Tag Archives: painting

In The Rear-view Mirror

My husband and I were fortunate enough to be able to self-isolate for much of 2020, so we’ve remained untouched by the Corona virus. Self-isolation gave me lots of time to devote to my art, and I think I made good use of the time to explore different media. After all, I have been saving collage making material for many years. It became if not now, then when? I know many artists found themselves too distracted for sustained creative work, but art became my escape hatch from grim reality.

I was also fortunate to have a friend who was eager to try out some online classes and videos with me, and we shared our efforts with each other thanks to technology, as well as art supplies through porch drop offs. You can read about our different takes on a Jane Davies class here.

Of course I continued to make art quilts, and you can check out that work on the “My Quilts 2019 On” page of this blog. A few were major projects, but many were experiments in using scraps.

I’m not one to choose a word of the year, but my word for 2020 would have been adapt. I tried to play the hand I was dealt. Thank goodness for Jane Davies, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, and YouTube. With the help of these online guides I took up collage, acrylic painting, and monoprinting. I tried to combine all three in mixed media work.

I learned with “Fiddleheads” not to use canvas as my backing fabric as it is so hard to hand sew through. The matte medium on top of the paper didn’t help either. I had planned more handwork, but scrapped that notion in favor of markers. The work combines woven and non-woven fabrics, magazine pages, and mulberry papers.

“Fiddleheads”

“Take A Seat” started with chairs stenciled on fabric scraps. Then I stenciled on monoprints, and combined all the stenciled bits with fabric shaped like the profile of a chair.

“Take A Seat”

“Covid” was my attempt to use found and made paper images in a collage. I had saved photos of sunglasses ads for years. Those glamorous models got masked and covered up with the reality of the pandemic.

“Covid”

“Shadow” was an early collage made up of magazine images with a bit of marker line added. Thank goodness for my years of NYT Magazine page collecting.

“Shadow”

My untitled felt piece, backed with canvas, came about after a friend gave me her felted wool scraps. They were already backed with fusing. There’s a woven paper strip background in there, as well as shiny patterned dress fabric scraps.

felt, paper, and foiled fabric

A monoprint exchange with a friend led to a tribute to autumn. Felted wool, organza, and paper were given a boost with markers and embroidery.

“With A Little Help From My Friends”

I hope to continue mixed media explorations in 2021 and improve my integration of paper and fabric. I made lots of work I’m not including here as it shows what went wrong. Practice leads to better work, but you don’t want to wade through the beginner pieces unless you’re a masochist or closely related to me.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

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I Become A Color Whisperer

After years of avoiding color theory practice (the practice means you have to make a color wheel) I finally broke down and signed up for Jane Davies’ downloadable class, “Unlocking The Secrets of Color.

I have to say that color theory seems much more relevant for mixing paint colors than for quilting. When I want to make a quilt I go through my fabrics and decide which of the already dyed/printed colors I want to work with. When it comes to painting there’s usually no such already determined color starting point. You could work only with colors directly out of the tubes but that would get old fast. The tricky part is to figure out what colors you want for your painting before you actually see the color. Needless to say, there’s lots of trial and error.

The class begins with paint mixing to create a 12 part color wheel from blue/red/yellow. Then you move on painting grids using only colors on your color wheel. I won’t subject you to photos of my efforts, but will note that getting an evenly graduated color wheel is harder than you’d think.

Other lessons involve one color collages; and painting value scales with black, then white, to create graduated analogous colors. The class moves on to paintings/collages of one color and analogous colors, and finally a series of abstract landscapes (cool/warm) and color moods.

The right side is my one color collaged painting; the left is my analogous colors one. There’s a photo of an Eleanor McCain quilt underneath the paint.
Abstract landscapes in warm tones.
Abstract landscapes in cool tones.
Mixed tones. You can see some of the original painting on the top one. I reused my failures.
It sure is a lot faster to paint a landscape than make one in fabric. The top painting is an experiment in combining cool tones with cool/warm ones.

The landscapes assignment was designed to help you learn how much warm tone you can/should put in a predominantly cool toned piece, and vice versa. It’s a personal decision, but even a touch of a contrast adds interest, I think.

My take away from this class is that I need to whisper more and shout less in my color choices. I like the ring-a-ding-ding of bold colors and color contrasts, but for my artistic development I need to cultivate the quieter side. It goes along with trying colors you don’t much like. You might be pleasantly surprised at the results.

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Filed under Techniques