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Archive for January 10th, 2007

Cleaning my Brushes

Several months ago I signed up for an e-mail newsletter from an artist named Robert Genn.  The newsletter arrives twice a week (In fact, it’s called Robert Genn’s Twice Weekly Letter).  Genn is a painter, and many of his newsletters are specific to painting, but at the same time, they are…not.  They are universal subjects that really do affect all artists.  I have learned a lot from the newsletter itself, and from the reader comments that get published on the website later in the week.

This week’s newsletter was a response to a question about how to clean paint brushes.  Genn talks about his methods, and admits that there are probably artists all over the world cringing at his treatment of his tools.  (He doesn’t abuse them, really.  It just sounds like he doesn’t exactly do it the way his art teachers taught him).

He then goes on to talk about a fellow student back in art school.  This young man spent a lot of time cleaning his brushes.  So much time, in fact, that he never actually did any painting and was asked to leave.  I think Genn said that the man eventually became a dentist.  And now that I type that, I get how funny that is really supposed to be.  I’m slow sometimes.

As I was snoozing this morning it occurred to me that this is what I have been doing.  I’ve been "cleaning my brushes."  I have a number of things that I’d like to explore, but instead of DOING something about these ideas, I’ve been reading, and thinking, and trying to find the perfect sketchbook or book to alter, trying to find the perfect markers or, pens or….. In other words, I’ve been cleaning my brushes.

Spending time blogging (and thinking about blogging) has started to push me into accomplishing more (like I said last night — in order to post something interesting, first I have to *do* something interesting…).  Yesterday’s newsletter, though, really helped gel in my mind why I feel like I’m spinning my wheels some days.   I think I’m going to make myself a sign, and hang it over my computer:  "Are you DOING or are you CLEANING YOUR BRUSHES???"

First, though, I need to find the perfect paper to do it on.  And should I use markers or print it on the computer?  What color should it be?  Should I decorate it with doodles, or just print the text……… (wink, wink…)

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WIP Wednesday #4

Even though I’ve spent a lot of time on the computer in the last week, I’ve actually accomplished quite a bit.  I kind of find myself thinking "I need to blog about something interesting, so I’d better go DO something interesting" LOL.

First up is my finished quilt for my Longarm Round Robin.  The top is finished!!  Before Friday I need to get a back, load it up on the longarm and do the stitch in the ditch around the borders and between each row, start a small journal to send with it, make a label for everyone to sign, and then mail it.  There are 4 other quilters in my group — we are each making a top, and each of us will quilt part of all 5 quilts.  I’m looking forward to seeing how it all turns out!

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I was thinking about this year’s Machine Quilters Showcase, and what I might enter into the show.  One of the categories is called "Bread and Butter" — the quilts entered are supposed to be quilted like you actually quilt for customers (as opposed to spending 50 hours on fancy show quilting).  This year, entries can be variations on Turning Twenty quilts, Boston Commons, or Churn Dash quilts.  Churn Dash is my favorite block.  I started working on something awhile back with this category in mind, but I’ve decided to go "over the top" as far as the quilting goes, so I need to come up with something else.  I remembered this WIP and pulled it out over the weekend to evaluate where I’m at with the piecing.  It was actually a kit that I decided not to use the pattern for — just use the fabric and do my own thing.  And then I miscut some of the fabric and had to go on to Plan B.  Or would that be Plan C.  Actually, I think I’m on about Plan E or F with this project.  This is what is put together, and I finished the cutting for the blocks and the sashing.  I still have a lot of that checkerboard to piece.  It’s cute, but what was I thinking???

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I also got a bunch done on some other things, but I can’t post pictures, so you’ll have to wait until an undetermined future date on those….

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