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Monday, August 26, 2013

Something New

For the past ten+ years I have been a member of the Embroiderers Guild of America. I have actually been stitching for 25 years so this was a match made in heaven. What I discovered when I joined the EGA is that it is not just a club for like minded hobbyist, it is an organization dedicated to the education of needle arts. We also try to do civic work as well as meeting to enjoy the company of fellow stitchers.

I actually wrote The Crystal Needle in honor of the EGA. A few years back they held their yearly convention in Birmingham Alabama and it was themed Stitching Magic. Of course their ideas were leaning toward vegas style rabbit out of the hat magic, but I took off with it.

Okay, I told you that to tell you I sound like Larry the Cable Guy. One of the ways that EGA educates is through a correspondence program within the club. The HQ has a large list of projects that are designed to teach stitchers new ways of embroidering. My interest group raised the money to pay for the course and we set it up so that our group could take it together. It was about pulled thread needlework. As luck would have it the group also gave me a scholarship to help pay for the class so I could take it. I did not want to let them down.

Pulled Thread: It can also be called Drawn Thread: This is a technique where you stitch on a fabric like linen using a similar colored thread. Using unique stitches you actually pull open holes in the thread in certain patterns to give a lacy look to the piece. In this style the thread isn't exactly what you are looking to show off, but the openings you create by pulling on it in certain ways.

I have never done this before, but I was determined to do it because the group was paying for me to take the class. It made for a great incentive to push through frustrating moments and learn learn learn. And, I DID IT. I just finished the main education part of the course and completed the pulled thread work. Now all that is left to do is the center decoration which is nothing new for me.

Take a look at the work in progress.

The last two are more accurate for the color of the project. The warping of the fabric around some of the blocks is natural when you are pulling thread like this, it will relax and look much smoother when I take it off of the frame.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Nothing like a classic

Well, it's monday again and that means another blog post. The more I post the fewer secrets I have. Sigh

This week I want to tell you about one of my favorite forms of entertainment. Classic television. Yes, the golden oldies of the small screen. Back when I was young Nick@Nite was just starting out and began showing these old programs. They were clean and funny so mom and dad didn't mind me watching them. I was enchanted from the start. I watched everything from the Dick Van Dyke show to Bewitched. I became particularly fond of I Love Lucy and made sure to watch on the nights it was on.

Today it is no different, save perhaps the fact that now I either watch them on Netflix or DVD. Yes, I still laugh at Lucy's antics, Jeanies blinks, and Buddy's jokes. I can quote almost the whole Dick Van Dyke series line for line. It is kind of sad, but I am not what you would call.......normal.

There is a reason behind why I watch the classics still, and probably will for as long as I can. They are clean humor. Yes slapstick and full of puns. But there is a charm to the classics. It wasn't cliche when Lucy did it, she was the first. In fact a lot of the older television programs didn't have anything to base their humor off of, they came up with it. It is todays programs that steal the jokes and dirty them up for the modern audience. I know that you can read a lot into the shows and I also know that reality of that time did not entirely reflect the sitcoms, but I really don't think that has ever been true. To me they are fantasy.

Also, to me, they are relaxing. Before I go to bed each night I watch a few hours of old television programs while stitching or doing something equally calming. And, back in a time when I was facing a serious mental and emotional crisis, it was this classic television that I could watch and it would take my mind away from my problems and settle my nerves down. So, in a way, it has even been therapeutic for me.

As a homage to the classics, I include a joke in each book I write that comes out of one of the old shows. Usually a one liner that fits a scene well enough to meld right in.

One of my many pipe dreams is to meet a few of the living actors from that age. Barbara Eden, Mary Tyler Moore, Ed Asner, Rose Marie and many others that are still kicking. So many have passed and the others aren't getting any younger. But, alas, I was born a few decades too late.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Naked Men!!!

Okay, I know that some of you are here looking for "That" kind of website, sorry this isn't a post like that. It isn't a blog like that either, you dirty dirty person. Some might have the noble intentions of informing me that my site has been hacked, sorry, still not the case.

What I want to tell you about today is one of my earliest inspirations for art. Back in 1989 National Geographic released the December issue. On the cover was a section of the famous Sistine Chapel and the majority of that particular issue was detailing the restoration of the ceiling. I was pretty young at that time and had never seen much like that, but something about it sparked an interest. I was far too young to worry about naked people, but I could see the amazing work displayed in the figures and paintings. I couldn't imagine recreating something like a person in paint with such precision. It set off a fascination in me of art, Michelangelo's specifically. Down the road I was with mom at the annual library booksale and found a hard bound book about Michelangelo. It was 50 cents and so I got it. Before I was in fifth grade I had actually read a great deal out of that book, learning the stories behind how and why he sculpted and painted many of his more famous works. I was very impressed looking at the sketches he did before he painted or sculpted. His mastery of the human form was nearly perfect. And, in a time long before cameras, it was even more impressive.

One statue stood out among the rest was Michelangelo's David. Probably the most notable and recognizable works of the Renaissance master. The stories behind it, the marble, his crafting, where it was located, all fascinated me. But, most of all, I was amazed that he so closely recreated the human form and at 17 feet too. For the uninformed, the statue is actually crafted to be viewed from beneath. Onward it isn't as proportionally accurate as it is from an lower angle. This was on purpose since Michelangelo knew that people would not be able to see it straight on.

This work inspired me to draw the human form. I wanted to at least achieve, in a tiny way, some art like my artistic hero. And considering my favorite piece of his is the statue David, you might understand now why I am much better at the male form than the female, I have practiced one a great deal more than the other.

That all said. Why I write this today is because I recently got something that a friend sent back to me that I have always  wanted. Years ago I was watching a movie and the characters were in Rome on vacation. In one scene I saw a vendor selling tiny replica statues of David. They aren't all that exact or accurate, but I didn't care I wanted one. Over the years I have looked for it, you cannot find many here in the states. And I couldn't seem to get a friend to remember to bring one back when they visited Italy. That is until a few days ago. I finally got my tiny statue of David and couldn't be happier. I don't decorate with images of naked men, and unless I get more of this particular one, this will likely be the last, but it will stand in my inspiration room among the other unique artifacts as a testament to one of my earliest inspirations.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Something Simple

After a busy and successful week last week I decided to have a simple art post again. Here are some of my recent works.

This is a body builder named Jaco De Bruyn.
I was bored and drew the planets and bubbles
I went into my new photo editing program to 
put the space background in. Came out better
than I thought it would.

I drew this Bark for the event. 

I stitched these and then had them framed a while back. 
I knew I wanted them to be prizes for an event. I think they
turned out really good.
This is more of a photo edit that my art. I created that
ship in the foreground by splicing a broken models parts 
together. I edited into a shot from movie #3 and enhanced it.
Another edit. I used this old drawing and
some editing to create a July FB avatar.
I needed a sad image for Bark in book 3. 
I had the hardest time drawing one, took me several tries and 
three different images before I finally settled on one I liked.

  This is from the first scene in Bark 2.
My first attempt at a sports shot.