When life gives you lemons, draw them, 11 x 14 inches dry pastels, graphite on paper

"When life gives you lemons, draw them". (Nikki)

"Trust your intuition, it's just like goin' fishin'; you cast your line 'til you get a bite." (Paul Simon)

Archive for May, 2012

Adding Color: the point of no return

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012


 

Chrysanthemums, color, May30th, upper left detail Chrysanthemums, color detail, May30th, upper central Chrysanthemums, color detail, May30th, upper right

Chrysanthemums, color detail, May30th, left central Chrysanthemums, central color detail Chrysanthemums, central right color detail

Chrysanthemums, work in progress; see previous post. Above: color details of 85W x 45L inches graphite, colored charcoal / dry pastels on white 100% cotton

When working with a large format, it’s easy to overwork the smaller areas. They’re like little compositions on their own. The trouble is, they may seem successful close up, but may not contribute to the overall balance and flow of the larger piece. Above are some examples, where I’m now reluctant to change what needs to be changed…but I will. Back to Art 101: It’s absolutely necessary to stand back often and study the entire composition from afar.

When you throw in a factor like color, there’s no turning back. I had a specific purpose for this drawing though; to fill a wall space in an otherwise fairly monotone, contemporary room. After much deliberation I kept with the original plan, which was to create a look similar to a black and white photo where one color highlights the main subject only. It was time to dive into the unknown.

It’s obvious that introducing color has compromised some of the original spontaneity, so to recapture some of that energy, I carefully try not to disturb what’s left of those livelier marks, and enhance some with little sparks of color. Isolating red, and only red to the central main flower sapped all the attention, so I’ve added more colors to it and the surrounding elements than initially planned.

Colours For Cameron, first book for my grandson

Friday, May 25th, 2012




Colours For Cameron, first book for my grandson2012: Colors For Cameron

When my grandson was born in 2011, I had already decided to make him a book every year for his birthday. One-year-olds are receptive to colors and textures, so a soft book for Cameron at this age was perfect. Using Monte as my muse, the work evolved into a sort of stuffed toy-book hybrid that is much bigger than was initially planned, but it’s quirky, fun to read, and Cameron likes it. Each 6 x 6 inch page is quilted unbleached cotton sewn over heavy cardboard from a disassembled book purchased at the dollar store. I bought a lot of the things there actually, like many of the textured materials, including a dog toy with the squeaker removed and incorporated into the last page. The savings were spent on tractor buttons and more costly embellishments I knew he would like.

Colours For Cameron, first of many books to come for my grandsonEach page has quilted appliques of Monte in different colors, with big googly eyes. The outer edges of each page have shallow pockets to grab the page, covered whatever textile corresponds to each Monte. The ten or so chubby pages are sewn together – 2 inches of fabric were left on the book’s spine-side for that purpose. The combination was then attached to a sturdy cardboard spine with a glue gun. No turning back after that, because hot glue is permanent on fabric. The entire cover of black linen wraps around with straps that Velcro together, creating a handle. Little button-vehicles adorn the handle area – he loves tractors and cars. I’m happy with the finished piece, and so is Cameron. It’s one of a kind, like him.

Colours For Cameron, first book for my grandson Colours For Cameron, first book for my grandson Colours For Cameron, first book for my grandson Colours For Cameron, first book for my grandson Colours For Cameron, first book for my grandson Colours For Cameron, first book for my grandson Colours For Cameron, first book for my grandson Colours For Cameron, first book for my grandson Colours For Cameron, first book for my grandson Colours For Cameron, first book for my grandson Colours For Cameron, first book for my grandson Colours For Cameron, last page has squeaker inside For Cameron velcro handle detail Colours For Cameron, first book for my grandson




Chrysanthemums: work in progress

Friday, May 18th, 2012


 

Chrysanthemums, 45L x 85W x 3D inches, graphite and primer on 100% cotton, work in progress

Chrysanthemums, 45L x 85W x 3D inches, graphite, charcoal and primer on 100% cotton, work in progress

Detail of Chrysanthemums using primer with graphiteRather than priming the fabric first as usual, water and primer are painted to enhance the graphite while the composition works itself out. It’s been all about getting lost in the improvisation and surprise! Grass blades are implied by the buildup of thin streaks throughout, which also serve to balance and energize the work, plus add slight cubist effects.

This is will hang in a contemporary-style room. If color is used at all it will be limited to red, yellow and green areas near the large main flower. Parts of the surface may be left raw, so to set the finished piece, the entire back will be primed and the front will be sprayed with fixative.

~

The chaos of this past year, moving to Oregon from Texas, has truly put my artsy artist’s statement to the test; that ‘creativity is an attitude toward life’. I’m accustomed to creating chaos in my artwork, then resolving it. With too many move-related priorities and unfinished renovations, no wonder I’ve felt increasingly disoriented. The good thing is that observations never stop, even if the focus on art-work has to.

Upper left detail Left central detail Upper right detail