Much to our surprise it snowed this morning.  Mike and I were reflecting back to an April 1st snow storm that dumped a couple of feet on us and we were without power for 4 days.  It's not a fun time since we don't have a wood stove or a fireplace in this rental.

See that long line of fir trees along our driveway. . . well at the end of that driveway is the new house that we've been building for almost 7 years.  The super good news is that yesterday we got our final inspection, passed and signed off with the county building dept.  Woo-Who!!!  So now we'll be able to pursue refinancing - Finally.  It took lots of little and not so little loans to get this thing close to completed.

Next step is laying the wood floor downstairs so the finisher can come in and make it beautiful.  Then we pick carpet, have it installed and move in.  Last step * * * P A R T Y  O N!!!

Back to reality - we'll need to rent out this MH and that's something we don't look forward to at all.  I can tell you we've have more "bad" (or let's just say "interesting" renters than we've had "wonderful" renters.  Then there's the big idea I have rattling around in this mental maze of a brain, to turn the space into a workshop / small retreat type spot, all set up with work tables, etc. with room to sleep up to 8, full kitchen, two baths and a washer and dryer.  I can see quilters, painters, scrapbookers, mixed media artists, and girlfriend gatherings utilizing this space.  Most importantly it would be a place to escape to. . . away from the tv, the phone, the kids, the to-do lists.  A place to indulge ones-self in creative exploration or simply to finish a project.  And that's part of my vision for "Alsea Art Farm".                                                                              


I Love This Quote!

But a word of caution (to me!) I read a post called "Highs and Lows of Being an Artist" on Lesley Riley's  blog today and it reminded me that sometimes what we wish for ends up being more than we wish for - if not monitored and occasionally assessed.  She has achieved success in my mind.  I admire her so much and I love her work!  Not only is she a talented artist but she has the most generous spirit.  I've followed her from nearly the beginning and I even have one of her "Fragments".   It's one of my favorite treasures!  I love everything about it.

We all need to make sure life doesn't overwhelm us and clutter our spirits!
We need to play often!!!

Art Quilts and Wearable Art

A post I'll be working on soon - more art quilts and art-to-wear that I've done in the past and hope to pick up again.     Here's a sample of what's to come. . . .



Postcard Quilts

Last night at Mary's River Quilt Guild there were two speakers, one who did a slide show and a demonstration of postcard quilts.  Her's were actually mailable, which is so cool.  Although I've never mailed any of mine, I have made quite a few and I can't help but love almost all of them.  Which of course makes it difficult to part with some.  All are 4" x 6" finished little quilts with bound edges.  I sold them in black shadowbox frames that I purchased from American Frame Co., but last time I looked I couldn't find the same frames for sale, which is disappointing because I would love to pick up where I left off and produce these one-of-a-kind little pieces of art and sell them in galleries again.  The last gallery I sold them in was on the Oregon coast where they were priced at $70.  Of course, after commission and supply costs (mostly for the frame) I think I made about $25.00 each.

The thing from last nights speaker that perked up my ears was when she mentioned that she sends them to grandkids and how much they loved them - hmmmm my gramma heart was telling me to do just that and very soon.

But here's a sample of my quiltart postcards (introduced to me in a workshop 10 yrs ago, by David Walker )   I apologize - I'm still trying to figure out how to take great photographs.  Some are ok, but some are barely passable.   While I'm making excuses. . I'm having a heck of a time with blogger's photo placement.  Sometimes it just has a mind of it's own!

The first one above says "Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see"
The one on the lower left says "When someone you know becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure"  and the one lower right was made when I found out that I would be a grandma for the first time.  It was a reminder to me to pray for that little one because there were challenging circumstances!  There still are - and my granddaughter is 9 years old now.  

Above it says "Art washes away from the Soul the dust of everyday life"  And then there are the postcard quilts that are unfinished.  I posted two here.  To the right it says, "Complete forgiveness is Memory without the Pain".  

I unearthed several of them a couple of months ago and it was such a pleasant surprise.

When we move into the new house in a few short months, that's what it's going to be like when I can finally unpack everything that's been in storage for the last 7+ years.  I think we even have things in storage that were brought from the Philomath house's attic.  Mike has said for years that when we finally have a garage sale, it's going to be a BIG one!

And then there's this last one.  I think I like it so much I may be keeping it for myself!  "Creating my own reality with art"

I Can't Draw . . . . but if I practice I will be able to draw - so can you!

I use to say "I CAN'T draw" or "I even draw really bad stick people" and I had the drawings to prove it!  But I firmly believe that creativity and talent all start somewhere and if we have the desire, and we practice (a lot for some of us - me included) and keep practicing. . . then we develop talents we didn't have before!  OK so what about natural talent you ask?  Well, then I'd say that some people are naturally gifted and I don't have time to delve into that right now, but basically I put all gifts into one big God box!

So I've always wanted to paint.  The I discovered that to paint I'd most likely needed to draw or sketch.  I took one drawing class, oh somewhere around 1998 and found it challenging, but even I was amazed at what I could accomplish with a little instruction.  I look back at my classwork and for the life of me, I can't remember how I did some of those drawings.  But they look pretty darn amazing to me now.  Too bad I didn't continue to practice, because who knows I might be pretty darn good right about now!  Ah well.

Last week another opportunity to learn to draw came about by reading our local Alsea newsletter and reading that someone in our community was offering public art classes.  Every Saturday evening from 6-9 and for only $7 a class.  The fact that he and his wife had painted signs for local businesses gave me an idea of their expertise, but it wasn't until I googled him and checked out his web site  www.danandmaehitchcock.com/ (if you don't want to see nudes then don't click on "Dan's Art" but do check out the murals) that I saw what an amazing talent the had.  Actually it's he and his wife Mae's website and art.  His name is Dan Hitchcock and he's self taught!  I'm not sure about Mae, if she's self taught also.  Anyway, I couldn't wait for the first class.  So here's my class projects.  1st one is using a grid to transfer lines.  I liked the picture I picked out to use, but I think a face or a person's form would have been a bit easier.  With my picture I wanted to finish with paints or watercolor pencil, but I may do some of that later.
This second class sample of the first night we were suppose to draw a head form that was sitting in front of us on a table.  Mine looks ridiculous.  It looks like an alien to me!  This will not be finished!

OK, on to something I've been wanting to paint for some time.  My favorite coffee cup.  I call it my comfort cup because it's big and the colors really please me, every time I use it.  What I did was take a picture of it then change it to gray scale on Picassa.  After I printed it out, I remembered something from my last drawing class and I traced the cups lines with a graphite pencil.  Then I laid that drawing face down onto watercolor paper and burnished with an old spoon.  When I lifted that picture from the wc paper, there was a light pencil image of the cup.  Then I proceeded to go over the lines once again, then I used Staedtler watercolor pencils to color in the cup.  

After everything was colored in I used a fine tip brush and carefully went over the pencil and there I was Watercolor Painting!  It truly was just filling in the spaces and kinda like paint by number without the numbers.

After the painting was completed the last step for the cup was to go over the black lines one more time with a black pen.  I used a Precise V5 roller ball black pen.

It's not a perfect match by any means but it does give me the same visual satisfaction as the real cup.

Here's the completed painting.

The title was done with a Sharpie marker the exact same color as the inside of the cup.
And I can't tell you how happy this makes me.


Too Cool Not To Share!

I thought it time to share this cool resource that I stumbled upon.  It's called "Creative Catalyst Productions Inc."  I actually was looking for a past painting teacher Lynn Powers, from whom I first took a watercolor painting class at the Benton Center in 1998.  It's something I would like to do again.  So I googled her name and came across her new venture with her husband (they live in Albany) and wowza - take a look at what they are doing, right here in my own backyard!!!  http://www.ccpvideos.com/
I've known about this site for a couple of months and really thought I'd purchase a few of my favorite artists ( ANN BALDWIN / SHERRILL KAHN / LESLEY RILEY / CLAUDINE HELLMUTH ) DVD's, but not until I'm employed again and can afford even that.  But think of the tremendous opportunity this is. . . . workshops are getting increasingly more expensive and this option is affordable to say the least!!!

BUT. . . . the surprise that I had today is that you can also RENT these DVD's too, right on your own computer.  http://www.artworkshops.tv/  Check out the freebies!
The Sherrill Kahn screen-prints below are from one of the freebies that I watched today!
I think she's at the top of my favorites list!
I've taken a workshop from her in person and I've used her painting on fabric techniques more than any other.    She's also on of the nicest people you'll ever meet.

So what are you waiting for. . . .  go check out these DVD's.
Let me know if you find anything you like!


Quilting Magazines - Ooooh La La!

This is the quilt magazine cover I'm lusting over right now.  I want to create something with its feel, vibrant color and zingy style.  Simple huh, but oh so cute!

I’m blessed to be leaving this afternoon for a woman’s retreat at the coast this weekend, but all of a sudden I want to stay home and play.  That’s not unusual, but what is, is that I’ve been in a non-producing place for some time now.  So I collect magazines, peruse blogs, get inspired and frustrated all at the same time.  I know there are other people that can probably relate to this.  Maybe, there’s even a self-help group I can join?  If you know of one, email me!
I'm still dreaming & waiting for the day that I can move into my new room (a.k.a Studio).  We purchased the wood flooring last weekend for the whole house, which has to be acclimated to the interior of the new house before Mike can install it.  Then the floor finisher comes in to do his thing.  Then the last step before moving in will be to have carpet installed.  We're thinking another two months!  But wait, we have a nephew getting married here at the property on May 15th. . . maybe waiting till after that is a good thing (but I'm also thinking that we can use some of those young muscles to move some of the heavy stuff before or after the wedding.  A small price to pay for camping and spending the weekend here, wouldn't you say?)
I have been playing around with dryer softener sheets (I first used these in my 1st Starbuck's Quilt in 1997) but now I'm printing on them.  Also playing around with face wipes.  Seems like this is all coming around again right now.  I'm seeing it on lot's of blogs and in mag. articles.  Reminds me of the saying "Nothing is new under the sun", we just rediscover with a twist.
Speaking of the Starbuck's Quilt. . . I'm not yet ready to post the art quilts I started doing in 1997 while a member of Tactile Expressions, but if you want to see a few things I've done you can take a look here. . . . http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Fegles-ArtPlay/243989502476?ref=ts  go to "photos", then "other works"  There are a few things there, certainly not all the stuff I need to dig up (photos mostly, because a lot of   my quilts have been sold)  By the way. . . I'm about ready to put the first Starbuck's quilt up on Ebay with a minimum bid, in order to get the funds to trademark a term.  Yes, that's what I said!  We think we have a great idea and really want to market it asap, but not without trademark protection first.  And with me still being unemployed, I either need to sell plasma or sell a quilt to get the extra funds needed to pursue this frivolous idea.  And to end this post. . . these are the covers that I almost want to frame!  I love the colors!!!

Did I mention that these are all going to the retreat with me?
Of course I'm still dreaming!


Colorful and Different. . . I love that!

I was getting dressed earlier and thought of my new socks and had to post a picture.  Then that led to taking another picture, and then finding another one that I thought fit in the "Colorful and Different" category. . . . way side tracked AGAIN!!!  But let's proceed with the original thought. .. . .. . ..  Here are my birthday socks from my son and daughter-in-law.  I just love them for their outrageous design, pattern and of course the color.  By the way, if you love them as much as I do - you too can own them if you live locally.  I found them at "Sibling Rivalry" in Corvallis.
and they're much too special to cover up with any shoes, so that means I will always have to wear them with my black Birkenstocks.  Of course!

and thinking about color - I have to show you this picture that I took while playing around with my webcam as I was play acting.  Yes, that's what I said.  Here's a photo of me pretending to be a famous artist (why else would I have such a posed photo).  But let me explain a thing or two.  It started out to be an experiment with my hair.  Lately I've been sick of it and I thought that I'd try and do a hair-pulled-back photo (I haven't done that look since grade school) to try and analyze my facial features so that I might begin to have an idea of what I think I'd like to try as a new hairstyle (way too sidetracked that day too!) and down the wandering path I went. .. . .. . I ended up having too much fun and the resulting picture is part of that.  Oh, and the other photos. . . . only a few close friends got to see the whole slide show.  Anyway, I got out one of my funnest and wildest jackets that I wear in spurts, on occasion, and it made me realize how I love that jacket!  Why I love that jacket.  It's not a jacket that many people would wear, well except for an artist type/wanna-be-artist like me.  I love it's color, the design is wacky, wild and free.  That's what I love about it and that it's very different - like me ;~)

Sometimes I can't believe I'm putting this stuff (thoughts and photos) out there for anyone to see.  Yikes!