Welcome to Christmas Morning, for those who celebrate, I hope Santa was good to you and maybe brought you some fibery goodness. For those that don’t celebrate, I hope you are enjoying a nice day off and have time to felt.
I was stuck about what to blog about today. I haven’t made any presents or really anything much. I haven’t been feeling very Christmasy until the last few days when we got some snow. But then we had this surprise last Saturday.
Yes, they should not be born now but some of our sheep are able to breed all year and this Ewe and the Ram seem to have plans that were different than ours. Best laid plans and all that.
That was a good start and I bet the cuteness has hooked you to keep reading.
Chatting the other day about sketchbooks, some people said they don’t have one because they can’t draw. I can’t draw but I keep them anyway. I try to write things beside the pictures so I know what I was thinking later. I don’t always do it and later wonder what on earth I was trying to draw. Sometimes it sparks new ideas.
I thought I would share a few pages to encourage people. Sketchbooks are just for yourself, for ideas or inspiration not an art project in themselves. I have seen some that are published, they are beautiful. Mine are not like that. I am sure you will recognize some of these ideas.
I use them to doodle shapes
Do sketches. Can you tell I like sheep pictures?
And work out how to do things.
I like smallish flip pads. These are 6 inches by 9 inches. or 152mm by 229mm. I have some that are a bit smaller A5 size. I think that’s a standard everywhere but in North America. We always have to be different. 🙂 I like them because they fit easily in my basket or a bag. They are also cheap pads. $1.50 at the Dollar Store.
I will be doing some sketches for some Christmasy things for next year. I just need to remember to look at them in October so there is time to work on them.
They may not be pretty but I find them useful. I hope I have inspired you to give it a try. It doesn’t matter if you can draw, once you stop worrying about it, its fun.
Thanks for reading and commenting and joining us all year. You have all kept me going as we all work our way through these difficult times. All’s wool that end’s wool.
We had a busy enjoyable visit with Glenn’s Parents, his brother Grant, Grants’ Wife Marg and one of their daughters, Jennifer. I had brought fibre arts with me to continue their indoctrination to Fibre Arts! I lured them in with Wellington fibre on the spinning wheel and colourful top spun on the DIY Turkish drop spindles. Then furthered the temptation by showing Jennifer (who would show her sister Fiona) the addiction that is portable Kumihimo on a Card stalk disk!
The final fibre arts supplies I had brought with me were for picture felting. We were going to check out the back yard and gardens to make a 5×7 sized piece to commemorate our visiting. Unfortunately we had too much fun visiting including with Bob and his wife Judy (Bob is another one of Glenn’s many brothers). I didn’t realize we were going to run out of time but I did the inspirational photography for the felt pictures.
When we realize our time was up Jennifer and I had a chat reviewing;
Blocking out the composition with permanent markers.
How to lay down layers of colours in thin layers like a water colour painting.
How to mix colours exact to the photo reference like acrylic painting.
(And to keep your fingers away from the pointy end)
She had just enough room in her suitcase for 2 pieces of felt and a selection of needles. The rest of her suit cases space was stuffed with Canadian Delicacies such as Ketchup potato chips and exotic chocolate bars not available in the USA. (Poor Americans don’t have Butter tarts, salt and vinegar chips, or real sweet tarts!!! As soon as the rest of the Americans realized their loss they will all immigrate to Canada! Just don’t mention the amount of snow we also have.)
I know my felting friends missed out on all the grate chatting and visiting but maybe you would be interested in some inspirational shots from my Mother in law’s garden. This year it was particularly impressive. We even had a parade of wild life some of which I am sorry that I missed (the extra-large raccoon and the extra cute rabbit). I hope you enjoy them as much as we did while we were there. Some small part of one of the shots I hope will inspire you in your wet, dry or even damp (well what else could we call wet and dry felting used together?) felting of the future.
The Plants of My Mother-in-Lawes Gardern 2019
Some of the Wild Life in Mary’s Garden
I think it would be a good addition to your fiber arts tool kit to include a note/sketch book to capture ideas before you get distracted by the next great idea and an easily portable digital camera with the most megapixels you can afford. Going for high megapixels allows you to zoom in after you have taken the shot. Using the camera to frame and capture the world around you can make you see your surroundings in a different way. A back yard that has become “just the backyard” can be transformed by the camera and some interesting lighting into a Garden, an adventure or serious inspiration for your future artistic works.
I want to chat more about photos as reference and inspiration in the near future but I hope these will send you off to grab your camera and explore your surroundings.
After more than two years, I am finally completing my Level 3 Art and Design course at the Gail Harker Creative Studies Center. We are having an exhibition to show our class work, sketch books and finished pieces of art work. The exhibition will be on Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm at the new center at 503 Morris Street in La Conner, Washington USA. You are cordially invited! I know that many of you that read this blog aren’t even in the US, but if you are in the La Conner area, I would love for you to stop by, check out my efforts from the last two years and say hello.
I haven’t shown all of my work for this class here as it isn’t felt or fiber related but I thought I would show you a bit of what I have created in this class.
I have tried various techniques and what will come as no surprise to regular readers, I have emphasized trees and the woodlands as my inspiration.
It’s been a lot of work but I have really enjoyed the journey.
If you have the chance to further your education in the arts, I would highly recommend it. I love learning!
The exhibition will also feature the art and class work of my three fellow class mates and their work is so different than mine. I will see if I can take a video of the work on display and show it to you after the exhibition.
I have many sketch books and boxes of work, it’s really hard to show the scope of everything in one post.
This is the biggest piece I created. Framed, it is 30″ x 30″. All the paper started as white rice paper which I painted and cut out individual leaves. This one took a “bit” of time.
But I hope you have enjoyed a few examples of the work I have created for this class. So please, spread the word if you would, about our exhibition. I would love for you to come if you’re in the area.
I made a sketch book cover for my daughter for her birthday.
Here is the layout I started with. It is 4 times the length of the book. the background is wet in this picture.
And a close up of the base for the flowers. The stems are some hand spun thick and thin wool yarn. The flowers are some super bright trilobal nylon. to this I added some yarn. I forgot to take a picture of that. I just spiraled it around. The background is wet while I am adding the decorations. The nylon in particular stays put better when the background is wet.
I was not careful to keep the flowers just so. I wanted some distortion, it is more interesting. Next I made the strap for the back of the book. I like this better than two folded over flaps. It means you can put a wider or thicker book in more easily. I uses some really pretty dragonfly fabric I picked up at a destash sale at my guild for the strap.
For a closure I sewed on a ring and looped the tail through it.
and lastly a shot of the whole thing.
I hope she likes it. She is quite a good sketcher.
I bought myself a new sketch pad that is in a book form rather then a flip pad. I decided I wanted to cover it in the way that Zed had last shown us here project-updates-2/
I am lazy and wanted to get to the decorating so I started with a piece of white prefelt. I didn’t take a picture of it but you can see it in the picture of attaching the cord farther down. This is the overall piece just wet down.
Here is a closer look at the flowers and the little resist I put in for a pocket. I want to be able to put a pencil eraser nd pencil sharpener in the cover. I used some of my handspun for the stems.
The area with the pocket will be cut off and sewn in to make the sleeve on one side of the book cover.
I flipped it over and started to layout the purple for the inside when I realised I hadn’t added the cord yet.
I made a hole and stuck it in.
Then I decorated the inside of the flap. I am not sure how this will work out but we will see.
Now all I have to do is find time to do the felting and sewing. Not sure where half the summer has gone already. How much felting have you done this summer?
I wrote a post on my personal blog about transferring a photo to a Gelli plate print a couple of weeks ago. I was asked a few questions about how I did it so I thought I would do a mini tutorial on the process. I have read about this technique several times online but recently saw a video that showed the process so I finally tried it. You’ll need a black and white photo printed on light weight computer paper from a laser printer, a painted background paper (watercolor paper or heavy mixed media paper work best), matte medium, credit card, brush and water.
Here are a couple of photos of birds that I took and turned into black and white designs in Photoshop. The background paper is heavy card stock which was mono printed on a Gelli plate. The printed backgrounds work best if they are completely covered with paint. If they aren’t, paint a layer of matte medium over the paper to cover all bare spots and let dry. I did cut away excess paper so there is less to remove later. This does occasionally leave a visible line at the photo papers edge.
Now cover the background paper with a thin layer of matte medium. Also cover the printed side of the photo with a thin layer of matte medium (my photo of this process was really blurry so I didn’t include it.)
Quickly place the photo face down on to the background paper. Use a credit card or old motel key to press the photo tightly against the background paper and remove any air bubbles. Have a paper towel handy to wipe off any excess matte medium from the credit card. You want to avoid getting the matte medium on the back of the photo paper. Let the matte medium dry completely.
Once the matte medium is completely dry, add a small amount of water to the back of the photo paper. As the paper gets wet, you will see your printed design beginning to show. Let the wet paper sit for a minute or two and then begin rubbing the paper off. In my experience, the paper comes off in two layers. The first layer comes off very easily but the second layer takes a bit more work. Rub gently with your fingers (not finger nails) to remove all the paper. It helps on the second layer to rub in different directions and even in circles to remove the last of the paper from your printed design.
Here you can see that the first layer has been removed and I am working on the second layer of paper. Just keep rubbing gently to remove all the paper.
Here I have removed all the paper from the photo transfer.
Here are a couple more with the paper removed. If you look closely, you can see in the center of the two designs, I did not apply matte medium and the background paper was rubbing apart. This can be prevented if you apply a layer of matte medium to your background paper before you begin. Since I was making cards, I was able to cut this area off before making my cards.
Here are the two bird cards. The one on the left was actually supposed to be placed lower on the background so that the bottom branch would be right at the edge of the finished print but I goofed so I have a funny flat bottomed branch.
And here are the other two cards. I painted in the birch trees with a little white paint. The photo on the left was some trees with berries in a parking lot that I took against the sky. The birch trees were a sketch that was put into Photoshop and a filter of “palette knife” was used. If you have writing or want your photo to be seen as originally printed, you need to remember to make it into a mirror image before printing.
If you give the process a try, I would love to see the results. Come on over to the forum and show us what you created.
I’ve got several announcements today. The first is that our shop here on The Felting and Fiber Studio is open for business. There are tutorials and e-books by Zed and I. My book, The Complete Photo Guide to Felting, is also available but it doesn’t make much sense to ship it overseas as it costs as much for shipping as it does for the book. I will be adding more tutorials as I get them completed. These are the original projects that were meant to go in the book but were not included. So I have more that will be on nuno felting and wet felting.
In case you don’t read my personal blog, this is another entry I made for Ann’s 2nd quarter scrap challenge. It is inspired by my recent trip to Hawaii.
The second announcement is that I have started working on my next online class which will be stenciling, stamping and playing with thickened dye on felt. I plan on having the class ready to go in the fall. I have been carving some sample stamps. This is the first one. I developed this stamp from a photograph I took behind our house several years ago.
And here is a second one that I used the idea from one of my sketches. I developed this design from a set of curtains.
This is the original sketch of the design.
The last announcement is to remind everyone that our Wet Felting for Beginners Online course is always available now. If you’re just finding us, this is a great class to learn wet felting. You can sign up here.
This tutorial is what I do to add some depth and finish the paintings. One thing I would suggest is to take a look at landscape photos or paintings and look carefully at what gives the illusion of depth to the landscape. There are several ways to create more depth. I think one of the most important ways is to realize that things in the far distance are lighter, hazier and more blue-grey than those in the foreground. So the colors in your foreground should be a little brighter than those in the background. Also, there are changes in size as you move from bigger in the foreground to smaller in the background. If you google how to create depth in a landscape, there are numerous tutorials and articles that explain this better than I can.
Here is one of my mini landscapes. I have been doing almost all of these on a 4″ x 6″ pieces of paper that I can then use to make 5″ x 7″ note cards. This is what the landscape looks like after I follow Jude’s instructions on painting simple landscapes. I do some in vertical orientation and some in horizontal orientation. I think one of the more important tips that Jude gives is to use a mix of complementary colors (on the opposite sides of the color wheel) to create your mountains and your foreground. With acrylic paints, the colors separate out during the drying process and give more variation than if you used just one color straight out of the bottle. The foreground here is a mix of purple and yellow ochre. The mountains were a mix of several colors including black and purple that I remember for sure. I tend to mix up some colors and then keep adding extra colors in or mixing two of the mixed colors together. I also like to let the sky get mostly dry before adding the foreground and the mountains. I paint the foreground, quickly add salt and then quickly paint in the mountain color and add the plastic wrap. If you let the foreground paint dry, you end up with a hard straight line across the top of the foreground which is distracting to me. If you paint both the foreground and mountains at nearly the same time, the paint colors mix together in the transition area and I like this effect better.
Here are the supplies that I use to add details including colored pencils, Derwent Inktense pencils, Caran D’Ache water soluble crayons and a water brush. I use these because I can travel with them and many times I take these little landscapes along with me when I have to wait somewhere so I can work on them while waiting. You could easily use watercolor paints and a regular small brush. Or you could use watered down acrylic paint. With the watercolors, I don’t wait for the paint to dry completely between layers of paint. With acrylics, it will work better if you let it dry in between or you will lift the paint away from the paper when trying to add another layer.
The first step is to use a colored pencil that matches the color of your mountains hard edges. I used black here. Then I draw in the top edges of the mountains where there are funny jagged edges left from the plastic wrap. The photo on the right shows where the mountain tops have been drawn. Remember to draw unevenly and make the mountain tops different sizes and shapes.
To use the water-color crayons and the water brush, squeeze a little bit of water into the brush and brush some color from the crayon. It doesn’t take much. Start with less, you can always add more. Fill in the spaces created when you drew in your mountain tops. I usually dab the paint on with some areas lighter and some areas darker but not dark black. These are the furthest mountains and therefore will be more gray than the foreground ones. If your mountains are a different color, choose a color that is closest to the main paint color in the mountains.
Here I have completed painting in the grey on the tops of the mountains.
Now I like to add in further color into the mountains. Depending on the color of your mountains, choose a second color that works with your secondary mountain color. I chose purple and then added dabs of purple paint in different areas of the tops of the mountains. Again, some areas may be lighter or even mid tone but none that are really dark or really bright colors.
Here is what mine looked like after adding in some purple to the tops of the mountains. You can also leave some of the areas the original sky color and it ends up looking like there is snow on the tops of the mountains as long as your sky color is light. I hope that you can see the subtle differences in each of these photos as I don’t really add that much paint to these details.
Next I like to take the secondary mountain color and add a bit more into the areas of the mountains that look really pale. These seem to be too light against the dark mountain color here so I added purple to these areas. In the second photo, I took some of the purple down into the transition area and then even into the foreground. If your foreground seems too bright, one way to tone it down is to use its complementary color and paint a wash over top of the entire foreground. I didn’t do that here but have on several that were overpowering and bright. The photo on the right shows the piece after I had painted in all the purple.
The next color that I used is a yellow ochre. This is the main color of the foreground. I like to take some of the foreground color and work it up into the mountains just a little ways. I also add more yellow ochre over the top of the purple that I just painted in the transition area between the mountains the foreground. Again, I just dab on the paint. I may work over the area several different times with the two colors that I am using. Or I may add in a third color if I want to add some more variety.
Then I went back to black paint. I chose an area in the scene where I felt would be a good separation of the background mountains from the ones that were closer. I added black paint all along that line. I just do light grey to start and build up the black to give the illusion of depth along that line. I also work some grey up into the background mountains to create further depth. I usually let that dry and then if more grey is needed, I add another layer.
While I have grey on the brush, I add a bit of grey to the transition area to create a little depth from the foreground. I paint the grey in dabs across the area where the mountains transition into the foreground and may even bring some grey or darker areas into the foreground at this point. The photo on the right shows after I am finished with the grey in this area.
The last details I add are to the foreground. Here I used an Inktense olive-green pencil to draw in a few suggestions of grass or leaves near the “flowers” that are created from the salt. You don’t need very many of these. Just a few clumps that are created with varying lengths of lines.
And here is the finished landscape. I am usually surprised how much better they look with just this little bit of detail added. Don’t go overboard and try to draw or paint in specific “things”. I find that less is more and you’ll be happier with the results if you don’t over do it.
Now I will show you three more that were done a little differently. I will show you before and after details and give an explanation of what I did on each one.
This one is to show that you don’t need to make hard lines on all the mountain tops. On the left, you can see where I drew in on the left side to fill in the mountain sides. I forgot to take the photo before I drew on it. On the right is the finished piece. I did nothing to the soft edges of the top of the main mountain. It just makes it look misty and snow-covered. I added in grey paint to fill in the areas on the left inside my drawn lines. I added a bit more purple on the bottom but then I decided I needed a bit more color. So I added some orange into the “flowers”. I darkened the base of the mountain just slightly with grey and added in some shadow at the base of the distant mountain to make it appear a bit more distant.
This is one that I was attempting to get a water/sea-shore scene. In the original on the left, I thought the water was too green and I didn’t like that smudgy bit up on the left hand top corner. So I first filled in the center rock with a mixture of purple, orange and black in several layers. Then I added a dark blue over most of the water. Next I added a lighter turquoise blue in places in the water. The lighter water needs to go closer to the rocks and shore. The next step was to add white paint. Notice that I made a big wave to cover the upper left corner that I didn’t like. Not sure it is so believable but it’s OK. The last step was to put in the bright white accents with white gel pen. The white is put in mostly where the waves are crashing against the rocks.
Then there were a few of the landscapes where I put the plastic wrap too far up into the sky. The mountains took over the entire sky as you can see in the photo on the far left. So I flipped it over and made what was initially supposed to be foreground into the sky. The center photo shows where the piece has been flipped over. The far right photo shows the finished piece. All I did was add a purple line for the tops of the mountains and fill in with purple. I added a blue “haze” over the distant mountains to make them drop back further into the background. I added a little more purple into the base of the mountains and a little pink into the sky.
Here are three more that I have decided to turn over and make the original foreground into sky. I haven’t added any details yet. The original is on the left and the turned over version on the right. I could probably leave the top right landscape as it is but I don’t really like that piece that reaches the top on the left side. It will be easier just to turn it over and fill in the blue part to make it into mountain. In the middle landscape, you can see that there is a green blob in the left hand top corner of the original sky. Instead of calling it a total waste, I will add more green into the now foreground and lower mountains. And the last one I think definitely looks better flipped over without even adding any details. So if you are unhappy with the landscape you painted, turn it upside down and see if you like it better that way.
These are the rest of the landscapes that I painted that day. I have been painting a dozen at a time. All of these will be fairly simple fixes, penciling in the mountain top edges where they are needed and adding a few shadows and blue grey for creating distance. The bottom left one is bugging me a bit because it looks so much like a dome. I will probably take the mountain top edge off to the left and draw the edge above the pink sky. That won’t give such a regular shaped appearance to the resulting mountain.
I hope that this tutorial is helpful for adding details to your landscapes. It really doesn’t take a lot of artistic ability, just a bit of knowledge on how to create an illusion of distance and a little practice. So why don’t you give it a try and show us your results over on the forum?
I used acrylic paints and pages from my sketchbooks. This is from a 4″ x 6″ sketchbook. You divide your page into thirds and paint the sky first, then you sprinkle salt over the lower third of the wet paint and put cling wrap over the middle third. Then let it dry. Take a look at the tutorial for further information if you want to try this technique. The landscape above has not had any details added.
Here’s the same one where I have added a couple of details and cut the edge off. I am going to make greeting cards out of these small ones.
Here’s another one without adding anything.
And the finished result. I used color pencil to make the water look like it was flowing through the rocks and added the “waves” with white gel pen.
Here are two more finished ones.
This is one of the larger ones that I painted. It’s 9″ x 9″ and it was previously painted blue and green. I added the paint on the bottom and in the mountain area. This is what it looked like before adding a few details to the mountain range.
And here it is finished.
Here are a couple more of the larger ones that I did. I’m not sure on either of these whether I am finished with the foreground. I also can’t decide if I should stick them back in the sketchbook or mount them somehow.
The small ones I made into cards. I just used fusible web and ironed them to the card. It holds really well and has less of a tendency to curl the paper underneath like wet glue does.
I really enjoyed painting these as it’s easy and you don’t have to worry about how it comes out because the salt and the cling film give you the details and the look of foreground and mountains or rocks. Anyone can paint these landscapes easily even if you don’t have any painting experience. Try it, it’s fun!
I would like to remind everyone that Gail Harker is planning on coming to Montana to teach a Level 1 Experimental Machine Stitch class in May. The deadline for sign up is coming up March 25th. It’s going to be a great class so I hope you’ll spread the word. Right now we don’t have enough students so it looks like the class might have to be cancelled. I would hate to do that though so would you help spread the word? Thanks!
I finished up my green studies notebook. I didn’t add anything else but leaves but I may add a few thread studies and green photos later.
I had high hopes for the leaves preserved with glycerine. They looked really good after they came out of the glycerine. I soaked them for a week. All I did was put glycerine in a plastic plate, put the leaves on top, pour a little more glycerine over the top and cover with another plastic plate. I put a little bit of weight on the top plate and just left them. The photo above shows the leaves after a week. They were very dry and brittle and I had to be very careful with them. It was a bit time consuming removing the excess glycerine. But then the moment I applied them with matte medium to the pages, they turned brown. I guess I could have attached them some other way but they would have crumbled into bits if they hadn’t been coated with something.
This is the best leaf I achieved (same leaf as in the middle of the glycerine photo). It turned a bit brown but stayed mostly green. Some of them turned really dark brown. I’m not sure it is worth the effort to use the glycerine as some leaves just seem to take to this process better than others.
Here are some other pages with a variety of leaves, seed pods and mossy bits.
For the cover, I used a painting technique that I had seen online. It uses eggshells for the texture.
You can see the texture from this angle a bit better . My notebooks always end up looking “fat” as they always have extra stuff on the pages. I really enjoyed making this notebook. Have you done any color studies lately?
If you missed the finish of my second quarter challenge, I posted about it on my personal blog. I haven’t started the third quarter challenge and it’s already the middle of August. I better get a move on!