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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

New Painting-Annual Santa Claus 2015

Here is a new piece going out to the gallery. I like to paint a Santa Claus painting every year. This is a a 9x12 oil on linen panel.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Here is another war bonnet painting. It is a larger version of the miniature I sent out. Titled "Brave" it is a 12x16 oil on linen canvas.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

New Painting-"A storm is coming"

Here is another piece I just finished. It is titled "A storm is coming." It is an 18x24 oil on linen canvas. I wanted to have a double meaning in the title. The cloudy background and his gun being drawn.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

New Paintings, native american

 Some new pieces going off to the gallery. Above is "At the ready." It is an 18x24 oil on canvas. Skilled hunters were always ready to fire off a succession of arrows.
This is a very small piece "Warbonnet Study." It measures about 5x7."
This young girl was at the pow wow, she is quite shy. Her mother said that she choose to be a jingle dress dancer because of her shyness. That type of dance is more reserved. It is titled "Pensive" and is an 8x10 oil on linen panel.
This is "Looking East." It is an 8x10 oil on linen panel. I liked her look of expectation.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

New sewing piece, The Plains Warbonnet, using Barry Hardins book

 In the above photo you see the components to the making of a war bonnet. The beaded head strip was originally started last year. I learned I am not so good at beadwork, so I set it aside for awhile. The desire to finish what I started took over last month, so I returned to the project. Making a war bonnet is both a time and financial project, so it needed to be made into something. The first step is making the crown out of brain tanned buckskin. It is not easy to find this kind of soft and thin leather. There was a small piece of it on etsy, so I bought it. The bonnet requires 36 feathers, they are turkey feathers dyed and painted to resemble eagle feathers.
There are laws concerning use of eagle feathers by non native persons, so turkey is the substitute. As turkey feathers are shorter and narrower, they have to be extended at the base and fluffs of feathers are put there to cover the wood extensions.
Each feather is then wrapped with a piece of rawhide on the end to make a stiff loop, and covered with red wool fabric. The wool is then wrapped with thread. These are called "firecrackers." They look great on the bonnet, but are a bit tedious to paint!
Here is a sad little flat ermine. Not to worry, they are not endangered, and it helps keep the rodent population under control by using their pelts. These are cut into strips, sewn into tubes and used for the rosette dangles. My ermines were so tiny, I used additional ermine tails to extend their lengths.
Here you see them attached to the beaded rosettes.
These are brass hawk bells at the base of the firecracker. Many of the historical bonnets had some type of hawk bell or brass embellishment.
The view of the back bonnet, each feather is pierced above the firecracker and threaded to maintain the oblong structure of the bonnet.
Each feather is tipped with real horsehair and a wool dot piece. Our house looked like a petting zoo while this was going on. There was wool, horsehair, feathers, and leather all over the place.
Here is the finished bonnet. I used a great book picked up last year on the trip with my Dad to Montana. The author is Barry Hardin. I found it clear and easy to use.
If you follow the process, and allow enough time to work each part step by step, you can achieve a good looking authentic war bonnet. I have to admit being proud of my first attempt at this type of millinery skill.
My model Miguel looks fantastic in the headpiece. He is a student at Watts Atelier.















Friday, August 14, 2015

I'm alive-and here's a painting to prove it

Here is a new piece going off to the "Virtuosos of the OPA" at the  Salmagundi club in New York.
It opens September 17th. The show is in a small space and painting sizes were limited to an 18x14 max. This is titled "Quill work," and it is 14x18."
I have had a long bout of brain fog, which really settled in mid February and became debilitating for several months. It made it impossible to focus on anything, and it hit me hard painting wise. We are trying to find the source of the issue, likely celiac, or another related autoimmune problem. I went on a special autoimmune diet protocol in late May and along with herbal and vitamin supplements (turmeric, resveratrol,etc) my brain is coming alive again. This piece was painted in July, and I am back on the painting wagon as I write this up.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

New roses in the garden 2015

There are some new additions in the garden. These were all purchased last year, but they were small plants which were not really ready for blooming. I have been focusing on more old garden types, including the class of once blooming roses.
This is Felicite Parmentier. It is a ruffled frilly rose in pale pink to cream shades. The buds are quite decorative.
These two darker pink roses are Gallica roses-Crested Sweetheart. The buds are very unique, much like chapeau napoleon. It only blooms once and has very thorny stems.
This is a repeat rose from David Austin-Princess Alexandra of Kent. Possibly my top five favorite rose right now. Very prolific bloomer with great scent and large gorgeous pink flowers that have a unique warm to cool coloring.
Here it is again on the left in a more opened state. They can be 5-6 across sometimes.
This is Ferdinand Pichard, a hybrid perpetual, it blooms more frequently, but has stubby stems. I have been on a quest for striped roses.
This rose in the middle is a nice striped one that I lost the tag to...have no idea now what it is, but it is a more modern type.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Lutterloh-a new sewing experience

Have you heard of Lutterloh sewing patterns? They are a German based company who began a unique sewing system in the 1930s. I have their book from the late 1930s pictured above. Called "The Golden Rule" it is a system of re-sizing miniature patterns to full scale. The book contains great drawings of the potential garments.
I have had my eye on the striped jigsaw puzzle blouse for some time. Perhaps a blouse would be a simple enough garment for the novice to this way of pattern making.
These were the war years, and fabric conservation and utilitarian clothing were first and foremost. The splicing of striped directions were intriguing, and could utilize the smallest swatches of materials. The perfect 1930s vintage cotton striped material came into my possession, it was in narrow bits and pieces, no more than 1/2 a yard. It is pictured in the first photo with the book.
This small book contains the drawings of the garments, and it includes the patterns. They are not the traditional full scale tissue patterns. Once you look up your item, you then find it listed in the back on these perforated tiny rectangles. Using a special ruler, measurements of the bust and hip are taken and then fixed over a crosspoint on the pattern.
The ruler is pinned to the cross point, and points are plotted out from it, thereby enlarging the pattern. It seemed like an impossible system to make something for a real person based on a pattern piece that would be too small for a barbie doll. But, I put my trust in the system, having faith that anything designed by Germans would be a magical mathematical event.
Here are the pieces laid out. I made a quickie test garment to see if it would fit over my body. Originally some of the pieces were cut the wrong way, a total flub on my part, and I had to piece a sleeve to eek out enough material to re-cut the stripes.
There are darts at the bust and sleeves, but otherwise no other shaping. The patterns have no instructions, nor do they include any facings, fastener ideas or helpful tips.
A facing was added at the neck and button area by cutting a shallow version of the same upper triangle piece.
Sleeves are always the enemy in my sewing experience. I tried to make them a bit larger to accommodate my large arms, and the seams at the puffed darted top did not line up. I am assuming they were supposed to, but there were no instructions to clarify this.
There were some pink and maroon matching vintage buttons in the stash and they served as the neck opening closure.
Here it is modeled on an Edwardian wasp waisted s-curve mannequin, the shape is incorrect for the blouse, but it shows it better than flat. I had added a bit to the neck area as it was strangling me. Unfortunately, that caused the shoulders to drop, so it looks weird on my body. It is better worn with a jacket, thus disguising the shoulders, and I hope to figure out how to modify the pattern for a future visit.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

New costume-Joan of Arc

This is a new costume for my class. The Joan of Arc figure is a great historical one to paint. I know that she would have shaved her head and perhaps worn full armor, but this is a bit more of a fantasy based set-up. Our model Chelsea is very very petite, and burdening her with a full armor set up would have been overwhelming on her frame. Some artists of the past have painting her wearing just linen clothing, and there is a great variety of painting resources to reference. I decided to try and knit the chainmail tunic. For the Lord of Rings movies, some of the chainmail was made from wool instead of metal. Mine is knit from a gray cotton that I overdyed with olive shades and then used a metallic fabric paint for patina.
From a distance it is fairly convincing. Knitting is a new fiber art for me, and although it is not a very complicated thing, I was pretty proud to make it. There was a pattern for a tunic on Ravelry with a more traditional stitch. Instead, after some research, I found an old stitch called a  veil stitch .It makes for a more chainmail kind of roping, but is a rather tedious method of looping the yarn around the needle three times. Panic set in when there was only a day left before class and the knitting was not quite done. Fortunately it was finished.
This underdress is made from pure linen, which is a great material for painting. It is edged in vintage metal silver braid trim. The original linen was this orange brown shade, so I dyed it several times with a red fabric dye. It was not as red as I would have liked, but somehow still managed to ruin subsequent loads of clothing with a pink tinge. The washing machine is a much better method of dying large pieces of fabric, verses stovetop method which really make irregular patches..

Monday, March 9, 2015

New Painting-Courtship on two sided blanket

This was the other large piece we drove out to Tucson .It is a 30x40 oil on linen canvas. The title is
"Courtship on two sided blanket." Some of the plains tribes used these divided color blankets during the courtship between two potential love matches.  This painting was done partly in front of the camera for the online school at Watts Atelier. I worked some sections at home.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

New painting-"Dance Rhythms"

This is a new piece we are driving out to Tucson today. It is called "Dance Rhythms." A large piece, it is a 60x40 oil on linen canvas. This took some time to finish, it was started last year, but set aside until recently. I can't describe the difficulty of trying to manage a large piece in the shoebox studio that I paint in. There is not enough space in any direction to see more than a small area at one time. I changed my mind about the colors of the garments several times. It is nice to get it out of such a small space where it can sit on a large wall.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New Paintings-at long last

 I just sent out another batch of pieces to Tucson. There are five new smaller pieces heading over.
Above is a 9x12 oil on linen panel titled "Mahogany."
This is an 7x14 oil on linen panel titled " Master of His Domain."  This was a very fun ensemble to paint, and hopefully this can be done in a larger piece down the road.
This is an 8x16 oil on linen panel with unresolved title. Called "Cheyenne Red Shield Headdress."
Smaller piece 7x9 oil on linen panel title Diné woman. The Diné are the given name to the Navajo people.
This is a bit larger, 12x16 oil on linen canvas piece  title "Dolly's Hair." This young model wanted to yank out the doll's hair, but I tried to paint her treating it gently. That's the kind of kid I was, ripping apart my dolls and toys to see what they were made of



Thursday, January 1, 2015

A year in review-paintings

 This year I tried to meet a set painting goal. I wanted to finish 36 paintings, which would have doubled my output in 2013. I figured that taking a teaching break would allow me the time to really put out a lot of pieces.
 Well, I came up short about 10 pieces. I also did not finish painting any larger scale paintings.  I am working on two right now, and these should be finished up this month.
 My shortcoming in painting output fell upon the middle section of the year. I had a few health problems with anemia, vitamin D deficiency, and iodine deficiency.  I lost more than half of my hair and had trouble concentrating and with moodiness. Painting is definitely a pleasure for me and if you are not feeling good, it is hard to enjoy the process. 
 The exciting thing is the photo shoot reference trip to Montana and Wyoming. A few pieces have already been finished from this, and they have a different look to them in the environment. It is good to look back through the year to see transitions.
 The newer pieces have more golds and grays, instead of blue skies and bright colors.
I also painted a piece for my new nephew of a circus bear.