Category Archives: Work In Progress

New Year, New Adventures

Happy New Year! I hope everyone has exciting adventures in store for 2016. I do! I have embarked on a new adventure – painting!

I am a self-taught artist that came to art as a quilter back in the ’90’s at a time when quilting was experiencing a renaissance and quilts were being made for the wall instead of the bed. Quilters began pushing the envelope on materials and techniques while trained artists from other media discovered quilting as a an exciting new medium to explore as a platform for artistic expression. With such a convergence of skills and talent, the current field of quilt art is now inhabited with amazingly gifted artists of diverse backgrounds and skill sets which has inspired me to push my own skill sets and expand my basic knowledge of art.

Soooo…, I am taking a painting class at the Hunterdon Art Museum with the extraordinarily talented Maureen Chatfield who is well-known for her abstracts but has extensive experience in all styles of painting. Since my own work focuses on landscapes, both impressionistic and abstracted, Maureen’s class Painting the Modern Landscape seemed a great fit. I hope to take what I learn in this class and apply it to my current work with textiles.

The class is filled with students from all artistic backgrounds. Some have studied with Maureen many times, others who have always been painting throughout their lives, are taking a class with Maureen for the first time, and those who, like me, are newcomers to painting. I’ve never taken a painting class in my life. I know nothing other than what I have observed on canvases I have admired in galleries, museums, in books and on line. In preparing for this class, I watched a bit of painting tutorials just to familiarize myself with the tools, materials and terminology.

Because of my virgin status, Maureen had me start with a simple piece of fruit using acrylic. I found a few photos on line of pears and picked one to use, Two Pears by photographer Lupen Grainne. I liked the simple shapes, colors and textures.

Two Pears by Lupen Grainne

Class began and the other students, some who had brought in works in progress, began to dive in. I stood there not knowing where to start and, after some guidance and gentle prodding from Maureen, I proceeded to work, tentatively at first but then I dove in head first into my painting. And, this is the result.

Pears underpainting fbThis is just the under-painting, or so I’m told. They look a little funny without their stems, can’t wait to add them. I was just getting the hang of mixing colors and layering while working on the aqua/green foreground when the class started to wrap up and I quickly mixed and through on the pink background. That’s when I discovered the faster you work, the better.

I invite you come along on this adventure into painting and see where it takes me and how it influences my work with textiles. One thing I’ve learned about myself already, when you’re self-taught, sometimes you don’t really know what you know and what you don’t know. Some days I feel there are boat loads I need to learn, but I realize now, maybe I know more than I thought I did and that feels good.

Also posted in The Learning Curve

Around the World Blog Hop

Around the World Blog Hop

I was invited to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop by wonderful Canadian quilt artist, teacher, dyer Elaine Quehl.Elaine Quehl Elaine is best known for her beautiful and distinctive nature-themed art quilts featuring luscious foliage, especially hosta leaves. She is active on the lecture circuit, offers many workshops and has been featured in many publications. To see her beautiful work, be sure to visit Elaine’s website where she sells her own hand-dyed fabrics and patterns, and where you can see her commercial fabric line.

For this artist blog hop, we are asked to talk about our process, inspiration and a bit about our current work. So, here goes…

I don’t know why, but I am drawn to horizontal lines. I like to work with linear, horizontal strips of fabric and quilting lines to create impressionistic vistas. Light, space and horizon lines always play a large part in my designs, even in my abstracts. Sometimes I will roughly sketch out a design, which I may or may not use, or sometimes I’ll just have a loose concept in my mind.

I begin by cutting my batting to the desired finished size, iron a fusible web to both sides and fuse on the backing fabric. Next, I pin the fused batting on my design wall, two 8’ x 4’ foam insulation boards butted together, secured to the wall and covered with batting. Below are some process shots while working on the bottom section of  Tranquil Marsh – Wild Iris.

Tranquil Marsh process shot 1

Working intuitively, I design directly on the wall, which is my favorite part of the process and when I am my happiest.

Tranquil Marsh process shot 2

For my impressionistic landscapes, I use batiks and hand-dyed cottons, mostly by other artisans, torn into strips and painstakingly collaged.

Tranquil Marsh process shot 3

You can see the progress of this area being reworked until I was satisfied with the affect I was after.

But my latest obsession is re-purposed silk sari remnants from India. I love their ragged frayed edges, intense colors, and printed and woven designs.

Process shot 2

I iron baste the strips in place lightly. This allows me to adjust as needed or sometimes completely remove them and start from scratch, which is what I ended up doing with these blue and red strips. This design no longer exists! But, not to worry, I’m working on a similar design with the same fabrics.

Process shot 1

When I am finally happy the design, I set it by with my big iron before moving on to the quilting. The quilting designs, also horizontal, are loosely wavering lines done on my Singer 201 with a simple straight stitch.

Quilting process shot

These days, I’m working on a series of larger pieces made entirely of salvaged sari silks that are quite abstract and very minimal. I can’t share my first completed piece because it was accepted into Quilt National 2015 but you can get a sense of where I’m going with the series from the above pictures with blue and red strips.

Soon I’ll have lots to share on this series and other news as well.

Let me introduce another talented artist from New Jersey, Martha Hall, Martha Hallwhose work has been widely exhibited in galleries and museums. She is a fellow member of SAQA and someone I’m happy to call a good friend.

Please take the time to visit Martha’s blog and learn more about her work and process and keep traveling around the world with the blog hop. To see where the blog hop has already traveled, travel backwards from Elaine’s blog above, or a simple Google search of “Around the World Blog Hop” will reveal hundreds of creative participants.

Thanks for visiting mine!

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