Tuesday, 18 July 2017

On the Prowl

I completed a new quilt in my coral reef series and I called it On the Prowl. The quilt is all about Lion Fish and how they trap smaller fish against the rocks and kill them with their poisonous spines.

On the Prowl ©2017 Linda Steele

I find it incredible that such a beautiful fish can be so dangerous. When the Lion Fish appear,  the small fish dart everywhere trying to get away from them.

I actually started this quilt at the beginning of the year just for some fun while my sewing machine was being repaired.

I was looking back at the photos of how I started it and sometimes it's amazing to see how I start and wonder how I ever got it done. Sometimes it's just persistence.

Here is a photo of me trying to replicate a cave.

It doesn't look like a very promising start does it? I actually painted over the background water fabric because the original fabric had too many colour variations and wasn't quite dark enough for deep in a cave.

Here I am trying to find the correct fabrics for the rocks. I must have made the fish first because I knew that they would be the focus of the quilt.

Auditioning rock fabrics
Here are some close-up photos of the Lion fish. I used organza for their fins to give a more delicate look.

Lion Fish
 Finally another detail photo of the top right corner, apart from some colonial knots all the coral detail is done by machine.

On the Prowl detail

I enjoyed making this wall hanging, it size is 42" wide and 28" long.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Crazy Quilt Round Robin 4

I have finished the next round in the Southern Cross Crazies Round Robin. Six of us from the group are participating in the current round robin. What is a round robin?  Well the rules are slightly different with each one but with this one we had to make up some 6" square base blocks and send them on to the next person on the list of participants.

When you receive the blocks you pick one and decorate it with crazy quilting stitches and then post them off to the next person. Eventually all the blocks get embroidered and you receive your own blocks back. It's up to you what you do with them after that.

This round I received Maureen B's blocks. She wanted us to only sew on the seam lines in neutral colours and no motifs, beads or lace.

Here is what some of the others had already done for her. I noticed that they couldn't help themselves and added some heart motifs.

It was actually hard at first to only sew on the seam lines and not add any motifs, but I got away with it by sewing some wide seam embroidery and it went very quickly.

This is what it looked like when I had finished.

Only one more round to go, I wonder what the last lot of blocks will look like? I enjoy getting the parcel in the mail and see what the others have done.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

William Dobell at Tarrawarra

The Waverley Art Quilters go on an excursion every year and this year we went to the Tarrawarra Museum of Art to see the William Dobell exhibition.

William Dobell was an Australian artist who lived from 1899 to 1970.

Here is his self portrait painted in 1932.

William Dobell-self portrait 1932

He was involved in controversy when he won the Archibald Prize (a prestigious portrait competition) in 1943. Two competitors began a court case saying that Dobell's portrait of Joshua Smith was a caricature and not a portrait. The actual portrait is on display at the gallery.

Joshua Smith by William Dobell.

They lost the court case and Dobell retained the prize but the court case affected him greatly and he retreated from public life for a while and painted landscapes. He must have recovered though because he won the Archibald prize two more times.

He did have a distinctive way of painting portraits, he wanted to paint the person's personality and nature rather than an exact likeness.

Here is his painting of Dame Mary Gilmore painted in 1957.

Dame Mary Gilmore by William Dobell

There are many other wonderful paintings by William Dobell as well as many sketches that he drew before he started his paintings. It is so interesting to see them.

As well as all his paintings there are also paintings in a section called Dobell's Circle, which are paintings by his friends; they used to meet and discuss painting together. He had some famous friends.

We loved seeing these as we have already studied many of these artists in our group and we have found that we really appreciate the artist and their paintings if we have read about them previously.

There are some paintings by Jeffrey Smart; his paintings are so distinctive.

The Overpass, Sienna by Jeffrey Smart 1984

People in a Cornfield on the Cliffs by Jeffrey Smart 1968

There was a still life by Margaret Preston.

Flannel Flowers by Margaret Preston 1922

There was also a still life by Margaret Olley, she loved colour.

Still life by Margaret Olley 1962
There was an artist that we haven't studied but I can't resist mentioning it because it just glowed. It was Evening by Russell Drysdale, my picture does not do it justice.

Evening by Russell Drysdale 1945

As well as all the paintings there are the beautiful views onto the landscape around the gallery.

It is a beautiful gallery and the paintings are so well displayed and beautifully lit. I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area.

Here is a photo of our wonderful group, not everyone could make it but those that did really enjoyed the day.

The Waverley Art Quilters
The exhibition is on until August 13th 2017 and the address of the Tarrawarra Museum of Art is 311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road, Healesville, Victoria.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Spots and Dots

I've started collecting fabrics with spots, actually I have always loved spots but have usually collected batiks with spots. Now I've started to collect normal, cotton fabrics with spots and have been teaming them with some bright colours.

I'd been trawling the internet trying to get certain colour spots and then it occurred to me that I could have any colour spot I wanted if I coloured them myself. I have a collection of Fabrico markers and black fabric with white spots.

There's been so much unhappy news in the world these days that I felt like doing something different and happy. It has been so much fun playing with these fabrics.

The fabrics look so much better when cut into different shapes.

Here are a couple of blocks that I have designed so far.

I actually needed some hand work while I watched TV and went to my sewing groups so that was another reason for designing these blocks. I didn't realise that I would enjoy them so much. I am planning to add some embroidery as well.

Don't worry, be happy!

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Van Gogh and The Seasons

There is a wonderful exhibition on at the National Gallery of Victoria at the moment called Van Gogh and The Seasons. It's been a very popular exhibition, so much so that they have extended the opening hours. I went along last month with what seemed like hundreds of other people but I still managed to enjoy it despite the crowd.

Van Gogh- Self portrait 1887

There are no Irises, Sunflowers or Starry nights but the exhibition explains Van Gogh's love of nature and how he portrayed the seasons. I hired one of the headsets that definitely helped block out the crowd and made the exhibition more interesting.

When Van Gogh began painting they were quite dark but his paintings changed dramatically when he moved to Paris and could enjoy the sunshine and wonderful colour.

Here are some in the autumn section.

The Green Vineyard 1888

The Olive Grove with two Olive Pickers 1889

Van Gogh is in the Post- Impressionist era but he was very inspired by the Impressionists. His paintings are so expressive and the marks he makes remind me a lot of embroidery or quilting stitches.

The Winter paintings are much more sombre but still have a lovely glow of light on the horizon.

Snow covered field with a harrow 

The parsonage garden at Nuenen in the snow 1885

I only took one photo of spring.

River bank in Springtime 1887
Most of the photos that I took were in the summer section.

Trees and undergrowth 1887

A wheat field with cypresses

Wildflowers and carnations 1887

Roses and Peonies 1886

I love Van Gogh's paintings and my very favourite is Starry Night that I saw in Canberra a few years ago. It just glowed and I was quite awe struck by it, I hope to get to see it again one day.

We studied Van Gogh a few years ago with the Waverley Art Quilters and I made an embroidered quilt inspired by Starry Night.

A Starry Night by Linda Steele

Van Gogh lived from 1853 to 1890, so he was only 37 when he died. What a shame he died so young and was such a troubled soul.

The exhibition is on until July 8th 2017 so there is still time to get there if you live in Melbourne or will be here visiting.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Crazy Quilting Round Robin

I am participating in a round robin with the Southern Cross Crazies and I have recently finished the third block in the round. This time I received Maureen T's blocks, she didn't specify a theme. Maureen said that she loves colour and we can do what we like.

Her base blocks were all cream coloured and because they had a slight yellow tone to them I decided to get out some purple threads because purple is the complementary colour to yellow.

Here is the finished block and because the blocks are only 6 inches square, they don't take long to sew.

One of the benefits of participating in a round robin is that you get to see the embroidery of others in the group.

Here is a block by Alison.

Here is another block by Patti.

Now I'm on to the next block in the round.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Busy Life

For some reason the middle of the year is always super busy. I have two quilt deadlines coming up. I have to make an improv quilt for a Nancy Crow exhibition and I also want to make a quilt for the next AQIPP exhibition. AQIPP stands for Australian Quilts in Public Places and it runs every two years. This year the theme is reflections.

I've started working on the improv quilt first and I feel really out of my comfort zone. The idea is to have no pattern or sketch and just put up fabric and let the quilt tell you what needs to happen next. Very scary. Its an abstract contemporary and I doubt whether it will become my thing but at least I am having a go!

Here's how I have started.

Who knows how it will end up!

I have also been doing a photography course. In the second lesson we were learning about using Aperture Priority mode and I took this photo for my homework. The teacher is a tough critic but thankfully he approved of this one.

I am also doing yet another Photoshop course which has a lot of homework and I am doing a yoga class once a week. I know that I take on too much but I am keen to learn and improve as much as I can.

I am still President of Waverley Patchworkers, which is wonderful and a privilege but it is also a responsibility.

Speaking of Waverley Patchworkers, we have our Quilt In on Saturday June 17th and all visitors and friends are welcome for a day of sewing, fun and chatting.

As well as being busy with my quilting I still have time for my dear little grandchildren.

Dear little Savannah is two and a half now, where did that time go? Here she is all dressed up as Belle from Beauty and the Beast for Book Week.

Jack is nine months old already, she such a good, placid boy.

I've had the good news that my quilts have been accepted for the Sydney Quilt Show, so they are ready to be posted off.

So life is non-stop busy but I am lucky to be able to have such a wonderful life.

Bye for now,