Sunday, September 2, 2012

Little drawings on paper I made in Girona, Spain

Here are the nine little drawings I made when I was in Girona, Spain, in July.  I kept meaning to scan and put them here, but got all caught up in making the big art quilt about Girona, which is now done.  It's called "Dragon Sushi: 9 of Pyrex Cups in the Kitchen Tarot," and you can read my big statement about it in my website's 2012 gallery.  But there are no pictures of it there, as I can't risk showing any, in case they migrate to somewhere else on the internet and wreck my chances of having this work be accepted for Quilt National '13.  It is their rule, and I can't see any way to control keeping my images only on my site, so I'm just not putting any up til it's safe.

I think that's what has made me so restless to get something else up about Spain, and thus now it's time to finally show these little 4 x 6" ink, crayon, and colored pencil drawings on paper.

We got to Spain on July 3, but I didn't get around to drawing much til July 5.  So I went back and worked on my first impression: Denise and me walking from the Peninsular Hotel to the Palau, across town, starting with walking over the Pont de Pedra, the Stone Bridge.  I threw in the Cathedral, since that had made a huge impression on me right away!  You can see it from everywhere in that part of the city.

 On July 6 I made up my story of how the Cathedral came to be there and why there's a Sushi Bar in Girona. Having slewn the dragon, St Jordi then invented Sushi, had the Cathedral built on the spot where the slaying happened, and then they put the Sushi Bar across the river, where you can sit and eat sushi and admire the Cathedral.  The Eiffel Bridge is really a bit downstream from the Sushi Bar, but I wanted to show it, because it's my favorite bridge.  anywhere!

 There were Spanish and I guess Catalan lessons going on for us with the girls from Girona Quilt Art, and Olga told me to say VALE instead of Bueno.  Marta explained that "vale" actually has three meanings:  that something is a bargain, the actual object for bargains: the coupon, and the expression of "Vale! Vale!" or "Vale! Vale! Vale!" which means "cool."  Or "OK." Or "Good."  I just now realize that I forgot to write "Vale! Vale! Vale!" somewhere on the big piece, like where Olga is, or where the group of Girona Quilt Art women are.  What can be done?  ratz!

I made the Fish Chick of Girona to be the water goddess there.  I think it's really Marta, who lives with Vlady in one of those lovely tall houses squished together right on the riverfront.

 In my second version of the Fish Chick, I gave her an aqua colored Moped, since she'd be that cool, and there are so many Moped riding women in Girona.  And I took a little license and put the Cathedral across the Eiffel Bridge from the church of St Feliu.  That is so silly, really, but it looks nice for balance here.  Vale!

 Here I combined the girl Giganto with La Leona, who is very close to the church of St Feliu. I stuck in the Pont de Eiffel again, because I love it so much, and you'll see it again, right away in the next piece, too!  This drawing is just about all the images I love best in Girona!

 Here I'm walking along, looking up at Girona's gigantos, and near the boy giganto is La Leona.  Also I stuck in Marta and Vlady's two little cats:  Sushi and Maki. And the Eiffel Bridge.  :)

 Denise cut my hair on July 11, but after I numbered these,  I realized this was really #8, not #7.  So it's a flaw, but that's how it's staying. I numbered them with ink, so forget it. Olga gave me the Spanish word "Peluquera" for hair dresser.  And a beauty parlor is a peluqueria.  Our hair chopping episodes took place in Girona Quilt Art though, and after my cliff, Olga got hers really, really cut short by Denise and Marta.  Butch cut.  It looks great, too!

 This adventure is from July 9, but I drew it on the 11th. Denise had been up to the Cathedral and the Old City Wall last year, but this was my first trip to Girona.  So she took me on July 9.  We met some really cool people, but the coolest was Perro Lunar, the guy really named Marc Pao, who was playing a hang drum in a little stone alcove of the Cathedral's outer wall.  We had never heard one of these before, so I got really ambitious and made a little video, the only one I made in Spain.

Then we walked up a lot more stone steps, even though we'd walked up tons of them just to get to the Cathedral.  In the hot sun, we walked on that ancient wall, and the view was stunning, looking down on the city and the river.  Later we cooled off with gelato, a home remedy for heat exhaustion we indulged in about 4 times during my stay there.  It works!

 I didn't make a drawing about our trip to Barcelona on July 10 on the train, which was an adventure we had with Carine and Marcel from Belgium.  But the last day, we met Alise and Alpha.  She's from Brazil and he's from Cote d'Ivoire, and there we were in her little wine store and restaurant, discussing world politics and peace with them in Spain.  It was a very magical experience, as were most of the things that happened in Girona.  I wish I could show you the art quilt, coz it's full of stories and images of all the new friends I have there now.

I have tons of pictures, actual photographs, of my trip to Girona, on my Facebook page, so go see them, if you haven't already. Spain part 1 and Spain part 2 are albums I've given links for here, that will work even if you're not on Facebook.

The first quilted piece I made about Girona is called "La Leona" and is a small piece that I started in the second class I taught at INTERQUILT 2012 in July.  I have a Facebook album about it that you can access, even if you're not on Facebook, so you can see a bunch of in-progress and detail shots and a photo of the actual Leona statue.  This piece is 19.25"h x 21.5"w, and is mainly about when Irene showed me the Leona in the first place, on a lovely evening walk in Girona.

That's it.  Thanks, Lucky

Monday, August 13, 2012

Turtle Art Camp August 4 - 10, 2012

I had a very nice cultural exchange style of Turtle Art Camp this month, from August 4 to 10, when Elke and Flox came from the Netherlands to study with me.  We talked a lot about customs in our two countries and about art in the world in general.  Here are some pix of our adventures together.

 The big Rainbow Garden is full of flowers and tomatoes, with everything ripening and blooming about a month early this year, due to the super hot month of March, and again super heat in July. Libby has to stay out of the gardens, and if she could go in, she would eat the blossoms!  Who needs groundhogs when you have a crazy doggy who chews up flowers??  She loves catnip, too!

Jimmy and Otis are ready for a good Turtle Art Camp!

After Jimmy brings the students in from the airport, and any other students who are driving here have arrived, we go out for our first supper together. This time we visited The Coccia House, Wooster's most loved and oldest pizza restaurant.  Then we came back and did some intro stuff in the studio, and I did a little show and tell, like usual.  It had been a very long travel day, so we just mainly relaxed the rest of the evening.

The first class day begins, like every class day will, with Library Time, in which we all work in our sketchbooks for 10 minutes, without talking.  Then we do a show and tell of what we'd drawn and or written about.  Then we make up a list of themes for the week and choose a theme for this day,  and then we begin our first painting project.

The first theme we chose as a group was "hearts."  In my sketchbook I drew a heart and then a woman above it, but she started to look like the scary Queen of Hearts to me, and I really wanted to do something meaningful, so I started over.  I've been wanting to make some new Obama art and post it to Patty Mitchell's Facebook page called Artists Celebrate & Decorate for Obama, so I drew the heart again, for the theme, and put President Obama above it.

So here is the start of my Obama Heart painting.  We always begin the projects in camp with sketching and then making a painting on cloth, drawn first freehand with a Rub-a-Dub laundry marker and then colored with Jacquard Textile Colors fabric paint and hand brush.  I do each step as a demo first, and then the students jump in.  Any of our small paintings can end up being the piece we turn ino a quilt constructed and sewn in my Lucky School of Quilting 2 way, with the machine sewn Crazy Grids.

Flox had just been to New Mexico and designed a piece which had a real Southwest influence, a painting of herself and her husband together in a heart.  She has been studying painting for years now, and you could see it in her work, as she's got a definite personal style, very loose and free, with very texture color surfaces.

Elke had done sketches of various ways hearts are symbols, and then she began this piece.  Each of us is using a fat quarter of cotton, 18 x 22" for each piece we make this week.

Jimmy and Flox are having a good look at something, tho I don't know what it is now!  :)

 Flox had her birthday just before camp started, but she hadn't celebrated yet, so I baked a pan of brownies, and we sang to her, so she could make and get her birthday wish!

 The second day of camp we do a new theme, chosen by the group, and then have airpen lessons, one on one, with me showing each student how to use this strange and wonderful tool, so you can put archival fabric paint on your work as sharp lines for drawing and writing.  Here Elke makes her first airpen marks. Behind her you can see the little blockish compressor and the cup we stand the airpen in, when not in use.

 After their airpen lessons, the students started to experiment with it on their works from before.

 I worked some more on my Obama Heart piece, thickening the outlines with Painters paint markers, and also made my sketch for the new theme: Houses.

Elke began her second painting: a city of houses.

 Flox has a very elaborate sketch of houses, including a magical bed that she remembers from childhood, that worked like a magic carpet.

 On our third day, after the Library Time diary work, etc, I gave an airbrush lesson.  Airbrush is very different from airpen, and is used to paint lines and also to color in areas.  It has a much larger compressor than the airpen, and you don't touch it directly to the surface, as you do the airpen.  Here Elke is starting to paint color on her first airbrush piece.  I've put up a separate piece for each of us, so we can pass the airbrush to each other, to use the same paint, before we clean it out of the airbrush.  This way, each of us gets a breather before we have to move on, as using an airbrush for the first time can be intimidating.  Everyone got really creative, working on the houses theme.

Using the Aztek double action airbrush helps make this method more intuitive, and here Flox adds some color to her work.

Then on our fourth day of camp, we decided to jump in and do a collaborative piece in a larger format, 3 by 4 feet.  We didn't know exactly what it would be, but finally got the idea to draw each other and have a theme from our supper at the Chinese buffet the other night, at which we enjoyed studying the part of each fortune paper that started with "Learn Chinese." ...

They made me do the first marks, so I drew Flox, on the right, and then it was Flox's turn to draw Elke, whom she's studying in this picture.

After we all drew someone else, we started filling in the spaces left blank.

 I found a baggie of paper fortunes I've saved from fortune cookies for a while, and we used them as reference material for our writing, picking them out at random, like I used to do in college, when I would finish a painting, then select a fortune paper at random, and glue it onto the painting.  I found that viewers always tried to make sense of the fortune with the painting, which made for some interesting symbol interpretation.

Here at camp, we realized that if you read one fortune paper's "Learn Chinese" vocabulary word each day, then in some months you could maybe speak a tad.  Only then, there are those pesky five tones of each word meaning five different things, and then there's grammar!  We might have to buy Rosetta Stone for Chinese, if this becomes our English / Dutch mission in life!

 So here's what our airbrush collaboration looked like, with only the black lines drawn in.  There was coloring with airbrush and writing with airpen and colored fabric markers yet to come, before quilting it.

 Elke and Flox worked together to clean the airbrush, something that every student who really thinks they might take on airbrush in their own studios needs to learn.  Airbrush and airpen both require diligent cleaning and proper filling, in order to use them without wanting to jump out a window!

 I took a turn at coloring in the yellow paint, but we all did some work with each color on this collaboration.  And the more we worked on it, the more we liked it!  I don't expect collaborative work to be anything special, but I consider the experience of cooperating and responding to what others have done to be very valuable.  I was really pleased that this piece also was coming out very nicely, as we shared and fed off of each other's ideas.

We have several colors on by now, and Flox was considering her next move. We added lavender and purple yet, before moving to airpen, after heat setting the piece.  So hold this image in your head, as next time you see it, it'll be writing time.

 That last morning of camp, the fifth full day, I demonstrated how to sandwich and quilt a whole cloth painting my way, and here Elke is starting to quilt her heart piece, having finished the airpen writing on it and heatsetting it.

 Flox was using the last theme we picked together, beds, to make small pieces for each of her two grandsons.  This one has an elephant in it, reflecting stories she knows of a baby elephant, that her family has always told to the children. Here's a link to a book called Plofje de Olifant, a Dutch children's book Flox has referred me to.  (Thank you, Flox!)

 After heatsetting the paints, she starts to quilt the sandwiched piece.

 Off and on, all through the last day, we worked to add airpen and colored fabric marker writing to our "Learn Chinese" piece.  Here Flox and Elke are writing on it at the same time.  We all just had to be careful that we didn't get into the wet paint, which stays wet for about 20 minutes, because the airpen lines are pretty dense.

Late on the last full day of camp, the students put all the artworks we'd worked on up on the big work wall to photo them together.  Flox has put a lot of writing on her first day's Heart theme piece.  It's ready to quilt, if she wants to do that at home later.

 Here's Elke's marker drawn and brush painted houses piece, with its writing on it.
 And here is her airbrushed houses piece with airpen writing.

 Flox's first houses and bed piece, drawn with marker and then brush painted. This is the one she put the first, smaller elephant on, because her mother had painted elephants on the children's beds.

 And here's her second elephant piece, all quilted.  She can go back and write on this one and the other yet, if she likes, but if you write on a quilted piece, you have to heatset it by ironing on the front, using a press cloth.  Normally the heat set is done with the painting face down on the ironing board, using the iron at its hottest temp and without steam.

OK, this is the 3'h x 4'w "Learn Chinese" collaboration we did, ready to quilt.  In the end, the students took it home to the Netherlands, and they'll quilt it together and will enter it into a show latter for all three of us.

Here's Elke's heart piece, all quilted.

My Obama 2012 heart piece is ready to quilt, after getting all the writing onto it.

I used my Obama 2012 house piece to demo my quilting techniques.  I need to write on the border yet, and then will send my images to the Artists Celebrate & Decorate for Obama Facebook page!

Flox's house piece that she did when we all worked on our own small pieces in a row with airbrush is one of my favorites.  I think it reminds me of the Gaudi pieces I saw last month in Barcelona!  I still can't believe I got to go to Spain!!!

Here are all the pieces we made in the August 4 - 10 Turtle Art Camp here at my house.

Libby loved having Elke and Flox here, as did Jimmy and I and the cats!  I really love teaching at my house, with students living here, having their own bedrooms, and eating with us all week.  It's great to have the studios right here in the house, so everyone has 24 hour access to the work rooms for the five full days of class, with travel days on each end filling up a full week.

See about coming soon, if Turtle Art Camp sounds like something you'd feel good about doing!

Love, Lucky

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sketches for my piece about Spain.

I took a trip to Girona, Spain from July 2 to 13, to teach and have a solo show at a new event called "INTERQUILT Girona 2012," organized by CatINCat and InCatIs, along with Girona QuiltArt.  I unexpectedly fell in love with Girona and the many new friends I made there in such a short time.  I saw magical and mysterious things, tried sort of successfully to bridge the language barrier, and was amazed as usual at how people everywhere have so much in common.  The ancient history still alive in Girona really stunned me and inspired me to make up a myth of my own, and now I am ready to start my large piece about Girona.

I had never heard of Girona before, but I know they'd never heard of Wooster, either.  :)

The trip was planned over about 4 months, and during that time I became friends with Denise Labadie, an art quilter from Longmont, CO, who was also going to INTERQUILT, to show and teach.  We ended up flying over together and spending a lot of time together there, going on adventures together and with our new friends.  Denise makes art about old stone structures, like dolmens and sacred stones.  So you can bet she loves Girona, too!  It's loaded with old stones!!!!!

Here are my sketches, starting with ones I made in Girona.  I have to scan the little 5" x 8" cards I drew on there, but here is my sketchbook watercolor and ink piece, begun in the class I taught about drawing and painting on paper:

It's mainly my impression of the Pont de Ferro (Iron Bridge), or Pont de Eiffel (because it was designed by the same Eiffel who soon afterwards designed his tower in Paris!)  It's the bridge over the Onyar River that's one bridge north of the Pont de Pedra (Stone Bridge), which was right by my hotel, the Peninsular Hotel.  I put my students in the watercolor and ink drawing in my sketchbook, too.

I'm leaving out the little drawings I made on card paper, all over Girona, for now.  I think I'll make another blog entry about them later, and include the little quilt I made about the Leona then, too.

So, the day I left Girona, I made this sketchbook drawing of Mariana and her son Zion, who were my seat mates on the 10 hour flight home from Spain to Atlanta.  (It was a ways longer to get out of Atlanta and finally to Cleveland and then to our house in Wooster. I'm not the best globetrotter there is, by far!)

Mariana and Zion were amazing, and being with them made the long flight go much better than it would have been with a seat mate who didn't interact.  We stayed together in the Atlanta Airport, too, and even went through the crazy fire above our baggage claim, in the lights, as our bags came up on the belt below the flames! Then we went through Customs together and said goodbye, as they had a very short layover there.  I made it home at 3 AM the next day, thanks to more problems in Atlanta!  Yawn!  Anyhow, we had fun on that flight!

Now here are the sketches I started making in my sketchbook on July 22, after finishing up a small quilt I began in my second class in Girona.  These are for my large piece that I hope to start painting tomorrow!

I made a list of all the people I want to include in this piece, and it's pretty long!  Plus it's the 9 of Cups piece, or Pyrex Cups, in my Kitchen Tarot deck, so I have to factor that in, showing the cups.  I decided to show the houses along the edges of the Onyar River, which are so pretty and colorful, with the Cathedral and the Church of Sant Feliu rising up above these tall buildings.  And I wanted to include the Gigantos of Girona, the two wild puppet people that we happily got to see, without planning to, as we walked along the Rambla - Denise, Marta, Vlady, Cecelia, and me.

I made the houses along the river into the Pyrex Cups. And I put Topo Gigio, the little Italian mouse, along the side of the houses.  I was showing him to Eva, where, on You Tube, you can see him singing "Strangers in the Night."  :)

Through all the sketches, the most important story is the one of the Leona of Girona, the stone statue of a lioness hanging on a column, near St Feliu's Church.  My new friend Irene Sanchez showed him to me on July 6, after she showed me her house.

The story is that if you climb up these steep and freaky steps, so you can kiss the bottom of La Leona, then you'll have good luck and will come back to Girona again.  Well, you know me and LUCK, so I really wanted to do it, but Irene suggested, that since I didn't want to have an accident, we could take a picture of the lioness with my ipad and kiss the picture.  So we did that.

Earlier Irene and I took her bicycle to her house, after the day's events at INTERQUILT, and after La Leona, we met the rest of our group for a late supper in the main Plaza of the old part of town, the part that goes back easily to the 8th century, with pre-roman stuff of old stones everywhere you look.  It's all built in a steep hill, so there are uneven and beautiful stone stairways every place you go in the old part of the city.  It's also called The Jewish Quarter, but all the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, same year as Columbus got here and started ruining the native culture.  Something about that Izabella!

Here are more sketches, with a diagram of a Catalonia, or Catalunia, flag on the left, with the names of some people to include in the piece, written in the flag's stripes.

My list includes:  Denise Labadie and her friends Magdala and Gary and their other friends Nina and Anna, Olga and Gabby, Rosa T and Rosa B, Irene and her mother Sonya, Marta and Vlady and Cecelia, Joelle and Carlos, Flora, Nuna (the felt artist) and Luy and the other Gabby and Sara, Carine and Marcel from Belgium, Angela (my interpreter for my classes), Cristina Bono, Jacky Art, Perro LuNar and his hang drum, Xevi and the story of St George and the dragon sushi and building the cathedral, the two sets of old men at the old city wall, Alise and Alpha at the wine store and restaurant, Topo Gigio, La Leona, and others.

I was really fascinated by the history of Catalonia, and how it was a world power before Spain waa, but became a substate of Spain once Ferdinand of Catalonia married Izabella of Spain.  You remember them, right? There's a Catalonia flag that's all red and yellow, but if you see one with the star at the top done in white on a blue field, with the red and yellow stripes, then it's the flag of Catalonia to leave Spain!  :)

In this sketch, the Eiffel Bridge is along the bottom, which I've decided is too stagnant, even though the bridge is really straight, made of bright red iron beams, which I love!  Beside me and Irene and the lioness is a couple, Carine and Marcel from Belgium.  I met them here in Wooster last year, when it was Carine and my birthday, and the innkeepers of the Mirabella B&B decided to surprise Carine, who quilts, with meeting me on her birthday.  Jimmy and I went to breakfast there, and Steven ad Susie Ellis hosted a sweet birthday breakfast for Carine and me, since I'd explained to them that it was my birthday, too.

Fast forward to Girona, and SURPRISE!  Carine and Marcel came to Girona, to take my class at INTERQUILT!  We ended up going to Barcelona on July 10 on the train, and Denise went with us. We got so hot and tired, hiking up, up, up, to see the garden of Gaudi's art, that Carine poured a bottle of water all over herself.  It soaked her bra, and as she squeezed the water out, she named herself Aqua Bra.  I am not making this up, and it wasn't my idea, though I wish it was!  It's brilliant, and Carine became AB!  She's a mermaid in these sketches.  Ha!

In my next sketch, I focused on Olga and her new butch haircut.  Olga Gonzalez owns Girona QuiltArt, and she is the one who chose to have me come to Girona.  We met two years ago, when I had a show and taught a class at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England, and she bought my Kitchen Tarot cards, along with her buddies, and they kept coming back to my show to talk.

Olga wears very lovely, fashionable, femme clothes, and even with her crazy new buzz cut, which she got Marta and Denise to give her, she looks as girlie as you can imagine.  Her husband Gabby did a great double take when he walked in and saw her new doo!  It was great!

In this drawing I show Olga with Xevi, the guy who was the chef for the fab luncheon buffet at INTERQUILT every day of it, July 5 - 8.  Somehow I got to talking with Xevi about the Cathedral, and I asked him if Girona was named after St George, who slew the dragon.  He apparently didn't know, but he really egged me on, so my imagination took off, and soon I had a story:  St George slew the dragon where the Cathedral now stands.  He invented sushi, to use up the dragon meat.  And now, even though it SEEMS weird that there's a great Sushi Bar in Girona, you will note that you can sit in that restaurant and view the Cathedral rising up behind the lovely houses across the river.  This is no coincidence, as they put the Sushi Bar right there, in honor of St George and the dragon, sez I.

St George = Gorgio =  Jordi =; Girona ... ????????

Then I even said maybe they have the Holy Grail here.  Only NOW I found out, by fishing up a book to read after my trip, anything I could find that's digital, that's about Girona, I find that Patrice Chaplin wrote about the history of this big myster of Girona and it being the home of both Kaballah AND the Holy Grail, and she swears it's a true story.  I just don't know!  I wonder if she'd believe my story about the dragon and the sushi.  It's a good book called "City of Secrets."

Here's a little sketch of Gabby admiring Olga's new hairdo.  :)

 Today I started this sketch on larger paper, and at this point in the unfinished effort, I remembered that this wide rectangle of a piece will later need to be cropped in Photoshop, to make it the right vertical rectangle proportion for the actual Kitchen Tarot card of it, that will hopefully get published, once I get all 78 of these crazy pieces done!  For now you can only buy the first 22 cards, the major arcana, that I made as quilted paintings, and that Dennis Fairchild made a guidebook for using, in the published 22 card Kitchen Tarot deck that Hay House published in August, 2010.  This major cards deck is very useful and enjoyable, even without the 56 minor cards that will eventually come out, I hope!

Note Sept 3, 2012: I made one more very complicated drawing before I started making my big piece on cloth the next day. In that drawing I worked hard to make all the stuff I absolutely had to have in the vertical rectangle card later, all be in the central part of this wide rectangle piece.  I only used that final sketch as a reference while airbrushing the drawing and then the painting for the piece.  It changed significantly from the final sketch to the painting, like always for me, since I don't even look at the sketch while I'm actually drawing on the painting with my airbrush.

I have the big, quilted painting of Girona all finished now.  It's 60"h x 86.5"w and I finished it on August 28.  I have a long statement about it in my 2012 Gallery on my website, but there are no pictures yet. It's my Quilt National '13 entry, and if I show it on my site, there's a 100% reality of its images migrating to other sites, especially because of robot apps like Google Images.  So no pix yet, sorry.

Quilt National has a rule about having the works that get into the show be seen really for the first time, at the show opening.  So I can either post my pix when it gets rejected in October or after the opening Memorial Day weekend next year!

You can go look at my two albums of photos of my trip to Spain, with comments on each picture. Spain part 1 and Spain part 2 are both pretty full, so give yourself either a lot of time or be ready to zip through the images fast!

Also, here's the little video I made of Marc Pou, aka Perro LuNar, playing his hang drum at the Cathedral in Girona.  Enjoy!

Thanks for reading and looking at my sketches,  Lucky