Posts tagged photography

The Space In Between


I find myself currently in the space in between. I accomplished so much work in January and February, and I now find that my creative self is requiring a break. I’ve been trying to cajole it into motion with small projects, leafing through pictures, reviewing calls for entry — it’s just not going anywhere right now. And that’s fine. Right now I have house company, and I’m enjoying doing for them. My studio went from looking like a train wreck a couple of weeks ago to a point now where it’s almost sterile. I put away all of the fabric from my last two projects as well as a bunch I got for Christmas. At least this gives me time to finish my taxes.

DrippedLeisa Rich & I decided to make one more piece for the Wash & Wax show exhibiting at Hammond Gallery at Jacksonville State University, thinking that the space was large enough to accommodate another piece. (By the way, we were wrong and ended up deleting a piece from the show for space limitations.) It’s a triptych in all grays — but with blue and green nail polish painted vinyl appliqués on the top. It’s much quieter from the other pieces but is striking on its own. I have a created a page for Dripped here.

While we were in Jacksonville, we had a one-day workshop for the art students. They do not currently have a textile program, but it was mind-blowing to me what these young adults could do with fabric in such a short period of time.

This is one of the students next to Bryce Lafferty, one of the professors who also curated our exhibit. The student is learning on to draw using one of Leisa’s sewing machines, and Bryce is working on a hand-sewn 3-dimensional piece.


Another one of the students, perfectly comfortable using the sewing machine as he would a pencil.


This is Brittany, who I predict is a future fabric stash-er in the making. I spent some time talking with Brittany. She’s incredibly talented. She’s graduating in May, and I hope that she finds the perfect place to grow in her artistic journey after graduation.


This particular piece is 2-d but organically shaped.


Hammond Gallery is newly renovated, and it’s a gorgeous gallery space. This is the entry with Entry Point above the guest book.


The large wall was reserved for Industrial Car Wash. It’s in a completely different composition than how it was presented at Abernathy. It has interchangeable pieces so it can fit different spaces. Given that the wall was a little smaller than the one we used at Abernathy, it is taller and reaches almost floor to ceiling.


Next to it is Skitter.


On the other adjoining wall are 6 of the photographs and 6 of the Micro Bubble Series. We actually had 8 of each but felt the wall was too crowded with 2 more rows.


Next to Skitter and covering the back entrance is Drive Thru Slowly made from actual car wash strips.


A far corner has Polish on the left, the 2 remaining photographs and 2 remaining Micro Bubbles, and then Leisa and I decided to bring individual pieces of our work for comparison to the collaborative work. Leisa brought Placid which we placed sculpturally on a pedestal (although it can also hang on the wall). I didn’t get a close-up picture of it, but you can find it on Leisa’s website here.

My piece is a self-portrait entitled The Canary. You can read more about it here.


This is a pic taken during the reception. From the left, Blurred Vision, Agitated, and Bubble Bath.


This is an awesomely cool panoramic shot of the gallery that Leisa took.


And this is a side view of Dripped. It was at the far end and couldn’t be stretched into the panoramic. You can see the blue and green nail polish accents a little better in this shot.


The CanaryAnd as I mentioned before, the other piece that I hurriedly finished in time to be finished for the JSU show was my self-portrait, The Canary.

This one was really tough to photograph, and I’m not sure how well I succeeded. I was considering purchasing an external flash, but now I’m leaning towards using a local photographer that I’ve been introduced to that I think would do a better job of photographing my work. He essentially creates a white box — but a whole room like that, and then shoots through a pinhole. He also knows exactly the angles to set up the lights so that you’ll still see the texture of the surface of the work. I’ve photographed my own work enough to appreciate that the man really knows what he’s talking about.

But now here I am. I went from insanely busy finishing work for the opening at the JSU and preparing for the workshop — to nothing. I am in between. I think I’ll just enjoy it for a while.

The Last Supper

From Sting to Sing


Back in late July (I had to look this up — I can’t believe how long I’ve been working in this piece), I had an idea for a new piece. I had finished up most of the work for the Wash & Wax exhibit and wanted to get back to realism. A SAQA call for entry created a spark of imagination, and I was off and running on a large ambitious piece.

The central figure in this piece is a vulture. This is the vulture with the first value.


The second value.


The third value.


The fourth value. The bird really starts to come alive here.


The fifth value.


And the sixth value — all those really dark nooks and crannies.


But there’s a lot more to this piece than just the vulture. There’s also a stained glass window. I knew that if I had the right fabric, I could fussy cut sections to give me the stained glass effect. I scoured the local quilt shops, but they just didn’t have what I needed. I ended up finding some Paula Nadelstern prints online, however, that were perfect.

This is the beginning. The drawing is under the pressing sheet so you can see where I’m going with this.


I originally picked a print in teal, but at the last minute, I also bought it in another color way and ended up using them both. I used the teal for the swirls and the purple/green/red for the main windows.


I had a very small piece of fabric in my stash that was perfect for the outer border. I had less than a fat quarter, but I had just enough.


And then I added this black stained glass print for the leading (also a Paula Nadelstern print.)


I pinned it to my black design wall with the vulture to see how if they were working together.

glass & vulture

And then I kept going. I had a picture I had taken years ago of the brass lectionary podium in a church. I considered drafting out values and using flat cotton fabrics, but really, there’s a lot more choices in that fabric store beyond cottons. I found this metallic gold spandex nylon that has a black shadow to it. It’s stretchy, but what the heck. I figured the Wonder Under would help stabilize it.

I was still able to cut out some fairly complex shapes without it falling apart. This is a part of a screen section.


And this is part of the larger structure. I didn’t take many pictures of the lectionary as I worked on it. Suffice it to say that I had luckily cut out all of the complex parts before I broke my wrist — my right wrist.


That was on Labor Day. I was in the middle of curating a show at The Art Place and preparing for the opening of Wash & Wax. Thankfully, the only work I had left for the opening was to hand sew the binding of a 9 foot long piece. With a cast on my right arm, I would insert the needle with the right hand, and then pull it through & out with the left.

This shows the lectionary completed with a wooden railing at the top, the stained glass window, and other elements.

background without vulture

And here is the vulture in his place. I did, by the way, appliqué each piece on to the background as I went. I couldn’t risk the spandex stretching out of control on me, and it didn’t stick as well as I would have liked with the Wonder Under — but working one piece at a time, I worked through it like a large puzzle.

background with vulture

This pic is blurry (the sheen off that metallic fabric was confusing the camera in my iPhone), but it shows the addition of the Arabic symbol for Nazarene spray painted on the back wall.

background with Nazarene

And then of course I had to add the spilled wine and broken bread at the bottom — symbolizing the broken blood and body of Christ — which also symbolizes the broken body and blood of Christians being murdered in the Middle East.

background with wine & bread

And even though I was in a lot of pain, I just kept going. Entries were due October 31, and I had spent too much time on this piece to miss the deadline.

I really worried about quilting this large piece. I still had my cast on, and I knew it would be heavy. I debated renting time on a long arm at the local quilt shop, but I finally realized that that was a new skill for me, and I really didn’t want this to be a practice piece for quilting.

So I moved all of my tables in my studio. In front of my machine, I have a board (which sits on my ironing board), and I put one table on the other side of that. Then I crammed another one just to the left of my chair. (I briefly envisioned creating a sewing table built like a doughnut.)

In the end, it worked. It supported the quilt perfectly, and I was able to quilt this in a week.

In this pic, you can see how the quilting outlines the vulture’s neck and defines his feathers better.

quilted vulture

At about this time, I got my cast off, only to learn that I had lost 50% range of motion in my wrist. But I just kept going. I managed to add the facing and the sleeve to the back. And then I photographed it myself. I bought some more lights since the piece is so large (once again wishing I had a Speedlite flash), but after spending a couple of days on it (and wishing I had someone I could just take it to), I finally got some good, sharp pics for entry.

I entered it a week before the deadline. I was so proud of myself. I loved how the piece turned out, and I felt confident that it would be a great contender for inclusion in the show. You can see the full piece on its page The Last Supper.

The Last Supper

I was wrong. My rejection email came this morning. However, I’m still very proud of this piece, and I was pushed to develop a complex story for my subject. I wouldn’t change a thing.

So I take the sting of rejection, and I move on. I will enter it somewhere else, and it will have a life. It didn’t fit in that show, but it will fit somewhere else. I just have to figure out where next is.

Show Prep


So we are closing in on opening for the Wash & Wax exhibit at Abernathy in September, the collaboration I’ve been creating Leisa Rich for over a year. My, how time flies. There are so many last minute details to take care. I still have to add labels to all the pieces — and I have figure out how to put a sleeve on a piece that’s 9 feet long.

I spent a great deal of time yesterday photographing work. I’m realizing that Leisa is a lot more particular about photography since she’s had experience working with a professional photographer. I see now that I don’t have enough even lighting, although I’ve gotten a lot better at taking a really sharp pic. Eventually, we’ll have them professionally photographed, but for now it’s me.

And now that we’re about a month out from opening, it’s time to start showing some details of what we’ve been doing. We have named all of the pieces, and I’ve upgraded their pages with detail shots. Closer to the opening, I’ll share full shots with pricing.

Wash & Wax: Entry Point

Wash & Wax: Entry Point

Wash & Wax: Blurred Vision

Wash & Wax: Blurred Vision

Wash & Wax: Skitter

Wash & Wax: Skitter

Wash & Wax: Bubble Bath

Wash & Wax: Bubble Bath

Wash & Wax: Agitated

Wash & Wax: Agitated

Wash & Wax: Sparkle and Shine

Wash & Wax: Sparkle and Shine

Wash & Wax: Polish

Wash & Wax: Polish

Wash & Wax: Emerging Viewpoint

Wash & Wax: Emerging Viewpoint

I don’t have pics yet of the small pieces that we’ve done. They’re 10″x8″ and framed under glass — known as The Micro Bubble Series. Also, the 25 foot by 7 foot piece that we’ve named Industrial Car Wash will have to be photographed in the gallery. (It only fits in my studio in a stack.) And there’s one last piece made with actual car wash strips, Drive Through Slowly. Oh yes — and there will also be some 10″x8″ framed photographs of Leisa’s inspirations.

I have written an article about the collaboration that will be coming out in the next SAQA Journal, and ArtsATL will have an interview with us published closer to the time of the show.

The show at Abernathy Arts Center will open September 18 and will run through October 16. The opening reception is Sept. 18th 6:30-8:30.

Then we will have a few pieces hang in Signature Gallery in Atlanta in January, and the entire show will be exhibited again at Hammond Gallery at Jacksonville State University for the month of February.

The Best of Intentions


One of the last pieces that Leisa and I planned for our collaboration was a piece that we planned to cut into 12 smaller pieces that we would then frame and sell individually. I planned it to be a size that would split easily into 12 pieces and would fit in the size frame we chose with some extra to pull around to the back.

The best of intentions. So in my notes, I’ve been referring to this piece as Abstract-Mini’s.

I started with the red. I shared this on my Facebook to give a taste of what the new piece would be like.


And here is all the red laid out. I put on the grays only if they fell within the color areas I was working on.


Then I added yellow. Should have really done it first. Tucked it under the red.


And here are the blues — with a little bit of orange up in the right-hand corner.


Then I had to go back to the store because I didn’t have nearly enough gray. I had promised Leisa the appliqué of this last week, and so I was really pressed for time. When I came home to wash it (because I always wash my fabric before I use it), I realized my washing machine had died. It was full of soaking wet towels. The engine still worked, but a belt had broken so the tub couldn’t spin out all the water.

So I triaged all the towels across my deck. Unlike in other countries, hanging laundry in the yard is largely frowned upon here. It is certainly against my HOA rules, but I didn’t have a lot of choices.

And for my new fabrics, I set them to boil in my extra large ceramic pot on the stove. Boiling is actually better for getting out excess dye, and while I had it going, I rewashed all my new reds, too. (One of them had crocked onto some of the gray fabric all ready.)

By early Sunday, it was all cut out. I pinned it on my design wall and took a pic.


It’s much calmer than the other pieces. There isn’t as much darkness, and the grays give a lighter feeling of the soapiness in the car wash. I liked it, but I started to see that it wasn’t going to cut up well at all.

I did tell Leisa about my concern and told her that I’d leave her with the final decision. We set a meeting for today.

This morning, I had some time and decided that the dots in the pattern of the gray fabrics didn’t add enough texture, so I started randomly cutting out bubbles and adding them. I think it looks better. (The color is also better overall since it’s daylight in my studio at the time I took the pic versus nighttime in the pic above.)


We met at Starbuck’s, and she agreed — this wouldn’t cut up well into 12 pieces. Each of the 12 pieces needs to have a lot of detail. The scale of this is wrong for that. This will, however, still be a wonderful piece in its entirety. I have changed its temporary name to abstract #7.

And now Leisa has it to work her embroidery magic on. I also gave her #5. It’s done except for a sleeve on the back. She wants to spend a couple of weeks hand-stitching on that one.

The planned abstract #7 will now become #8. It will be digitally printed onto fabric, and I will share more on that piece at a later time. We both agreed that we love that inspirational piece too much to not include it in the show.

I still have to do 12 mini’s, though. I am planning to cut them more organically using the fabrics that I used in #7.

So I’m behind — and yet ahead.

My new washing machine comes tomorrow. When I picked it out, I told the salesman, it has to be a top loader, it has to accept high sudsing detergent (which any quilter that uses synthrapol knows — and which means no High Efficiency), and the basket has to be big because I do a lot of laundry. There were two choices. I went with the Whirlpool. I suspect that the next time I have to buy a washing machine, I won’t have a choice but to buy an HE. Let’s hope they’ve worked out the problems with them by then.

I’m also working on an article about the collaboration for the SAQA Journal. Leisa and I talked about the draft today, and this afternoon, I spent a couple of hours rephotographing three of the pieces in my studio on a white background. It took me a couple of hours to get the pics where I felt like they would be good enough. I understand why people pay a professional photographer. One shot can take a really long time.

Studio Frenzy


Last week, I finished cutting the 4th abstract in the Car Wash series that I’m working on with Leisa Rich.

Like my other pieces, I approached it with the intent of cutting it out in color order starting with the yellows, then the purples, then the blues — but as I went on, the entire thing became unwieldy. Breaking it down into meaningful pieces became really hard. I became best friends with my colored highlighters — and I bought more of them. I rued the day that I had drafted this thing. I think I may have pulled some hair out.

I ended up with all of my fabrics on the cutting board and the master pattern on top of the piece I was constructing.

This was my first picture.


I started working on the blues at the bottom, then adding in the grays.


Then I started working on the top but was coming to the realization that the only way I could approach this monster was to finish whole sections as I came to them.


This is just insanity. I did realize that  I was almost out of that medium gray and I was going to need more. I was very pragmatic about it, though. I put all of the gray that I did have along the outer edges. Then I planned a search mission to the fabric store and luckily found something in the same color and value. It has a lot more texture, but I think that that’s fine.


Here, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Literally, everything is done but the part in the very middle. At this point, I highlighted that section in the middle on my pattern so I’d know where I was. I kept getting lost.


And here it is before I gave it to Leisa — a quick shot on my wall before I whisked it away. She is embroidering it. So many edges.


On my new time keeping app, I can easily see how much time I’ve spent doing something. I spent 39 1/2 hours cutting this out. Holy cow.

So my next piece is going to be much simpler. It has to be. I have at least 4 more large pieces to do for the show and I want to have them completed by the end of May.

Since I handed this last abstract piece off to Leisa, I’ve been working on the abstract piece that will cover the largest wall in the gallery. It will be made up of a lot of smaller pieces that will be hung individually.  Leisa is making the tops of these pieces — and she gave me a bunch to work on. I pillowcase turned them — no easy feat — topstitched them, and am now adding some quilting. They’re meant to be very textural on the wall so they aren’t heavy with quilting. I’ll share some pics later.

I also wanted to share this picture of my daughter in the Dominican Republic. She went after Christmas on a mission trip with her school and her father.



I let her take my camera — my DSLR Canon T3i. I was looking forward to seeing all of the pictures of the DR, but alas, the only pictures I will see are the ones they took with their cell phones. This is the last known sighting of my camera — it was stolen at the airport on her return trip home.

It made me very sad, but I have all ready replaced it. The camera body came last week — and I’m waiting on the lens. It should be here today or tomorrow. Instead of the 18-55mm kit lens, this time I opted for the “nifty fifty” — the prime 50mm lens. It has no image stabilization or zoom — but it’s “faster glass” with an f-stop of 1.8 compare to the f-stop of 3.5-5.6 on the kit lens. It’s a less expensive lens, but I’m told that it’s a far superior lens. Can’t wait for it to get here!


Wordless Wednesday


Christmas star

Wordless Wednesday


brussel sprouts

Wordless Wednesday





Wordless Wednesday



Wordless Wednesday



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