Monday, January 24, 2011

Pastel Paint-In Event

The Central Pennsylvania Pastel Society hosted a winter "Paint In" last Saturday, January 22 from 9am - 4pm. This was a FREE event and a great opportunity for members to come together informally and work/socialize/share techniques and share a pot-luck lunch in a relaxed non-workshop atmosphere. It was wonderful! Here are some photos from the day.

Above, pastellist and organization president, Susan Nicholas Gephart at her easel

Above, pastellist Jeanne McKinney

Above, pastellist Anne Kenyon, who is offering a pastel workshop February 6 (see CPPS website for details)

Laura Winn Kane, artist

Here is one of my first pastel attempts after 35+ year hiatus - the simple mason jar, the subject matter thanks to the blog Gardening Gone Wild's photo contest this month. See previous two blog posts for more.

The Ball mason jar on the table.

Ball Canning Jar - 5" x 8" $40.00 unmatted/unframed (c)Pat Dolan 2011

It was the first time I have used Kitty Wallis pastel board - and I absolutely loved the sanded surface for holding the pastel pigments! I was also using Sennelier pastels for the first time - soft, buttery and vibrantly colored soft-pastel. They are a luxury, but worth every penny now that I've tried them out.

My table on Saturday.

My still-life set-up.

Close-up of the under painting, such as it was. Note the blue stripes that were to become red stripes in the fabric.

Enamel Pitcher - 8" x 11" $100.00 unmatted/unframed (c)Pat Dolan 2011

More Macros in a Mason Jar

I found a few more shots I'm willing to share. This was SO much fun!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Macro in a Mason Jar

The Gardening Gone Wild blog has an occasional photo contest. This month, the theme is "macro in a mason jar." The instructions are available at the link above. Essentially, one uses the top of the mason jar to hold a point & shoot camera in place while taking a close-up of the jar contents.

Here is my actual submission, all the rest were "just for fun."

The shot below was taken with the "regular" lens. The shot above is with the macro zoom.

The concept delighted me, so I've done 3 different photo shoots to play with various ideas. I used with various objects, two different canning jars, and different lighting situations. The sunlight definitely added a wonderful dimension to the shadows and reflections. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Mandala Artquilt

Mandala - central image - (c)Pat Dolan 2011

Once upon a time, around 2005 or so, I created a batik on silk with an original and very organic mandala design. I liked it a lot, but didn't know quite how to finish it off. The design is circular, but the silk was an irregular squarish shape that I cut off from a long plain silk scarf. I was just going to play around and have some fun with wax and without a plan. This is what evolved.

After removing the wax, I added gold gutta to the central image where the wax had been. The gold seemed best suited to accenting only the center, so the other previously waxed-out areas remain the original white of the scarf.

Fast forward to this week when I finally decided to free-motion quilt the piece I want it DONE. Partly because I love the mandala and all that it symbolizes. And partly because I love this particular design and the soft colors therein - I want to hang it in my studio.

The outer corners remain unfinished - I don't know how I'll finish them off just yet, but I have an idea or two. Here it is, so far.

Mandala (work in progress) - approx. 20" square - (c)Pat Dolan 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

I'm QUILTING Again!!!

Center panel of baby quilt

Since I had plenty of left-over squares from earlier baby quilts, this quilt came together very quickly. I only had to cut out some pink batik fabric to make it more appropriate for a little girl. I laid it out one evening, pieced most of it the next day, and completed the top the following morning. It's bright and colorful, as the others were. But it's also feminine enough for a baby girl, without being TOO girly! Michelle (the eldest grandchild @ 22) says it's perfect and that's good enough for me!

Pieced quilt top - about 46" square

Backing fabric below

Fortunately, I tried using a drafting stool at the sewing machine. Thus I'm sitting higher than before and it's much less of a strain on my left elbow. The piecing went quite well with very little impact on the chronic pain level. I'm hoping that the quilting will also go as smoothly. I used my hands to manipulate the quilt and "draw" freehand with the sewing machine for the quilting. That puts more stress on the shoulder than simple sewing, but I'm still optimistic!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January 2011

Baby Quilt #1 - 2009

2011 - as a child, this date seemed an eternity away...something I'd never witness. Yet here we are in 2011 and thriving still.

This year I'll be doing more art for fun, not for "work." I'll draw, paint, sew and generally be creative in any way that presents itself to me. Is this a New Year's resolution? No. I don't believe in "resolutions." They focus on "thinking about and/or want but not so much on "doing." But I have made a decision and I'm acting on it.

So far, I've made myself a new watercolor chart using Daniel Smith watercolors. The new wc paints are so vibrant, exciting, as well as nuanced - much moreso than my 20-30 year old Windsor Newton watercolors. Mind you, Windsor Newton wc were the BEST back in those days and they are still very, very good. They, too, have developed new colors and have expanded their offerings. But my sister, a prominent watercolorist now living in Mesa, AZ, uses Daniel Smith ever since her years living in Vancouver, WA. Thus, I've been duly introduced and have become excited about this brand.

I've also begun a new baby quilt for a grand-niece who is expected to arrive in early February. I made a baby quilt for her 1+ year old brother as well as her two cousins over a year ago. Fortunately, I cut enough pieces to be able to construct another quilt (or 3) with the spares. However, I did have to add PINK blocks to the mix for this new little girl!

It's a simple square block pattern with a small Laurel Birch panel in the center.

It shouldn't take too long to sew, but the quilting will take some time since I need to take long breaks between sewing sessions to protect my shoulder.

In searching for the baby quilt left-overs, I came across an old quilt top from the 1990's featuring a weird arrangement of stars, blocks, hexagons, etc. It will be perfect for the eldest brother of the grand-niece + nephew above, who is the son of my nephew's wife. He is about 7 years old and loves Star Wars, etc. It's not quite the size of a twin bed, but much larger than a lap or crib quilt so it should be perfect for a little boy.

So. The projects are out. Beginnings have been made. Here's to a very good year!

The 2nd & 3rd baby quilts made in 2009 for various grand-nephews from which I had left-over blocks for the new quilt:
Baby Quilt #2 - 2009

Baby Quilt #3 - 2009