Monday, January 1, 2018

T-Shirt Quilts

T-Shirt Quilt
Back before Caleb and Kelli were married, I made a quilt for Caleb for his birthday.  Kelli asked me if I had ever made a T-shirt quilt.  I did not know what was involved in making one, since I had never tried.  Kelli had been saving old T-shirts for many years and hoped to preserve them somehow.  A year or two later, I found a class on the Craftsy website for making T-shirt quilts, so I purchased and downloaded the class.  The next time Kelli was here, I told her to bring her collection of T-shirts and I would try to put them together for her.   Her collection turned out to be a huge container full of shirts
representing many facets and times of her life.

Each T-shirt was cut to save the logo or appropriate design, then each piece had to be stabilized with a light weight iron on interfacing.  Here some of the pieces are set into a design to indicate a placement that would work as a quilt.  The directions for the "class" warned against making the quilt too big, and suggested that 20 or 30 was the max number of squares.  I pushed that number a little here, but ended up with 27 squares in the finished quilt. 

To make each row, choose the layout then cut the borders to suit the size of the block.  This is challenging, everything needs to be cut to a specific size for the math to match.  There was a size chart included in the download.

I made 5 separate rows, then sewed them together.  I wanted to machine quilt the whole thing on my machine, so figuring that out was another challenge because the class stopped at the quilt top and did not have any information on putting the whole thing together and quilting it.  I ended up stitching around each logo so it would "puff" up a little, then coming up with a design for the borders of each square.  The blue border that goes all the way around the quilt was quilted with a different design

Completed T-shirt quilt

There were so many T-shirts, I ended up making two quilts.  They are challenging but really fun to make.  Kelli received these quilts for Christmas.  She was thrilled, which made me very happy.

When we got back from our fall travels, I felt like I needed to try painting again.  To warm up, I found a demo in the watercolor magazine for showing distance.  My rendition is above.  It is not great, but it got me ready to try something else.

I have always found it difficult to capture the red rock cliffs of Zion, tho I have had some success in the past, I have thrown away more than I have kept.  Roland Lee is a watercolorist from St. George, Utah.  He is well known for his paintings of Zion.  On his web site, he has several demos, they do not show all the details, but they are a snapshot into how he creates his renditions of this amazing landscape.  One of these demos is from the Taylor Creek trail in the Kolob Canyons area of Zion.  We have done that hike a number of times and I had some photos from it.  So after watching his demo, I tried my own version.  Again, it is not great, but it helped me capture the essence of the sandstone formations.  These two watercolor studies are small, 8x8.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Experiments in Pastels

Sneffles Autumn

Red Mountains #2 and #3

It has been a busy summer of hiking in the high country.  I have not taken much time for painting, but did spend time with my good friend, Barbara Kendrick, who has helped me off and on try to get the hang of pastels.  It is still a mystery to me how this medium works, but I came away with two pieces that I like.  

The Ouray art show, Artists Alpine Holiday, which happens every August, was a great success.  Though I did not win any awards for the 3 watercolors that I entered, I did sell two of them.  

A new locals gallery opened up in Ouray this summer, The Purple Peacock.  I was encouraged by Dee Hilton, who owns the Wildflower Boutique, where my paintings, prints, and cards reside, to talk to the owner of the Peacock.  I was pleased to be able to hang several original paintings there, one of which sold last month.  

So it is time to hit the road again, and as usual, I have told myself that this time out, I will paint more, but I know how that usually goes.  😏

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spring Things

Time to move on to Spring things.  This is an 8x8 watercolor of Aspen trunks and spring wildflowers.
The snow is melting here in Ouray, but up in the high country there is still several feet covering the ground.  The weather forecasters are calling for warmer than usual temps this spring, so perhaps the snow will come down fast.
Right now it is pretty brown here in town with a few daffodils braving the intermittent snows along with the hardy forsythia.

Another spring aspen study.  I did both of these while on the road this winter, tho I did not finish this one until last week.  

I painted this small autumn aspen study in February before doing the spring studies.  8x8 is a handy size to work in on the road.  I like it better than the tiny 4x6.  The only problem is the composition is square, so that requires more thought and preparation when considering where to place the focal point.

Last summer I started this quilt and had it all put together and pinned when we left in Oct.  I took it with me, but never did anything to it while on the road.  

Nor did I get it out while we were home in December.  But in late March, after arriving,  I was eager to get it finished as I had finally figured out how I was going to quilt it.

Quilting the whole thing on my machine with only a little practice was too daunting,  so  I tied the body of the quilt
and used my sewing machine to quilt the 2 borders.  It is certainly not perfect, but all in all it looks great.

Wouldn't you say?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Remembering Autumn in Colorado

"Autumn at Crystal Lake"
What a relief to finally paint something that I like.  It was quite a struggle to get it to the finish line, and I told Mark that this should not be so hard.  But I am pleased with it and hope that it marks the beginning of better paintings to come.  This painting is 10x14, matted to 16x20.  

"Autumn up Dexter Creek"

This is a small study, 8x8" which could be matted to 12x12.
I love fall and found recently that I had no more fall paintings hanging anywhere, so perhaps others love fall as much as I do.

 Aspens are a popular painting subject and fall aspens are the most colorful.  When you capture vividly colored leaves with the aspen's uniquely marked trunks and add snow capped peaks, you are bound to have a winner.

My wish, now that we are back on the road, is that I don't fall into my bad habit of not painting.  It is important to keep the creative juices flowing.  From past experience, I know that the longer I go between painting attempts the easier it is not to pick up a brush at all.  Then the blank page just stares back reflecting a blank mind.  😕

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Small Studies Practice

Autumn Along the Uncompahgre

Monuments and Temples of Zion

Super Moon Rising over Zion

I am sure you are tired of me telling of how I have been struggling with painting for the past few years.  So far nothing that I have tried to renew my enthusiasm has worked, but I will continue to persevere.  The small size suits me just now.  If I screw up, I don't have a lot of time and creativity invested.

Mark and I have been collaborating on some digital art cards.  We have had luck selling a few at one of the shops in Ouray that carries my art.  (the Wildflower Boutique).

These are 5 1/2" x 8" blank note cards printed on high quality photo paper.
Here are a few examples:

"Columbine and Paintbrush"

"Red Mountain Reflection"

"Saint Sophia's Ridge"
"Tracks into Winter"

"Early Snow up Camp Bird Road"

"Virgin Snow"
These cards sell at the shop for $5.00 @,  You can purchase them from us for $4.00@ or 6 for $20.

Friday, August 26, 2016


We have about wrapped up our pastel lessons with good friend, Barb.  Right after we finished the top painting Barb adopted a rescue dog who needed lots of TLC, so we missed several weeks
of practice especially since we left all our materials over at Barb's studio.  
Finally her dog seemed to be settling down, so I went over to finish up the last painting and pick up our materials.  
As you can see we have been working on dramatic skies using Utube videos.  I still find I don't quite get pastels, but I think I am improving.  But before I forget how to watercolor, I need to get back to my old medium.  I have found that I do not have any fall watercolor paintings left.  Seems they have all sold.  There is a message there somewhere that I should heed.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Keeping It Red

Red Mountains as seen from Mt. Abram's ridge

Since painting with Linda Nadel for a month, this is my first painting on my own.  Seems like I am still having some problems finding time and inspiration to paint.  One reason is that Mark and I have been trying to learn how to work with pastels with my good friend Barbara Kendrick.  Barbara is very accomplished at her chosen medium, and seems glad to share her talent with us.  We are struggling but determined to get the "hang of it"

This is my first pastel attempt, In case you can't tell, it is a Utah scene with storm clouds over the canyon.  I have a long way to go.

This quilt is another project.  The top photo is a sample of the squares.  There are 30 squares, each different,
There is a green border added to the blue one now.  I am hoping to quilt this on my sewing machine.  Wish me luck.

It has been a few weeks since I started this post.  Here is my second attempt at pastel.  I had a lot of help  from Barb, but I feel like I am getting somewhere.  It still doesn't make complete sense to me, but hopefully I will have an "Ah Ha" moment soon.