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Friday, July 26, 2013

Can you tell the summer session started?

I've disappeared from my usual Internet haunts and have been spending much of my day reading a hefty text book or working on the College Website listening to Video lectures, taking copious notes on the chapter outlines, and writing essays about Art History for assignments or quizzes.

Yep, my summer semester started and I'm taking an accelerated, 5-week class to meet the degree requirement that I pass Art History II.
The class is very interesting - and {blessings be} it does not require me to memorize the stats of 50 artworks each week to be quizzed about 10 of them. {Why yes, I may have been a little scarred from the Art History I full-semester experience (years ago).}
Granted this class does not require extreme memorization but it does require a lot of study/writing - which works much better with how my brain functions.

The teacher has been to several of the places we're studying and I like her perspective, comments beyond the text book stuff, voice and style.
({grin}I think her voice sounds a bit like The Yarn Harlot.)
We've been through my favorite period of Art History - the Renaissance. Proto-Renaissance, Early Northern, Early Italian and Italian High Renaissance - it turns out there was a lot more Renaissance than I realized.
We've just covered the Italian & Spanish Baroque and Rococo periods (a bit fussy and busy for me art-wise) and we have also just reviewed the beginning of Neo-Classicism (where the United States turns up in Art History).

Thus far, it appears the majority of historical art seems to have been created per the request of a Patron or for political or social-standing reasons. Hmmm - I might be a little cynical on that perspective.
I have been surprised and delighted at some of the humor or cleverness built into some of the paintings we've reviewed. Some of the art is startlingly beautiful or sad and sometimes the effort expended to complete the artwork is overwhelming (Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel - 'nuf said.)

I'm going to restrain my urge to ramble on about the many amazing paintings, statues, architecture and early mixed media to which I've been exposed. I have a quiz to take for this week and I need to get started on next week's reading. But here is a portrait I hadn't seen before - Jan Van Eyck's portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Bride. The National Gallery's website will allow you to zoom in and ogle  the clever details of this portrait. I'm particularly fond of the mirror reflection and signature ("Jan van Eyck was here") on the far side of the room past the couple.

Overall, I am finding there is a great deal I don't know - which doesn't surprise me. But I am stretching my brain and learning a lot...and I'm enjoying the process despite the time crunch.
Speaking of which - it is time for me to head back to the books!

Postscript: Not much knitting has been happening over the last few weeks because school has been the top priority. However, there are some Jayne Hats being knit upon at Dr. appointments or as I'm reading a chapter. I have offered to donate two Jayne Hats to the Arizona Browncoats to use for fundraising at the upcoming Can't Stop the Serenity Event at the Fox Theater on August 17th at 6 PM.
Oh...and there are some preemie hats I need to knit!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Color-Aid Adventure Continues or "I'd rather fussy cut fabric for a quilt"

In the "More of the "Training our Eye for Color" adventure" blog post I revealed we were not yet done with the packet of Color-Aid paint cards.

For the next project we were assigned the task of creating a 7" x 7" design that we would recreate with the 4.5" x 6" Color-Aid cards to show a focus on pattern, dimension, light or transparency (or a combination of the 4).

I pondered options and drew some sketches of my ideas:
(Click on the pictures to enlarge if you're curious. 
Again...apologies for the light drawings - which make for poor photographs.)

Above left - #1 Sun/heat & Monsoon/water. 
Above right: #2 A window with curtain blowing in breeze. 


Above left - #3 Quilt inspired Window Pane with Cat.
Above right - #4 Stylized Sun/Wind/Mountain Range.


Above left - #5 Quilt inspired Log Cabin/Pinwheel
Above right - #6 Quilt inspired Celtic Chain

I reviewed my ideas with the teacher and although we both found #1 (Sun & Water) & # 4 (Mtn. Range) intriguing, #6 was also favored. And I chose to go with #6 - which was based on a pattern in "Celtic Pieced Illusions" by Karen Combs. {A truly spiffy and clever book!}

My focus was going to be Transparency and I pulled several ranges of colors from the remaining cards in my Color-Aid. Then I started trying to pull cards that would support the color transitions/transparency as the Celtic chain/cables crossed each other.

It was challenging to find a range of colors that would work. The closest I got was with a "rainbow" in bright primary colors. I shifted my palate some to find good transparency matches - and the teacher approved my choices.
She assisted me in choosing background colors and I set to work.
{Foreshadowing...we didn't consider the background color effect with ALL the chain colors.}
Yep, I went through several xacto knife
blades on this project.
Based on the amount of time available before the project was due, and the number of tiny pieces to cut out, I chose to cut some same-color background sections as 1 piece.
{More Foreshadowing...this did not allow me to transition background colors as well as I could have.} {sigh}

There was a great deal of fussy-cutting and I credit my sanity to listening to the CraftLit podcast whilst I cut and re-cut many, many small pieces of paper out of the templates and then reversed those pieces to cut from the back of the Color-Aid cards.

I decided pretty early on that fussy-cutting fabric for a quilt was easier than this Color-Aid project.
I had already learned that it is a bad idea to cut bits of Color-aid with a dull Xacto blade. {sigh}

The 1st pass of cuttings were pasted down with temporary glue.
The flaws with the background color is evident in this picture. 
As I transferred the "good" pieces to another background, I decided which {many} needed to be re-cut so the pieces would fit better. And then I used the permanent-glue glue-stick to adhere the pieces to the "fresh" background.
{I was getting really tired of glue about this time.}
When all the pieces were well and permanently pieced, I carefully trimmed down the colorful Celtic cable pattern and ...
{The yellow & backgrounds don't look too bad in this lighting.}
.... and applied it to the freshly cut/appropriately-sized mat/background.

As foreshadowed above, the review in class brought to light that the background colors washed out/made the yellow cables invisible and that the background color transitions would have worked better if I'd cut all the individual squares/triangles instead of going with the larger pieces.
And...because it was the background {and permanent glue}, it wasn't something I could easily fix.

However, the teacher said I did an excellent job of cutting/placing all the pieces and I did represent transparency very well in the over/under crosses of the cables and the colors I chose.

And yes, this project was a neatly-planned stepping stone {training} for the final Color and Composition project - in Triplicate.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Blogiversary #5 - Half a Decade of Blogging

{grin} "Half a Decade of Blogging". Sounds impressive, huh?
Per our school system, "Five" is the age to enroll in school - Kindergarten.

{grin-er} I guess that's what I've done in my 5th blogiversary year - I've gone back to school.
Beginning Weaving (Kindergarten) at the local community college.

But Five Years of Blogging.
Well, I guess I'm not much past Kindergarten in blogging either.

Blogging is an interesting outlet for me. And I think it has become an important outlet.
It seems a bit like journalling - electronically - with a touch of scrap booking.
A journal/scrapbook that is visible to anyone on the Internet and... {oddly/wonderfully} visited by folks from all over the world.

Some blog posts are emotional venting:, jubilant, disappointed, loving, distressed, obnoxious ;-), cathartic, happy/envious/stubborn/ patientsad - but generally heartful. Other posts are funny, musical, photographicsilly or colorful. I have also "scrap-booked" journeys, critter visits, knitterly projects, more critter visits, exercise adventurespoisonous critter visits, cat-snacksevents, or ironic happenstance.

Lastly, some posts are charitable in nature and action.
In last year's blogiversary post, I offered to donate funds to Doctors Without Borders for the first 4 comments left on that blog post. Two lovely souls {Grateful thanks to Janel Laidman and O! Jolly!!} helped me fulfill 1/2 of my pledge and $30.00 was donated to DWB in July 2012.

I will stand by my 2012 Blogiversary pledge to donate another $20.00 to Doctors Without Borders for two more comments on the 2012 Blogiversary post. Would you like to help me fulfill that pledge? 

For this year's Blogiversary, I will pledge to learn to do something new inspired by comments left on the 2013 Blogiversary post.
{Granted it's something I've been meaning to do, but...}

I will pledge* to knit a preemie hat for each comment left on this 5-Year blogiversary blog post.
Would you like to leave a comment to kick off my preemie hat knitting?
Would you like to join me in knitting preemie hats?  ;-)

Comments, pledges and preemie hats aside, Thank you for reading. 
For some of you  - thanks for a Half of a Decade of reading. 
Truly - thank you.

Also - my grateful thanks to the folks at Blogger, for offering this venue for our use and enjoyment.

(*Hmmm. To ward off any Internet craziness, I'm going to exclude counting my own comments and limit the 2013 preemie hat knitting pledge to no more than 50 hats. {wry grin} I know it's unlikely {nigh unto impossible} that there will be 50+ comments, but irony and I are well-acquainted.}