Sorry if I tricked you!

1953 Ford in the Aspens . 34" x 34" Cotton fabric quilted.

1953 Ford in the Aspens. 34" x 34" Cotton fabric quilted.

Recently I confused some people when I shared my art online. I shared my digital art and they thought I was sharing images of quilts.  I certainly wasn't trying to trick anyone so I thought it might help to explain myself.

A year ago I started designing my own fabric and I had two good reasons for doing so at the time. 1) To stop being under the control of fabric companies and their copyrights. 2) To have full artistic input into my work. 

I have shared about my fabric designing adventures throughout the year on my blog. One thing I discovered early on, is that there is no reason to print the fabric then piece it together. Instead I could put the fabric designs together on the computer and then print the fabric. Out of that was born a new technique that I call "digital piecing".

When I started my current series, Cars with Curves, I gave myself permission to print my digitally pieced art onto metal in addition to fabric! That was an exciting moment but also an identity crisis.

Me (Dawn Allen) with a fabric quilt in the back and a metal print of "1955 Chevy in Desert" in the front.

Me (Dawn Allen) with a fabric quilt in the back and a metal print of "1955 Chevy in Desert" in the front.

Am I still an art quilter? My work still looks like quilts but sometimes it isn't a quilt! My intention is to do only one original quilt for each piece in a series. For people who want to invest in beautiful one of a kind art this will be a great opportunity. People wanting a modern look may prefer a large metal print rather than the fabric. And finally for those on a budget the smaller prints on metallic paper are beautiful too.

Fabric quilt in the background and a framed 8" x 12" metallic paper print of "1964 VW bug with Winter Birch" in the foreground.

Fabric quilt in the background and a framed 8" x 12" metallic paper print of "1964 VW bug with Winter Birch" in the foreground.

This may be a defining moment in my career as an artist. It may be a launching point for something I have not yet imagined. Probably a little of both... stay tuned to find out with me. 

Mallory in a snow storm... day or night which do you like best?

Mallory in a snow storm... day or night which do you like best?

Karma Art: I am starting a new series of Equine Art.

I created a commissions page and moved the form that had been in this post to there.

How I turn on my headlights...

I am really enjoying my new digital photographic collage series, Cars with Curves! One of the things I have enjoyed playing with is the concept of having the car's headlights appear to be on.

1955 Chevy in the City  was my first experiment with lights. I made the street lights and headlights glow just a little bit.

1955 Chevy in the City was my first experiment with lights. I made the street lights and headlights glow just a little bit.

So here is my secret:

I start with an almost finished scene. (I will talk more about how I did this in my next post.)

I start with an almost finished scene. (I will talk more about how I did this in my next post.)

I add a "dot" of white using the blurred paint brush in photo shop over top of the lights as a separate layer. I could keep it this bright but I didn't...

I add a "dot" of white using the blurred paint brush in photo shop over top of the lights as a separate layer. I could keep it this bright but I didn't...

I lowered the opacity on the white layer to 63% so that you can see the lights under it.

I lowered the opacity on the white layer to 63% so that you can see the lights under it.

Next I added two layers on the road and lowered their opacity too so you can see a bit of the road texture underneath (and it softens the image).

Next I added two layers on the road and lowered their opacity too so you can see a bit of the road texture underneath (and it softens the image).

Finally I imagined that the road was a bit wet, so I added a final layer of solid silver pattern to look like a reflection on the road.

Finally I imagined that the road was a bit wet, so I added a final layer of solid silver pattern to look like a reflection on the road.

Love and safe travels, Dawn

Does the computer do all of the work?

You might have noticed me on Facebook and blog posts mentioning designing my own fabric. I have explained a little bit about how I create my designs on Photoshop in other posts. For some this might feel like a mysterious process. Others might be wondering, "Is digital art cheating, is the computer doing the work for the artist?" 
Well, that is a great question! The short answer is, no, the computer only does what I tell it to do. All of the vision and design and creation is by my own hand. The computer does allow me to do some intricate designs more quickly. For example, I can save patterns in a repeat then draw with that pattern so that my solid line becomes "fancy".

At first I was printing all of my digital art onto fabric and quilting it.

Then I started printing some designs onto clothing.

Dawn Allen (me!) wearing my "Classic Truck on Cape Cod" shirt at the artist reception for my solo show at the Rinnova Gallery.

Dawn Allen (me!) wearing my "Classic Truck on Cape Cod" shirt at the artist reception for my solo show at the Rinnova Gallery.

Now I have started a new series, "Cars with Curves" and I love the look of the digital art with a shine, so I plan on printing this series on metal and metallic paper! Cool right?

Below is a perfect example of what fun digital art can be. Each part of the picture was drawn by me using a Wacom stylus (looks like a pen on a mouse pad). I did each element as a separate layer, which allows me to move things around easily. For example, I can click on the lamp post and move it across the street without redrawing it. 

1955 Chevy. What you see here is a computer file, soon I will have it printed on metal.

1955 Chevy. What you see here is a computer file, soon I will have it printed on metal.

I am sure there will be more to say about digital art in the future... for now thank you for reading!

For those of you with a love of classic cars and trucks from the 1950s you can look forward to seeing more of my Cars with Curves series. Prints are available for purchase in my store!

Peace and Love, Dawn

 

Three ways I use photography to get what I want

I love going to the fabric store and selecting the best colors that go together just the way I want. However, lately in order to achieve the look in my art that I desire, I have choose to design my own textiles. Now I am using my photography to get what I want out of my fabrics.

The first way I use photography is by taking a photo that interests me- giving consideration to texture, depth, color, and subject. Then I have it printed on fabric and "paint" it with thread. I have made several of these Photographic Thread Paintings lately.

The second ways I use photography in my art is as a background with a 3D flower in front. I find a texture of wood, stone, or other element, photograph it, print it on fabric, then quilt it. Sometimes I alter the image on the computer like I did with the grass and sky below.

The third way I use photographs to get the fabric I want is by taking images (mostly of nature) that contain interesting colors or patterns and I alter them extensively on the computer. I often use Photoshop, Sumopaint, and occasionally Fotosketcher. All of the patterns you see in the photo below were created from my photography.

Of course telling you exactly how I create the designs would take pages and be quite technical, but here is one example: First, I took this photo of a morning glory. Then created three dimensional spheres with it, changed the sphere's color hues, and rotated them. I created a background from two other photos of flower petals, then put the whole thing together!

Here is another textile design created from the same morning glory photo.

As you can see, a tremendous amount of work goes into designing all of the patterns that end up in one detailed flower design. 

I am looking forward to showing all of my new designs at my solo exhibit opening August 5th 2016 in Southampton, MA. Please check out the details, share on facebook, and hopefully attend in person!

Happy art and love, Dawn