Archive for the ‘2010’ Category

Springtime Spice

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Thought I’d show you some lint I’m preparing for a new cherry blossom picture.  I did the last one in stitching but I’ve been wanting to try it in lint.  I think it will have a softer look, which seems right for the subject.  There will be some stitching of the branches though.

I’ve already painted a sky-blue background and glued down a few blossoms “in draft” as pictured, to see if my colours look okay.   Then I chopped up some strands of thread very finely (taking care not to sneeze : )).   Next comes the gluing…currently I’m sticking lumps of lint down onto blobs of acid-free tacky glue, unless I run out of patience and get some spray version of the glue.

Now let’s see which comes first, the actual season of spring, or the finished piece!


Rain and Shine

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

My latest piece, depicting the skyline of Vancouver, Canada.  This one’s a whopping 8 x 8 inches : )  I was able to go larger as it involved hand sewing only.  Machine sewing limits the size of the hoop you can use, because it has to be a small enough diameter for the edge of the hoop not to bang against the arm of the machine while you sew.   (I found this out the hard way).

My previous post goes into how I made the reflections.

Then once the background painting was done, I got to create whole tower blocks out of thread.  I felt like a sort of creative Godzilla!

I used a few different shades of dark thread for buildings and then lots of pale colours in shiny, glittery, or high-sheen threads for the lights (that’s the Shine in Rain and Shine, unfortunately impossible for the camera to pick up).

I had to remind myself to sew in straight lines, which helps create the effect of straight-edged  buildings and windows – just when I’ve gotten used to deliberately curving my lines to make them look more natural.

By the way, Vancouver is loaded with mountains but they are, as they say in all the best Christmas pantomimes, behind you.  This view is from Lonsdale Quay Market on the North Shore.

Silk Underwear

Sunday, November 14th, 2010


Art Focus Fall Show

Friday, October 15th, 2010

It’s that time of year again, when art lovers gather to view the work of Art Focus Artists’ Association while nibbling on tasty treats at The Outlet, Leigh Square in Port Coquitlam (here’s a map – click then scroll down).

Specifically the time of year is:

Friday November 12, 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm (includes the opening reception)

Saturday November 13, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm

Sunday November 14, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm

Look out for our lovely posters around the Tri-Cities, designed by Art Focus member Kali Barry (

I’ll have all new work in this show, I’m excited to see what our other artists have been creating over the summer, and it’s so nice to meet and catch up again with the folks who come to our shows.  A true highlight of the year!

We have a great selection of cards and miniatures in case you’re planning ahead for the holidays.  And the show is spread over three days so there’s a good chance to fit in a visit even on a busy weekend.  I hope to see you there!

Sun Bathing

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Not about to quit with the puns.

You may have seen me working on this during the Minnekhada Art in the Park Festival.  After a vacation (yay) and a bout of flu (not yay) it’s finished!


Do you think maybe I’m quite happy I’m done with the flu?

Anyways.  Back to the illustrious history of this piece depicting a view of Burrard Inlet from Rocky Point Park.  Boathouse diners a year or so ago may have been amused to see a perspiring me running to catch this sunset on camera before it was too late.  I continued the theme of indignity by hunkering down on the muddy ground to make sure I got some foreground grasses in the shot.

This one was quite painting-heavy as you can see.  There’s a little bit of machine sewing and then I did mostly hand-sewing of the grasses.  I also sewed some grasses behind the silk that are meant to show through the silk, mostly to mess with the logic I usually follow, of keeping close-up details physically closer to your eye.

Next piece is quite different from this one in all sorts of ways, so I’m looking forward to getting into that.

Windblown daisies

Monday, September 20th, 2010

I just got back from visiting family in the UK.  I took many photos including this one of pink daisies in my Mam and Dad’s back garden. (Being from the northeast of England I have a Mam rather than a Mum or Mom, and a back garden not a backyard : ))

I’ve been experimenting with layering painted silk scraps on a painted silk background. More on that in a no doubt much later post.  It seems like a better way to capture petals or leaves that are either large-scale or, like these ones, translucent.

This one could be quite fiddly.   I love the sense of movement though (the flowers were blowing in the wind a lot and it was difficult to get an unblurred shot).  I may attempt a very simplified version…some day.  I have a couple of other projects to finish first and am plenty busy in my non-art life at the moment!

Minnekhada Art in the Park Festival

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Art in the Park poster

I hope to see you at this event!  This magnificent festival features artist sales, live jazz, roving performers, a children’s area, ongoing artist demonstrations, guided nature walks, an outdoor café/barbecue, and environmental art installations.

If you like art, music, food, fun family stuff, nature, or all of the above, there’s something here for you!   Art Focus will be out in force as well as other local artists both inside Minnekhada Lodge and outdoors, under tents in case of any summer showers…

…but hoping for weather like this!

I like this map which is bigger and also shows trails and locations of scenic viewpoints around the nearby marshes.

And here are some great photos of the Lodge itself (scroll down a bit when the webpage comes up).

Centre of Attention

Friday, July 30th, 2010

I hope you keep sunglasses by your computer!  Here’s a larger version if you’re feeling brave.

After painting everything an incredibly bright shade of blue, I did machine sewing of leaves in the background. I thought I was going to be able to keep machine sewing the whole thing. (I often have silly thoughts like this about my pictures). Predictably some areas started looking a bit too casual, so I unpicked a little bit and completed the work by hand.

Quite a commitment as you then have to bring the rest of it up to the same level of detail. But I think hand sewing is a better choice to capture quirks that I’m not skilled enough to convey with the machine, like the thinning of a branch as it goes along.

I almost left a needle in the patient on this one!  I searched my table until I knew the only place it could be was in the picture.  There it was, hanging out of the back!  Saved for the next operation.

Pebble Beach

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Just finished this one today.  A larger version can be seen here.  It’s based on a photo I took in Whytecliff Park near Horseshoe Bay, BC, a few months ago.  As I remember I had been wearing unsuitable sandals (not knowing we would end up at a pebble beach) and was frustrated as the best compositions all seemed to involve my clambering over big piles of rocks to get photos of em : )

The water is painted silk (turns out it’s really easy to get a watery effect with silk paint!) and the foam and rocks/pebbles are done in machine stitching.  I hand-stitched some little spray details including using some light-reflecting “invisible thread” to try to capture the wetness of the rocks and, er, water.  It is indeed invisible on this photo though and pretty subtle even when looking at the original piece.

It’s a challenge to keep those rocks looking jumbled enough and not allow straight lines to sneak in!   I definitely see more waterscapes in my future as this was fun to do.

Montreal in the details

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Well, there had been a woeful lack of puns in recent posts so I thought I’d address that.

A wonderful trip to Montreal was had…I could describe it as a quest for exotic eastern Canadian thread which just happened to coincide with viewing a certain high-speed car race, but don’t think anyone would believe me : ) (I did pop into a Fabricville though).

Montreal is quite the work of art. The old buildings are full of fascinating variations in brickwork and ridiculously ornate doors, and the more modern buildings seem to have been built with appearance in mind just as much as utility, with uncompromising use of colour to set a mood in certain locations. There seems to be a rule that nothing is allowed to be ordinary, which I love.

A meal we particularly enjoyed was at Gibby’s, fabulous from start to finish. As you know I’m just a freak for details…the big things have to be done right, but if they also take care of unique details they will be remembered forever.

Things I’ll remember forever about Gibby’s:

They have their own Gibby’s brand of sugar packets. This restaurant is not a chain. Their own little printed sugar packets! It’s a large restaurant, but still. As you can probably tell, I just can’t get over this.

They bring chocolates with the bill that are embossed with their own iron gates logo.

When you ask for black coffee they bring it, and they don’t bring milk. This quite rare and special thing shows they really pay attention to the individual instead of just loading up a standard tray of coffee/tea fixings.

The photo above is just a reference snapshot taken in passing of what looks like an art gallery/store, typical in its uniqueness of the hundreds of storefronts in old Montreal.