A Life of Varied Endeavors

Monthly Archives: February 2013

February Little Altars

The Olympics from Ebey's Landing

The Olympics from Ebey’s Landing – digital photo and watercolor on watercolor paper with vintage glass beads

For my February Little Altars Full Moon project, I was hungry to do some bead embroidery.  An initial attempt at this less than 3″x3″ space left me feeling stuck in a rut and dissatisfied.  It was going to be a fully-bead-embroidered piece on ultrasuade.When I was about a third of the way done, I told myself this was not right.

Instead, I looked to my photo collection for my beach-and-ocean desired visual. The image at left was taken a few years ago at Ebey’s Landing on Whidbey Island, looking across to the Olympic Mountains.

I printed the photo on watercolor paper using my Canon MG6220 printer (not a high-end photo printer by any stretch of the imagination.)  With water brushed over them, the dye-based digital inks liquify quite interestingly on the watercolor paper, and can then be nicely enhanced by watercolors over them.  After a few practice attempts I got happy with the results.    After “watering” and coloring the photo, I sealed the image with archival varnish.

I wanted a little sparkle, and was still hunrgy for some bead embroidery.  I happily found some vintage two-hole glass beads – when I was looking for some other beads – and they just seemed to hit the spot.  With an awl, I made individual holes one-by-one in the 140 lb. watercolor paper, and stitched each bead on. Make a hole, stitch one end, make a second custom hole, stitch the other end.  Broke a few beads with that awl. Hanakokolele on me!

You might call it embellishment, but I’m calling it embroidery!

This is one of the practice pieces, and I like it well enough to call it my keeper.  The final piece for the Little Altars February spot can be seen (when posted) on Peg’s Getting a “Wild Hair” … Studio blogsite.

I’m happy that this is a lighter, simpler, and more fanciful solution to my original desires for this month’s project. For me, it’s a sign of progress in the letting-go arena.

My alcohol ink pals

Alcohol Ink Cast of Players

Over the last couple of years I’ve been using some alcohol inks on certain jewelry items.  I’m currently doing some real-world testing on finishes that I hope will seal the ink and keep it from fading or wearing off the metal.  As this process continues, I still enjoy looking at my color samples arranged on display.  Sort of a styrofoam cake of my entire cast of characters.  The alcohol inks are nice in their pure colors, and nice when gently combined.  I’m also enjoying taking the color off with a steel brush wheel, and starting over with a fresh surface.  Works in process.

Probably in Decline but Evergreen Beautiful

Dryopteris erythrosora 'prolifica'

Dryopteris erythrosora ‘prolifica’

I’m very fond of structure of this fern, Dryopteris erythrosora ‘prolifica’.  It’s evergreen, so these leaves will start showing “in decline” this spring.  This picture was taken in our garden on Christmas Eve 2012.

Beauty in Decline – Part 4


Succulents in early winter - color in a rosette of dead petals

Succulents in early winter – color in rosettes of dead petals

Succulents in winter, Pacific Northwest wet

Succulents in winter, Pacific Northwest wet

A little work in Lightroom helped set the colors off against the background in this first photo.

I’m totally new to Lightroom in the last few months.  It’s terrific! So different from my days with a 35mm camera, a 4×5 view camera, a dark room, storing film in the refrigerator and loading it in black bags to individual canisters, selinium toning, etc. Those were great days, but this is great too. It’s great to get back to something beyond a point-and-shoot-and-you’re-done capability.

Beauty in Decline – Part 3

Imperata cylindrica 'Red Baron"

Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron”
Japanese Blood Grass in early Winter

Outside the kitchen window. From a distance you’d never guess how beautiful. Move in close.

Imperata cylindrica 'Red Baron"

Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron”
Japanese Blood Grass in early Winter with some upright montbretia (crocosmia) providing structure

Adiantum aleuticum in early winter

Adiantum aleuticum in early winter. Hart’s tongue fern peeking from behind