Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Navigating Inks

The idea here was to plan my 1ft square donation piece.  I knew ahead of time it would be larger so I could be more choosy about where to cut the 12" square.  
I drew some simple circles and part of a Compass Rose.  

Next I diluted the ink and started filling in shapes. 

I first drew them in light pencil; then went over them with ink.  
I was particularly pleased with the orange circle's wash. 

I did mask off the two main radiating arms and use a rubber stamp to put in the design there; but it didn't work as well as I would have liked so I muddied the image in greens and a shimmery off white. Next up was adding words. 

Notice that big white point at the top?  That was a bird I drew, but it looked bad so I painted gesso over it. Then I painted the "A".  the letter looks good but background is not so that entire thing will be cropped off. 

different size fonts.
All done...
maybe.  I might add some large letters in between the green radiating arms.  Not sure.  It was a fun excersize & I keep learning new things in working with this type ink.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Messing around with colors

I'm working with trying to blend colors on fabric the way you can blend them on paper.  Just messing around today using one of my favorite quotes.  I truly just hacked off a piece of this material I had prepared because I wanted to see how it would respond to the inks.  This was not a planned out piece as you can tell by the spacing issues, different letter form mix, etc.  The fabric (called 'bottom weight' cotton) worked very well.  The ink stayed right where I put it; whether I wanted it there or not.  But it ultimately was a fun excersize and shows me just how much I really need to practice my calligraphy!  This measures 9" W x 10" L. 

Weekend Calligraphy Work

Needed to get some 'Thank You' card material ready!  El and I had fun working on this project together since she needed some 'TY' notes all ready for graduation gifts, etc.  and I need to send a couple out myself.  

I pre-painted this fabric the night before.  It is unbleached muslin that I simply dunk-bathed in some FW acrylic wash.  (this was basically putting a couple drops of the ink into water and a tub and dunking the fabric in it quickly all wrinkled up then placed on a rack in my dryer) 

After it dried I ironed it to return the natural hand of the fabric.  It then looked like this: 
Next we had purchased some inexpensive stencils with large 6" letters. 

I wanted to play with using large letters on the initial background in pale grey.

 You can see how watery we made this to start. 

sorry; the camera lenz went a bit fuzzy here. 

We learned that even with the Jacquard 'No Flow' (that was not rinsed out) on the material along with all the pre-paint we did that was heat set, if your acrylic ink is watered down into a wash it will bleed out regardless :(   I'm really glad I learned this issue as I was going to try this technique on a much larger quilt I'm making for a show and this bleed would have been a disaster! You can see the letter 'T'.

so we changed tack & used the ink  full strength with a dry brush instead. Much better but it doesn't solve my problem that I worked out and will  address in the next post. 

Here's our background lettering finished: 

After each step we heat set the ink by flipping the material over and ironing it on the high setting with no steam. 

Next we went onto adding colors and shapes! FUN! 
 the best part of this is if you make a boo-boo, you can just add more paint or shape & cover it right up! 

Then onto the hand calligraphy.  We each made it a point to try a new 'font' style and we used the Parallel Pens by Pilot.  They worked well on this type of material.  
 
All Done! 

Next I cut it up randomly to make 4" x 6" sizes which we then stitched onto a plain card-stock. 

It took around 6 hours from start to finish and I think it was worth it. We had fun, learned something and I now have much of this left over and that will make nice additions to other projects or more cards.    Tomorrow will be a post on more calligraphy for my 1ft square donation to SAQA.   (which is all ready larger than 1ft square and now I don't want to cut it up) LOL
Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Some Big Cat Inspiration (trip part 2)

The Exotic Feline Breeding Compound is
a place where Big Cats are exchanged from all over the worlds zoo's to assist in
keeping the DNA diversified by using inter-zoo breeding.  It's AWESOME!
The main benefit for the cats and  humanity is that the gene pool won't become so  diluted that we start losing the traits necessary for their survival.  Sadly, right now the Cheetah population was being so inbred that the animals immune systems were in danger of being compromised.   With the inter zoo breeding programs; this disaster has been temporarily averted. 

The best news for me & El was that we got to visit (as anyone can!) the compound and see these glorious, indescribably beautiful and mysterious C.A.T.S.!
Here I am entering Mecca!
I encourage you to biggify the photos for extra ooooooh's.


I will start with the stars of the day! The wondrous Snow Leopards
 This is Zack

Zack likes to chase Annie his lover.  Here is where he 'put the sneak' on her and lept out,
she is NOT climbing those rocks dear friends. She is airborne!   They were a bit below us so you can't appreciate how high she actually was!  It was loud when she bounced up and off the wall to her right. 



A lovely couple shot.  Look how big the end of his tail is!!

Their paws are the most magnificent things! So giant!
*sigh*

As for a TUMMY shot???
ya; I nearly died.  And look at those FEETS~!!!!


This little guy was next to them; he is a fisher cat.  His name is Frizbee :)  It was near feeding time; we checked back & sure enough; they tossed (in his bowl) several halves of big fish!  He was so cute when one of the fishies got kinda stuck in one of his fangs, he was pawing like mad to get it off!

Next up is Thumper, the Canadian Lynx.
more giant snow paws! It's said that their feets are so sensitive they can feel the tiniest vibrations of meeses under the snow. That combo with those ears and you've got a great varmint hunter!


He had just turned around here to look at us.  He had been staring under the crack of the door waiting for his foodz!  These incredibly shy creatures are a boon to animal photographers when they are in the wild.  You can see why they are so sought after. 


A big cat many confuse with the Lynx is this lovely Bobcat.  Note the much smaller paws; stubbed tail; light sand color.  Dontcha just wanna give chin skritches to her??? So lovely.


This beauty is an Ocelot.  Check out those muscular legs!  He didn't just walk, he would swagger! I adore their faces and look~!

Pink TONGUE!!!  squeeee 

This sly devil is the Clouded Leopard.  He had an odd coloring; note how dark his marks are from his front shoulders up; but from there back he was considerably lighter.  I wondered if he had to be shaved or something and his fur hadn't quite come back in all the way.  


The lovely Serval.  Note the false eye patches on the back of the ears. I love the dark stripes right down the nape!

Zen kitty says 'Inner peace......'


Caracal.  Poor thing wore a path with pacing near the food depot.

This kitty reminded me of one of mine.  MeYowling nonstop for the noms.

The Pallas Cat. Think of the nastiest Persian Cat you've ever known, now times that by 10!  These lovely balls of fur hissed at everything and everyone.  I laughed out loud and they they hissed right at me!  Poor things.  They must be rather secretive (well, more so than most cats I guess) because their giant enclosures were full of boxes to hide in.  

Onto the big cats.  This is an Amur Leopard. 
There are only 1200 IN THE WORLD.  These lovely beings hail from Siberia, Russia. 
There are maybe 300 in the wild.  The rest are in captivity. 
This big male was housed next to this female.

She was VERY interested in him; staring and pacing.  The park ranger said they do play together thru the cages.  When he shows more interest in her, they will snoopervise a 'joined visitation' and if all goes well they are hoping to mate them. 
They said that Big Cats are just as picky as most other animals when it comes to this.  
Right now, he was a bit stand offish of her.   
I will say that we did observe them play batting each other, he would then saunter away from her; and bare his fangs (playfully) and then he would make this noise.  I nearly peed laughing so hard.  Here's this giant cat; big ol teeth and would kill you as soon as look at you and then he opens his giant maw and what comes out? 
'nnnrrrrrrrrrrk'.  I'm so not kidding; you had to listen pretty hard to hear it too.  I had to leave the viewing area I was laughing so hard. (I didn't want to embarrass him)

Next up is another Leopard.  Presumably this one is from Africa.  His TAIL is as big around as my ARM! 
He was awesome! 


First we were incognito... Hiding behind the wind screen.
Then; he laid down and graciously gave us this shot. 
Please make bigger to really enjoy this magnificence.  

 I swear to you on my first born that when this gaze falls upon  you directly looking you in the eye; you know... beyond all doubt that you are the bottom of the food chain. They are that intense. Leopards  are considered the smallest of the Big Cats.  They can carry carcass' in their jaws 30 feet straight up a tree! 

There was a woman pushing a stroller; her 2 year old daughter was in it.  Whenever the child moved; that laser eye was on her!  It was chilling (and exciting). 

Next up is my personal favorite.  The Puma, or Mountain Lion or Cougar (depending on where you live).  I love this shot;  I can imagine him thinking
'tourists!'

'Just bring the noms slaves'


'Whatever!'  Now THIS is the back of disrespect!
I can respect that.

And last but not ever the least...

The Black Panther.
Panthers are a variant of the Leopard.  You can tell when viewing their coats you can see the black on black rosettes.  But seriously, with that profile I was not looking at his glorious coat.  I was looking at the massive head and jaws. Isn't his profile just magnificent?
And look!  One wild crazy white whisker!  LOL.

Seriously dude; how can you still be so intimidating with that? 
Well, because you can.  In this shot his tail looks very foreshortened.  I apologize for that, it's really quite long.  But he was anxious awaiting food and didn't stay still very long. 

These are just some of the 300 photos we have.  Since we downloaded them all as 'raw' files it takes longer to edit them all.  I hope you enjoy these and in the coming day's I'll get more up. 

We are so happy to be home and Miss Jenga was so upset with our absence she's lost all the furs under her chin and it's just raw and scabby.  I've had to keep her locked in her room and try to keep her from irritating it more. 

Miss Jack has taken to peeing on the corner of the fridge in her irritation and Ms. Stella you all ready heard from with her super secret food stash.  Miss Scraps is just so happy we are home she drools and purrs so hard just when you glance at her.  Even with the TLC that they receive in our absence they simply don't like things out of their routine.  Who says cat's aren't social.  Well, at lease the Cattus domesticus is social.  I think these Big Ones would feel differently.

Happy Friday!

Part 3 will be up shortly.