Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I wish all my friends and followers a very Happy and Healthy New Year!
See you in 2015!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Some New Cards

I have been working on some new ideas for greeting cards. Hopefully I will list some in my poor, neglected Etsy shop sometime after the first of the year.

I have always enjoyed making cards. I like working in a small confined space.

Some of my followers have been missing my paintings. I apologize. I am sure I will get back to them at some point. Right now I am enjoying working digitally.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Digital Work

I am coming along in my newly learned Illustrator skills. Mastering the pen tool is something I have been working hard on for the past few days. I used the pen tool for the vase and then filled it with one of the plaid patterns that I created in my Rachel Taylor class. I also recently purchased a new Pantone swatch fan book since my old ones were at least 15 years old. I love all the new colors!

They also have added a new feature called "Pantone Color Manager" software. It is a separate application that you can download from their web site after you register your new products. It allows you to create palettes from photographs using Pantone colors! I love that feature. I used it to generate this palette.

I am really enjoying working digitally again. Except now I need a new external hard drive since my old one is quite full......oh well small price to pay!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Book of Letters

I am not sure if I mentioned this but I signed up for ALAW (A Letter a Week) at the beginning of the year.  Of course I saved the project until now, being the procrastinator that I am. I am supposed to do two alphabets but I am not sure I will get to the second one. Probably not. One alphabet could be anything you want and the other was to be related to "place". This one is my anything goes alphabet and since I have been learning pattern making, it made sense to me to make patterns using letters. I love the pattern of hearts that the letter "s" makes, don't you? It looks like an anchor and a heart together. I think it is my favorite motif of all of them.

Here are a few other views. I need to make covers and perhaps adhere the pages to sturdier paper since the book itself is so long and rather floppy.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Classes are Over for Now!

Both of my classes are over now. One I have thoroughly enjoyed and the other not so much. The one I enjoyed was Rachael Taylor's class "The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design."

After all these years of being a graphic designer in the textbook field, I never knew about surface pattern design until recently. Strange, I know. But now that I have discovered it I can't stop seeing patterns in everything. At the beginning of the class I did question what I was thinking really. I am, after all, retired. Although as an artist you can never really retire. It is our cross to bear so to speak. A good cross but a cross never-the-less.

I am quite sure I was the oldest in the class but the joy of taking classes online is that no one knows how old anyone is really. But it didn't matter. We all showed our work and I made some new online design friends as well.

One of the things Rachael had us do was print out one of our designs and wrap a gift with it. What an idea! So I scrounged around the studio until I found a small box and wrapped it. I am a terrible wrapper so pay no attention to that part but I just love my paper design as a wrapping paper. Everyone who enters my studio asks what is in the package. HA! Nothing I say! Just a box wrapped with my own pattern designed paper!

The second Module begins in January and I will be taking that as well as the 3rd Module in the spring. I look forward to progressing with my new ideas and perhaps learning how to make a bit of money with it.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Letterforms with Color

I decided that I liked the letters as pattern idea so much that I will be adding color to them over the next few weeks. Here is to the beginning of a new adventure! Have a lovely day! Oh this is the letter "k" by the way!

Monday, November 24, 2014

A letter a Week 2014

Well, here it is nearly the end of 2014 and I did not start my letter a week project until this week. I had better get busy right?

We have to create two alphabets. One is an anything goes type of alphabet and the other is specific to a place. For my anything goes alphabet I thought it might be nice to take what I have learned so far about pattern making and use letters instead of art. I have always been fascinated by letter forms. In design school I used to love to take the old fashioned sticky "letraset" letters and make all types of art with them.

Once I got onto the computer I saw what fun can be had with letters besides making words......

So here is my first alphabet so far: They are all Baskerville Old Style.

Letter a
Letter b
Letter c
Letter d
Letter e
Letter f
Letter g
Letter h
Letter i

That is it for today! Have a nice Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 21, 2014

The End is Near.....

Of my classes that is! I have learned so much over the last 5 weeks it is hard to believe it is going to be over next week.  I was really enjoying my daily challenge with color and texture and pattern. I have learned that successful paintings don't always translate to successful patterns. Sometimes I toil away trying to make something work that clearly, is not working.

The pattern above is something I am rather happy with. It was purely an accident. I was getting frustrated with my work. It was beginning to look like everyone else's and who wants that, right??

I may have told you about the lotus pods at Trader Joe's a few weeks ago. They came in a bouquet of flowers. As soon as I got them home I tossed the flowers and kept the pods. I love the dried pods. The shape, the holes....everything about them gets my art juices going.

So I scanned in a few of my sketches but this side view really hit it I think. It makes an interesting pattern. And then I recolored the artwork because who can resist that recolor the artwork tool in Illustrator? Not me.

Here are some of the examples of the pattern in different colors:

This next one is interesting for the way the spaces between the pods came out. It really changes things up a lot!

Anyway, have a great weekend and stay warm!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Different Palette

Still taking my classes. Still learning about pattern design. I find that I am quite partial to an entirely different color scheme when working electronically. When I am working with paint I usually tend to go toward greens and purples but I find I am quite drawn to a more neutral palette. Of course it could all change tomorrow. I am a bit fickle art-wise, as if you didn't already know that about me.

I still don't know what I am doing as far as repeats go. But I am improving somewhat. I really like the way my pods came out when I transferred them to Illustrator.

Tomorrow we are taking a day to go over to the MFA and see the Goya exhibit. I know it will be crowded but it is the only day my husband can go. I still have 3 other shows I want to see before they leave the area. There is a Calder show up in Salem at the Peabody Essex Museum and I just found out about a textile design show up in Lowell at the Museum of Textiles. After that I need to get over to the Fogg. It has been closed for renovations for 6 long years. I think I might wait on that one since it is sure to be a mob scene for a while.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Still Learning.....

There really is a lot to know about creating patterns. I feel as though I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of this very fascinating creative endeavor. There is a wonderful online class on CreativeLive given by Bonnie Christine. It is all about creating patterns using Adobe Illustrator and I have learned so much about the subject I thought I would share what I have learned so far!

When I last used Illustrator, they were up to about Illustrator 5 I think. I am not talking about Adobe CC or even Adobe CS. This was before any of those software iterations! Illustrator was just a stand alone product. So suffice it to say, a lot has changed in the 15 or so years since I last used the program! The class was given in CS6 and I am working in CS 5.5 so it was pretty close and not hard to follow along. One of the truly amazing new things in the more recent versions of Illustrator is the ability to recolor your artwork and see how it looks in any number of colorways. Imagine if you could do this with paintings! A click of the button and voila! A whole new color story!

Below you can see the variety of colorways I tried. Not all of them are pretty of course. This was just for practice in using the "recolor artwork tool".

There are over 30 videos in this class and I haven't finished watching them all. I did download them all though so I can watch at my leisure!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Patterns, Patterns and More Patterns!

One of the things I like to do at night while I am relaxing is sketch in my sketch book. It is a good time to do that because I am not concerned with making art. Just drawing and gathering ideas. One of the things I have been drawing a lot of lately are these chevron squares as you see below.
I have drawn many of them,  each time changing up the lines and angles. I used one of these as the background texture in the above design.

I also re-purposed an old stencil I created from my gelli printing days for the floral motif. I am finding that a lot of my old artwork works rather well for pattern designing in Adobe Illustrator.

Here are the two elements I used in this design:

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Manhole Cover!

The design you are looking at is derived from a manhole cover! That is correct, a manhole cover. A Bell Telephone manhole cover to be exact. I have no idea how old that is since Bell Telephone has been long gone for quite some time now.

In the second class I am taking called "The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design" Module 1, the first assignment was to go out with our cameras and find inspiration for pattern making. We were to take photos of one particular shape. And then shoot everything you could find in that shape.

I chose circles as my shape. I had no idea how many different types of manhole covers there are! And all with a different design! The one I chose is this one below:

I drew each shape and then scanned them into the computer to mimic the design of the cover. I really like the way it came out. Someone in the art group said it almost looks Aztec. Sometimes it pays to look down! Part of the class includes working in illustrator to create our patterns. As I may have mentioned I was never very good at Illustrator so this class is really helping me get my artwork into the computer and work on it there. I have learned so much in just one week!

Here is the design made smaller and repeated:

Next week in my MATS-A class, the project is going to be for a children's book design. I am not sure how I will do in that since kid art is not really my thing. But I love a good challenge, so we will see!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Week 2: Suzani's

So this week the subject in Lilla's class is Home Decor. The assignment is to create a pattern for a plate and some other smaller dishes. This is what I have done so far. I am not sure if this is the one I will be turning in or not. I need to sleep on it a bit. It isn't due until Sunday night at 5PM.

You may recognize the gold flowers as being from one of my paintings. The design itself is supposed to be based on the idea of a suzani. I had never heard of a suzani before but here is a link in case you haven't either. I read where the traditional suzani has the colors of black, white and pink. I couldn't do pink. But I did add a bit of red to it. I think it looks rather Christmas-y.

I am really having fun with this class. It is a real challenge to make something that would be marketable. I am not really a trend setter or follower if you get my drift. Never-the-less, I am learning a great deal even if I never sell a thing!

I am actually taking another class called "The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design". At first I thought that taking both classes at the same time might be too much for me but this class is actually quite complimentary to Lilla's class. It is taught by Rachel Taylor and it is much more about the actual creating of the patterns using hand drawn imagery and then manipulating them in Illustrator and Photoshop. I never really knew how to create patterns in Illustrator. Or I did know and I forgot. Actually I forgot quite a bit about the software but it is like riding a bike--once you learn it, it comes right back to you.

So have a great weekend everyone and don't forget to turn back your clock! Enjoy your extra hour of sleep!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Week 1 of Lilla Rogers Class

I think I may have mentioned that I am taking a 5 week, online class called "Make Art That Sells" with Lilla Rogers. You can read about it here

You may ask, why am I taking a class like this since I am clearly retired from the corporate graphic design world! That is the thing about art and design. You can't really retire from it. Imagine if Picasso or Matisse decided to retire from painting! Some of their best work would never have happened. Not that I am comparing myself to their genius but you know what I mean.

So, yes, I am taking this class and it is really fabulous. And I know I have said that before about other classes but this is really intense and hard work worthy! I worked all week as much as possible and was driven and challenged by the endeavor! It felt like I was at work! But it in a good way. Not the snowy-commuting-early rising-late staying-500 people-have-to-approve-your-design-way!

So the first week is designing for bolt fabric. The piece above is the motif I created using hand drawn imagery and then putting them into Photoshop and having at it. It is supposed to be kitchen related using root vegetables and Pyrex. I used watermelon radish since that is what I had on hand. I had no Pyrex so I had to rely on photos I found on the internet. Not the best way for me to draw since I prefer drawing from life but that was all I had for the bowl. I also made a rubber stamp from a sliced watermelon radish.

Here is what it looks like in a half drop repeat pattern:

So that is what I am up to. I think it will help me get my mojo back!

Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Value, Value, Value

Friday already? Where did the week go I wonder? I am still working on some new ideas, playing with the acrylics as though they were gouache. I think I might have mentioned before that my first mediums were watercolor and gouache. I love the creamy consistency of gouache and the lovely matte look of them. All they are really is watercolor with white added but they are very different and fun to work with. By adding white to the acrylic in large amounts it is possible to get a similar look.

One thing I have always loved is making value scales. It is fun really to get that tiny increment of lighter color slowly and deliberately. It is especially nice to do it in an actual painting!  Arthur Dove was a master of values. You can almost hear the fog horns blowing just from his careful use of value.

Have a lovely weekend everyone and good luck to everyone this weekend in the "Head of the Charles" regatta!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Simple Stamp

While I am waiting for my Pattern Design class to begin I thought I would learn how to carve stamps using Speedy Carve Rubber. It is pretty easy stuff to carve. Much easier than carving linoleum or wood. I have done both of those and after a while the old hands take a beating.

I didn't even do that great of a job carving the stamp but I can see the potential for making patterns! I stamped this one by hand in my sketchbook but I plan on putting the stamp design into Photoshop and playing with it there as well.  It is still much more fun for me to do things by hand even though I know Photoshop so well. There is just something about the hand vs electronic. I just like the hand made look so much. But I know Photoshop and Illustrator have their uses. I am glad I am getting back into Adobe CS after nearly 4 years away and total software burn out. And I am glad I kept my Wacom Tablet.

I really like the look of the geometric stamps as opposed to the floral and nature shapes. Although I have carved a few of my pod shapes and they look OK. There is a lot to explore here.

If I only had more time.

Oh well.....until next time....

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Some New Work

A couple of new designs I have been working on lately. Just playing with shapes and colors. Trying to get ready for an upcoming class in textile design that I have signed up to take in October. I am still struggling with the repeat idea but I think the class will help me with that.

I am back to working on paper which was my first love when I began painting over 40 years ago. I just love paper. I love the way it feels under the brush and the way it takes the paint. There really is nothing else like it. I know I haven't been blogging too much lately. I have been trying to limit my computer time in order to care for my family and still have time to paint. Something had to go and it had to be computer time.

So, until next time.......

Friday, September 19, 2014

My First Pattern

Original Design
Pattern in Photoshop

The image on the top is the original artwork done in acrylics. The second image is the pattern created in Photoshop. Before making a pattern the color needs to be reduced which can be complicated. For example there are many, many colors in the original painting. There are brush strokes in which the color may be a bit lighter or darker than the surrounding colors. Essentially, you have to try and get the image to go from millions of colors to 12 or 15. I think I ended up with 20 for this one. By reducing the color you make it easier to change the colors later on.

This is a simple square repeat pattern. The book I am using to learn these techniques is called "Adobe Photoshop for Textile Design" and was written by the same designer who teaches the class I am enrolled in at, Frederick Chipkin. As I said in my last post, he is a great teacher and his book is really wonderful and easy to navigate. I bought the book because his classes don't address all the various permutations involved in pattern design. The book is much more thorough.

My next project to do will be to vary the colorway.

Then on to half drop repeats. I needed a good challenge and this seems to be a good one for me right now! Today was a good day in the studio, one which I sorely needed.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pattern Design


I have been so far behind with things since school began, I don't know where to begin. My schedule really changes so much in the fall it is very hard for me to adjust. As a result, I haven't had much time in the studio, sad to say. But one thing I am doing is learning how to make patterns out of my art work. In all my years as a graphic designer, I never really gave much thought to textile design. I was a book designer and that is what I loved. But I did become quite proficient in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. At least I thought I was until I began this fabulous online course with Frederick Chipkin at Craft.Edu. His classes are very reasonably priced and a wonderful introduction into color reduction (I had never heard of that before) as well as square repeats and half drop repeats. I know that there is a lot more to it but it is a start and for me a good beginning to see if my artwork fits into the textile or wallpaper marketplace. Even if it does not, I always enjoy challenging myself and this class is a real challenge but in a good way.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Color Wheel Stencils

I have always loved making color wheels. I don't know why. I just love seeing the way various colors react with one another. But I really don't like having to draw the templates for them. So imagine my joy at discovering Pam Carrikers line of color wheel stencils! Just what the doctor ordered. I can now make color wheels until eternity and just stick to the fun part. Mixing colors!
You can find the stencils here at Stencil Girl.