Saturday, November 30, 2013

Watercolor Backgrounds, Sketches & a Bit of Self Reflection

This birthday-Thanksgiving corridor has been blissfully relaxed. I was spoiled by my family and my squeeze. We made a non-traditional, luxurious holiday dinner of shrimp scampi, rested and chillaxed.

Slanty City. Sketching on tracing paper over a
watercolor background.

In my crazy effort to live this mashed-up life as an artist, writer/blogger and full-time, biotech-industry career woman, I know that I overfill my days. I get up at five am to do CrossFit bootcamp and I jog on my off days. It's like I'm racing to fit it all in.

Painting small watercolor backgrounds for new embroideries.

And I think I know why. I spent so many years at the mercy of my insecurities, unable to take the leap to focus on my artwork. Too unsure of my abilities to attempt to write about art. I feel like I'm making up for lost time. I want more time, more life.

Bull City Xmas. Thinking about how to turn this
Hardscrabble Wondrous image into a holiday card.

But this pace takes its toll on me. I've felt out of gas lately. Part of it is a chronic problem with pernicious anemia that is out of whack at the moment. But part of it is that I've probably taken on too much. That's why this little break has been so restorative. I've slept for 11-12 hours every night. I feel like I'm slowly regaining my energy.

Relaxing painting, with my sketchbook nearby.

I'm very excited about my upcoming Inspired to Stitch column, coming out on Tuesday on Mr X Stitch. Please check into the site to read my interview with an edgy, wildly talented artist from New England.

My monthly artist interview for Mr X Stitch runs on the first Tuesday.

For now, I'm exploring a new piece I'm calling Slanty City, that emerged from my sketchbook. And I'm  luxuriating in rest. So luscious.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Slow WIP & Screw You!

S l o w l y stitching on my Chained Stones piece.

Detail from Chained Stones. Pearl cotton and merino wool
on a watercolor.

Quietly enjoying living my life.

Layering chain stitches.

BUT, I'm not thrilled about getting older. This birthday is bothering me. I'm physically stronger than I have been in years. I have great friends, a wonderful family and a fantastic man in my life. I'm living more fully and with more creativity than I have in years. And people tell me I look reasonably young. So, what's the problem?

With my brother Joe Corcoran, Catskill Game Farm. A long ass time ago.

It's the freaking number. I don't like it! It doesn't feel like me. So, screw the number!

Cooking selfie.

And happy birthday to me, mofos! 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Inspired to Stitch for Nov 2013 -- Personal Geography

If you haven't seen my latest Inspired to Stitch column on Mr X Stitch, please check it out.

I decided to do something a little different for November. I asked several textile artists the same question and collected their responses into a "round-up," with photos of their work. Think of it as a mini gallery of wildly different pieces on the same theme. In this case, "personal geography."

Screen capture of Mark Bieraugel's beautiful work.

The column includes work by Mark Bieraugel, Megham Willis, Annet Spitteler, Jamie Chalmers, Kathryn Simmons and Olisa Corcoran (ahem, me.)

I'm very excited about the Inspired to Stitch column for December. The featured artist is a secret... Look for it on December 3rd!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

WIP: One Stitch at a Time

Experimenting with a single stitch on my current watercolor piece, Chained Stones.

Work in progress.

It's all chain stitch. I'm using size 5 pearl cotton for all of the colors except black, which is Vineyard Merino wool.  Working with the wool is new for me -- it's usually used for crewel work. I love the stretch.

Detail of Chained Stones

Keeping the color palette simple. For me, anyway.

The back looks like fault lines to me.

I may include other stitches in the piece eventually, but for now, it's just the chain.

Lots of stitches to add.
Looping here and there.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"I still don't understand"

Last weekend, and only because I was asked, I attempted to describe my process of embroidering into watercolor paintings to the white-haired proprietress of a local needlepoint store. 

Honeycomb Rings, 2013.

She just blinked at me, behind a thinly disguised veil of mistrust, and said,"I don't understand."

WIP: Chain Stitch Stones.

Because I'm an idiot, I kept trying to explain what I planned to use the lush wool threads I was purchasing. I even showed her photos of my work on my phone. As if that would help.

Measures 8 x 8 inches, plus matte and frame.

Hand over her mouth, she replied in a lavishly dramatic whisper, "I still don't understand."

Detail, Honeycomb Rings, 2013.

As if it was my problem and I had to solve it.