Sunday, August 29, 2010

I See a Pattern Here...

When I came up with the idea of doing a series of pieces all with a similar vertical line composition, I thought I was doing something very different from my other work.  But then I became more aware of the composition of some of my pieces from earlier this year. 

Hmmm, I guess the vertical lines aren't so new after all.

After I noticed this pattern, I wondered what it was that drew me to the vertical composition. I see the vertical line as a symbol of growth, of a connection between the physical and the spiritual, between the earth and sky.   It also represents the chakras and the energy that moves up through our body, keeping us grounded to the earth and also connected to Spirit.  To me, the vertical line also represents a moment in time - this moment, which is all we really have. 

What does the vertical line represent to you?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fat Quarter Studies, Part 1

I've been working on fat quarter studies in preparation for my assignment in the ArtCloth Mastery program.  I have about 8 pieces in process right now.  My plan is to use a similar composition style for all of them, incorporate a variety of resists and do color studies with intensity and complements. 

First, I have to say I am having a blast!  This is a whole new world for me - handpainting directly on the cloth  - no silkscreens or thermofaxes.    My original inspiration came from Helen Frankenthaler.  One of our assignments for the last class was to prepare a presentation on an artist.  Then I studied other artists from the same period.  I felt drawn to make marks on cloth with my own hands (and the use of some tools!) rather than relying on stamps, stencils and silkscreens.

I was talking with a friend (and artist) the other day about her current project.  She has been having a difficult time finding just the right imagery for her project. She has spent hours researching and working with photoshop. I know exactly how she feels, because I've gone through that numerous times. As we talked, I realized how free I feel working on this series because that is not an issue. 

Here are photos of the three pieces that are "finished".  Not in the ready-to-hang sense, but in terms of any dyeing, painting, etc.

Zip I

This is silk broadcloth. It was inspired by Barnett Newman.  His work features vertical lines, which he calls "zips".  He tends to use more solid colors, but I wanted to create a softer look. No resists on this one, other than the masking tape.  But I'm thinking of a redo, using sodium alginate as a resist.

Fault Line

This is a silk/soy blend.  Great fabric available from Thai Silks.  The silk side is satin, the soy side is similar to a broadcloth.  Because of the blend, the colors are different on each side.  I started with a flour paste resist, then mixed up red in four intensities and used a credit card to scrape the color onto the cloth. This one is my favorite so far.

Stability Amidst Chaos

This is silk broadcloth.  I started with soy wax to block off the circles in a vertical line.  Then I used flour paste brushed on in circles to create the texture in the background.  Then several layers of hand painting with blue and orange dye and just a touch of copper leaf.

Five more in the works - I'll post more as I finish them.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Everybody Needs a Little Lovin'

Every morning as I work at my computer, our youngest cat, Babs, comes wafting in with a pathetic "eeeyooo".  She walks by, gently brushing my legs with her soft fur. That's my cue that it's time to pick her up and hold her like a baby.  She "assumes the position", with paws up, head back, waiting for me to stroke her face and scratch her chin.

This all started about a year ago.  As she got older and heavier, it hurt my arms to hold her for very long.  So I came up with a new way to hold her - like a baby, with her weight resting on my lap. It quickly changed from something I did on occasion, to something she required daily.  We have come to call this daily ritual "Babs getting her 'mornin' lovin'."

It isn't just limited to the morning, however.  We have learned that if she is acting up and getting into things, she just needs a little lovin'. Babs scratching the sofa- give her some lovin'!  Babs knocking things off the table - give her some lovin'! Problem solved instantly.

The other day, my husband came home complaining about a crabby woman he had encountered that day.  She was yelling at everyone, family, strangers, whoever came into her path.  I jokingly blurted out, "she just needs some lovin'!"  And then I thought maybe there really is something to that.  Doesn't everyone need a bit of attention, to feel loved and respected?   Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all had a little "lovin'"?

Now stop snickering - I'm not talking about anything X-rated.  Just a little attention and affection.  Think about your morning routine.  It's so easy to get caught up in the chaos - rushing around, watching the clock, doing chores, making lunch, etc.  Do we give our loved ones our complete attention?  Do we let them know how important they are to us? Maybe just the simple act of being truly present with another person for just a few minutes could change the course of their day.

So, here's my challenge to you this week, should you choose to accept it.  Make a point of "giving lovin'" throughout the day.  Give people your complete, undivided attention. Let those who are important in your life know how you feel. And let me know what happens!

Friday, August 20, 2010

My Latest Project

I'm a bit behind on the cloth I need to finish for the next ArtCloth Mastery Program session.  We are supposed to create a series of 4-6 pieces of artcloth.  Of course, I have all kinds of good reasons for not starting before now.  One of the main reasons is that, up until 2 weks ago, I did not have a plan.  All I knew was that I wanted to incorporate hand painting.  I finally had a brainstorm as I lay awake one night. 

I've been focusing a lot on design and composition since I started my daily design practice last fall.  (Actually it was more of a weekly practice, but that's another story.)  I've always taken an intuitive approach to composition.  But since I don't have a formal art education, I figured it was time for some "book learning".  I've been reading and doing a variety of small design and composition studies to translate the book learning into experiential learning.  I have also managed to incorporate design concepts into each of the classes I taught this year.

Through my design work and research on other artists (I've focused on the abstract expressionist movement) I find I've been drawn to vertical compositions.  I used that approach for one of the pieces I created for my last series, The Best Season, and I was really pleased with the end result.

So, I decided that I would use a vertical composition for all the pieces in my next series. There are a few other things I want to accomplish with this series, so here's my plan:

  • All pieces will have a vertical composition
  • All pieces will incorporate the use of resists
  • All pieces will be primarily hand painted with minimal to no use of silkscreens
  • Each piece will be a color study, incorporating either complements, or some color scheme based on color wheel relationships
I have started doing a series of fat quarter studies and then I will start on the larger pieces.  Stay tuned for photos as I work through the small studies.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Potato Dextrin Resist

I've been working a lot with different resists over the past few years and wanted to revisit potato dextrin.  I first used it about six years ago and loved the crackle pattern it produced. I have also experimented with mashed potato flakes, because they are inexpensive and easy to obtain - no shipping charges!  I've been using flour paste to get a crackle pattern lately, so I wanted to play around with the dextrin again. 

Below are a few photos from my experiment last week.  For the mashed potato flakes I used about 1/2 cup potato flakes to 1 cup hot water.  For the dextrin, I used about 1 1/3 cup dextrin to 1 cup hot water.  I spread the paste on with a squeegee and used the sgraffito technique to scratch into the wet paste.  After the paste had dried, I applied thickened dye.

This shows the mashed potato flakes using the sgraffito technique.  I scratched into it with a bamboo skewer and placed a lace doily, bubble wrap and a rubber rug gripper on for texture.

Another example of mashed potato flakes applied with a squeegee.

This is potato dextrin, applied with a squeegee and then I embedded objects in the moist paste to create pattern and texture.  I didn't get the nice crackling I expected, nor much patterning, but I blame my impatience.  I applied the dextrin while it was still hot.  It needs to cool somewhat before using so it thickens properly. It went on as a very thin coating, which didn't crack much when dried.

This is also potato dextrin. I stamped it on and applied it with a brush.  I had forgotten how well it works as a resist when stamped onto the fabric.

I am currently doing some fat quarter studies, layering different resist techniques.  This is one of the studies using potato dextrin.  I brushed the dextrin through a large plastic grid. I left the grid on until the dextrin had partially dried.  Very interesting!  Today I'll work on the next layer of color.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...