Friday 27 March 2015

Photoshop Elements Course

I have finished the on-line Photoshop Elements course with Pixeladies and I would highly recommend it if you have Photoshop Elements and want to learn how to use it properly. Photoshop Elements is a photo editing program and you can download a trial copy of Photoshop Elements to use for the course, if you want to try it out before spending the money on the program.

I did the beginners class 1 and 2 and as well as notes there were videos to watch as many times as we liked. The instructions were very easy to follow and we had to post our homework onto the website platform and Kris and Deb, the teachers would give advice and answer all of our questions. I think that they mustn't get much sleep because they answered very quickly!

I spent over an hour every day of the 6 weeks of the course practicing and doing the exercises.

Here are some of the things that I learnt to do.

Changing the colour of a block or I could have selected just the background and tried a different colour.

Here is a holiday photo I took and the person in the left hand foreground was staying there for ages and didn't move, but I was able to take her out of the photo afterwards.

We also learnt how to fix old photos. I had a faded wedding photo of my parents in law that needed some attention.

We learnt how to draw on our photos to audition quilting lines and to label photos and so many handy things.

Our last assignment was to make a postcard using some the skills we had learnt. I did a Welcome to Victoria postcard.

It may not be obvious at first glance but I used a lot of techniques to make the postcard.

Gradient background
Coloured the clothes on the paper doll
Cropped the photo
Intensified the colour
Added two photos to the one background
Outlined the landscape photo
Added text with a transparent background
Placed the text in a layer behind the paper doll
Added a drop shadow.
Outlined the entire postcard.

We learnt many more techniques and when the Intermediate course is offered later on this year, I am definitely going to sign up.

All the videos and information are going to stay available for us to use for 6 months. So I intend to go through the lessons again because I am sure that it will be a great refresher.

There will be another beginner's session this year as well so go to their site, Pixeladies and register your interest.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Balance in the Wetlands

I belong to SAQA  and the Australian and New Zealand members have a private Facebook page where we can communicate and get to know each other. There is a challenge posted four times a year and we can make a small quilt using the theme if we'd like.

The latest challenge was Balance.
I thought about the topic for a while and I started to think about being out of balance. I remembered being on holidays during Victoria's ten years of drought. I always like to visit any wetlands while I am away because I love birds and I am always keen to take photos of them. I was dismayed to find no birds and the wetlands dry and barren.

So I made a small quilt about there having to be a balance of sun and rain for the birds to be at the wetlands.

I had a photo of an Ibis and I put him in a lush wetland environment.

After I had fused the pieces onto the background I used my sewing machine to add details to the Ibis and added some plants.

After I had the quilt top stitched I added some little circles with some Lumiere paint to make it look as if he was standing in the water.

Finally I quilted the water in a thread that has a slight sheen to it and quilted around the leaf shapes on the top half of the quilt. The quilt is 12" x 12" or 30cm x 30cm.

Balance in the Wetlands ©2014 Linda Steele
Bye for now,

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Crazy Quilt Books for Beginners

Last month I did a post about a couple of Crazy Quilting books that I am enjoying at the moment. I have been Crazy Quilting for 12 years now though. I don't use books very much these days but when I first started I had my Crazy Quilting Books next to me all the time as a refresher for stitches and ideas in general.

When I teach I often get asked which are the best Crazy Quilting Books to buy.

My favourite Book in those early days was Elegant Stitches by Judith Baker Montano, it is spiral bound too so it stays open.

I am fairly sure that it is still in print and available. It's handy for left-handers as well because there is a section just for them.

Another book that is still available and very good is the A-Z of Embroidery Stitches. My copy is old and they have changed the cover of it now. It is also spiral bound and has many step by step photos of stitches to follow.

 I used to look at Motifs for Crazy Quilting by J. Marsha Michler a lot in the early days, although I don't use it these days because I draw out my own motifs. It is a lovely book but I am not sure if it is still in print.
 There is a book by Carole Samples called Treasury of Crazy Quilt Stitches that has just about every combination of stitches that you could think of and is a wonderful resource when you are feeling out of ideas.

There is a new Crazy Book out called Foolproof Crazy Quilting by Jennifer Clouston that has lovely coloured photos and plenty of stitch ideas.

These are the books that I would recommend to a beginner crazy quilter. Have you got any favourite Crazy Quilting books?

Bye for now,

Tuesday 3 March 2015

Jeffrey Smart

Last year our final topic with the Waverley Art Quilters was the Australian artist, Jeffrey Smart.

I had done the quilt top in time for our meeting last year but I have only just finished binding it.

Jeffrey Smart was born in Adelaide, South Australia on 26th July 1921 and died in Italy on 20th June 2013.

Jeffrey Smart had moved to Italy in 1965 and spent the rest of his life there. He had success in Australia and internationally and became known for his stark representations of urban landscapes often preferring primary colours.

I found a wonderful book showing most of Jeffrey Smart's paintings in the local library.

Motifs of highways, street signs, buildings and oil drums feature in many of his work and they create a still and silent atmosphere.

Jeffrey Smart often commented that painters do not paint their current environment and he wanted to show the beauty of man-made structures. He was not interested in the beauty of flowers or landscape and believed that composition was everything and people should view art with their eyes and not their head.

Here a couple of Jeffrey Smart paintings that were in the book.

For my quilt I used blocks of colour to make an almost abstract composition inspired by Jeffrey Smart's style.

After I had finished the top I didn't like the green and white strip that I had inserted. The green didn't relate to anything else in the quilt.
I tried a piece of brown fabric over the top and I didn't like that either.
I finally decided to use blue and had to unpick the green and white fabric and sew in the blue strip of fabric.

I thought that it looked like a more successful composition.

I kept the quilting to geometric lines because I felt that feathers and more organic quilting stitches did not suit the quilt.

Jeffrey Smart ©Linda Steele November 2014
Bye for now,