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.