Thursday, January 27, 2011

February BJP 2011 Finished

February BJP 2011, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.

February is finished. I am happy that I took the time to rip out the red stems. I think the gold stems look so much better. They sit back instead of screaming out loud as the red ones did. They make the piece more cohesive.

I am still getting used to the way the bead colors work. I had envisioned some sort of gray for the sky to represent winter but in fact the purple works like a gray only better. With a bit more glimmer and sparkle. Those beads are to die for really. The picture doesn't do them justice. They are called Rainbow Medium Amethyst AB in case you were wondering.

All I really had to do was look at my banner. In that painting I made years ago, the winter sky is purple.

On to March. March may take me a bit longer as I am going to Tucson for a week in February and don’t plan on doing any beading. It is too much trouble bringing supplies on the plane. Like scissors, needles etc. So I am leaving it all home.

I still have to think about what I want to do for March anyway.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Case of the Curious Mourning Dove!

Last weekend the mourning doves came to my feeder. Isn’t this one just the cutest? I love the way he is checking me out. Not afraid at all. Just curious I’d say!

Most of my photos of the birds are not that great really. I get the interesting shot but the color and textures are all wrong. They are always too dark or too something (my balcony is on the non-sunny side of the building). Plus with all the snow and gloomy weather it makes it that much darker and harder to get a great shot.

Kim Klassen to the rescue! I recently discovered her blog called “Kim Klassen Cafe.” Kim has some wonderful textures that she creates for Photoshop and they make all the difference in the world. Would it be better to be able to do this with the camera alone. Sure. But I am no Steiglitz  or Steichen.

I have been a graphic designer for over 20 years. But I design textbooks and let’s face it, there is not much opportunity for enhancing photos for textbooks. Other than the occasional silhouetting  or removing of logos, (logos are not allowed in textbooks) and sometimes covering up areas of the body that can’t be exposed (we can't have cleavage in textbooks either). That is about it. We rarely add texture to photos. So I hadn't worked too much with texture overlays before.

But lately as I get more and more comfortable with my digital camera, I see so many areas for improvement.  I love Kim’s textures for helping me improve my digital images!

Kim has some wonderful free ones for you to try out here.

She also has some easy-to-understand tutorials to get you started using them!

Thank you Kim!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ripping out those BAD BEADS!!!

ripped out red beads, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
I woke up this morning and went right to it. Rip, rip, ripping out beads. I had no choice. My choice of too much of the color red was abominable for my February BJP piece.

My inspiration for using this color was in a photo I had seen of red branches against the snow and grey sky. It was a beautiful photo and I thought I would try using red as stems in my Feb. BJP piece. My vision was for some small flowers with red stems in honor of Feb. and Valentines Day. Since I don’t do hearts or anything like that I thought that red stems would be a perfect representation.

How could I have been so wrong? As soon as I did the stems I thought uh oh. This is not going to work, but I kept going anyway. I thought it could get better with the addition of some black sky with gold flecks for snow. It only got worse. Then I thought OK I will add white and gold for the snow. Well the white looked fantastic with the flowers but the red and the black were getting increasingly worse.

I should have known really. Having been a painter for many years, I rarely used red. Well, I did use red but it was alizarin red. Alizarin is a very blue purple red. Plus I always mixed it with viridian green to make an earthy brownish red. Not a bright, aggressive, cadmium red. It was a color I rarely used. Unless it was for one single dot of color somewhere where it was used as a highlight. Never a steady stream of cadmium red so why did I ever think cadmium red beads were going to work for me?

When I first started buying beads I bought many colors including primaries. I had seen so many wonderful beaded pieces created using primary colors. I thought I could too. But I never painted with primaries. Why on earth did I think could bead with them? They are just not my colors at all.

Now what will I do with all those bright yellows, blues and reds I bought?

PS As you can see I did leave the red centers on the flowers. The red looks fine as just a teeny, tiny hint of color.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Milton Glaser

Milton Glaser is a true design genius.

Yesterday, at work,  we were lucky enough to hear a lecture and watch a slide show by him as part of a training seminar.

For those of you who are not familiar with his work, I encourage you to look at his work. Most likely you are familiar with his design of the famous Bob Dylan poster of the 70’S. But he is so much more than that.

I loved seeing that both he and his work are still so relevant. And that he is still creating unique and interesting designs in his later years including some very interesting textiles which are being made into rugs.

He made me see color in a whole new way. Many of his designs are dark grey on darker grey. I have never really thought of using color in that way. But they are really stunning.

I am going to try and see if I can do some bead work using only greys and blacks. It will be hard because I always feel like I need at least one color. Plus it was hard to tell from the slides but I think he had some small amount of color in some of the pieces.

The biggest things I took away from the lecture were:

1. Older graphic designers still matter! We have a lot of experience to offer and are still relevant and creative. Don’t rush to sideline us in favor of more youthful designers.

2. The computer is a tool. That’s all. Don’t be fooled into thinking it is going to design for you. A good designer is a good designer regardless of whether a computer is used or not!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

January BJP 2011

January BJP 2011, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.

I have finished January and I am quite pleased with it. I have not finished the edging yet because I an unsure of how I am going to use the blocks. So for now they will all remain edge free.

I was inspired for this piece by my grandson's school. They have a small flower garden out front with some black eyed susans buried under snow. Some of their leaves are poking through as well as the black centers of the flowers. Sans petals of course.

I cannot tell you how this project has awoken the sleeping giant in me. Jewelry wasn't working for me so much any more and I soon tired of following patterns in bead weaving.

As I say, I am not sure how I will used them. I am sure it will come to me by the end of the year though. For now, I simply create without thought of the final product. A very freeing thing for me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Really Snowy Day

Mr Cardinal, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.

A very snowy day here in Boston. Schools are closed. Work is closed. Wait, what did I just say? Work is closed?

Not so fast....

A few months ago quite a few of us signed up for some required online training in web design. The key word here being online. Ah yes, virtual training. Guess what? It doesn’t get cancelled due to the snow. So here I was today, cozily at home. A perfect day to rest and relax with a cup of tea. A good book. Some beads.

But NO.....It was not to be. Instead I found myself sitting in a non-ergonomic hard kitchen chair all day. (I never realized how comfy my ergonomic chair at work is until I tried sitting in this chair for 8 hours.) My tush hurts! My back hurts. My neck hurts. If I ever do work from home I will need to re-vamp my studio. A real chair would be the first thing to get!

We did get a few breaks during which I made sure my little bird buddies had enough food to eat. Every time I put out food it was covered in snow almost immediately. We had both the male and female cardinals here most of the day and the woodpecker stopped by for a bit. And of course my usual gang of sparrows. The suet was covered in ice. I had to chip it off with my small garden shovel.

Tomorrow I get to go back to the office for Day 2 of training. Well, at least I'll have my comfy chair!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Perfecting Pesky Picots!

Finished piece, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.
I thought I would share this recent creation with you as I do have some questions for my bead embroidery friends today.

I have had this carved cabochon for ages and thought it would be a perfect specimen for practicing my newly acquired skill of bezel making. I think the bezel came out great. I also learned how to make "tree branch" fringe. I really like the way it adds texture and movement to the piece.

My biggest problem is with the picot edging. I can't seem to get it perfect. Is there a way to get it perfect? Most of the "picots" sit straight up like they are supposed to but some of them fall over.

Why is that?

Also, when I get all around the circle and back to the first "picot" I have problems integrating that very last bead without making it look off kilter?

If you have any edging secrets that you don't mind sharing with me I would be so grateful!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

July Bead Journal Project 2011

July BJP 2011, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.

I was finally able to get into my studio this weekend undisturbed.

A miracle really.

I made many Metal Clay components. Right now the plan is to use them in my bead embroidery including the Bead Journal Project for 2011.

I have done July. Yes, I did go out of order. I had every intention of starting with January. In fact it is sitting on my unfinished pile.I hope it is OK to go out of order....I couldn't help myself. The colors spoke and I went with them. I am such a summer person. Maybe I will end up doing January in the summer....when I am ready to cool off.

I am not making any plans. I am going with the flow, so to speak!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Cardinal Has Arrived!

The Cardinal has arrived, originally uploaded by Roberta Warshaw.

January 1, 2011 and the male cardinal has deigned to make an appearance at my feeder. Imagine that!

Not only that but it was 59 degrees today! Warmer than Tucson!

Very nice studio day today. I have some show and tell that I will post in a day or two!

For now, enjoy Mr. Cardinal!