Above Dark Clouds…

My piece, Above Dark Clouds is finished and on its way as a donation to the SAQA Benefit Auction (Studio Art Quilts Association).

Above Dark Clouds, (c)2011Joni Beach
"Above Dark Clouds", Frayed-edge appliqué, pieced, quilted with rayon on hand-painted & commercial cotton, 11 1/2 x 11 1/2". (c)2011 Joni Beach.

It is satisfying to make a deadline, especially since I missed it last year!  🙂  Also, I will get to send in my new website and blog address with it, which was one of my goals for the year–to create a website and blog before the SAQA Benefit Auction.

This is a design idea I have actually tried before and did not finish. In flying to a health

"Above Dark Clouds",close-up, (c)2011 Joni Beach

center during a family health crisis, I would get above the rain clouds and realize how bright and beautiful the sun and cobalt blue sky was continually. It was an encouragement to me and became a symbol of hope and peace.

In experimenting with the design of this piece, I decided the horizontal lines for the sky, while somewhat simple, best portrayed the idea of calm and peace. The variation of the blue fabric I hand-painted to the desired color adds extra visual interest.

"Above Dark Clouds" detail, (c)2011 Joni Beach

For the clouds, I decided I liked the frayed edges for the softness and dimension it gave in contrast to the cleaner lines of the pieced sections of the sun and sky.

"Above Dark Clouds" detail, (c)2011 Joni Beach

In the future I plan to create a series exploring these ideas and theme, beginning with a similar large piece based on this design.

The SAQA Benefit Auction is an annual fundraising event and features a wonderful collection of members’ artwork, which can be obtained at very good prices!  Check it out the donated artwork now at http://www.saqa.com/saqa-u.php?ID=1791. The first day of the on-line bidding is September 12th, 2011, beginning at 2:00PM Eastern Standard time.

As life’s clouds sometimes gather, may the knowledge of the warm sun and brilliant, cobalt blue sky that still lies above it all bring you hope and peace…

Thursday In the Studio—“Slowly but Surely”

My progress in the studio this week is going “slowly but surely”…There were some other obligations that had to be taken care of in the past few days and my studio work was on hold. The top of the wall hanging, Above Dark Clouds, has been pieced. Today I am finishing the appliqué, adding a backing, and then will use quilt lines to add visual texture and dimension to the piece.

Above Dark Clouds-In Progress

The inspiration for this piece came years ago when I was flying cross-country to a health center with a family member. I would marvel at the sunshine and brilliant, clear, cobalt blue sky at 40, 000 feet, above the gray clouds, rain, and turbulence—it became a reminder for me. Looking down, away from the everyday challenges like work, life, and traffic—it all seemed so much smaller than when I was on the ground. In life there are times of stormy weather—with dark clouds. Sometimes it is difficult for me to remember that no matter what, there is always sunshine and a brilliant bright blue sky above it all…To finish this 12” art quilt a sleeve and label will be added.

New work is being begun on another 12” wall hanging–it is only in the idea stage.

New Design Idea

After creating a couple of pieces, I need to decide which art quilt to donate to the SAQA Benefit Auction..., and since time is running very close to the deadline, it must be mailed very soon!

Among other works in progress is the Lifeweaving #3 piece–the silver strips that represent the late adult life stage (ages 60-mid 80s) are being woven.

Silver Strips The next step is to baste the weaving together and layer the top, batting, and a backing.

Then, there is Transitions #2: Blue Moods waiting to be quilted…

Blue Moods unfinished

I once heard someone say that creative people usually have more than one project they work on at a time, so maybe all of these unfinished pieces are not a bad thing! But, I guess it is time to put away the camera, turn off the computer, and get busy in the studio…                                                                                             where progress is going “slowly but surely”!

*Do you ever seem to procrastinate, finding anything to do other than begin working? Do you think this serves some purpose!?

Tuesday…In The Studio

As new pieces of art are finished, an artist needs to document each work by photographing it.

Purple Wings. Fused appliqué, free-motion quilting on cotton, 9 x 10". © 2008 Joni Beach. Private collection.

When teaching university design courses, I always scheduled a photo shoot of the student’s original designs at the end of each semester. In the past, slides were required for a professional portfolio and any time an artist submitted an application for a juried exhibit. The slide film was expensive and there was a waiting time (of several days sometimes) while a shop developed your roll of film. Finally, most venues now have changed to digital submissions and the ease of shooting, editing, and developing good images of artwork has greatly improved.

Lighting Stands

I have been attempting to meet some new goals as an artist/designer in the studio. A current goal is to improve my photography skills and equipment. While I have a newer digital camera, a Sony DSC-H20, my ability to get the lighting needed for clear color and sharp images was lacking.

Yesterday my husband was kind enough to build some new light stands for me, which you can see here beside the camera tripod, using the instructions from Holly Knott of Finger Lakes Art (http://www.hollyknott.com). Holly’s suggestions for these light stands, light bulbs, and how to use them has given me better lighting conditions in my studio.

The next challenge?…To continue to improve my photography and to update my Portfolio and website with improved photos…

♦ Does anyone have more suggestions on what has helped you improve your photographs? I would love any further ideas to try!                                                        (Feel free to add your suggestions below by clicking on the small gray words, “Leave a Comment”.)