Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays to all of you and a good - and creative - New Year!!

Another Piece of the Plan Arrives

As you know...I've been gathering bits and pieces, dyeing fabric, and generally getting things in order for Pecans - my series for 2013.  Just had a great addition, a nice FedEx package of REAL pecans from my dad's pecan tree in Texas. The people who now own the land were so gracious to send some to me. When we were there for my dad's funeral, I had asked to take some twigs from the tree with the plan for stencils and thermofax screens. They asked about what I was doing and I described the concept to them. So when I called and asked if the pecans were still on the ground and could I have a few, they were more than delighted to send them.  They even sent enough for me to have some to eat!!  I'll be using them for the series after the first of the year so check in then to see how I am incorporating them.......

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More and more faces

As time goes on, I seem to be settling into my 'faces' more and more. And I seem to (still) be in love with my oil pastels too. Here are some that I have finished over the past few weeks.

Most (if not all) grandmothers, adore their grandkids, so I have had two commissions to draw/paint a gran and her grandkids. I think this will be my new passion in 2013, more grans and grandkids.

I feel enthusiastic about next year and still hope to broaden my arty knowledge and try lots of new things.

For now, I wish you all and your families a wonderfully happy Christmas and a very healthy and arty 2013.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Themes 2013

By now most of us have decided upon the theme they will work with during the coming year. Joss and Renée, please let me know which theme you choose.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pecans - the series

For the challenge this year, I decided to do a series on Pecans.  This fall my dad died. He was a wonderful man and a great loving dad. And one of his passions was pecans.  They had a HUGE very old pecan tree in front of their house and he even planted a pecan orchard.  He subscribed to magazines for pecan growers.  Oh and he enjoyed eating them as well!!  (something we had in common!!) So, I decided to do this series in honor of my dad.

So far the series will depict the  different stages of the pecan.  1) sapling, 2) a grown tree, 3) mature pecans on the tree limb, 4) pecans on the ground at the base of the tree - ready to harvest 5) a barren tree after all the pecans and leaves are gone 6) pecans harvested and halved, etc and 7) the piece honoring my dad - it will have his photo in B/W transferred to silk organza, pecans, perhaps other photos, and my mom's pecan pie recipe.

Well....I have done a bit on this series already.  Ordered screen prints, cut out templates, etc.  But dyeing the fabrics felt like the project is actually underway.  After a couple of days of are the basic fabrics I will be using in all of the pieces in this series (6 or 7 planned)

They are all dyed in a 6 step gradation.  Here is one of the brown all set up to batch.

And here are the completed dyed fabrics --

Browns (yes I know some of them don't look brown but they are named "brown" something) -  From left to right...Tobacco, Cocoa, Golden Brown and Dark Chocolate Brown

Greens - Left to Right...Emerald, Dark Green and Forest Green

And Blues - Left to Right... Well actually they are so close it is difficult to tell the difference even in person! But I used Cerulean and Intense Blue.  I took these down a couple of gradations because I wanted some light blue sky with "clouds".  I'm very happy with the results.

Ordinarily this would be the end of dyeing...however after just completing the snow dyeing for another challenge...I HAVE to do some pieces for this series!! Hopefully I'll get to that tomorrow if not starting some today.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Today I dye

Just completed a half step gradation on the 4 browns I'm planning to use for the Pecans series.  They are all put to bed in their nice warm batching closet.  Tomorrow I'll wake them and give them a wonderful Synthrapol bath!!

Then start with the three greens and a couple of blues.  I think any other accent color I can get from my stash.

At least I hope so.  My shoulders are killing me.  Out of dyeing shape I'm afraid.  But...I had forgotten how I love the smell of dye.  Brings back very fond memories of first discoveries when I dyed my first PFD fabric.  Ah those were the days. But my stash was dwindling and I wanted to be sure I had the same colors throughout the the dyes came out, the mask went on, and the mixing began.  I might have gone on to do the green but I ran out of ziploc bags (my favorite dyeing tool!)

Tomorrow is another day.......

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Best Laid Plans....

Yep...a few things changed the end of this past week.  Found out that a size requirement in another group changed to smaller than I had anticipated.  Was going to do the Pecans series for that one.  However, since Pecans is all about my dad and his pecan passion, I was not ready to relegate it to a smaller size.  It deserves   to be larger.  So.....I'm moving that series to here...where I'm FREE to make them the size I prefer!

With that plan in mind...I got out my dyes and cut up several yards of fabric which is now soaking in soda ash solution in preparation for dyeing.

I have to say, I'm really much happier having Pecans in this group.  It is very special to me and I want to do it MY way.  Now I can!

I'll be moving the Manhole Covers project over to my SAQA visioning project goals for 2013.

No photos today guys.  But next week I will have my fabric dyed for Pecans and will post that!

Hope you are all having a safe and wonderful December!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Silent water

Late 2010 I made a journal quilt using stitched lines and paint. The fabric was folded and stitched like that, next step was to paint the fabric, let it dry and remove the stitched lines. This is how the journal quilt looked when it was finished:
 I really loved this technique and wanted to do it again on a bigger scale. So I picked a half yard of fabric which I had dyed. Don't ask me which color I used because this was somewhere in 2011. Stitching all those lines was so boring that regularly it was put away to do something more interesting :-). After many months the stitching was finally done (July 2012) and this is a detail picture of how the back looked like:
 And this is how it looked from the front:
Finally it was time to play. I pinned the fabric on top of a foam board and opened several Lumiere paint bottles, shimmering pearl, blue, turquoise and a bit of pale green. This is how it looked after the painting:
And now the fun part, removing all the stitches and ironing it. At last you could see how it was going to look: 
Time to start quilting. As the main focus of this top was lines (and this was months before I decided to work with this theme) the quilting lines just followed the painted lines. Interesting, but it needed a bit more. I decided on adding turquoise beads on it. But before I could add these, the quilt had to be blocked and sleeve added as well. I did not want a traditional border around it, but decided to do a facing. This made the quilt a bit narrower, but that was okay. When this was done I ordered several different types of turquoise beads - and of course did not use all the different ones - and this is how it looks now:
From beginning to end it almost took 2 years to complete it, but I am happy with it. The title Silent Water refers to the reflection you see on water, not knowing that the falling beads will disrupt the silence quite soon.
This quilt is the first one in my series of Lines. Size is 17"x37".

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Here is my second-ever blog! Thanx to elves who are great helpers.

Well, I had 3 mostly uninterrupted days to "play" thanks to no meetings and lots of football on TV which my husband is addicted to, so I started a piece with my Jazz theme.

For the background, using 140 lb. cold-pressed paper , watercolors , a large brush and lots of water ,I used the wet- into -wet technique to get the surface covered .I tipped and turned the paper to get the paint "bleeding" and dripping. Then, while the paint was wet I used a couple of things to create some texture - salt, alchol, and some kids' alphabet stamps. I then looked  for some shapes to highlight with thicker paint and a small brush. At first I saw flowers but when I turned it upside down I saw a trumpet!

When all was dry, I collaged the image of a musician which I had printed on tissue paper, and then went back to the paintbox to touch it up  in a few places. I was OK with it for awhile but every time I looked at it something niggled at me. I added another image and even though I lost some of the textures and images on the background I liked the piece better.

So far it is untitled!

(In my computer file the picture is vertical!! )

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Just HAD to share!

If you read my art blog, this will be a repeat for you...but it is short so I hope you won't mind.

I was busy working away on about 4 projects today in the studio but I just had to take a break to post something.  As for many of you...this is the season for mountains of mail-order catalogs.  While I seldom order anything...they keep coming.  I have to admit, I do enjoy looking through them anyway.  Daydreaming perhaps. In one yesterday, I saw this saying on a T-shirt for purchase.  I think it bears sharing. (My apologies to those who also get catalogs and have seen this a bazillion time - this was my first.)

Earth without ART is just "Eh"

I love it! Short, sweet and to the point. I couldn't agree more!

So reminds me of just how much I appreciate all of this creative, rule-breaking, bunch!! Let's stop "Eh" one art work at a time!!!

Spotlight on Textile Artist Meta

Click on this link and you can read more about Meta and the online gallery she started:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Wolf Saga

So here we go.....

I decided to post the progress of one particular manhole cover so you could see the process.

1) Took a photo of the manhole cover and printed it out

2) Made a line drawing of the manhole cover. 

3) Using carbon paper, I then trace the line drawing onto the print block. One difficult part of this process to me is deciding what parts to recede and what parts to stand out. You can see marks in the photo in step 2 where I was working on just that question.  Below is my third attempt and I think I've got it like I want it this time.

4) Then I begin carving out the bits I don't want to print.  I've just begun on the wolf so you can see the comparison.

There is a lot of work ahead. The carving takes a while. One reason is because one can only carve for so long at one sitting without having to run off to the chiropractor immediately!

So I'm on my way.  I'll keep you posted!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

My theme

Ummm this is tricky for me as I love doing both my African art

 as well as my wierd and wonderful faces.

Will think along these two themes some more and finally decide and let you know. Maybe it will be 'African Faces' Haha.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


When I was thinking about my theme for the coming year, I had several ideas. I am not mentioning these in sequence of preference! As I am a member of Voyage as well for which I picked trees as theme, I did not want to duplicate this theme. Well at least not for the whole year <grin>. Another idea I had was Earth Goddess, but my drawing skills are limited so I am afraid that the focus would shift to the backgrounds if I pick this one. The theme I decided upon is Lines. This might sound boring, but here are some pictures I googled with the word lines:

As you see there are so many ways in which you can use lines. And these pictures show only a few examples :-) I wonder how many pieces I could make with this theme before I get bored??

Monday, November 19, 2012

My name is Joke, I am 54 years old and I live in the Netherlands. I’ve been asked to join this group by Wil. I don’t like rules and I cannot work with imposed themes. So when Wil asked me for this group, which is almost without any rules and where I may think of my own theme, I thought: “That’ll be nice!” 
My English isn’t very good, so I’ll often use Google Translation. I hope you’ll forgive my poor sentences.
I work mainly with textile and paper and in addition with anything that comes my way. I often recycle materials. 
My work is very varied: booklets, wall hangers, art dolls, I do it all, as you can see on my blog

2013 Themes

 We all will work with a specific theme for the year 2013. Please let me know when you have decided on your theme and I will add it to the side bar.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

My name is Meta Heemskerk, am 54 years old and I live in the Netherlands.
Wil asked me to be a member of this group, and, although I'm working on two courses and am a member of several groups, this new group sounded like another great challenge, so I accepted her invitation.
I love being creative, work mostly in textiles, but love other media as well. I've been making textile art for three years. I've learned a lot and am still learning! You can see what I've done so far on my website and I keep a blog as well.


Okay, here is a short intro about me. I have been working with fibers for many, many years. Started out with knitting, crochet, spinning, making garments and so on. But the fiber bug definately attacked around 15 years ago when I discovered quilting. Traditional quilting  is not my favorite - never made a sampler - but I like to incorporate traditional blocks in my work. Most of the fabrics I use are my own hand dyed ones. I love to dye and use all kind of surface design techniques to it to give the fabric a bit more.
I have lots of ideas so I am never short of excuses to start a new quilt, but I love to have challenges to work with. That is one of the reasons that I am a member of several online challenge groups. Practically all these groups work with a set size and with quarterly/monthly themes. When I was brainstorming with Kelly we decided to set up this group a bit differently.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hello Fellow Artists

This is my FIRST blog and I am very excited!! If this shows up on the Free-Spirit -Artist blog it is due to Wil's infinite patience and Kelly's nudging!

So I have 2 friends who get me hooked on all kinds of weird and wonderful  addictionsand since I'm just a girl who cain't say "NO" here I am on a blog!

I have always been a "crafty" lady and love doing things with my hands. I learned to knit when I was 8 and I still knit up a storm when the inspiration strikes. 15 friends have new scarves because I like the yarn! I have needlepointed- all my men have tallis bags ; quilted- new babies get alphabet quilts and little boys get cars - and anything else that piques my interest. When I retired from management training I joined a Senior Centre and took great classes. I played with polymer clay and made lovely jewelery using faux techniques and image transfer. I have been doing collages and then started watercolor painting. Lately I have been combining the techniques and I'll share this journey - and anything else that strikes me along the way.Oh - and did I mention that I'm addicted to ATCs???

So thanx to Kelly and Wil for this new adventure! I hope I haven't gone on too long....

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hi! I'm Kelly

Great idea, Joss, the intro bit.  So, here goes.  (more will be posted in my bio shortly)

While I've enjoyed art all my life, after being rather rudely shot down by a teacher when I was in school, I quit even trying to "make" art.  So I came to this place at a later time in my life and I have found a "home".  I got started with textiles and that still makes up the major part of my work but I'm also a "junk junkie" and have little cubby boxes full of bits and things, found and rusted, etc.  These do find there way into my work more and more these days so things are tending to head in more of a mixed media direction lately..

I also love to try new and different things.  My motto:  "I wonder what would happen if....".  I'm a risk-taker by nature and that is very much a benefit with mixed media work. This is one of my most recent pieces. The title WAS Junk Junkie but since it is now being considered for an exhibit, I changed the name to Rust and Found.  I wove the rusted wire to hang the rusted bits on.  And the fabric is rusted and hand-dyed.

Now onto the upcoming year 2013.  I'm using this time as a means to complete a project started a couple of years ago that has been languishing for lack of motivation.  A few years ago I received permission from the original artist to use her work reinterpreted into my art style.  In downtown Minneapolis, we have 11 gorgeous manhole covers which she designed.  You can see all eleven of them at this link to her website:

I am cutting the manhole covers into lino and then will be printing them onto fabric and working them then into textile on canvas wall hangings. I do have the fabric dyed and a couple covers cut in lino....and there is has ended so far. But now I'm accountable!!!  And excited to get it back in the works again.

So...that's me and my plan.  I'm looking forward to hearing from others!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Am Excited

Firstly, a BIG thanks to Wil and Kelly for inviting me to join this diverse and interesting group of artists. I love the thought of being involved in something new and exciting for 2013, and can't wait to see how it all evolves.

Having been born and lived in South Africa for the first 38 years of my life (although been in the UK for 26 years now), my soul remains 'African', which shows in a lot of my art.I have been painting and 'playing and having fun' for the past 9 years, but only started selling my art in 2009 in my etsy shop.
 I look forward to sharing what I have and to finding ways to take my art to market, not only through etsy and facebook, but Galleries, both online and others.

Maybe everyone could do a short intoduction about themselves. I would certainly enjoy reading them, and getting to know you all.

Friday, November 9, 2012


I am so excited about this new (and growing) group!! I'm not one for many (if any) rules so to be able to have an exchange of ideas, critiques, encouragement and learning with artists from varied art media is thrilling. And again...FEW RULES!!!

After years and years in the corporate world, I fell in love with art again because it gave me the freedom to express myself and my ideas through such a variety of media. I have participated (and still do) in other groups with rather strict guidelines. While I learn much in those groups, I have longed for somewhere to have both the interaction with other artists AND the freedom to create art that means something to me even if it doesn't fit a prescribed size, theme, etc. Now I can use "dangly bits" in my work!!!

Welcome to all of you who are reading this blog and deciding about accepting your invitation to join us. Needless to say....I am hoping soooooo much that you will say YES!!

Now to decide what my theme will be for the year 2013....several ideas...just need to settle on one.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Kelly and I were brainstorming the other day and the result of this was the birth of the Free Spirit Artist group. And as a group should have a blog, we created this blog :-).
The remaining part of the year will be rather hectic, so the official start of this group will be January 1, 2013.