Saturday, January 29, 2011


Yesterday, I went several places where I wanted to take pictures to share with you here.  But the memory card in my camera decided to go haywire and not function.  So I did not get any pictures to share with you about Salt Tears, the restaurant at which I had lunch, nor Green Chutes, the artist co-op which shares the space with the restaurant, nor the Fresh Air reception which I attended, nor the TVAA artist open studio which I also attended. (Yes, it was a busy day.)

Instead, you will get a recommendation to go see the King's Speech movie which we just took Anna and her friend to see this afternoon.  It was excellent and really should not be rated R.  There was just some cursing at one point in the movie, which was part of a funny scene.  Don't miss this one.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fabric Drawing

Some more thoughts about a thing-a-day to do in February.  Previously, I mentioned a drawing a day.  Then, I thought maybe I could do a fabric drawing a day.  Above is the stitching I did during my demonstration at the gallery in December.  I really didn't have anything in mind.  I just started doodling on the fabric and trying some different things.

If I decided to do a fabric drawing a day in February, I was thinking I could do the stitching and later go back in and add some color with paint or something.  The color could be a March thing-a-day.

My other thought was to create a block a day using the new Twelve by Twelve challenge colors which are blue, sage and brown.  At the beginning of March, I would put them together in some kind of composition or two.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I'm still thinking about what thing-a-day I would like to do in February. I think that organizing one thing a day would be very useful. There is always something that needs organizing. I think I might have mentioned before that I like to use plastic canvas to create custom organizers for drawers. I made one for my bathroom drawer to hold hair items and it's been keeping things organized for years. Here is one of my sewing room drawers.

I did two drawers last year but I have a couple more that still need help. I made six separate sections for this drawer so I could just take out one to use the thread elsewhere.

It's easiest to decide what is going in the drawer first, make measurements of those things and work out a plan for the sections. Sewing the plastic canvas together is the easiest part and really doesn't take too long.

Would I be able to find 28 things to organize? How many drawers are in our house? There are other things that need help, too, so I'm sure I could find plenty.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


The new year has started out just as fast as 2010 ended.  I can't believe we are near the end of January and I haven't gotten much done.  Was knocked off my feet this week with a flu/cold and didn't do anything but lie on the couch and watch Australian Open tennis. 

I have been thinking about starting anew in February and came across this Thing-a-day idea. Here's their description:
"Thing-a-day is a collective creative blog that lives for one month every February. Participants commit to create new things every day and share them with the rest of the group".

Some of their suggestions are: knit, cook, upcycle, paint, document and destroy.  Not sure what they mean by that last one.  On a more personal note, I was thinking about maybe doing a drawing a day.  That seems obvious.  Then I thought what would be really helpful is to organize one thing a day.  Not very exciting and maybe not something  to share with you all.  How about a walk a day with the camera?  Hmm.  Any other suggestions?  February is a good month to do since it is the shortest.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Valentine Preview

 Spread the Love
hand dyed, commercial and wool fabric
machine pieced and free motion stitching
hand embroidery
9" x 12"
© 2011 Lisa Flowers Ross

I've now finished my second piece of the year.  This is the piece that I will be donating to Flying M's Valentine for Aids auction.  The free motion stitching is reminiscent of handwriting.  I wanted it to look like handwriting, but not be readable.  As I was stitching, I did use love quotes and poems but made it very messy and also did some lines upside down.  Even I can't recognize the majority of the words now.

I decided to finish this piece a little differently than usual.  I wanted to try using a pre-stretched canvas. I've seen several different ways other people have mounted their pieces on canvas.

I purchased one at the store in the size I wanted the finished piece to be.  Before I did the quilting, I lightly traced the canvas frame on the back of the work where I wanted the edges to end up.  Then I cut a piece of batting to the same size.  I placed the batting within the drawn lines, pinned and then quilted.  I did this so that there would be no quilting or extra bulk on the side edges.

Before finishing, I chose to remove the canvas from the stretchers bars. When I was done quilting and hand stitching, I aligned the piece on top.  The next step was to pull the fabric to the back and stretch it just like a regular canvas.  The raw edges also got folded under to make it neater.  I purposely left the back exposed because I like the idea of being able to see some of the stitching which we usually so carefully try to hide.

After stretching the piece, I tinted the edges with an oil paint stick and brush to give it more depth and make it look more "old fashioned" or more like a yellowing letter. All that's needed now are some hangers attached and a label.  I like how it turned out.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Owls

Over the years that we have lived here, we have seen a few owls in the neighborhood. It's a rare occurrence. Last weekend I went into the kitchen to start dinner and glanced out my wonderful big window that looks out into our yard. I saw the back of an owl sitting on one of our trees.

I called Anna to come look. We tried to take pictures from the kitchen window. Then, she decided to go outside to get a better view. I told Frank and he also went outside with his camera. I stayed inside to get dinner ready but watched as they crept up on the owl. It didn't seemed to be too bothered by them. His head spun around many times to check on them, but he (I'm just assuming it was a "he") did not fly off. They managed to get pretty close to take some pictures.

I wanted to watch until it flew away, but missed that event while I was busy in the kitchen. Anna stayed and was startled when it did finally fly away. Afterward, we looked in our bird book to find out that it was a Barred Owl (related to the Spotted Owl). In the past, we have seen a Great Horned owl.

Then, on Friday morning after Anna had left for school and before I went to the museum, I was reading in the living room when I heard a "wreep" sound and then a "hoo . . . hoo, hoo . .hoo". It sounded close by on the side of the house. I carefully pulled up the side window blind in the living room to see if the noise was coming from the tree that is right next to it.

I looked out and searched the area. It was just dawn and still dark. Eventually, I saw a bird fly off. I think it was a smaller bird of prey, probably the one that had "wreep"ed. Then, I heard the "hoos" again. It was more toward the back of the house.

I went to our bedroom and pulled up the side blind just a tiny bit to look out. There was an owl sitting on a branch right outside the window. I think it heard me and swiveled its head. I couldn't see its details very well since it was so dark. But I could see the silhouette and the "ear tufts" on its head. It was a Great Horned Owl. I saw its thick legs and talons on the branch.

But then a neighbor's car door slammed and the owl flinched. The car engine started and the owl took off before I had much time to enjoy it.

Two different types of owls in a short period of time was a treat. I love living in a place where I can watch wildlife in my own yard.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Work

My first new artwork for the year . . . is almost finished. I just have to finish the edges. It's been good to get back "to work."

This piece is another Twelve by Twelve group "play-along" piece. The color theme this time was Eggplant, Burgundy and Emerald. They revealed their pieces today (click on link to see them) and here is mine. Once again, I did not restrict myself to a 12 x 12" size.

Sky Lines
© 2011 Lisa Flowers Ross
I found these colors hard to work with because they were all the same value.  My original thought was of berries and an idea I had had previously.  I thought I had made a sketch of it, but could not find it in any sketchbook (maybe I never got it down on paper).  Nothing was coming to mind about how to do that, so I moved on to another idea. 

I decided the colors either needed a neutral or some lighter colors to go with it.  I started pulling out fabrics and what you see above is the result.  There is actually some dark eggplant color in the sky lines, but it is hard to see because my photo is not very good (will try to get a better one when it is totally finished).  The quilted lines are done in different colors of burgundy, purple and pink which is also hard to see.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sketchbook Project

Remember months ago when I had talked about the sketchbook project? I showed you my first four pages and said I would post more. Um, well with all the other things I was doing, I basically forgot about the project. After Christmas, the sketchbook surfaced again and I began to do rapid-fire sketches. Not my original intent, but I only had 4 pages out of 40 done.

They mostly look like coloring book pages as I was using a black pen for outlines and colored pencils to color in. Then, I did break out the crayons, hoping that would make me color faster. Eventually, I decided to forgive myself and tore out 9 blank pages. It's not cheating, they said so in the email the sponsor sent reminding us all of the Jan. 15 postmark deadline. I ended up with 31 pages filled and mailed it this past weekend.

Here are a few of the pages:
Fallen Leaves
Fallen Leaves

Country Lane

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Art Around Town

Yesterday, I took some time to see what art might be hanging at BSU.  There was nothing up in the Liberal Arts building, so I headed over to the Student Union building.  First enjoying a chicken sandwich from Idaho's one and only Chik-fil-A Express restaurant, I then continued upstairs to the gallery space.  I was delighted to find the exhibit, Katsura: The Photographs of Ishimoto Yasuhiro (click on link to see the Boise Weekly's blurb about it, if you need more information).

The gallery was filled with these black and white photos the artist took of the Katsura Detached Palace located on the Katsura River on the outskirts of Kyoto in Japan.  The building dates from the early Edo period (17th century).  I found this information in the free handouts and booklet provided.

The majority of photographs were taken from the inside of the pavilion.  The simple architecture and lack of furnishing gave Yasuhiro the means to create strong visual images with graphic lines and geometric shapes, bringing the three dimensional architecture into a flattened two dimensional realm.  This, with the addition of the abstracted view, was really what appealed to me and made the historic architecture modern.

There were also some photographs of the surrounding gardens which showed great texture and detail of stones, mosses, trees, bamboo fences and the other elements that make up the traditional Japanese garden.  The picture below, which demonstrates the planned placement of path and stepping stones, reminds me of several sketches I have in one of my sketch books which I had done after studying a book from the library about Japanese gardens.

I really enjoyed the show and thought the photos were beautiful and yet, because they were in black and white, the interior pictures were austere in a somewhat severe way, not necessarily portraying the calming beauty I tend to think of in the Japanese aesthetic (although the artist was born in America and studied in Chicago before becoming a Japanese citizen and I doubt the traditional Japanese aesthetic was what he was aiming for).

The show is only open through Jan. 9, so if you are in town and want to see it, you need to go in the next few days.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I went to my Nia class at the Y yesterday and we always notice an influx of people at the beginning of January through about the middle of February.  People resolve to get healthier and the parking spots get harder to find. 

I've been thinking about my own resolutions (which I prefer to call goals) for the year.  But in Nia class, my teacher said something that made me think about them in a different way.  At the beginning of class, she always likes to give us something to think about during our class for the day.  Maybe it's concentrating on properly bending our knees or the expression of our movements, etc.  Sometimes it's not a physical thing. 

Yesterday, she was talking about a goal for the class and resolutions in general.  She said to ask ourselves, "What can you commit to today? When will you start and when will you end?"  An example might be that I can commit to cutting out desserts starting tomorrow and ending on Monday.   I thought these questions really made the resolution/goal setting more realistic, more specific and more attainable.  At the end of class, she had us think about one goal and tell another person in the class for accountability.  Good food for thought.

"What can you commit to today?"

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year

It's 2011 and I finally got around to doing some review of last year to see what goals I have accomplished.
As I looked over my art business goals and crunched numbers, I found that I accomplished most of the art business goals I had set down for myself.  I also discovered that some of those goals were a bit subjective and needed to be a little more specific.
Here are some things I accomplished:

- My goal of working an average of 10 hours a week in my studio over a 48 week period (that's allowing 4 weeks off for travel, visitors and other misc. events) was accomplished averaging 10.47 hours a week.  I would like to try to increase that to 15 hours a week this year.  It really doesn't sound like much, but gosh, it was kind of hard for me to find the time to average 10 hours a week with everything else that goes on.

- In addition to the studio time, I wanted to average 3 hours a week working on art business/technical stuff.  This time was spent on stuff like marketing, getting documentation ready, applications, installing exhibition and artwork at gallery, etc.  I didn't quite meet my goal by only averaging 2.64 hours over a 48 week period.  Will try again this year.

- I didn't have a volunteer time goal but I did about 70 hours of volunteer time over the year.  That's not as much as usual because I really cut some of that out to concentrate on my own artwork.

- Another goal was to have my income from art sales and the extremely minimal BAM work cover all my art expenses.  That did not happen as I have a bit of a loss, but it wasn't as bad as I initially thought.  Someday, I actually hope to make a nice amount of money from my art, but small baby steps occur at the start.  Will have the same goal for this year and hope to have some net gain.

- I had hoped to create 20-30 pieces of art over the year and I accomplished that by creating 30 artworks (in varying sizes, of course).  Would like to increase that amount this year but will probably stick with 20-30 pieces again.

- I did keep track of monthly expenses/sales/studio time, etc. but not in a computer program as I had hoped.  Old fashioned paper and pencil worked just as well this year as it did last year.  Maybe this year I will get it on the computer so I can print out lovely pages.

There are quite a few other art goals I accomplished by won't list them all.  Some things occurred last year that were not even on my radar at the beginning of the year, like being in the gallery at the end of the year and doing a commission piece. Nice additional accomplishments.

 Since I was concentrating a lot on my artwork, many of my personal goals didn't get done (ie. getting caught up on scrapbooks).  I'll try again this year. 

The one major thing that didn't get done in the art goal category was getting my website up.  That is something I should have done.  Frank set up a site and I was suppose to learn Joomla so I could create my own website.  Um, I really don't like spending time to have to learn a new program, I'd rather create artwork (that would have eaten up more of my studio time).  This year I will be realistic and look to pay someone to set it up for me.

Besides what I've already listed above, I now have to sit down and create new goals for this year.