Friday, November 10, 2006

Wild Friday Night!

Oh, yeah, baby...I'm walking on the wild side, living in the fast lane....that's me. MM--mm. I've been wearing my nightgown since 8 o'clock, letting my kids watch tv, and...uh...embroidering grapes. That's right....clubs have got nothin' on me, man. I'm cutting edge.

Yeah, and my husband and I used to go to Sportmart on Friday nights....try on the rollerblades with the plastic thingy still attaching the pair. That was painting the town, I'm tellin' ya'. Closing down dance halls and rough bars? Noooo, too tame for us. Passing footballs down the aisles without getting thrown out of Sportmart? That' s living large for you.

About those grapes:

That sideways squiggle was begging to be machine embroidered. How could I not oblige? In the comments, Debra suggested tackling this with hand embroidery. That would be an issue for my attention span, which is abbreviated at best. I'm really digging the way built up stitches form a raised surface, even though there's not much done yet. A little hand stitching (certainly nothing approaching gratuitous use *snort*) might be the finishing touch.

Next, Funky C brings you a list of aimless thoughts brought to light during the embroidery process:

-Is this really art? It's pretty realistic...not much hidden meaning or personal imagery in drawing green grapes that look grapes.

-Maybe a big, fat, vocabulicious title coupled with an eye glazingly wordy artist statement will hide the fact that these are grapes.

-Do I really want to thread paint the entire, endless background the rich dark brown I'm envisioning?

-Maybe I'll just call this a 'study'. Studies don't have hidden meanings, do they?

-Do I really want to cut it out and just stick it on a background? Maybe a better way would be to print some grapes on my Epson and fuse them right in the middle of some brown fake batik. Now there's a look.

-Gee...that dark brown background thing kind of looks like some stuff out of the Andrew Wyeth book I've been reading at bed time.

-Oh, crap. Now it's not only 'not art', it's freakin' derivative. Party over. I quit. Think I'll blog instead.

And here we are. There isn't a scene in L.A. that can compete with that kind of mental trip. And I can do it all for free in my nightie.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


If you give me a piece of blank paper and the right black felt tipped marker, I can play quietly by myself for hours. The problem is, I don't often have hours. And it's got to be just the right pen. All pens in this household must pass audition. I am a stringent critic. If they make the cut, they are quietly hidden in a bag pocket, near my desk, by my bedside.

Lately, the sketchbook has been my friend. I took it with me to Jeckyll Island last month and did some quickies here and there. There were only moments to capture poses, etc... before the person moved. I find the act of drawing live and fast forces me to use my eyes instinctively....forces me to capture the essential information in a scene.

Here are two of my traveling companions partaking of our nightly 'oysters, shrimp, and beer at sunset' ritual:

I think this guy is saying, "Hey, Baby..." I also think they realized they were models, got wierded out, and moved to the other side of the dock:

Notice they all have short legs and big heads. Draw whatcha' know, baby.

My dear friend Melissa watching the ocean:

So much for Jeckyll. It was a fabulous trip...ocean, seafood & beer, old friends. What's not to love?

Back in my real world, Eye for Fiber, my critique group, met last night. Barb Dinneweth, the resident art teacher, led us through an excercise about line. She asked us to draw fruit, just capture it's shape:

In stead of drawing circles for grapes, I wanted to capture their edges with a horizontal squiggle. And unlike the Jeckyll sketches, there was time to use a little more control. This morning, I realized that I've made this mark before:

This is a silk screen image I made using flour paste. I scratched the image right into the flour paste coated screen. The idea that shape is defined by edges and light fascinates me. I wanted to use edges, not straight lines to reveal the contours of her face.

In fact, I've been using this same kind of mark since childhood. I clearly remember defining clouds with these horizontal squiggles. Hmmm...

In the back of the stew I call 'brain', this idea has been brewing. How do I translate it into fiber? The obvious answer is thread painting. But somehow that's not satisfying me. The question of medium is flaring brightly in my mind. Is fiber the best medium simply because it's what I know? Or is it time to explore something new? I know watercolor's not it. And I'm not completely ruling out fiber. But I am thinking. And Horace, I warned you about thinking.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Not much time today....Friday is the kids' homeschool co-op day, a huge event at a nearby community college. I'm whipped by the end.

Here's yesterday:

Here's today:

Lucienne and I? We make zee beeautiful mooseek, oui?
It's still not right, though. May have to go back to the original image and take this down a slightly different path. Plus I'm learning more about how to use the color tools in photoshop. And working with the layers. I hadn't found all the color mixing options when I started this. Each leaf is in a separate layer. I need to have each leaf coloring in it's own layer too.

This whole 'taking a picture and designing in place' is really groovy! It' s like being able to design right in the library. That's just cool!

Okay, the ankle biters are eating breakfast. Duty calls....

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Groove

It's baaa-aaaack! After months of nothing, I feel a groove coming on. And it could be a serious worth pushing into a body of work. It's almost as if this project had to wait until the right time to find fruition. I met Carol Bryer Fallert when she won the AQS Best of Show for her quilt, 'Birds of a Different Color'. She said that the idea for her quilt came 12 years before she had the skills to make it. Composers have been known to write music that they can't play.

In my mind, this all boils down to my self-view not as an artist, but as a problem solver. For me, the art comes through the 'aha' moment---the point of solution. Everything after that is so ordinary, it's almost boring. And I find that when work is truly complete, I'm sometimes disappointed. Seeing finished work doesn't have the thrill that comes with realizing the answer to a problem.

Case in point:

Here we have an unadorned library wall, complete with hideously distracting light fixtures. Even the head librarian agrees that the lights need to go, but libraries run on budgets. You know the rest.

Here is my first sketch, right out of the box. There followed a second, more intentional sketch. And then there was a survey, a poll. The poll indicates that artists around the world prefer the giant leaf collage. Lucky for me, 'cause I agree!

Then came a night of anxst, not over this, but over several situations in my life. At 4 am, I gave in to the insomnia, do a little office work, then broke out the pen tablet. **Suddenly, as I type, I feel the urge to christen said pen tablet, I love it so!** I hereby dub her Lucienne Fauré, Crafter of Illumination!! You may kiss her ring...

Anyway, serious design work ensued. Lucienne and I have arrived at this:

It's a good start, but there's more to be done. The colors haven't quite arrived yet. Seeing the photo so small makes me realize that I need to push the glowing highlights on the edges if this thing is going to show on the paneling. I'm ready to audition fabric and will probably oscilate between Lucienne and the fabric pile until it all feels right.

And I think there needs to be a greater sense of movement, spontenaity, like the original sketch. I want this whole arrangement to have more arch. But Lucienne is getting some beauty rest and laundry is calling with an annoying harshness. This'll have to sit for the afternoon.

What's left in my head is that this will be 3-D work. Copper mesh is in da' house! I've worked with window screening---fun to free-motion, but very pokey, and 1/2" wire grid--- with a sewing machine?...not so much. The needles were most unhappy about it. The copper seems promising. Then I'll need to come up with a way to mount the pieces on a hidden wooden frame---enter stage right---Very Handy Husband.

See what I mean? The hard part---the concept---is over. The rest is a snap.