Social Links

Instagram  

Contact the Studio

314.956.6049
susanschmittart@gmail.com 

 

Follow Susan's blog

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 

Blog Archve

Wednesday
Apr152015

It’s about the dresses

 

My grandmother, Myrtle Lee Wood, was a talented and resourceful woman.  I was young when she passed away so my relationship with her is a variety of tiny memories swirling around that occasionally become defined by stories from my older sister or brother. I remember she sewed and she quilted.  I think she moved often and probably never had a home long enough or a yard big enough to establish a large garden. If she could have gardened, I would guess that she would have grown vegetables before she would have invested in flowers. But I like to think that she had a lot of flowers growing and there’s a reason for that assumption.

I am most fortunate to have one of the quilts she made. Myrtle Lee was a frugal woman.  She recycled her worn dresses, cutting the best parts from them to piece her quilt tops.  My quilt is a summer garden exploding with every color, surrounded in sunshine, and bordered with a blue sky and points.  Each of those little flower pattern pieces are snapshot memories of my grandmother. As I remember the trim of an apron, or the length of a summer dress, she becomes a real person to me and her love of flowers is fact. 

 When I started the series of Women I Might Have Know, I knew something would solidify my project. I’ve made half a dozen Garden paintings now, and I’m pretty sure it’s about the dresses. My Grandma Wood wore floral print dresses with aprons that had trimmed borders of more flowers. She was from the era of an orchid corsage for Easter, and pretty little caplet hats with flowers for Sunday mornings. I remember that she had a quilt frame that she lowered from the ceiling to move her chair around and stitch. She had a treadle sewing machine that seemed dangerous to me. She had two purses and one of them had Bazooka bubble gum in it, and I believed I was the only one who knew it.  But always when I think of her she is wearing a floral print dress. 

Thursday
Apr092015

Tutorial - Young Girl with Butterflies

My work in progress is always so confusing to the studio visitor. Here is a small tour of how I design a painting. Believe it or not - there is a detailed road map to this painting. I've drawn it on sketch paper. I've identified my composition, colors, and chosen stamps for pattern making. I've prepared my surface with under painting color and marks, then transfered the design on to the prepared paper.

I usually paint the face first. If I don't love the face I'll abandon the painting. Once that part of my painting is settled, I begin working on the background.  As you can see my figure is taped out to protect the surface from additional overpainting, and I've started to block in the field of flowers.

Once I have my flowers painted, I pull the tape. 

Then I retape to frame my dress and stamp a pattern on to it.

Here is a close up of the dress.

I lift the tape and refine the details of the face, hair and ribbon. 

A few more details will still be added to this painting: more flowers, butterflies and grasses.

And there she is, ready to become a greeting card, a coloring book page, and framed as a finished painting.

I'll be teaching my process in a workshop in May. If you are local to the Denver area check my calendar for workshop information. Happy painting!

Friday
Jan022015

Happy New Year 2015

That is how I feel today - pretty excited to see the new year start. Last week was not the same. Everyone in this house had a cold. We spent lots of time wrapped in blankets, lying on the couch and sipping tea with old Christmas movies to keep us company. Not a bad way to be sick, although the amount of work pushed aside so we could just be sick was staggering. Now that I'm recovered, I'm running to catch up so that I can be off to Atlanta on Sunday.


This is not a beer, 
but it is my favorite insulated mug filled with steaming hot Earl Grey, honey and lemon. 

 

These little birds were gifts this year but we were too sick to add them to the birdie tree. For now they look pretty sweet keeping my books company. Thank you Betty and Kevin!

 My new Quilted Women series is making lots of people happy. At first they were released as blank cards. I always knew they needed to say something. I must say, I really labored over the sentiments. It was important to me that they conveyed messages as uplifting as the paintings are. Finally, after writes and rewrites,  and finding a few inspirational quotes, they were ready for print. I can't wait for you to read them. I've just added the new greeting cards to my shop on the website and you can read the wonderful messages with them. I'm so pleased to add 9 new cards to my greeting card line. Below is a preview of one I've written for comfort.

Inside greeting: 

Just as quilts are pieced from the worn dresses
and shirts of our relatives, they are evidence of our own history, 
and provide us with soulful comfort.

May you gain strength and comfort from those who love you.

I'll be at the Atlanta Gift Show, America's Mart
Jan 8th through 12th
Building 3, floor 5, booth 1706

All of my new greeting cards, note cards and a few new ladies (shown above) will be in the booth each day. If you are a gift buyer please stop by and say HI! If you are a card fan, please show them to your favorite gift shop and perhaps they will carry the cards so that you can buy them locally. They are always available in the SHOP on my website.

And here is my motto for 2015! Remember reading Ann Lander's column? I started reading it in 7th grade and always looked for her sage wisdom. What a smart clever woman.  I'm going to follow her advise.

Happy New Year girlfriends!
                                                          
                                                                              

 

Wednesday
Nov262014

Knitting - Making Things With Purpose

I absolutely love to make things. I always have. I come from a family of makers. Sometimes I have been driven by practical reasons to create when the things I wanted would have been to expensive to buy.  I just looked at an item I admired and told myself, "I can can make that!" Over the years I've really come to appreciate my ability to be a maker, especially in a "mass produced" world market. There is a great deal of satisfaction in knowing how things are constructed, if they are well done, and what "some assembly required" actually means.

I make a lot of things - specifically greeting cards that you all know about. But I love to bake cookies, occasionally I sew and sculpt my dolls, and a lot of my free time is spent knitting. Knitting is my "time not wasted" activity. There are always a number of knitting projects in various stages of progress waiting for my interest to return. Almost everyone of them is a gift for someone. My Tuesday night knitting group often discusses the number of hours invested in this sweater or that scarf. It's a constant running joke that we would kill anyone who threw our knitted gift in the wash machine, or even worse - THE DRYER! There are labels that you can purchase to sew in a garment that say that very thing!

Here is an example of what making things looks like!

Inside these baskets is the promise of a winter hat, a baby sweater, afgahn squares, at least three new scarfs and a gift exchangew for my knitting group. I'm going to be bold and tell you that cedar chest is full of more projects. 

From the beginning cast on there is so much promise in those first stitches. Of course there is the delight in what the fiber looks like when all that beautiful color is knit. And then there is the complexity of design, not just in the pattern you choose, but in the very idea that you can just make little loops and turn a long strand of fiber into - "Something, Anything!" That's pretty glorious in it's self, but now add in the joy that comes with giving something you created.

As makers, we all know that until the gift is given, the project is not complete.

I know I've shown you this before. It's titled "A Knitty Christmas"
from Left is Uncle Bob, husband John, Aunt Margie and John's mom, Jane - all sporting hand knits from me.
They were funny to see all lined up for a photo but they were worn for many years!

 I'm wishing all of you, my friends, a Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season!
May all of your hand made treasures be loved and appreciated for many years to come! 

                                                                                                                                                       Cheers,

 

 

Saturday
Oct042014

Elsie and Jean, Side by Side

Before John and I bought our first home, we lived in several different apartments, moving around every year or so and getting a feeling of how we wanted to live. One of our favorite homes was a flat in South St Louis. It was easy walking distance to my parent's home, and I could visit my Mom most mornings. 

We really liked our home on Fillmore St. It had two bedrooms, so there was plenty of space to start our family. We lived on the first floor. Upstairs lived a very sweet couple of senior women, Elsie and Jean. They were very good friends for many years, and when their husbands passed away they decided to live together. Aside from the traditional front and back entrances, our flat had a side entrance. It provided access from both of our apartments to the outside and the basement for storage and laundry. As we got to know each other, we left the side doors open so that we could visit and help each other out.

Their flat was filled with all of the collections that represented women of their era. They had beautiful carved Old World style furniture with embroidered linens draped over the arm rests, backs of chairs and all polished wood surfaces. In the front room they displayed an enormous collection of Hummel figurines. To this day, if I see one, I think of the two of them.

The ladies wore pretty print dresses with hats. In the spring they wore hand knit shawls and in the winter, long coats.They started every day walking several blocks to early morning mass. They cooked lightly and served everything on the delicate china they both had collected. Elsie and Jean had a fondness for baked goods so many of their daily outtings were to local bakeries. They were charming, sharing stories of their own young lives. We liked them very much.

I only knew them for a short time. Elsie passed away on a winter morning.  It was cold out for walking, but she would not consider missing daily mass. Just a little while after she returned she died. Jean was beside herself with grief, and could not continue to live in the flat without Elsie. It was very sad not to have them upstairs any longer. 

I made the above painting from a photo one of my friends shared with me. The photo triggered the memory, as the two women in the picture so much reminded me of Elsie and Jean. I had not thought of them in many years - but a flood of memory returned as I made my painting. And how perfect to make them into a birthday card tribute to such a friendship! 

 My best memories always include you!

                                                                     Happy Birthday

                                                                                                Susan

Page 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 ... 17 Next 5 Entries »