Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday Sketching at Artbeat

I spent a relaxing Saturday afternoon filling in at Artbeat last weekend and had a free hour at the end of the day to do a little sketching. This is the sitting area in the back room where visitors are invited to kick back with a cup of tea and linger awhile.

3-1/2" x 5", ink & watercolor

Owner Linda Winegar has done a fantastic job of getting the gallery up and running, and it's fully stocked with a wide selection of handmade art and fine crafts. If you live in or near Greene County, PA, I hope you'll have a chance to stop by and do a little Christmas shopping. And check out the latest prints of my sketches!

Artbeat Gallery, 52 East High Street, Waynesburg, PA

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sketching on the Go

Sometimes the biggest challenge with art is just finding the time to do it. Sketching solves that problem - it only takes a few minutes to record a slice of life.

My days have been really busy lately, with lots of pre-holiday orders in my sewing business and two sweet babies to help care for, which means precious little time for art. So, the other day, when I dashed into town to run some errands, I decided to do a super-quick sketch at each of my stops.

(Click pictures to enlarge)
3-1/2" x 5", ink & watercolor in a Moleskine watercolor sketchbook

I felt very self-conscious sketching the drive-thru at the bank, knowing the security camera was recording my every move. Would they think I was planning a heist? And for my next stop, at another bank, I knew I had to work really quickly as I stood at the table where they keep the blank deposit slips and that little pen on a chain. I didn't want anyone to think I was scoping out the scene for some nefarious purposes!

I was a lot more relaxed for the next sketch at Artbeat. Leaning against a lamp post across the street from the gallery, I was able to complete the ink drawing in just a few minutes. Then I was off to the grocery store where a display of fall mums caught my eye as I sat sketching in the van.

3-1/2" x 5", ink & watercolor in a Moleskine watercolor sketchbook

Before heading home, I pulled into the gas station and managed to do a quick sketch during the time it took to pump 18 gallons into my tank. One more stop to pick up a few groceries at Aldi, then I was on my way down the road. Six errands completed, along with six line drawings, all in the course of two hours. Sketching on the go - it's efficient and fun!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Greene Scene: The Historical Society Museum

I occasionally join my husband for a flight in the vintage Super Cub that he flies out of the grass strip here at our house. I don't go up too often, because I'm just not a big fan of small enclosed spaces (and heights), but it is fun on a summer evening, when the colors take on a beautiful glow and the shadows stretch across the fields. Or in the fall when the hardwood forests around here put on a show to rival New England's. On one of those autumn flights, I took my camera along and shot a few photos to paint from later on.

One of those photos was the basis of this painting of the Greene County Historical Society Museum in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.

 11" x 8", Pitt pen and watercolor in an American Journey sketchbook with 140# paper

I sketched the museum and grounds last October but didn't get around to painting it until two weeks ago. It's been a gorgeous fall around here this year, and I think it got me in the mood to finish this little sketch that has languished in my sketchbook waiting to be brought to life with watercolor.

Here are some detail views...

Detail, 4" x 3"

Detail, 2-1/2" x 3"

Prints of this painting are available in the museum gift shop and at Artbeat gallery in Waynesburg, PA.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sweet Perfection

Bright shining eyes
A cute button nose
Rosy pink cheeks
And ten tiny toes
Sweet perfection
Callista Rose

I'm giddy with happiness! Our new granddaughter, Callista Rose, was born to my daughter Sara and her husband last Saturday morning, fifteen days overdue! The wait seemed endless, and now that she's here, I can't get enough of her. She's the most beautiful little baby girl, and when she looks at me with those dark eyes and wraps her tiny fingers around mine, my heart melts.

My pens and paints will sit idle for a few weeks as I diaper, rock, and sing lullabyes - and help my sweet little grandson Nicholas, just 17 months old, through the transition. I can't think of a better way to spend my time than snuggling babies.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Seven Pretty Valances for Bed and Bath

Although drapery panels have dominated the custom window treatment market in many parts of the country in recent years, my customers have never gotten over their love of valances. They're pretty, practical, reasonably priced, and stylish - all great reasons to use them in any room of the home.

Here are seven great valance styles I recently installed in bedroom and bath applications...

Style #1 - Cinched swag with center band

The simple lines of this cinched swag made it a good fit for the hall bath in my customer's home. The wide center band echoes the colors of the embroidered floral cotton fabric.

In the master bedroom, the same customer chose a scalloped box-pleated valance.

Style #2 - Shaped box-pleated valance

A simple but refined beaded ball fringe accents the shaped lower edge.

In the adjoining master bath, we repeated the dark blue color, but this time went with a more contemporary style embroidered fabric. The room is small and couldn't handle a window treatment with a lot of folds and fullness, so I designed this flat valance with its gentle curves and contrasting inverted pleat. The eye-catching valance added a lot of punch to a plain-Jane room.

Style #3 - Inverted box-pleat valance

A Nightingale valance was the perfect choice for a guest room primarily used for visiting granddaughters. We jazzed it up with a fun multi-color striped fabric which coordinated with the existing Pottery Barn bedding.

Style #4 - Nightingale valance

The deep pink lining gives a punch of color to the covered buttons and the cut out pleats, as well as the jabot lining. A narrow 1/8" pink welt accents the scalloped lower edge. The flower finials that I hand-painted to match the colors in the striped fabric were the perfect finishing touch.

Many of the newer valance styles feature a modern take on traditional swags, like this Martinique valance.

Style #5 - Martinique valance

Soft, loose folds with minimal fullness give a more casual look than the strictly pleated folds of old-style swags.

Medallions with an antique bronze finish coordinate with the colors of the embroidered faux silk (that's just a nice way of saying polyester!)

The pleated valance with finials is very similar to the Martinique, but the horn (the piece between the two swag sections) is fuller, making it much more rounded, and the jabots are shorter. The beautiful French knot silk fabric is accented with a multicolor ball fringe.

#6 - Pleated valance with finials

Valance #7 uses the same fabric as #1. My client loved its cheery floral design so much, she used it for two rooms in her home.

Style #7 - Soft cornice with custom shaped bottom

For this bedroom-turned-office application, I designed and fabricated a soft cornice whose profile follows the embroidered pattern of the fabric, a custom touch that would never be found in a readymade window treatment.

Custom valances can freshen up a room with color and style. A window treatment specialist (like me!) can design one that's perfect for your windows. It's what we love to do! If you'd like to schedule a consultation, just give me a call. 
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