Lately it has been wet around here and my plans for planting our now fairly bare garden have been stagnant. In the meantime, I moved on to working on a little indoor flower project. This is another one of those long-forgotten quilts. I designed my favourite flower quilt patterns in the style of stained glass window panels. As I was drawing the flowers, they took on shapes of mineral crystals. Since I love geology, the blocks are all named after my favourite minerals – Garnet Primrose, Kyanite Iris, Olivine Tulip and Selenite Clematis. I made the initial blocks with the Downton Abbey fabrics.
I didn’t want an usual 4 x 5 block arrangement for this quilt. I wanted something completely different, a special layout for this one. Until I had the layout designed, I didn’t know how many blocks I needed to make and progress stalled. The four blocks went into the cabinet not to see the light of day again for a long time. Now it is finally time to dust off the pieces and start working on the rest of the quilt.
This is the layout I came up with. I imagined walking through a very big garden made up of smaller, sectional gardens. Enchanted Garden is what came to mind as the name. Now that the layout is done, I can start making the rest of the flowers.
Since I always get asked about the pattern links, here they are –
They are quite easy to make 12″ blocks. Many thanks to those of you who purchased the patterns already.
I do love nature and my most favourite are the trees. One evening, I sat down to relax with my sketchbook while running one of my favourite movies in the background. It was early March, the trees were still very bare and the sky took on beautiful colours at sunset. Using pastel pencils I was trying to capture those colours peeking through the silhouette of a tree.
A few notes about oil pastel and pastel
Although they share the name pastel, oil pastel and pastel are really quite different from each other and cannot be used together. I used paper stumps to blend the pastel pencils. I tried to use the stumps to blend the oil pastel, but using my fingers proved more effective. The heat from my finger warmed up the oil in the oil pastels, which in turn blended the colours a lot better.
I didn’t buy any special paper for the pastel pencils. They worked great on Strathmore 400 Series 80lb drawing paper. For the oil pastels, however, I used a thicker paper so the oil from the pastel would not seep through. I used Canson 150lb smooth surface paper for the oil pastels. I would like the try the oil pastels on canvas one day.
Pastel sticks create quite a lot of chalk-dust, pencils create a lot less. That’s why I like the pastel pencils better. They blend very easily, they smudge easily too. Oil pastels have mineral oil which never really dries completely, so they would smudge as well. Therefore, both of them need sealing. I used Grumbacher Matte Finish Final Fixative to seal both of them. One thin coat was enough for the pastel pencils, but the oil pastels needed three thin coats. I did take the time to let each coat completely dry before applying the next one. I suggest you try out the sealant on a small test sample before you apply it to your finished painting.
I couldn’t find much information on this and had to figure a lot of this out by playing. So, in case you paint, I thought you might find this information helpful.
I painted this Field Of Wild Flowers with oil pastels in the style of Van Gogh. As you can see, they behave quite differently than pastel pencils. I wrote about his painting a couple of weeks ago in “The Master And The Apprentice“.
One Friday, it was raining outside and I was feeling like doodling after work, but without taking out a whole pile of painting paraphernalia. So I pulled out my box full of markers. I have never used markers for landscape painting before, so this was a first for me. Markers can get quite expensive and they can’t be mixed together to create new colours. Since I don’t have an unlimited supply, I lined up the shades I had at home and doodled away at this picture of trees in the morning at the local park while listening to the patter of rain.
I leave you with a photo of a tiny little Spring Vetch adding its splash of colour to the countryside around here.
Hope you find some inspiration in flowers and trees this week as well!