Cynthia St. Charles Store

Friday, February 28, 2014

Mixed Media Daily Postcards for February 19 - 28

Here are the last of the daily postcards for February.  That makes 59 made so far, and I really look forward to working on them each day.  I am using a variety of papers, painted and printed photocopies, old calendar pages, paint and markers, screen printing and block printing.  These always seem to want to curl up or warp, so I have come up with a technique for clamping them with between two sheets of heavy cardboard, cut to size and using the big clamps I keep in the studio for stretching fabric on my work table.  So far, so good.  I also sometimes press the works in progress in the pages of thick books overnight or longer.....

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Leaving Winter

 We needed to get away from all this winter and Joe and I headed south earlier this month.  Here are some pictures taken from the car as we drove.  The top two are from the stretch of road between Casper and Rawlins, Wyoming.  The temperature was about 22 below zero.  The middle picture is from the road near Rock Springs, Wyoming.  There was black ice on the road here, and the wind was blowing snow across the road.  Lots of trucks on this stretch of I-80.

This last picture is from the road as we passed from Wyoming into Utah.  We drove two days in the snow and cold.  We made it to Las Vegas the second night, and were in shirt sleeves during the time we were there.  We left the snow behind just as we passed from Utah into Arizona. 

I'll be sharing more pictures from our trip now that I am back in the USA, where I have access to Internet (we have been without electronics for 3 weeks while staying on the beach in Mexico!)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Five Sisters" Mixed Media Collage

 Here is another mixed media piece - it is 20 x 15".  Paint, collage, block print, screen print, stenciling,  pencil and ink.

When I put these things up on my blog - it really does help me see things with a more critical eye.  I thought this was so fun - looking at it in my studio, but I see it falls a bit flat in the photos.  It would benefit from a bit more depth and maybe more thoughtful placement and choices.  I like the idea behind this piece, though - and I already have more ideas for expanding this theme....  (do you know I have five sisters and no brothers?  - so this could be a very persona subjectl!)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mixed Media Art 15 x 20 - "Man on a Bicycle"

 Mixed media is my new outlet.  I have lots of supplies because I was exploring this avenue a few years ago, but I never followed through.  By the time all my supplies arrived - I was on to something else.  
I have promised myself I will work at this at least until I use up the supplies I have on hand.
This piece needs a coat or two of varnish to tie it all together.  There are some areas that are more matte and some that are more shiny and I know a varnish would fix that.  I also think the brown (cheese cloth) strip on the left is a bit flat looking so maybe I will work on that area a bit more.  Otherwise, I feel pretty good about this first large mixed media piece I have ever done.  I am calling it "Man on a Bicycle", as there is a photo of an ethnic guy on a bike on the left.  It is very faint now under all the paint and printing, but he is there.  Most of the other collaged images have disappeared, and that is something I will need to improve with future pieces.
Above is a smaller detail of the piece.  It has really been fun adding all the layers and watching the transformation.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Painted and Printed Tissue Paper

Along the lines of my current obsession with mixed media - I have decided to try my hand at painting and printing some tissue paper.  The paper is first painted with diluted Golden Fluid Acrylics, and when dry, followed by block and screen printing using acrylics in a heavier bodied form.  I was very pleased with the way this tissue turned out, but I have found it rather challenging to add to my collages.  It just has such a different look from the other papers I am using.  I have used it a bit, but not nearly as much as I expected to!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mixed Media Daily Postcards February 11 - 18

These uploaded out of sequence, but I am not going to worry about that.   These are mostly calendar pages from old calendars, photographs, old email printouts, maps, lists, chocolate bar wrapper, block prints and screen prints.  I LOVE doing these!  Really, I am sort of obsessed with them right now and it is difficult for me to focus on quilts.  I decided to just go with it for now.....

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Building a Fused Collage

 I have an old art quilt that I never finished - it was black and white block printing over primary colored whole cloth background that was not really very successful.  I did quilt the whole thing, but never did trim or bind it and I came across it recently.  I decided to slice it up into wedges and see if I could work it into a new piece.  I printed up some new fabrics with primary colored text, and these were also cut into long wedge shaped strips.  Here are some pictures from my design process done on the ironing table.

This is as far as I have gotten with this isn't really coming together quite as well as I had hoped, and this, too has been set aside for another time. . . . .

Friday, February 21, 2014

Primary Colored Text on Black with Mistyfuse

 Here is the final yard in this group of primary colored printing on black. 
I am adding black Mistyfuse to the wrong side because I plan to use this fabric in a collage and I find it goes together very well when all my fabrics are prepared in advance with Mistyfuse.  I love that it comes in black as well as white - this is a 20" roll of 50 feet. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Yellow Text on Black

 I am printing up several yards of commercial black with primary colors of text - sort of going for a graffiti look, as I am anticipating using this for a city scene.  Pulling from my extensive collection of Thermofax screens.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Blue Text on Black

 In anticipation of another project, I have screen printed several yards of solid black commercial fabric with various Thermofax screens of text.  Above is a detail.  Below is the most of the 36 x 44" piece.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

SAQA Trunk Show Entry

 SAQA was asking for auction pieces for a trunk show for an upcoming event.  The entries needed to be 7" x 10" .  They will be mounted on a black mat board measuring 9 x 12.  I did this piece in an afternoon and sent it off the next day, just barely making the deadline.  It is the same theme as my much larger piece measuring 72 x 72" that will debut at a SAQA exhibition this spring.  I'll share more details when I have them.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Scrap Quilt Top Completed

Here is a partial picture of the completed quilt.  It is quite large - 93" x 110"  Yesterday, I bought a king sized cotton sateen bed sheet for the backing.  I was planning to snow dye the back, but when I got home, I realized I am out of soda cannot dye it until I get some of that.  Usually, I purchase a big bag of soda ash from a pool supply store, but honestly, I am not doing all that much hand dyeing these days (I have been out of soda ash for nearly a year!)  I am not sure I need to purchase a 40 lb bag.  It is a special trip to a pool supply store (and I have to find out where, because I think they have relocated since I last purchased a bag).  I might just pick up a small tub of it from a hardware store that keeps supplies for hot tubs.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Finishing Up a Scrap Quilt

 Looking at these big blocks on the design wall I can see that the idea was to randomly build a log cabin starting with odd sized rectangles for the centers.  I can see that I was switching from warm colors to cool colors.  I believe the idea of this block was to cut the blocks in half and piece them back together with a different piece.  I think the next step was to cut them again the other direction and piece two different ones together again.  That step has not been done, and looking at them, I am not sure I want to.  I don't feel like it will make the overall design any more interesting.  Instead - I am finding the whole thing looking very green.  I think I will instead add warm color strips on two sides before sewing them all together.  Above is the pile of warm colored strips cut and all ready to be sewn on.
 I laid everything out so I would stay on track with my plan.
It didn't take long to sew the strips on.  When I had a piece that was too short I set it aside and when I had several of those, I sewed them together end to end to make a longer strip.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Surprise Scrap Quilt

Yesterday, I showed you my start on an art quilt with cellular imagery.  I did a small trial piece with my design idea and it was such a failure I am not even going to post it on the blog.  Now I feel like I have to mull the cellular quilt a bit.

One thing I sometimes do to give myself time for mentally processing design problems is to switch it up a bit by doing something mindless  - like making a scrap quilt.

I have two big bins that are the catch all for any pieces I have leftover that are smaller than a fat quarter.  One bin is for my own surface design fabrics and the other is for commercially printed fabrics (I use commercial prints for my quilt backs when I do art quilts, so both bins do get rather full over time).  I thought the bin with commercial fabrics was getting a bit overfilled, so I started digging through it to see if I could come up with an idea for using up some scraps.

I was surprised when I came across 45 quilt blocks that measure 15 x 16".  I put a few up on the design wall to see what they looked like.  I can just barely remember making these.  I am not sure when I did it or why I put it away without finishing it.  Something more pressing must have come up.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Printing Fabric for Cellular Quilt

I decided to work a bit differently for this piece.  I plan to use just three fabrics and have chosen some with high contrast.  I have printed the commercial black with text and the hand dyed yellow green is printed with cellular imagery.  I am not sure I will do any printing on the hand dyed red.  That is to be determined.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cellular Explorations

 I have finished up all work for looming deadlines and I am now floundering around the studio for my next big project.  I feel like I would like to work a bit more with cell imagery and so I spent some time looking at images of plant and animal cells online.  Below is a link to my favorite site for inspiration.  Check it out!

After looking through the images in the cell image library - I turned to my sketchbook and these are some of my ideas.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Silver Hills Detail

The picture below shows the silver splatters I added to the bottom third of the quilt after it was bound and finished (it needed a little something more).  Sorry I cannot share a full image of the finished piece until after the show opens.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Printed Silver

It looks kind of wonky here, but of course it will be trimmed after the quilting.  Everything is printed at this point and next it will be pinned to the backing fabric and quilted.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Printing the Mountain Map

 The final phase of printing is the mountain map that was drawn during the Hayden survey of 1862.   I have adapted it to a much larger size and multiple screens to be able to fit the size of this piece.  Above, I have the screens laid out to make sure they will fit and to make any adjustments necessary prior to the printing. 
 The mountain scene was printed with silver ink.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Celebrating Silver Progress Continues

 This quilt has three sections in various shades of gray.  The darkest is a strip about 7" high collaged of several different hand painted gray fabrics.  This was the last part to be printed, so I used masking tape and paper to protect the areas that were already done.  I used black ink for the text in this area.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Mixed Media Daily Postcards February 1 - 8

 I am working with RED quite a bit this month on my daily postcards,
since Valentine's Day is coming up.
I overpainted a lot of junk mail and old calendars with red and white, too.  
Then, I did some primitive printing and am using markers and colored pencils.
I am finding it good practice to have to try for a good design on each 4 x 6" postcard.
I know I am not succeeding with all of them, but I am working at it and feel good about having the daily practice.  I don't mind that these are only intermittently successful because I have no plan for them other than to grow my own abilities.
It is possible that I might someday mail some of these out to people, 
but that is not in the current plan.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Screen Printing the Base

 I had to mix all the colors for the screen printing ink for this piece.  Below, is the base printing.  Note the collage that has been block printed, followed by screen printing of the text.