Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hello again.


Well, it's been over a week since we've had a chance to chat. I've had a busy week, I hope you have had a creative one. The weather turned nice and pleasant here two weeks ago so I started on some garden projects that I have been thinking of for some years and just haven't had the energy to tackle them.
Temperatures in the low 70s and my weight loss helped get me started on enlarging the front yard garden beds. The end of the summer brings Clearance prices on plants that garden centers would prefer to sell rather than toss. I got quite a few nice perennials for the front beds, eight beautiful Russian Sage plants, I love their loose form, their height until they flop over and the silver look to their leaves with those lavender flowers. More Lilies, the Stella variety, because I love the beautiful yellow of the flower, especially against the background of the Russian Sage. And, some False Sunflowers to fill in behind the Sage. 
These went in the bed that wraps around the back of the dry stream bed. The back border are my Lilac bushes and tall grasses. 
I know when people glance at it they think, "that looks nice" and move on, but I look at it and KNOW the hours of getting rid of the grasses, digging it up, planting the flowers, hauling the mulch it took. 
You really do have to love being a gardener because there is so much back story to a finished pretty garden.
Honestly, before this year, even after my knee replacements I didn't have the energy to tackle these projects. 
So, speaking of my weight loss I'm now down 31 pounds since May 1st. John tells me that I look very different and healthier. I certainly don't feel so puffy and bloated as I looked in pictures. I still have a long way to go but things seem to be in place and working.  I rather enjoy going to the little gym downtown. I have a 24/7 key that lets me in and I've seldom had more than one person working out there at the same time. I've managed to get my walking speed up to 3.5 for the entire 1/2 hour. September 2nd I start working out for an hour. I told myself when I signed up that I would start using the weigh machines then along with the treadmill.
Last night John and I took another Chase the Sunset drive. We stopped by the field of sunflowers to see what might have changed. Quite a bit did. Almost all of the flower heads were now drooping, the yellow color gone and the seeds turning black. They were still graceful looking but not as happy looking as before.
Ok, on to the Friday, Studio Artists Workshop. Mary, one of the artists, took the lead and showed us how to paint on silk.
We made a cartoon of a design that we liked and using a disappearing ink pen we traced the design on our silk. Then we used these little Gutta tubes and spread the Gutta out along the traced lines.

Once the gutta had dried we filled in the open areas with silk paint. Trust me, not as easy as it sounds. First you need a steady hand and stead squeezing of the gutta tube to make sure you get a consistent thickness of line. Then you have to figure out how much paint to actually get on your brush and dab the point onto the silk. It spreads and quickly. You don't have to even go up next to the gutta line it spreads there by itself.
The problem of your gutta lines becomes evident when the paint starts to bleed through to the next space.
 Linda did a rather ambitious project for the first time. I was impressed with it but she could clearly see areas that she had bleed through or not the correct color.
Pam did this lovely free hand sketch and then discovered something she didn't like about it and went about "fixing" it.
I think the "fixed" piece has more interest and isn't as flat looking.
Barbara wasn't feeling well but despite getting gray and clammy and looking like she was going to pass out she did create a beautiful flower on her silk hoop. We sent her home and she slept the afternoon away and felt much better when she woke up. 
Meg, a newest member did a lovely piece. If you are going to use these pieces in clothing or anything that you would need to wash, at a later date, you have to "fix" the color. That means steaming them for a couple of hours, on the stove.
For those of us that did pieces, in a hoop, I suggested that we just skip that step. They are just going to get hung in a window, look pretty and not really every going to be washed. Mary did an experiment with one and found that the silk came away from the hoop.
The frames people used were simple stretcher frames that you can buy in any art store. They are inexpensive and easy to snap together.  You can use special three-prong silk pins that push into the soft wood or you could staple the silk on.
I had the pins so we used those.

I found the process, relaxing, like doing a paint by number. You have to GIVE UP CONTROL at the beginning.  It takes practice to get the lines of gutta just the right thickness and connected in all the right places. When bleeding occurs you have to shrug and paint another color over it or go with the flow. (pun intended)
I heard mutterings from some of the artists that this kind of process was not in their comfort zone. That's what I love about these kinds of workshops. Every time we experiment with a new technique we find out a little more about our own creative style. 
I think when I try this again and I will, I will do a more free form "scribble" or doodle type of design. I will make allowances for more bleeding and water color wash look. 
I rather liked watching the silk paint spread in the intended area. But, then again I am easily entertained.
I think this was Linda Ps. She was not happy with the bleed through. 
BTW mine is up there at the beginning of this thought. You can see the darker areas, in the repeated design where I had bleed through. I just repainted it and kept on going. The Gods create perfection, not me.

The resident of my mulch pile now has to find a new home.
I've taken the pile down to just what is left on the ground. I had the area behind it cleared of shrub bushes, grape vines and prickly, nasty things and now I'm going to move the new mulch pile to a bin, back at the end of the cleared area.
If he can stay out of harm's way, hawks, owls and the like for a few more weeks, he can take up residence in the new mulch pile.
Well, that's enough for now. The heat is coming back for a week. I won't be working out in the yard in 90 degree weather. That's melting weather you know.
I would like to get caught up in the studio with some half finished projects, get the dye studio moved out of the barn and into the wet studio, in the garage, for the winter.
There is always something to do, isn't there?

1 comment:

  1. Good job on your weight loss. I wish I could stay motivated.
    Love the artwork everyone did. It is nice to get together for art fun.