided to do monthly journal art quilts. I plan to choose a journal sketch from the corresponding month of 2009 and use it as inspiration for a monthly diptych in 2010. So that red sketch up there is the inspiration for January 2010 journal diptych. How will I translate it? What size will it be? Those are all good questions that I will find an answer to this month. And whatever parameters I choose, I will keep for the rest of the year.

There. That's the plan. What's your plan?

january journal diptych

A new year of journaling has started for moi. Here's my first journal of the year for you to feast your eyes on.
You might remember when I discussed my plan for 2010 journals here. This is the first fruit of those labors, although perhaps labors isn't the correct word, as it was way too much fun. Speaking of not correct words, you might have noticed that I didn't use the words "journal quilt" to describe this diptych. The reason is quite simple ~ these are not quilts. The technical term I guess would be mixed media. I did initially plan to do quilts, but I changed my mind... I decided to use my stash of 8"x10" canvas boards that I bought eons ago for a now forgotten project and make these mixed media journals.
I thought that some might find it interesting to see my process for this journal, so I took pictures as I worked.
I started with my acrylic paints, reds, yellows and oranges swirled together on the canvas panels. I scratched into the acrylic paint before it was dry. Then I printed my original journal sketches on Extravaganza, layered bits of fabrics and threads, and hand needle felted them in place. This was the most fun part of the entire project! I have never needle felted by hand before, even if I had the supplies for a while. I figured this was the perfect opportunity to try it. And I only drew blood once, and didn't get any of it on the art. Here's a close up of the luscious felted goodness. I've got snippets of thread, color catcher sheets, dryer lint from Laura Wasilowski, fabrics, netting.... Here's what it looked like after the first felting. Then I added a bit more bits, felted some more from the top and from the back. I used matte medium to attach the felted Extravaganza to the canvas panels. The gel was only under the felted parts, so that the organza would stay separate everywhere else. And then I forgot to take pictures of the rest of the progress.... But it went something like this: once the gel was dry, I took out my acrylics again and painted on top in more swirls and circles. Once the paint was dry, I added bits of hand stitching to parts of the organza. Then I let the journal sit around for a day or so before I declared it finished. Voila!