What's that saying...life is what happens when you are making other plans??? Boy, it sure applies these days. So many plans have been pushed to the side these last several months and I'm doing things I never would have imagined at the start of the year. I sure would never have guessed that I'd be playing kindergarten teacher for my grandson Tyler at this point. Talk about trying to teach an old dog new tricks...that's a whole 'nother story.
Sometimes you know it's just the timing of your plans that's going to change. Other times you realize that you need to totally rethink your plans and decide what you really want. Sometimes you start out thinking that just the timing of things is going to change, but then you realize you really have to let go of that idea. Sometimes that's easy, sometimes it's hard.
Giving up cruise vacations was a no-brainer. Deciding what to do in the face of all the cancelled art shows has given me sleepless nights. I finally decided that I am going to retire from the art business. Needless to say I won't stop making art, I'm just going to stop trying to sell it. Other than a couple of stores that carry my free lace scarves, my sales are almost totally dependent on art fairs. Realistically I expect that it will be 2022, before the Covid-19 virus is under control enough that I would feel comfortable doing fairs again. That's just too far out there to keep it as a goal. It was great while it lasted, but now it's time for something else.
So what does this mean?
The primary change is that I will be shutting down our Etsy shop by year end. If there is something you want, order it soon. I will not be renewing the listings that expire so items will slowly disappear. At the end of the year I'll take down anything left and close it up. Until then, I'll leave pictures of expired items up on our website. If you happen to see something you want, but the link to Etsy doesn't work its listing has expired. In that case, send me an email we'll work out payment and shipping methods.
For the foreseeable future we will keep the Friends Fabric Art website and the blog so we'll have a means to keep in touch. Sonja and I will continue to post as the spirit moves us, sharing our most recent projects and updating ongoing efforts.
So once more Friends Fabric Art is changing with the times, hanging on in a new form. We are grateful for all the friends we've made over the years and anxious to keep those connections. We appreciate your support and always welcome your comments.
All my best,
And a PS - The collaborative project among Sonja, me and my sister Sue is still ongoing. Here's a sample of what's been completed recently. More are underway.
Playing with watercolor paints and water on paper has been peaceful and soothing lately which we could all use more of in these wacky times. I'm enjoying a technique of watercolor painting that I learned from my Saint Olaf College art professor, Wendell Arneson. I'd been using watercolors more like acrylics before his class. I wasn't really using their special affinity to water. The paint will only go where there is water. Paint will float around in a puddle mixing colors in interesting ways similar to creating marbling patterns.
I start by tracing circles because I seem to have a circle obsession lately. Then I either wet a circle or create a puddle of water in a circle. Next step is to get your paint brush wet and full of a color from the paint palette and then lightly drop the color into your wet circle. Watch the color spread. Add more of the same color or more water if you like.
Then move on to another color and drop it into another spot. Keep repeating until you have added a few colors. Key point is to know when to stop before the painting gets too muddy. Doing specific color studies with just a few colors helps to keep from going overboard.
From Wendell's Color Design class, we learned to study colors found in other artworks, magazines, or just about anything. For my color play, I have been experimenting with the color combinations in Carter Smith's shibori fabrics. A photograph of one of his dyed silk scraps is on the right below although my photo does not do the colors in the fabric justice. (That's what I get for taking a photograph at night under yellowy light bulbs.)
Aside from knowing when to stop, the only hard part is waiting for the paintings to dry to see what happens. Try it. It's fun and the worst that can happen is your paintings will turn to mud. Just remember color theory - opposite colors mixed together make dulled tones and browns depending on how much of each you use. In the event that you didn't get to take Wendell's class or another color design class, the opposites on a color wheel are yellow/purple, blue/orange, and red/green. Mixing the three primary colors (red, yellow, blue) can also result in mud so you may prefer to avoid those combinations at least at first. Just plop the colors in gently and let them do their thing.
And for extra fun, here's a cute robot drawing by my 5 year old, Tyler, who just started virtual school. All teachers out there dealing with COVID - you are wonderful! Thank you for all you do! (Any software developers out there - please, please, please design easy to use software for teachers to use to teach effectively on-line without incessant bugs.)
Best wishes and stay safe,
Mother & daughter, Ann Lee & Sonja Lee-Austin share their joys and struggles in their art and lives.