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Archive for February, 2009

After my fabric painting adventure, I’m back at the design wall again.

Right now I’m working on several pieces, as is my wont. Typically, I have half a dozen on the go at a time, in various stages. I find it helpful to work this way as I can move from a piece that has stalled for whatever reason to working on a piece that is moving forward. If I worked with only once piece at a time, I’d spend hours sitting and thinking and staring at the wall. Which would occasionally be nice, but doesn’t result in much completed work. 😉

So while I mentally prepare for tomorrow’s workshop (which is all ready to go), I’ve been working on the pieces below.

Typically, I start out with an idea, pick the background or defining fabrics and then work forward. I generally have sketched out my idea, for the most part, in advance, so that when I have the background fabrics picked, I can start pinning up paper versions of points of land, buildings and the like. This is the start of a series. Not all of the skies and oceans will be the same, as I intend to vary the time of year and day of the view. I’m also going to do some serious fooling around with the borders and will post photos as they progress. Right now I’m in the fabric auditioning stage and am getting the rock fabrics and trees figured out. I’m also working on the foreground. More photos to come as I have them!

whaleback2

These two are inspired by the photos in this post (which will open in a new window, so that you can see the photos and this page, too).

whaleback1

And this piece, which is me playing around with the possibilities of shears as a raw-edged material (background fabric hand-dyed by me, fence posts felted with all sorts of bits and pieces in them):

snow piece

house

Anyway, must tear myself away from the design wall and focus on the workshop…..

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One of the things I’ve often found to be a great remedy for artistic blockage is fabric painting and dyeing. Painting more so than dyeing, truth to tell. Having completely depleted my hand-painted fabric supply over the past few months, I decided to have a go at some skies and oceans.

Normally I paint outside, with the mess factor weighing in heavily as  a reason. February in Newfoundland is not exactly….. warm, however, so I set up the studio for some inside work and turned up the heat a wee tad to speed drying.

prep

I painted this lot on corrugated plastic sheets, which are light-weight, resilient, waterproof, flat and easily stored. These are 48″ square, which is a comfortable size for working with indoors in a small studio. When I’m not painting on them, I use them as design walls and pin pieces in progress to them.

As you can see, I had a successful day. This is only some of what was accomplished. I painted about eight metres of fabric, all told.

night skies
Night ocean and sky, drying.

sky
Summer sky, drying.

during
My studio, waiting for the paint to dry!

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I’m putting the final touches on workshop kits and workshop prep for a one-day class to be taught on Saturday. Today and tomorrow are more or less straight organisation, although I do have to make one additional class sample to bring along. The workshop is my basic Landscape Design workshop, but the folks for whom I’m putting it off have added the minor curve-ball of making it an Attic Windows workshop as well. To that end, I’m adding an instruction leaflet for the Attic Window block and am hoping to have finished a few samples that show the versatility of the block when used for framing landscape views. My only real concern is time; I have the landscape design workshop spaced for six hours. Adding another element may cause more rushing than is suitable. We’ll see how it goes.

This flipping back and forth between organising and creating is one that has always been tricky for me. I can do both, with great ease, but I find that organising blocks me from working intuitively. Knowing this about myself, I try to get paperwork, kit-making, planning and the like over with in blocks of time and I segregate creativity from them. I suspect the Clean Studio Syndrome or White Canvas Block are related to this impediment. While studio tidying is a necessity and most canvases start out as white, it is often the juxtaposition of the unusual that results in creative euphoria. I have had more “eureka!” moments from seeing fabrics haphazardly piled on the table in random-but-perfect order than I have from staring at the cleaned-off table and neatly ordered materials.

But the workshop prep will not take long and the sample to be done requires more perfunctory necessity than creative genius. Off I go….

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