Saturday, May 26, 2012

Iris & Peony Garden Tour

Several of the ladies from our textile arts group "Fyber Cafe" went on a photography excursion North of Salem, to Schriener's Iris Gardens and Adelman's Peony Gardens. We had a wonderful field trip, the iris were in full bloom, but, for the Peonies we could have been a week later. You start to take pictures of your "favorites" but soon realize you can't choose just one, and takes pics of everything, then that gets overwhelming too. The gardens kept going and going, large planted beds with tall lupine, delphiniums, allium, clematis, oriental poppies behind the iris, and smaller annuals in front. It was a paradise of color and fragrance and bees. A cool alley way of old rhododendrons and azaleas, columbine and hosta led the way to more flower beds around the back of an old farm house. The whole area was surrounded by fields of iris in rows of various colors.
After shopping in the gift shop and buying some iris plants, we went to Adelman's Peony gardens. The gardens were newer and not as large but the flowers were huge and showy, with intense color, arranged with other perennials in beds with lawn paths between and statuary and a water fall/pond. We took more photos, and had lunch at a picnic table in the garden. Of coarse I had to buy a dark red Japanese peony with a frilly center.
To get to either gardens, take Interstate 5 in Oregon, just north of Salem, exit 263, Schriener's is on the West side of the freeway, Adelman's on the East. Both have good signs to follow. The best time is between Mother's Day and Mid-June.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Birch Trees

I mono-printed on the gelli plate, a set of Birch trees, with a new stencil that I got at the Portland show. Peggy and I decided that working in a series was a good way to go with the printing. We could try different aspects of the printing process by varying the techniques. The trees were printed in Black and purple acrylics, and a ghost print was pulled from each. The set blended together in a row, to create a horizontal scene. I added "snippets" to the top for tree foliage, and cut out leaves and ferns to the bottom. My husband Charlie suggested a bird to add a focal point and movement, a second bird helped even more to bring your eye across the horizontal piece. I can't wait to quilt the birch trees in silver and lavender rayon threads, the texture it will add will be amazing!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Art Journaling

I have been reading a new book that I got, "Art Journaling Workshop," it is beautifully done, by a watercolor artist. I love looking at art journaling, but say to myself, I can't do that. But the idea is not to make beautiful pictures, it is to sketch ideas, add thoughts and be your self! I have been journaling in a lined notepad that I can carry in my purse, and I use a ball point pen. I want to improve my drawing skills, and add some color, that's not too much to ask. Watercolor paints intimidate me, but I like my watercolor pencils, they are just like colored pencils, but you paint over them with water and they washout into a watercolor paint. You have lots more control of the line, intensity and blending colors. I have played with them on fabric, but not on paper. My sketches book usually includes quilt design options, free motion quilting doodles, grocery lists, flower drawings, minutes from the art group meeting, so I can write the blog, drawing whatever I can see when I am bored, notes on photoshop, phone numbers,
etc... And then there is my hoarded supply of dirty jokes I don't want to forget. ;) I would love to add collage found objects, pressed flowers, photos glued into the pages, fabric scraps, more color, with pencils, crayon or paint, more quilt ideas, sketches of more things, landscapes, etc... I have already made a needle felted journal cover for a button challenge. It is made with green commercial felt, couched yarns, hand embroidery, sisha mirrors, and has a vintage button as a clasp. The pages inside are loose, brown paper bag, and watercolor paper, I had earlier made several sketches of flowers with pen and colored pencil. The idea was that I could add more pages as it filled up, and yesterday Peggy suggested I could book bind the finished pages as I add more. Of coarse I want to jump right in and do something, so I made a quick sketch of our house, in pencil on watercolor paper, the house is detailed but there is a lot more garden than what I drew. I colored it in with the watercolor pencils, washed over it with a Q-tip, and then outlined and drew in more detail with a Pigma pen. I am pleased with it, though it is NOT perfect, but I wasn't trying for perfect. If I want perfect I'll use my camera. I decided to write on the back, notes on my technique, then ended up journaling also about what the house means to me. I really liked the writing part of it, it was very expressive about what I felt at the moment, stream of consciousness stuff.
The next day I made another sketch for a front page, "My Illustrated Journal" with sketches of a spool of thread, rotary cutter, bottle of paint and brush, section of quilt pattern and some flowers. It all colored very well and the pen really adds wonderful detail, and makes it look crisp and finished. I journaled about what I want to achieve with the journal, and also my thoughts on my Mom's birthday that day.
So this had been fun, we'll see if I can stick with it, mostly because it is not something I want to carry all the time in my purse. My purse is full enough as it is, maybe I'll make up a small carry bag with paper, colored pencils, glue stick, my small camera, etc... It would be good to have a small art bag in the car, that I could use when ever the opportunity arose.