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Hi, I'm Cyndi, and I've been writing and updating  Mixed Media Artist since 2005.  If you're a new visitor, welcome! Come tr...

Monday, January 30, 2017

Spring is Coming - a tutorial

Spring is Coming
Cyndi Lavin, 2017

Quite a few years ago (four!!), I painted this piece of watercolor paper, shown below, to use as a background for a future project.  Finally, finally, the right idea came together with this bright and fun acrylics and rubbing alcohol paper.

Take any background paper you have with a bright, busy pattern and good contrast.  I took my inspiration from Jo Toye's wonderful book Abstract Explorations in Acrylic Painting, a technique that involves multiple gesso applications over masks.  I will have a review of the book up soon.

For this piece, I used the lighter colors from the original background to add all the color accents.  Here's my materials list:

Acrylic paints - Cobalt teal, Cobalt turquoise, Quinacridone gold, Light green
Gesso - white and black
Fineline resist to preserve lines

The first step is to tape down your masks (the flower shapes and large lines), and to roll on thinned white gesso.  Then the outer rim is masked and the inside shapes of the flowers, and the rolling is repeated with black gesso.  Roll off the resist with your fingers.

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Copyright 2017 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. The tutorial may be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Monday, January 23, 2017

A cat quilt which we didn't finish...

I was a bit too ambitious this time with my oldest granddaughter.  I thought it was a good time to teach her how do make a simple hand stitched quilt block, but the stitching part turned out to be too daunting.  We'll set it aside and try it again in a year or so.  Or maybe we'll start over.

She loves cats, and my nickname for her is Kitty Kat, so this is what I designed for her.  I encouraged her to choose unrealistic colors, and I gave her a wide variety of fabrics to choose from.  We traced the pattern that I had made onto fusible interfacing and cut out the fused fabric pieces that way.  She was a little careless with her tracing and cutting, so some of the pieces turned out a bit wonky.  That's ok...that's how we learn!

Copyright 2017 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Book review: Art Quilts International - Abstract & Geometric

Schiffer Publishing has put out a book of unsurpassed beauty and inspiration for those who love quilts and quilting.  In their new volume, Art Quilts International: Abstract & Geometric, edited by Martha Sielman, you will find 220 pages of gorgeous quilts and the stories behind them.  Martha, who is the director of Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc (better known as SAQA), was able to chose from among 1300 submissions to 97 artists that are featured in the book's galleries, and 29 that are featured with information on their inspirations, working methods, and histories.

The variety of styles represented in this large volume is incredibly inspiring.  For anyone who has ever wondered what makes a quilt "abstract," the answer is manifold.  Some focus on line.  Some focus on color.  Others merge those elements with symbolism.  There are quilts that are monochromatic but with intricate quilting patterns.  There are others that are wonders of patchwork piecing with very simple quilting patterns.  Store bought fabrics?  Hand dyed fabrics?  Surface design and printing?  Whole cloth or patchwork?  Yes yes yes...all of the above.

My personal preferences are split between purely geometric quilts that utilize lovely fabrics and textures, and abstracted from nature (or other images) quilts that use the real world as inspiration but do not slavishly copy it.  But oh, there is so much more, with artists who take their inspiration from just about anything you can think of, even including older traditional quilting and fiber art styles.  

If you are a quilter or a fiber artist, or even a collage artist, I cannot imagine that you wouldn't find this book to be a garden of delights!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Felt scarves with no sewing!

I found this super-cute scarf project before Christmas and was able to help my granddaughters to make two of them.  Since the little one is only 3, I decided to cut out the pieces for both of them and just have them do the assembling.  I know the older one could have helped with the cutting, but you know how that can go when there is sisterly competition involved!

Anyway, to see the instructions, you need to visit The Decorated Cookie on Facebook.  She has a quick and easy-to-follow little video there which shows you how to prep and assemble.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Ice lanterns

Over the Christmas and holiday break, my granddaughters and I were able to do several fun projects together.  They both like a bit of instant gratification, but they are also able to wait a bit if the wait is worth it.  With these ice lanterns, it was definitely worth the wait!

First we took a little walk around the yard to gather up some pine greenery, some rose hips, and some holly.  Then we took a large plastic container that I had saved, along with a plastic cup nested inside, and arranged the plants between the layers.

After that, we simply poured in water that I had boiled and cooled ahead of time.  Oh yeah, we also added pie weights to the inner cup, because, well, it wanted to float away!  Science lesson too...score!

After several hours in the freezer, we were able to simple run some hot water over the outside and in the cup, and remove them from our ice lantern.  The original project that I found online suggested using floating candles, which I think is brilliant!!  But I decided to go with what I already had...

My thanks to Creative in Chicago for this great idea!

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Happy New Year to all!

Once I manage to blow away the last remnants of the holiday cobwebs from my brain, I hope to be back to posting regularly!  In the meantime, here's one of the projects that granddaughter Katherine helped me with...can you tell what it is?
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