Friday, January 26, 2007

My plate is full!

I've had a busy week.
A few days ago, I had my first experience taping a show for a local cable television channel. What an experience! 22 minutes. I was invited to talk about my needlepoint art and canvases but I can't remember a thing that I said! I can't even remember how or when they clipped the microphone on my blouse! My fifteen minutes of fame and I left the tv studio feeling like I needed to go bury my head in the sand. Ugh!

I've been told that the best thing about having a taping done (as opposed to doing a live set) is that the production crew will work their magic with the editing equipment and piece the "better" parts together. Geez, I hope so. This particular segment will air (or "loop" as they say) throughout the month of February on the Bright House cable channel. February is Black History month and the Birmingham Public Library is celebrating in a big way. My interview will tie into a Brown Bag Lunch talk that I will give on February 21st, at the Birmingham Public Library. A display window on the first floor of the main library will have samples of my needlepoint pieces. Check your local paper for all of the scheduled events sponsored by the Birmingham Public Library.

The Magic City Art Connection in Linn Park is coming! April 27th, 28th 29th. This will be my second art festival. Seems like a long way off, but here it is almost February and my inventory is lacking. I'm gonna have to kick it up a notch the next few weeks. I have plenty of sketches and ideas, I just need to buckle down and get the lino blocks cut and printed. I've been distracted this month and need to refocus. In addition to preparing for the art festival, I'm planning for my son's graduation and family gathering. He's a prince; pampered . . .but he's mine. It's interesting to watch him as he completes his last semester of college. He is SO ready to be independent. If he only knew.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Stick With What You Know

A couple of days ago, I had the bright idea of adding color to my linoleum block prints. I've been in a Gee's Bend frame of mind, lately, and thought that I'd honor the work of the women of Gee's Bend by creating a few lino prints with a quilt motif cut somewhere within the image. I'd then take my Winsor & Newton Drawing Inks and, with brush in hand, I would add a bit of color to the patches. Wrong! I knew the minute that I brushed the first stroke of color onto the newly pressed print that I was going to regret it. I did. But, I didn't stop. I thought that since I had come this far I would just see the project thru and then critique the work later, instead of stopping mid-stream (or mid-stroke as the case was).

Most of you know that the quilts of Gee's Bend are saturated with color. I tried to match the colors using the many resources (pictures, books) that I had close at hand, but my drawings inks were much too bright and transparent. Awful. I kept at it, thinking that I could will the inks to do exactly as I wanted them to. Wrong, again. I printed a total of 7 prints on my "good" paper. By the time I was down to my last two "good" prints, I realized that I was going to have to throw my hat in the ring. Bummer. But, wait!! I had another brilliant idea. An epiphany! I decided to take the print to work with me and select five individuals whose judgement I trust. I'd email the print and let them decide if the color worked or not. If the majority voted thumbs up . . .then I would continue to work with color on future projects. If voted thumbs down, I'd put the inks away and stick with my tried and true formula: black ink; white paper.

This post shows the yet to be titled print with and without color. Shannon, Kim and Stacey voted "no", without hesitation. Makeda and April gave the color print a thumbs up. Darn, that meant 3 no's. Okay. Hmmmmm, I decided to do the next best thing (this is a democracy, right?) so I emailed the print to my brother, Robert, who loves me. He voted "yes" for color. Ha! A tie!! Now I was faced with a dilemma. I needed one more person who I could count on to vote "yes", to break the tie.

Who am I fooling? When I got home today from work . . .I put away the drawing inks. I'm going to stick with what I know.
Back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A New Year! New Designs! New Ideas!

Okay, I admit it. I'm a blogger slacker. As much as I try to keep my entries interesting and reasonably timely, the hours and days slip by and I find myself agonizing over how much time has passed between each posting. Geez. So little time; so much to do.

Last week, I put the lino blocks aside and I returned to my first passion...needlepoint. Most of you know that I've been really busy, since last May, cutting linoleum blocks. I haven't had the leisure time to devote to the three needlepoint canvases that I started stitching almost 18 months ago! However, last weekend, I revisited an old idea - juxtaposing an African American image on an object closely identified with Christmas -a Christmas stocking. No cute kittens or peppermint sticks or red ribbons and bells. No Santa Claus carrying an overstuffed bag of toys. Nothing expected. Interesting, don't you think?

I, rarely, map out a color key prior to stitching but this time I painted the shape and image so that I could scan it in and post it. This first image that you see is the color key. The canvas is 18 point mesh. If you multiply 18 x 18 you'll find that there are 324 holes within one square inch. I'm not the fastest stitcher; nor the slowest. I prefer the stitch "basketweave" to any other. It'll take me approximately one hour (give or take) to stitch one square inch, if I don't have any interruptions. After cutting a piece of canvas, I drew the basic outline of the image with a black, fine point Sharpie. I stitched the girl's hair and face first. Now that I'm three days into my project I'm having second thoughts about the pears. I need to think about this before I devote anymore time to it. hmmmmm, we'll see.

I've just completed a 5'' x 7'' lino block print entitled " No. 2 Washtub." I like it. Later in the week, I'll cut a larger block of the same design. Last weekend, I made a brave attempt to clear my studio so that I would have a bit more elbow room. However, the more time that I took to look for the perfect spot for each and every file, basket and all of my art supplies...I ended up right back where I started...surrounded by my mess. Every piece of paper was important; every sketch. I just couldn't throw anything away. Oh, well, it's MY mess.