Saturday, September 17, 2016

draw august, paint september

To try to keep the momentum up on some sort of daily sketching, I've been participating in #PaintSeptember this year. It's just like #DrawingAugust, but posting a daily painting of some kind on twitter. Well, it sure hasn't been every day for me. Every time I have my hired helper here for a few hours, it means No Extra Things on that day and at least a day afterward (Recovery Day). I also missed an entire week when the kittens arrived, which was a very fair trade-off :)

But I have been trying. I think there have been eight September paintings so far. Yesterday I tried to sit in the South Paddock and draw my workshop, but Campion became very interested in my watercolor pencils.

And decided to fight me for them. The rogue!

I gave up (but did not surrender my pencils!) and settled on the porch with a stalk of Solomon's Plume. Here it is, and as always, you can left-click any image to see it more clearly in a gallery window, then just click the "x" to come back to this page:

Now I want to share with you something I've been thinking about for a year.

Last autumn, I tried an experiment. I had a few of my #DrawingAugust pieces printed by Spoonflower to get a sense of how different original materials on paper might translate into fabric. The results were surprisingly satisfying - clear, detailed, nuanced - although you will have to take my word for it this morning because this is an extremely poor photograph of the sample:

watercolor (daylily detail)
graphite (beans)
Ink line drawing (sunflower)
digital composite of colored line drawing (fern)

Had some help with the photography. That's all I'm sayin' ;)

That swatch has been on my fridge for months now, reminding me to think in terms of potential fabric design during #DrawingAugust this year. I'm leaning toward printing cotton fabric with a botanical design. What do you think? Perhaps some of the line drawings, like this:

And/or some of the watercolors, like this:

It occurred to me this week that I have plenty of ideas and enough raw material to work with already, but am just apprehensive about the expense of a fabric-printing venture. What if it's a dud project, just because I didn't think through the technical aspect beforehand? But...what is the technical aspect of fabric design?

Spoonflower's website is fantastic for the logistics of getting your design ready to print, but - does this make sense? - I'm pondering the technical aspects of using fabric.

I don't know enough about the uses of fabric to know the answer!

Then light dawned: many of my readers sew - and sew amazingly beautiful things! So, may I ask a favor? If any of you have suggestions about what makes a printed fabric work for you, or - and this might be even more important - if there are things that make a particular printed fabric a problem for you...please leave a comment or pop me an email! My sewing-person skills are minimal, and there are probably loads of things I wouldn't even think of, that are totally obvious to a skilled and experienced sewing-person. I gratefully welcome your thoughts and recommendations!

And now, since the humid, overheated, bug-filled weather is beginning to relent, Piper and I will try to have more time in our "studio." This folding chair with backrest and added cushions makes a wonderful difference in the length of time I can work before I must creakily move again. Instead of 10 or 15 minutes, I have worked steadily for over an hour! A few years ago, I would never have imagined that such a statement could be a cause for celebration. But it is, it is, it is!

The chair weighs over 7 pounds and is One More Thing to carry - along with backpack, cushions, water bottle, treats, etc., so we don't go far. That's okay! At least we GO! Sometimes I take Piper for a walk in the woods first, then we go back to the car for my gear and walk back in just a little ways to set up the studio. And buffet.

Cool enough this day to bring buttered bread for a snack.
Not to belabor the point, but: spread to the edge ;)

This is a portrait of a Studio Companion who has already had five treats,
but who knows you put six treats in your pocket:

I hope your weekend is off to a wonderful start!
Will you have an opportunity to spend some time outdoors today?


  1. Very nice drawing. You got skill!

    Spoonflower is fantastic! I love the weekly challenges there. It use to be a lower amount you could vote for, difficult but better than a larger number.
    As for fabrics, if you've thinking about business wise, then consider quilting. Create a series of about eight or so companion patterns that will make a neat quilt.
    I've had on my will do someday list (years actually)printing out my original patterns to make clothes to sell online or in a local boutique.
    Whatever you decide, be confident your patterns are better than any other.
    Have fun trying out on paper making repeat patterns. Link to my favorite instructions:

    1. Well thank you SO MUCH for both the compliment and the advice! Your idea about creating a set of companion designs is exactly the kind of thing I need to hear about, because yes, I am trying to approach this as a possible "independent designer"opportunity. THANKS! :)

  2. You are so talented! I love your art companion too : )

    1. Hey there, Tipper! Thanks, you are very kind. And Piper is available for musical events, too :)

  3. Your artistic talents wow me. I'm afraid that I don't have any great advice for you (or any advice at all!). But I do relate to the inability to sit still for long. I'm really glad that you figured out a good way to do it! I, too, love your art companion. I'm glad the heat is letting up so that you two can have more outings.

  4. So many good topics in this post: your artistic ability, that youtake the time to do it, your sweet animal companions, and Spoonflower. I, too, am considering a Spoonflower project. I will wait and see how your idea progresses. Such an inspiration you are!

    1. Judy, I'll be very interested to hear about your Spoonflower ideas too. Maybe we could collaborate on a project!


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