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?