A New Color Palette and Flowers, Sort Of

I have long maintained that flowers have little to no place in my work. I love flowers in a garden or a vase, but haven’t been drawn to them as subjects for my work. So, I was surprised that I based a piece now under construction on flowers, rhododendrons specifically. Each May I see the bold magenta floral clusters of those plants in the yards of the older houses in my neighborhood. I don’t know if they’ve gone out of fashion, but I don’t see them in newer developments. Of course, that color would give one pause and they like shade.

A mature rhodedendron

But I didn’t start my floral project with the shrub in mind. Instead, I began with a surfeit of high flow quinacridone magenta acrylic paint that I decided to splash on scraps of tablecloths, muslin, PFD cotton, and fabric already printed with bell pepper. Then after I noticed all the rhodies in my neighborhood I came up with a scheme to make a piece with a floral theme out of all that painted fabric cut into squares.

Not exactly a detailed sketch, but it was enough for me.

To the magenta fabric I added squares (including an old sheet) painted with green, yellow-green, and yellow; plus fabric monoprinted with Inktense colors. Once I had the squares arranged to my liking I added thin bias strips of fused fabric. I know that my inspiration shrub doesn’t have skinny leaves, but let’s pretend bindweed has clambered up on it.

The next step I plan is a few tendrils made of even skinnier strips. It’s easy to curve the bias strips as you iron them in place.

The new color palette I became enamoured of is that used by Zoe Zenghelis, a painter who pioneered an appreciation of the role of color in architectural design. The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh has mounted an exhibit of her paintings, which introduced me to her work. You can read a review of the exhibit below.

Now, I don’t grasp all the architectural aspects of her work, but I do love the shapes and clear, melting colors she uses. I was transported to an alternative universe through her paintings.

Dali, 2019
Tatiana’s House, 1994
A few of the works on display at the Carnegie Museum of Art

I hope to experiment with my paints to achieve similar effects. Maybe I can learn some subtlety.


Filed under In Process, Inspiration, Art quilts, Exhibits

7 responses to “A New Color Palette and Flowers, Sort Of

  1. Pingback: The Bloomin’ Quilting Is Done | The Snarky Quilter

  2. Laceflower

    Love your abstract piece, very creative. Thanks for the introduction to a new-to-me artist; quite intriguing.

    • Thanks. I guess I could say that the need to keep down the amount of sewing I do can lead to creativity. My shoulder is grateful. I don’t think Zenghelis is well known in the U.S. She is Greek and did much of her work in the UK.

  3. The gradient of colors and the prints in your flower inspired piece along with the bias strips really take the eye away from the fact that it is made of primarily squares. I love those colors. I was unfamiliar with the term “bindweed” but very, very familiar with (invasive) morning glory! I can see why you would be enamoured with Zenghelis’ work. I really like it.

    • Ah, you caught onto my trick! I have seen gorgeous floral quilts made up of tiny pieces, but I am not up to that. Paint is my friend. I guess bindweed is a form of morning glory as it has trumpet shape blossoms.

  4. Penny

    What a lovely riot of color and shape, Joanna! It certainly gives the feeling of flowers without being obvious. What size is it? I do miss our two big Rhodie’s from our previous address!

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