Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Dazzle Me! 2016

The New Year's mantra or inspirational word fad makes me chuckle. Being of a practical nature, I have had the same motto for many years and it will serve again this year. One less thing to worry about while I concentrate on several major pieces. 

My motto also reflects my unwavering philosophy of art. I want to be dazzled by art, my own and others. Let's face it, life has its bumps. Art takes us above the daily ho-hum, the trials and tribulations. 

Whatever 2016 may bring, I know I'll dazzle myself because of my art practice. The New Year is beginning right as I approach the end of the Pomegranate Tree Quilt, which has been four years in the making. 
The quilting (both hand and machine) is more or less finished and I am now adding French knots and more running stitch quilting for depth.
My tree dazzles me!
And may you be dazzled in the New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry, Merry, 2015

My 8-year-old granddaughter appreciates elves. She has a collection of six or seven. Having grown up in the 60s, my favorite is Uncle Si who is a hippy elf. He has a ponytail and consequently got into my sketchbook last summer.
He's a sort of grouchy/merry fellow--> 

My sketching buddy has a wonderful collection of tree ornaments. Yesterday, I picked one and sketched it, experimenting with the Derwent Inktense pencils on fabric for my textile sketchbook.

<--Before activating with water.

                          After water-->
Magic! Just love those intense colors, which are now permanent.
There is obviously a learning curve here. More experimenting ahead. The major problem is the bleeding of the ink. I don't mind it, but I'd like to figure out how to control it. 
I'm told that this is a Christmas fairy (not to be confused with Santa), which is obvious by the wings.

I added details, outlining, and lettering with permanent pens. Now you may say, "Nadia, why not just do this on paper?" Hmmm, well, yes. I'm still in the experimental stage and having so much fun.

And so, wishing all my virtual friends a 
Happy Holiday Season!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Flat Stanley in Paris

Flat Stanley loved visiting Paris last week. He traveled comfortably.

The Eiffel Tower was a high point of the trip.

Stanley saw the classic tourist sites such as Notre-Dame and the Seine.

Le Penseur (the Thinker) by Rodin was another favorite. Stanley waxes philosophical when it comes to thoughts on thinking.

An American tourist turned to us and said that she had taken Flat Stanley around for pictures as well--what a small world! She offered to take a group photo. Stanley is quite the international traveler...I wonder where he'll go next?

Friday, December 4, 2015

Blasting Off

While I am required to be in Paris (France, not Texas), I thought I would take a mini-vacation. Admittedly, it will be cold, but it is Paris...and it won't be freezing. I have dug out my woolens in readiness.

And I can leave my studio in good conscience because order now reigns and the machine quilting on the Pomegranate Tree Quilt is almost finished.

It is a relief to be traveling light (only carry-ons); No huge suitcases to lug around. This is a challenge that requires organization, of course. My tiny purse (8"x7"x2"--I'm used to huge bags) contains the necessary documents...

...plus my sketching supplies: a small Moleskine sketchbook plus a smallish maze book, a variety of permanent pens, my favorite ballpoint pens, two Pentel waterbrushes a couple of pencils, Daniel Smith watercolors, an eraser and pencil sharpener.

And, I couldn't leave without fabric projects and some reading material, which are stashed in my carry-on suitcase.

I've included some Derwent Inktense pencils to draw on five pages of my textile sketchbook (white cotton fabric stitched to paper page). The gray fabric with black appliqué fits into a small bag with two needles and two spools of thread with 10 strands of cut thread (who needs scissors anyway?).

OK, I don't think I've forgotten anything.
I'm ready to blast off!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Maze Books Amaze Me

Yes, maze books amaze me. They are easy to make from a sheet of paper and to finish so I always carry a tiny one (3 1/2" x 2 1/2") with me. As the weather turns cooler (ok, ok, "cooler" = 60°s and 70°s; be envious if you are living in cold climes...), this July/August maze book brings back pleasant summer memories.

The cover reminds me of all the airports I went through and also of where to open this magical book.
The first on-board drink... 

A wedding in Oregon meant a beautiful ceremony in Washington Park.

A tasty breakfast at the Sassy Onion Grill preceded sketching with a friend in the Hallie Ford Museum.

And then there was a lovely lunch with my sister on the San Francisco dwarf (ha, ha--great typo! wharf, of course!). We both sketched the "Hornblower" while waiting for the food to arrive.

At the end of the trip, my daughter brought me breakfast in bed.

Unfolded, the maze book (also called a "meander book") reveals its simple construction.

It contains about 30 pages, of which I sketched fifteen double layouts. So magical!

If you should want to make a maze/meander book, just check youtube for instructions...and have fun!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Another Spot, Another Small Flower

It happened again. A couple of spots appeared mysteriously on a summer vest. I just don't know how this happens--well, yes, I do. I don't wear an apron and I'm not particularly careful. Fortunately, I can sew a small flower on a spot--however, the flower inevitably grows. I started with a pretty fabric acquired this summer that reminded me of the sea.

I cut into the blue fabric in a random design at the bottom, and began to do needle turn appliqué.

It went fast--a rare occurrence for me. 

And so it grew...

Yes, it's finished. 

Guess I better wear it while the weather is still beautiful. 
It's sunny and in the 70°s and 80°s. 
Autumn is a lovely time of year in Tunisia.

Linked to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday."

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Flowers from My Brother's Garden

During my stay in Oregon this summer, I visited my brother and his family and attended his daughter's wedding. A flower theme developed across my sketchbooks, flowers from my brother's garden.

From my mini-maze book (micron pen with watercolor background):

From my daily journal with thin paper:

From my Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook (good paper with Daniel Smith watercolors):

And a walk down the street brought me to a local park.

Sketchbooks are Memory and these are memories of a pleasant, flowery, summer vacation....

Friday, October 2, 2015

Now Where Was I?

Yes, now where was I? Well, I'm trying to get back to some kind of a regular blogging habit, which I have missed over the past two years due to teaching. So how about something wild and over the top to get some momentum going?

It started with a blouse that was getting old. Small holes began to appear in the fabric. I laid down some fabrics, some "old-fashioned" colors (I am perfectly aware that these colors are no longer "in style").

Then I needle turned to my heart's content...and it seems to me that when I added a couple of maroon pockets, a heart took shape in a tangled fashion.

And so it grew...

                                     and grew...

Today I model this wild thing. I'm not sure that I can wear it anyplace, but it is like an old friend. We have spent many hours together. Possibly, it will become part of a wall-hanging in my series on aging and retirement (retirement? what's that?).

My mornings start with a bit of yoga (bores me silly, but necessary), then I go out to the orchard and get a really good work out and have fun talking to my trees. Just gotta show off my new physical fitness. 
One could conclude that teaching is an unhealthy business: very stressful, and the prep work requires a lot of sitting...well, so does stitching, but I do that after I work up a good sweat in the orchard.
And so, greetings to all my friends out there in the magical virtual world.

Linked to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday."

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Airplanes and Airports

Inevitably, the theme of airports and airplanes gets into sketchbooks when traveling during the summer. Since I went through nine different airports between July and August, I had plenty of subject matter to draw. The planes themselves, of course, and passengers, as well who make good subjects because where can one go?

Some airports are such comfortable places to sketch and all of them are certainly interesting. In my Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook, with Micron pen and Daniel Smith watercolors, I sketched in the Knoxville (Tennessee) Airport.