Tuesday, October 28, 2014


I have been trying to do a little more "plein air" sketching this year.  I think it is good drawing practice and I would like to get a little faster at doing it.  Although I have not been doing it on a regular basis, I have found that I am getting a little bit faster.  Treasure Valley Artists' Alliance has a Urban Sketchers group that goes to different locations once a month to sketch.  I have been to a few of those.  I have also made an effort to go on a few outings with my friend, Mary, to do some sketching.

Recently, I posted a few of my sketches from the last Urban Sketchers outing at the Boise Depot.  I have also posted some of my sketches on my Facebook art page throughout the year.  (I don't always post the same things here and there.)

Last week, Mary and I went back to the Idaho Botanical Gardens to do some more sketching. Usually, I do a couple of sketches and then end up taking a bunch of photographs.

What I have been finding challenging is drawing a bunch of different kind of vegetation quickly.  I have just been using different types of scribbles to indicate different types of plants.

Here are the very quick sketches I did in the gardens.  I would like to get to the point of using some color, but that takes more time.

Here are a few more that I have done throughout the year.

Milkweed pod.

On our hike in the Sawtooths.

 From our trip to Long Island, NY

Also from Long Island, NY

These are sketches, not finished works of art.   Some artists, like Lisa Cheney and Jane La Fazio, do beautiful sketches in their sketchbooks that are like finished works of art.  They are wonderful to look at, but that is not my aim with these.

I think you can tell from looking which ones I drew more quickly than the others.  I hope to get quicker and be able to do more shading quickly as well and then be able to add color, too.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Boise Depot

I have a few more pictures from my outing to the Boise Depot.  In this first one, I was trying to take a picture of the camera shy spider that was sitting on one of the petals of the flower on the left when the bee flew in.

These two pictures below are of the awesome mosaic traffic circle created by artists Reham Aarti and Anna Webb.  It is near the depot.  It is too bad it is not in a more central location downtown so more people could enjoy it.

There seems to be a bit of a circular theme in these photos.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Urban Sketchers

Yesterday, the Treasure Valley Artists' Alliance Urban Sketchers were out again at the Boise Depot. Once a month  a location is selected to go to and sketch.  Everyone picks their own spots in which to work and it is very informal.  More like comfort in numbers.  If there are several or more artists sketching, then it is more likely that a passerby will ask questions.

I did two sketches at the Depot and took pictures.  I am still not a quick sketcher.  The Depot was open on Sunday for people to go inside.  The ceiling has lots of decorative painting on it which you can see a little of on the beams in this picture.

Outside there are some great views of the city of trees, along with some gardens and a pond.

Here are my two sketches I did.  The first is the tower of the depot and I realized as I was drawing it that they put the four on the clock as "IIII" instead of "IV".  I don't know if I would have ever noticed that if I hadn't been drawing it.  That's the nice thing about sketching/drawing in that you are really looking at something and noticing the details.

In my picture taking and drawing, I have a preference for "zooming in" and abstracting what I see. But I did one sketch of the view of downtown.  I don't know if I really want to show you the picture of what I was sketching, but I guess I will.

The sketch.
 The reality.

Even though I mostly work with fabric, I think it is always good to do some drawing/sketching practice.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


You might have noticed my weekly stitching project in the pictures from my last post.  I am having trouble keeping up with that one.  In the past, I have done a daily project for a month and found that easier since it was everyday.

My friend, Linda McLaughlin, does several daily projects for the year, as well as weekly and monthly.  Rachel Teannalach, a Boise painter, also just finished up a 365 day project.  She did a small painting a day (about 3" square).  Rachel invited people to come watch her paint her last 365 painting and to help her celebrate.

Rachel is a plein air painter, so we met her at the Foothills Learning Center and walked a short way on one of the trails.  She said it would take her about 20-30 minutes to paint the piece. But to me, it really only seemed like 15 minutes or so.  She was fast.

Rachel with her dog, Blue.

The area she was painting.


The group that came to watch and she also had someone videotaping.

It was amazing to watch Rachel paint.  She was using oil paints and already had a palette ready so she didn't have to spend a lot of time getting set up.  On her blog here, she talks about her system set-up for the 365 project.  She will sell all the small paintings together as one piece.

This is inspiring and I have been thinking about doing a 365 day project.  It is a real commitment, but would help me get into the habit of creating something everyday.  What I like about what Rachel and Linda both did was that they didn't start their 365 project at the beginning of the year.  That is wise, as there are so many things I think about doing at the beginning of the year.

The other thing is that the projects are small and portable, which I think is necessary as one may be traveling at some point during the year.  I'll think about it.  Maybe a drawing a day?  What would you do everyday for a year?

Monday, October 13, 2014

BOSCO Open Studio

I had my studio open this weekend as part of the Boise Open Studio Collective Organization's big open studio weekend.  37 local artists had their studios open to the public this weekend.  I spent quite a bit of time getting ready with cleaning up the studio, hanging newer works, packaging smaller works, getting my display wall set up in another room, etc.  My studio is super clean now and ready for a new project.

This year is my second year with BOSCO and I was open both Saturday and Sunday.  I enjoyed talking with people about art and process.  I was working on a small piece throughout the weekend that I was doing the free-motion stitching on.  It was good to have it in the machine and be able to sit down and show people some of what I do.

Display wall up in living room with some framed pieces on the mantle.

Framed pieces on the mantle.

In the picture below, you can see some of my studio with the piece I was working on in my sewing machine.  My weekly stitching squares are on the wall above the machine.  Quite a few people were interested with what that was all about.  I have smaller artworks packaged up in the small bins.  The guest list sign-in was at the end of the sewing cabinet, along with a flyer about my upcoming exhibitions.

Some artwork on the opposite wall.  I did put a few chairs in that empty space next to the cutting table so visitors could have a place to sit.
 The Weekly Stitching project.

It was a good weekend.  Thanks to all those who showed up and asked great questions.  For those who couldn't make it,  you can visit my studio anytime.  Just contact me ahead a time.  I cannot promise it will be nice and neat like it is in these pictures.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Thought of the Day

"Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, even joyous.  That has more of an effect on economic well-being than any other single factor."
-Paul Hawken

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hiking in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area

Last Friday on my husband's birthday, we drove to the Sawtooth National Recreation Area to do a day hike.  We started at the Tin Cup Hiker Trailhead and headed to Alice Lake.

The weather was beautiful and the views grand. It was a long day to drive there and back and to hike to the lake and back.
Driving to the trailhead.

Pettit Lake

The Aspen trees were pretty.

Anna hiking.
 Anna posing.
 Can you find Anna and Frank in these next two pictures?  They are in there.  Hint: look near the trees.

We climbed over and hiked on lots of rocks.


 A beautiful day.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Dyeing Embroidery Floss

When I dyed my fabric, I also dyed some embroidery floss for use in hand stitching.  For a few years, I have been using Melanie Testa's technique as explained in her Inspired to Quilt book.  This time I decided to do it a little bit differently.

Recently, in one of the Quilting Arts magazines,  Testa wrote an article with Carol Soderlund about dyeing floss.  I decided to try Soderlund's approach in conjunction with Testa's approach.  I dyed some solid colors to match the fabrics (but not all of them) and some variegated.

Here are the solid colors.

And here are the variegated.  A few are very subtle.

With Soderlund's approach, you place a hank of floss on top of a piece of fabric when dyeing.  I believe the thinking behind that is that the fabric absorbs the extra dye so the floss is not sitting in a puddle of dye where the colors could be become all muddy.  And you also have a dyed piece of fabric.  It's like two for one.

I used some small pieces of fabric I had.  Some were already a color, some were not.  This is what those fabrics look like.

I'm not sure what I will do with them but they are interesting.  I liked my combo approach to dyeing the floss this year.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fabric Dyeing

Before the cooler autumn weather started coming, I was able to get in some fabric dyeing.  I dye fabric in my garage and on the driveway so the temperatures need to be above 70 degrees.

This year I only had about about 10 yards of white fabric to start with.  I did not purchase more. Instead, I pulled out some of the fabrics I know have been sitting on my shelf for some time to over-dye.

Here are some of those old fabrics.

Why did I pull these?  There were several reasons.  I pulled out fabrics that I thought were very similar to another color I already had.  When I started dyeing my own fabric, I created a much more mottled look.  Now, I like to work with more solid color.  So, I pulled out some of the very mottled ones.  Those would need to be over-dyed with a much darker color.  I also pulled colors that I didn't think I would use or didn't appeal to me.  Some colors were just too bright and I wanted to tone them down a bit.  You don't always know exactly what color you get until the end when the fabric is rinsed and dried.  Sometimes I make something I don't like.

Work in progress.

And here are the colors I ended up with.  I think, overall, I am happier with the new colors.

They will get integrated back unto the shelves and, hopefully, get used!  I also had some muslin scraps that I had brought home from the museum left over from covering pedestal tops.  Here is how they turned out, along with a few more over-dyes.

Most of these are smaller pieces and some have holes in them or marks that I will need to work around.  But I am happy to be able to get some use out of the fabric that otherwise would have ended up in the trash can.