On the Wall ... Turquoise and Green

My design wall is usually filled with work in various stages of design and construction ...   at the moment there are a couple of pieces.... monoprints in blues and greens .... basically complete with stitching and facings, just waiting for the next steps in the process.

I recently completed work on the latest Stepping Stones piece "Lake in the Clouds"  which includes some favorite turquoise fabric, the same fabric that I had use to complete the monoprints.

The two monoprints looked a bit unbalanced when I hung them as a pair because of the way I'd placed the turquoise fabric.  But when I set them with the new Stepping Stones piece and a miniature piece, I thought they looked terrific as a set .......

                " Turquoise and Green"  © 2017 CarolynCollinsArt   Set of 4 pieces

                " Turquoise and Green"  © 2017 CarolynCollinsArt   Set of 4 pieces

This got me thinking ....  while many of my pieces are relatively small they have the potential to work really well together in sets.  

 I've recently been working on upgrading my Pinterest site so I've added a new board  "On the Wall"  and  started pinning ideas for grouping art on the wall  ... here is a link to the board if you are interested ....


Do you have any tips or suggestions for hanging groups of art or photographs ?

Thanks for reading   .... CC

Stepping Stones in Greens

Over the last year or so I have been working on my Stepping Stones series and have recently completed a couple more pieces.....

I love making these pieces because they let me try out all sorts of ideas on a small scale within the parameters of the series,  but I often wonder what others make of this work ..... 

When I was reading the Introduction in the David Hockney exhibition (see previous post)  I came across a description of his approach by Simon Maidment, Curator of Contemporary Art at the NGV    " [David Hockney] does things his own way and forges ahead in the direction he finds most interesting"  and this encourages me to keep going  .....  

Having made a total of 16 Stepping Stones pieces I thought it would be fabulous to see them all in one place ..... like the David Hockney portrait series at the National Gallery of Victoria !!!

The best I've been able to do is to create this gallery block.  Here are a collection of the green pieces   .....

   © CarolynCollinsArt  2017 'Green Stepping Stones'  Hand dyed & printed fabric, batik

   © CarolynCollinsArt  2017 'Green Stepping Stones'  Hand dyed & printed fabric, batik

It's got me thinking about a larger Stepping Stones design .....

Do you have a series you are working on??

Thanks for dropping by ...CC



New Grevillea .... experiment

With all my new found Photoshop Elements skills .... I am doing the second module of the "Photoshop Elements - Essentials 2"  online class with the Pixeladies,  Deb Cashatt and Kris Sazaki ....  I've been playing with ways of creating simplified/abstracted grevillea designs!

This is terrific fun and as you might imagine I now have a stack of design possibilities!!!!   

The next questions is how to translate these into fabric!!

My first idea is to try a version of shadow applique ...  working from the abstract design  to create a base layout made up of geometric shapes and then combining this  with a digital image of the flower printed on organza,  as an overlay.

I found an interesting piece of fabric with a range of shades of  plum and pink .... not a piece that inspired me when I dyed it some time ago but perfect for this experiment and a soft mottled green to use for the background.  After fusing the geometric shapes .... some very thin and too small to applique with my usual technique ... I added to overlay of printed organza.  This is how it turned out ......


"Grevillea 6"

CarolynCollinsArt © 2017

8" x 16"

Hand dyed and printed fabrics, digital image


After some time contemplating the possibilities, I decided on a mix of hand stitching  .... a running stitch and some seed stitches  and a simple horizontal machine line to finish.   The overlay makes working with thin strips and small shapes very stress free!!!  

I like the results of this experiment .....  but there are more ideas to try !!!

What have you been experimenting with lately??   

Thanks for dropping by .....CC




Art Date .... well sort of!

I would love to see the David Hockney exhibition currently showing at the National Gallery of Victoria but sadly will not have the opportunity to travel to Melbourne before it closes and the NGV is the only venue in Australia! 

As a consolation, I visited the NGV website and was delighted with the video of David Hockney reviewing the exhibition when he visited for the opening.   Here is the link if you would like a taste......     http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/exhibition/david-hockney/

I also purchased a copy of the catalogue which at A$29.95 seemed very reasonably priced. When I picked up the parcel from the PO I was surprised by its weight and even more so when I opened it and browsed through its many pages (over 1 inch thick)

With time to settle down and read and enjoy I am even a greater fan !!    Here are a couple of the things that really struck a chord with me .....

The series of 82 (yes 82) portraits included in this show.  Since taking LIsa Call's  'Working in a Series' class a couple of years ago I love this process and where it  can take you.  David Hockney's portrait series is unified by a number of parameters ... size. medium, subject seated on the same chair and the blue/green background blocks.   The pose and attire was determined by the sitter.  Edith Delvaney,  writing in the catalogue observes "Hockney shows no sign of his curiosity in this series and its possibilities diminishing".

I also fell in love with his Yosemite pieces,  capturing the light and atmosphere of this place beautifully, it makes me feel like I was back there.   The other element of these works, created on an ipad,  are the trees.  Hockney is quoted as saying ..."trees have a deep appeal ...." and I am drawn to the variety and forms of the trees depicted in the paintings and the wonderful color palette.  

While these works may have been created on an ipad they are clearly the result of first hand experience.   Simon Maidment, Curator of Contemporary Art the NGV writes " The success of translating these places is owed in no small part to the particular way the artist has chosen to experience them, dedicating time to landscapes, for looking and exploring as well as depicting."

For me,  David Hockney makes wonderful pictures and some day I hope to have the opportunity to see his work face-to-face ...... a real art date!!! 

Have you had an "art date"  recently?  What do you recommend?

Thanks for dropping by  ....CC

Learning More About Working with Photos

Photographs play an important role in my art practice.  They are the way I record my inspirations and allow me to test out designs and ideas.  I use Adobe's Photoshop Elements software and have basically found my way around the program by trial and error and with a bit of help from Mr Google!!!

I recently discovered a series of online classes run by Kris Sazaki and Deb Cashatt ... the Pixeladies and enrolled in Photoshop Elements Essentials 1 

I've just completed the first week of classes and have to say this is one of the best investments I have made in my tech knowledge.  The class is structured around an excellent series of video lesson with follow up notes and homework.

 Already I have learned a much better way of resizing my images .. an increasingly frequent task for website/blog and submissions for exhibitions and shows and one which will have real benefits for the loading speeds on my website. 

Discovered the Camera Distortion Filter so I can now straighten images like this one.....

I sometimes like to photograph work lying flat to really highlight the stitching but often find the image is a bit distorted by the angles ... no longer!!

and I've learned how to add a watermark to an image .....

Next week .......   planning quilting lines, testing cut fabrics and auditioning colors are on the list.  I can't wait !!!

I would highly recommend these classes if you want to learn more about working with your photos and Photoshop Elements!!  

What tech classes do you recommend??? 

Thanks for dropping by ....CC



Green Replenished!

After all that green work,   the fabric stash was looking decidedly bare ....  so this week I have started dyeing fabric for the work ahead ........  I say 'started'  because I've already made inroads into this batch!! 

I dyed about 10 mtrs of cotton poplin,  mostly fat quarters but also some half metre and a few metre pieces for larger backgrounds   ... I love the surprising combinations that come from Ann Johnston's "color parfait's" (See Anne's  book  'Color by Accident'  - one of my favorite references on fabric dyeing).  I worked with mixes of a number of green and  blue dyes for most of the fabrics then added a bit of antique gold and peach!

Just as well I made plenty of greens ... quite a few pieces are just right for the Grevillea piece I have just started work on!!!  The next batch of colors is planned as soon as the new PDF fabric arrives!!!

Clearly my recent work says 'green' is high on my list of favorites!!!  What does your work say about your favorite color??  

Thanks for dropping by ............  CC


'Green' Collection ....

The 'Green'  Exhibition opened this week at Jing Jo Cafe in Kangaroo Valley and I was thrilled that a number of my pieces were included ......

Here is my 'Green' collection............

.... a set of 4 Stepping Stones pieces - 'Winding Way' , 'Peaches & Cream' - Grevillea 3 and 'Down by the Bay' - Mangroves 2.

 Even more exciting,  my grevillea piece was chosen as the image for the show ..... Thank you Belinda for all your hard work bring this exhibition together!

If you are in the vicinity of Kangaroo Valley I highly recommend the exhibition. ... there is an excellent variety of work on show .... and the coffee and food at Jing Jo's is excellent.  Here is the link to their site if you need their address and opening times ....  http://www.jingjo.com.au

If you visit,   I'd love to know what you think???  CC


Stitch First Applique Later!

With my new Grevillea piece I reversed my usual construction process by stitching the background before the applique!  Now this is not a new idea but one I've avoided because I like the flexibility that finalising the composition first allows.  Stitching first requires a bit of a leap of faith!  

Step one was stitching the background.  Doing the stitching first makes the process very easy, no shapes to navigate around so the stitching is very fluid and it's easy to achieve a good result.  It also helps to integrate any additions/variations in the background design.

With this piece I added the applique shapes in two steps.  Firstly the main structure of the flower and the leaves and secondly the overlapping flower shapes, stitching them down as I built up the design.

If you have followed previous posts you will know that I have had quite some issues with skipped stitches.  These skipped stitches occur because of movement in the layers as the needle  passes through multiple layers and are very frustrating!!!  By stitching the background first this issue is not longer of concern!!   So making this piece has been a much more enjoyable experience .......

                   'Peaches & Cream' - Grevillea 3   © Carolyn Collins 2017   16" x 16"  

                   'Peaches & Cream' - Grevillea 3   © Carolyn Collins 2017   16" x 16"  

Have you tried stitching first and what did you think about the process???

Thanks for dropping by .....  CC


New Year, New Work and Exciting News for AW5!!

Happy New Year everyone   .... I hope 2017 is full of creative inspiration and lots of good things!!!

To start the year as I mean to continue ......

I have finished a new piece in the Stepping Stones series.   I have been experimenting with new backgrounds for my stepping stones designs.   In this piece I have used  painted fusible as the background  for the open road design .....

                                    'Misty Morning'  © Carolyn Collins 2017   12" x 12"  

                                    'Misty Morning'  © Carolyn Collins 2017   12" x 12"  

I have painted the fusible with diluted acrylic paint.  I have tried to suggest a landscape ..  I tried various  strengths of paint  ....  the addition of some water helps to create an interesting patterning on the fusible and  gives the end result a painterly quality.  I fused the painted surface to a pale green hand dyed fabric.   For the next in the series I'm going to try a seascape!

The good news this week is that the Australia Wide Five Exhibition (including my Forest Pansy piece)  which is touring Australia will also tour in the US this year to the AQS Quilt Week shows in Grand Rapids, Mi chigan;  Fall Paducah, Kentucky and Des Moines, Iowa!!!  Congratulations to the OzQuilt Network organisers .... amazing to have our exhibition showcased in the US!!!

Pushing the Boundaries - Karin Olah

This week I have been inspired by the wonderful work of  textile artist Karin Olah.

I first came across one of her floral works with a wonderful sense of dimension and was intrigued to know how she made it ....

                                                   Magnolia  - Karin Olah

                                                   Magnolia  - Karin Olah

Karin describes her work as "fabric collage painting".  In an interview some years back she says " I cut out my brushstrokes instead of painting them on"......

As I searched to find more of her work I discovered a series of wonderful landscape pieces .....

                                                      Blue Flag Day  - Karin Olah

                                                      Blue Flag Day  - Karin Olah

Karin describes her process ..... " I start with rough outline, a drawing or a little under-painting, and then I start layering fabric.  I soak each piece in rice starch and then squeegee it onto the canvas.  I use opaque and transparent fabrics so you can see a little history underneath in building up the shapes and background."

I love the different textures the different fabrics bring to this work ... it's all about the fabric!

Karin's website is a visual delight ....  you will find it at www.karinolah.com 

Thanks for dropping by ....  I hope you are inspired!!  CC

Monoprints in Green

This week I've been concentrating on two things ....

Completing  the stitching on a pair of small monoprints in green .....

 I'm really pleased with the subtle quality of these prints and I'm enjoying the stitching!  

The second focus for this week was the opening of our drawing class exhibition today .....  I helped with the hanging of the exhibition yesterday and was very interested to see how our class teacher,  an exhibiting artist herself,  approached this task.  There was a wide variety of art works to hang and the end result is a terrific display and it all came together very nicely ... here are a couple of photo's from the day .....

So its been a good week.  Thanks for dropping by ..............CC

Pushing the Boundaries - Inspirational Artists

In addition to making art and building a cohesive body of work,  I want my art to keep getting better.     In her book  "The Creative Habit"  Twyla Tharp says .....  "My heroes are artists whose bodies of work are consistently surprising, consistently fresh"    ......  Now that's something to aim for!!

To help push the boundaries,  I've been looking for inspirational  artists using similar techniques to the ones I use, but working in different mediums ...... so I thought I'd share what I find in a series of posts.

This week I've been stitching the blue pieced monoprints I made recently.  I love the intuitive nature of the printing process and the way shapes emerge/disappear through the layers of printing.  So I started looking at artist working with print .....

I discovered  Elizabeth Banfield,  an award wining Australian artist who works with linocuts and prints on very fine Japanese paper.  The results are breathtaking and totally unlike anything I've seen before!!!  Here is an example I found on the web .......

                                                      'Lament' by Elizabeth Banfield                                   Linocut on two layers of tissue paper with hand stitching

                                                      'Lament' by Elizabeth Banfield

                                  Linocut on two layers of tissue paper with hand stitching

Click HERE for  a link for Elizabeth Banfield's  website.  Her gallery of art work and  her step by step instructions for making prints with linocuts are well worth a look if you are tempted to try your hand!

Thanks for dropping by .....  CC

"Draw" Exhibition Invitation

The drawing class I go to is having an end of year exhibition at the local Regional Gallery.   We've started planning and getting our work ready .... a great learning experience for me.

I volunteered to put together an Invitation/Flyer for the group.  This week,  I worked out 4 designs/layouts and the class members voted .... 

This is the design that they chose.....


I am very happy that my teacher is going to let me include my Mangroves textile piece in the exhibition ... it was inspired by trip the class made to the Mangrove walk at Huskisson  and the drawing work  we did.

It will be fun seeing how it all comes together .....

Thanks for dropping by .....  CC

Grevillea Series #2

This week I've been working on stitching the second Grevillea  piece ....   the applique and the quilting stitches .....

                                                              Stitching  "Grevillea 2"

                                                              Stitching  "Grevillea 2"

It's all come together well with no dramas, even with the layer of printed organza.  Using reverse applique for the background has meant there are not too many layers to stitch through!!  Here is the result ................

       "Grevillea 2"       © CarolynCollinsArt 2016    16" x 20"   Hand dyed and printed fabric

       "Grevillea 2"       © CarolynCollinsArt 2016    16" x 20"   Hand dyed and printed fabric

I'm happy with this piece  ....  although I can see things I could do differently!!   So there  is definitely another piece to follow ..... its a Series thing!!!  

Just the backing and facing and a "name"  for the piece to go ....

Thanks for checking out my new work .....  CC

More Monoprinting ....

I've had inspiration about some monoprints I made recently ....  

After the first series of monoprints which I framed as individual prints,  I tried printing a larger piece of fabric with the idea that I would cut it up and work with the smaller pieces.

Nice idea but I still wasn't sure where I was going with these monoprints  .... till I was sorting out some of my hand dyed fabric and found some pieces that seemed just right  .... and here is the result .....

The red brown strip was initially a bit stark so I added some paintstik rubbings to soften the effect ....  I'm very pleased with the result so now for the quilting !!!

In fact I was so pleased thought I'd do a little more monoprinting .....


So I'm looking for green fabrics  ......

Thanks for dropping by  ....   CC