The background is quilted. I find it a lot easier to do that before adding any constructs over it. The trees in the real scene were all in a row but I thought it might be more interesting if one was in the foreground and two farther toward the lake.
I will need to leave this for a few days before stitching the trees. I have plenty of time to think about leaving them bare or stitching the pine needles.
What happened to April? At the end of March I was staring at pieces that were not working. And here it is almost two months later and those pieces are still on the design board. Some time before I left for the SAQA Conference in Santa Fe I started another piece that was supposed to be a background for spring growth (Trillium, Pussy Willows???):
But when I finished piecing it I decided it was too busy for a background for flowers but too little contrast to stand on its own. But I like it so I will work with it as an abstract construction. To me it says “Early Spring”before the snow is completely gone and the earliest wildflowers are just coming out. But I am not going to applique flowers on it.
The highlight of the SAQA Conference was the Voice Coaching session I had with Leni Wiener. Prior to the coaching, Leni sent a questionnaire to each of the four participants. We each sent the completed questionnaire along with several photos of our work, dated by year completed so she could see the progression. Leni normally provides the coaching through a phone conversation but the four of us had a “live” session in front of an audience. (Yes I was just a little nervous).
After an overview of the process Leni spent an half hour with each participant. Between what Leni pointed out and what she prompted me to admit I do feel like I have a direction and I am excited about it. Luckily I took notes because from Santa Fe I went on to visit my best friend in California and then came home to !Spring! and all the yard work (a labor of love).
Finally this week I have started new work. I was inspired by a scene I saw while walking near Lake Michigan. I resisted the impulse to get my camera and record it. I even resisted the temptation to try to sketch it. I am trying to feel it instead. I have finished piecing the background. There will be trees and stitching. And I may wind up cropping out some of the sky. But for now it feels good to be working on something new .
I haven’t posted in weeks. Partially because I have been traveling, partially because a nasty cold leveled me, and partially because I am stuck.
The traveling was the good part. My sister and I spent two weeks in Ecuador last month. We had a fabulous time in two cities in the Andes Mountains. If that interests you check out Vacation in Ecuador .
The stuck part is not good. I know that sometimes when I get stalled its because I’m in the phase of creativity called “incubation” and “illumination” will come next showing a direction that may even be the right direction to proceed. But this just feels like stuck.
The Cardinal Flower piece is stuck in the wallpaper zone. The colors work OK
but the values don’t have much contrast. And besides, its basically boring.
It needs some energy. I thought about adding a hummingbird or butterflies but I don’t think that will pull it together. Maybe chopping it up and sewing it back in a random manner?
On the other hand I am more or less pleased with this arrangement of Green Spaces.
I want the stitching to be a strong design element but have not yet come up with a plan.
So its time to leave these two on the design wall a bit longer and move onto something that will make me want to come to the studio the minute I wake up.
After I finished the Marsh Marigolds I thought it would be fun to continue on with the wildflower theme. Since working with yellow was so uplifting I chose Ladyslippers. I enlarged my drawing and printed out a full size cartoon.
Knowing where the flowers and leaves would conceal all or most of the background helped me eliminate the piecing behind these areas. I selected a palette of gray with violet overtones and the primary color.
I thought it would provide good contrast with the green and yellow of the flowers.
But it did not. The desaturated photo shows there is no value contrast (!)
I needed darker and/or lighter values for my subject. I decided to try a selection of darker greens for the leaves knowing full well that yellow was going to be a problem. I free pieced a selection of greens with the intention of cutting the assemblies into the leaf shapes.
The contrast was OK but after I made several assemblies and pinned them against the background I saw something different, an overhead view of parks or gardens in an urban location. That’s a new piece.
I didn’t want to applique these over the quilted background. I decided to piece them with the neutral urban colors and go use lighter grays and beige fabrics. I have been auditioning possible layouts:
Meanwhile, I decided that dark green and red would work best on midtone grays of the quilted background. And that a more delicate flower would suit the composition. So I changed the focus to another favorite wildflower, the cardinal flower, which blooms right down by the lake.
So now I have:
1. A Ladyslipper compostion on paper.
2. Pieces that hopefully will become “Urban Parks” or something like that.
3. A background and kind of a plan for Cardinal Flowers.
None of the above will be finished quickly since I have some travel plans coming up. But it will be nice to come back to all three of these with fresh eyes.
Thrilled to have my pieces chosen for the Jordan River Art Center’s website. The show opened yesterday and it is very interesting. Most artists wrote about their process and/or inspiration, something we are used to seeing at quilt/fiber shows but less often in all media fine arts.
Marsh Marigolds 2 28″ x 32.5″
Finished in time for delivery to the show tomorrow. I had thought it would have been further along the abstraction spectrum but when I look at it next to the photo it looks pretty similar. I did use a lot more yellow than green. I guess yellow makes me happy especially on a monochromatic January day.
I did like depicting the same subject differently. Its an interesting exercise and I plan on repeating it.
I decided to use this photo of the marsh full of marigolds and the reference for my abstract composition.
I’ve pieced the background. I am not certain that background is the correct term but its how I work–from the back to the front. I changed the horizon to give me more sky. I love soft blue and so rarely find a way to use it.
I still need to quilt it and this time I am going to used a lighter weight backing fabric. And while I am stitching I will contemplate the color(s) for the tree trunks as well as placement. At one time I thought about piecing them in but decided that it would get awfully messy and I would likely miss my deadline.
And I want to find a way to include a bit of the red twig. Piecing it with the yellow and bright greens did not give me the look I wanted. Maybe stitch? Lots to think about while I quilt.