Be Delighted

"Oh my my my my, what an eager little mind!"

Auntie Mame

Monday, July 4, 2022

Creatures Great and Small

 Just a lot of small, recent works focusing on animals and birds. I hope you enjoy them.


                                                    Side Eye 6" x 6" sold to David Box



                                        Backwards Glance 6" x 6" sold to Sherry Grusendorf.



                                                                       Crow  6" x 6"


                                                                    Snow Hare 6" x 6"


                                                                    Bear Stare 6" x 6"




                                                                       Sparrow 6" x 6"


                                               Burrowing Owl 4.5" circle Sold to Sukie Danks




                                                 Chance 6" x 6" A horse I actually know.




Descent (from my sketchbook) done with Posca pens



                                                                Cedar Waxwing 6" x 6"





Saturday, April 2, 2022

More Solitude

                        A continuation of my Solitude series, little houses in various landscapes.

                                                                      Solitude #6



                                                                        Solitude #7


Solitude #8 (sold)


Solitude #9


Solitude #9 framed


Solitude #10


Some of these were on display last month. They will all be framed for a show in June.













Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Solitary Houses

 I've been working on some more imaginary textile landscapes using both traditional piecing and quilting but also slow stitch, and improvisational piecing and layering, with a variety of natural fabrics (cotton, silk, and linen) plus lots of embroidery, bits of lace, some tulle net, and a dose of crochet.

Solitude #1 started out as a purely abstract exercise in random stitching and piecing, about three years ago, but adding a small house recently gave it a mood and presence. I saw a small cottage on a cloudy Yorkshire Moor and wondered who lived there so quietly.


This was followed by choosing another abstract exercise done shortly afterwards, and adding another cottage, this one a little more defined and with richer colours.
Solitude #2

The next one was more deliberately planned to include a house, this one an obviously Southwestern style. I had cut up an old quilt top I was never going to finish, and added a small section of that along with some bridal lace I once bought for no real reason, but it was pretty.
Solitude #3

Solitude #4
Another Southwestern house, but a bit plainer and slightly more somber. Perhaps it's raining.


Solitude #5
This one is not even completed. I have yet to stitch the border (usually a tight zig zag) and it feels more like an abandoned farmhouse somewhere. Probably my least defined building, and it looks lonely.
update: now sold


                                                            Solitude #6?
                               Well, it's a start so I might document the process. Stay tuned.

                P.S. the pale lavender silk above, that shows up in a few of these, was given to me by Glenn's grandmother, Grumpy, back in the late Seventies. She used to sew and tailor clothing for the wealthy people in town, some of whom went shopping for fabric in London and Paris. Grumpy gave me about two yards of it, pure silk with metallic embroidered paisley sections every few inches, which makes me believe it's a fine Indian sari silk. I've used about a yard of it already, but snip by snip it finds its way into some of my works.





Friday, September 24, 2021

Landscape Forms

 I'm back from a very long blogging break. In fact I had almost forgotten that I had a blog. While I continue to putter my way through all sorts of art mediums, fiber works, abstract painting, collage and art journaling, I like to come back to the landscape as a place to get lost in.

Recently I tore sheets of watercolour paper into 8 inch squares and set myself a task of just doing a series of small landscapes in both transparent and opaque acrylics. Here are the results, some more abstract than others, but each one, though mostly from the imagination, conjuring a certain feel for place. Enjoy the journey.







 These works are available on my Etsy site. www.Etsy.com/shop/artbyValya.










Friday, February 19, 2021

Building a Tiny House

 Recently I have done a number of commissions for people after they have seen my tiny fabric houses. While these little houses are purely imaginary, a commission usually requires that I create a miniature version of a real house, which requires much more forethought and planning, plus photographs, to work by, and in one case, enlisting my husband to do a quick architectural drawing to get the proportions right. I still like to allow for whimsy and creativity, though.

Here is an example of one of my imaginary houses, one of the most recent, Little House # 116:


And here is an example of a recent commission of a real cottage called Snug Harbor. It's up on the east coast and the owners wanted a nautical reference.


For my most recent commission I decided to document the process to show the various stages of creation.

Here is the first step based on a photograph I received from the client. At this point it is just abstract shapes against a sky and ground. I estimated this piece to be 8" x 10" upon completion. This is larger than my standard little 5" x 5" houses and allows for more detail.


Adding elements and creating some colour. At this stage it is all fused in place with no stitching.


Lot's of machine stitching will happen first, then the hand embroidery, which is the most time consuming, plus making a quilt 'sandwich' with top layer, batting, and backing, to give it firmness and dimension.


 The blossoms are all french knots and the leaves are all done in  daisy stitch. Edging has been zig zagged.

The background sky had wrinkles and puckers that refused to be ironed out so I decided to stitch the sky in wavy rows to help tame it. The finished work was given a gentle hand wash, the zig zagged edges were tipped in gold paint, and the entire work was mounted on painted canvas ready to hang. I've not really counted the hours it took, as it was an on and off process for about two weeks, but I'm sure it was a lot.

Done, and on to the next one.










Monday, October 26, 2020

Mile 359

 This is a post about process. There is a finished product and there is the process, just as there is a destination and a journey (that initially seems long, but with audio books and coffee on hand, nine hours in human travel time to get to a completely different view is really pretty amazing.)

This particular journey was to Breckenridge, Colorado last month, a wonderful respite in the mountains, with beautiful scenery and great food. And horses and bike riding and adorable chipmunks. But that is not what I painted. 


Instead, on the way back home we grabbed some Subway sandwiches on the edge of Raton and drove a few miles down the road to park and enjoy them in that most socially distanced of places, that stretch from Raton to the Texas border, where the last of the mountains slowly melt back into the plains, and an extinct volcano stands nearby (Capulin monument) to remind us of a long gone, ancient time. (this photo is from 2016 but extinct volcanoes don't change much in four years)

It was a quiet, hazy day, the haze due to the smoke from the California fires drifting eastward, and I shot two photos with my camera. The first photo became a small painting, Near Raton, that was sold to a friend, but the second photo also beckoned so I bought a larger, landscape oriented canvas and began painting another moment of the lure of the open road, Mile 359. I wonder where Mile 1 began?



The second painting took longer and was reworked many times. Here is the photo:

The beginning:


More brushstrokes. At this point looking back I actually like this roughed out version. It has energy and life and a sense of the actual journey, especially in the close-up.



Then I started refining and detailing.


And then glazing, reworking, glazing, reworking, stepping away, coming back, reworking. The process was not as fun at this point. My eyes were as glazed as my painting. But eventually I had to call time and decide it was done. Maybe.


This painting took longer than nine hours but coffee was involved.