ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Haliburton School of the Arts, Week One

For the sixth (or maybe it is now seventh) summer in a row I am back at the Haliburton School of the Arts. This year I'm teaching two classes. Just to set the mood, I took this photo of boats on a lake. I am in cottage country after all.

Tuesday night we had our weekly instructor/artist reception at Rails End Gallery.

Here I am with "Cavern 2".
Last week each of my students designed their own flower or foliage quilt, based on their own photograph. Every single student had an almost-completed quilt top by the end of the week. Don't they make an awesome statement in this photo?
I'm sharing each individual piece as well. This one is Anne's white waterlily. Obviously I shot this photo at an earlier stage than it was at in the group photo above because I am missing the green lily pad here. Not easy to do a white flower, but she pulled it off.

Bev's crop of a pansy has the look of an abstract landscape.
The centre of Bonnie's clematis is an absolute killer! It's all about the value!

Walk into the cavern that is Connie's iris.
Gail's foliage piece has an intriguing colour combination, aided by some adjustments she made of her photo in Photoshop.
Very dramatic piece by Lois.

Ruthanne's piece has amazing depth.
Sharon did a great job of exaggerating her values beyond what was in her photograph, and pulling in yellows as her lights.
Sue's piece has a wonderfully fresh and modern look with the white background.

Vicki worked on a dramatic hosta composition. It just needs a little background in the upper left and in one area on the left side.
Tashi, the golden retriever, dropped his mom off every morning and picked her up every night. He and his family travelled all the way from Manitoba.

 My teaching week ended with this deer sighting on the narrow gravel road leading to the teacher cabins. Mama deer and her teenager stated to move away when they saw my car approach. I stopped and aimed my camera out of my window. I was still and they were stiller yet.

Look at the ears on the teenager!
Mom. Are those deerfly or ticks on her forehead?
The Haliburton Arts and Crafts Festival began on Friday. This is a fantastic juried arts and crafts show with 125 vendors that is held the last weekend each July. One of my favorite artists is Julia Spittel of Earth Songs Studio. She tempts me with her glass jewellery every summer!

Tomorrow I start my second week of teaching here with The Art Quilt. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What's up?

I know I've been quiet for the last two weeks. I've had my nose to the grindstone! One of the side effects of being a travelling teacher is that a lot of other things in my life have fallen by the wayside. One of them is our home. I've been wanting to do some painting for a long time but always feel that when I have any free time that I should be in my studio. Truth is it has been hard to get into the studio this past year, and sometimes one needs to do what one's heart is calling for. So I spent a week painting our guestroom/my computer room. I am so happy I did. I love the colour: "Serene Thought". I just could not take that blah off-white builder's paint anymore. I won't tell you how long we have lived in this house and still had builders paint on the upstairs walls!

It makes me happy to sit at my computer now (you can see it at right). That little white boat-shaped thing is a wall shelf I picked up at Home Sense. It goes with the coastal beach cottage theme I was after. My colour sense has been so influenced by my trip to the Greek Islands last September. I haven't hung anything on the walls yet because I don't want to damage the paint while it is curing. My body hurt everywhere when I was finished but it was so well worth it!

Next up, when I get some time (maybe early September), I plan to paint my studio apple green :-) This is just going to be a year where teaching is in demand and rooms need to get painted. Teaching will slow down again, it goes in cycles, and I'll have more time in the studio. 

In addition to that, I've been dyeing and ironing.  I always bring fabric with me when I'm teaching (unless I'm teaching at a shop) and I wanted to make sure students in my classes at Haliburton School of the Arts have options if they needed a light or a dark or ...  There aren't any fabric stores really close by the college as it is in cottage country. I'm leaving Sunday for two weeks of teaching there.

In the last few months, and up until this week, I've been vetting photographs sent to me by students. I've been teaching classes on how to design your own botanical quilt, and my first week at Haliburton will be on this topic. I like to see student photographs ahead of time to make sure they aren't too complex for the first time, and to make sure they have enough hi-lights and shadows to translate. A little tweaking in PhotoShop can help with a photo that is not very dramatic.

Let me show you. So the photo below is one I chose as inspiration for a quilt I'm about to make, one that I hope to publish a pattern for. I find this photo has lots of light and shadow and I could use it as is.

However, just to show what I mean by "posterizing", I've applied that feature to the photo below. When someone paints a flower, they can nicely blend one colour into another, but when we are making a quilt with pieces of fabric, we have to decide where the hard edges of the fabric are going to be. The "posterizing" feature in PhotoShop does the work of setting out the colour and value changes in definite shapes.

Let me repeat. I do not normally use the posterizing feature. I try to get a good photograph where I won't need it. But it does help when the photo doesn't have the hi-lights and shadows I'm looking for because it makes the value changes easier to discern.

I am having reservations about making this quilt in red and yellow because I've already published a poppy pattern that is red and yellow, so I thought I might change the colour to purple and orange instead. I tried a few options to make the flower more purple and orange, below:

But I'm not sure this is what I want. It doesn't have the freshness of the original red and yellow version. Here it is "purpleized" (haha) and posterized!

When I google "tulip purple and orange" images, something much prettier comes up. So I may have to use the colour inspiration I find in the googled tulips and transfer it to my tulip.  Here, for example you can see what I mean:


By the way, if you don't have PhotoShop, I understand there are some free programs on the web to posterize photos. Just google "free softerware posterize photos", or something like that.

In the mean time, I dug up this coleus photo I took at least a decade ago. Yes, I was inspired by my students on Salt Spring Island who were working with coleus. The original photo is a little blah to me.

So I revved up the colour.

I'm still dreaming about this fern from Vancouver Island:

and the smoke bush!

Before I sign off, I want to share this little plant. It is a "Dr. Bob", or "Robert Olson" hosta, sent to me by Bob Olson, the Editor of The Hosta Journal. It is doing well in my garden.