Monday, February 22, 2010

"Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another." John Dewey

The past few weeks have been spent trying to finish up projects I started a while back, along with starting a few new ones. It seems when I'm working on one project it spawns ideas for other ventures so instead of finishing what I'm working on, I jump into yet another new piece. Of course that happens with reading also. I never read one book at a time. I've always got at least 2 that I'm reading; one fiction and one non-fiction. Guess I've got ADD or just trying to cram too many things into my life.
Whatever it is that keeps me jumping from one project to another or reading multiple books at once I can honestly say that I'm never bored!
Anyway, back to the reason for this post...
First, the project I finished 2 weeks ago and am in the process of framing this.
I showed this in progress a while back. The title is "Tidal Pool". The background was done on mounted canvas. Then I used a piece of dyed silk to embroider and bead on. I used some netting and chiffon as well.
There's even a piece of painted, distorted tyvek.

I attached the silk to the canvas with more stitching
Here's a close-up. You can click on the photo to enlarge.

After finishing this piece, I went back to a piece I started in a workshop with Jeanne Beck back in September. I started the stitched squares in her workshop by layering painted fusible webbing with painted bits of paper towels. Once I was satisfied with that I added embroidery and beading. Again, I've shown the squares in a previous post but I wanted to incorporate them into a whole piece. After taking a workshop with Laura Cater-Woods and seeing her chiffon sandwiches I knew I wanted to do something like that for a background for my stitched silk squares. I layered chiffon with fibers, skeleton leaves, feathers and gold leafing, added a piece of netting over the top and then saturated the whole thing with a 50-50 blend of good old Elmer's glue and H2O. Let it dry and then decided to cut windows in the piece for my stitched squares.
They say hindsight is 20/20 and I wish now I had just sewn them on to the background BUT I cut windows out so I dealt with the issues that came up. Guess that's why it took me so long to finish it. The windows made the background less rigid, flimsy actually so I had to figure out what to do next. Trash the whole piece and make another or improvise. I hate to throw things out so instead of just sewing the pieces into the window at the 4 corners I glued tissue paper to the back using the 50/50 glue mix, let it dry then used free motion stitching all over the background with metallic threads and I reinforced the edges of the windows with stitching to make them a little more substantial.The tissue paper really gave the whole piece more texture as it dried because I crumpled up the tissue paper then flattened it before gluing it.
Then I found some bamboo sticks in my stash while I was cleaning out my studio which I decided would be perfect to further enforce the stability of the piece. Then I came across some mother-of-pearl buttons that I thought would be great for adding to the top and bottom squares.

This is a close-up.

Even closer... The title is "Flotsam & Jetsam"

After completing these pieces I went on to finish an art doll for my friend Sandy. The doll is on it's way to her right now and I don't want to post a photo of it in case she reads this blog before she gets her doll. I don't want to spoil the surprise. As soon as I hear that she's received it I will post a pic of the one I made her and the one that she sent me. I received her's back in January. We have been doing art swaps for several years.
We decide on a theme and the medium and then we each create something and ship it off to the other one.
I received some beautiful creations from her. Over the years we've created art quilts with a Jimmy Buffett song theme, jewelry with just a summer theme, art bras with 60's TV show theme & shrines to ELVIS !
Lots of fun.
While I was working on Sandy's doll I had to start another project or 2 because I was waiting for the paint to dry. That's what always prompts me to start another project. If you're waiting for paint or ink or glue to dry, you just have to start something else!
SO....I decided to drag out the huge canvases that have been sitting around waiting for me to throw some paint on them. I bought the one for our bedroom over a year ago and the other canvas I purchased about 3 years ago. Figured it was time to jump in and just do it.
I seldom work BIG, I prefer small projects. BIG empty canvases scare me. But I put some music on and started painting. Oddly enough I finished the 30 x 40 canvas that I purchased 3 years ago first and I had no idea what I was going to paint on that one. The one for our bedroom was the one that I wanted to do first and I THOUGHT I knew what I wanted to paint on that one. Well, it's still not done. It's a work in progress.
The size is 20 x 60. It has morphed from one thing to another over several days. I have a little work left to do before I can say it's DONE.
But I'll show you the one I did finish. I've already found a frame and a place to hang this one.
I used a photograph I had as the inspiration. The scene is a river at sunset. The trees which looked like a big black blob in the photo gave me the most trouble. I wanted to add depth and texture to the trees and their shadows. Adding depth to black is really quite hard. I found the sky and the reflection in the water so much easier. AS a matter of fact I really got into this painting and the music that was playing was Puccini! Never really felt like I was a huge fan of opera, but boy did I really get into slapping that paint on while listening to it.
I tried Puccini with the other painting but it wasn't working with that one. The other painting has cooler colors so I put on some soothing Vivaldi and that worked a little better.
So here's my BIG painting. I really love the sky. The photo doesn't do the colors justice.

As soon as I finish the painting for the bedroom, I will post that. I am also in the final stages of finishing another project along the same lines of the first photo I posted above. It's a beaded piece of fabric that will be attached to a painted canvas.
Enough chatter from me for one day...


  1. WOW Cathy! I love that painting and the tidal pool. You are cooking. Beautiful, beautiful, work! BTW, when did you start panting?

  2. I can completely understand the need and desire to do several things at once. I, too, always have at least two books in progress and can empathize with trying to fill the downtime between waiting for glue to dry, etc... You certainly make good use of your downtime during your projects. Tidal Pool is just exquisite and your use of the skewers gives it a most elegant look. The painting is gorgous. I am glad you went big. xoxoxox

  3. Thanks so much Tracy & Pilar! I've been painting on & off for years. I started out painting Santas on wood cut-outs, then progressed to painting canvases for collage.

  4. You are so talented.
    These are again great creations.

  5. "Tidal Pool" is delicious! my favorite colors :) You asked how I got my mermaid on my blog to turn out the way she did, in case you didn't get a chance to check back (I think blogger is so hard to communicate through!), this is what I wrote: "Cathy, it's really just the photo with the two texture files, and different blending options - linear burn and overlay, and one of the textures is actually the background, like a canvas."


Wishing you peace, love & chocolate!

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