Sunday, March 30, 2008

Student's Work

I am just so proud of all the hard work my 21 students did Thursday and Friday. They had a lot of information to take in and did a grand job! These are little 4 x 6" studies that they did as complete compositions at the end of the second day. Each student did four pieces during the time allotted and then chose two for us to put up on the wall to critique.

I think the students get the most out of critiques. All too often we don't have anyone to turn to to give us an honest critique. A critique isn't about if you like a piece or not or if it is good or not...but I like to name what is happening in the piece of work itself...what is the color scheme, what are the elements doing, is there repetition, is there unity, is there a focal point, is there contrast, etc.

And of course, I am quick to tell everyone that for every art "rule" someone has successfully broken it. But, bottom line, we need to have an idea of what it is that we are doing. Understanding composition, and the elements and principles of design are about problem solving. If something isn't working in our piece, how can we solve that problem?

So, here they are....

I think that there are so many delightful compositions in this group! I do hope that some will become actual quilts. The pieces are a little "rough" as we are just cutting out scrapes of fabric and then gluing them down so nothing is finished.

Now, on to getting some of my stuff taken care of, like my taxes and my dad's taxes. Then, maybe I can do some art work. I did spend time on the plane and in my hotel doing small compositions so I have tons of ideas. I also need to spend time ironing on fusing as I want to start doing some work that I have been doing, a little larger. Also, three big boxes of unprimed stretched canvas arrived while I was gone. Oh Boy!

And a note about blogging and readers. Yesterday I had over 200 people come by my one even said hi! After a long time of wondering if anyone every sees what I do or write, I got a site monitor and now I am actually amazed to see where all the people come from and that there are actually people out there reading!

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Rest of the New Work

Well, it just took me a week to get the rest of the new work up on this blog! I have been in Cape Cod since Monday, working with a lovely group of women. Their guild, Bayberry Quilters splits into two meetings, one in the evening which I did on Tuesday night and one in the morning which was on Wed. morning. Then we spent two days doing my design and composition workshop. We finished today and now I am packing to leave tomorrow morning....I will post their pictures of their work tomorrow...

Each of these fabric collages are 6 x 8 inches...and what is left of them sells for $75.

And Bayberry Quilters working on the orange valuesand another group working on the green gradations

and doing their work exercisesand trying to find the right color in the pile:

and creating the blue gradations:and working on the red gradations

Saturday, March 22, 2008

On Being an Artist in Residence

I have some more pictures to post of the last six pieces I did on Thursday at the Empty Spools Seminar. But I thought that first I would share some thoughts about being an artist-in-residence in this type of setting.

This event was much different from the time I was at the Great Expectations Creativity Center. There, we worked for four weeks and most of the time we were by ourselves, except for various staff that would come through. At Asilomar, I was ensconced in Merrill Hall which is a large room which seats several hundred people. Freddy Moran and Gwen Marsten were both teaching in the room with students lined up on the sides of the building and also in another room just to the back. Additionally, Gail, Suzanne and Diana all had their work station just katy-corner across from me and then Cotton Patch had their set up store right across from me. I was generally on my own during class hours, from 9-4, except for the few students who were in to pick up more fabric. This was my prime time to work although I frequently had conversations with Carol Lee from Cotton Patch (she became my personal shopper finding batiks I just had to have!, much to the benefit of her shop!) and Gail, Suzanne and Diana. So all that time was not really by myself. When the noise level would get a little high I would take out my hearing aids and put on my iPod head phones and tune everyone out. But that wouldn't stop people from stopping by to talk!

I was absolutely amazed as the very positive comments I received from everyone. On Sunday night I gave a 30 minute presentation with slides of some of my work. I had so many people come up to me and tell me, both that night and all the next day, how much they enjoyed my presentation. I really found it hard to understand as I just didn't feel I had done anything special. Someone later explained to me that I let my work speak for me and I didn't need to talk about "I" all the time (but they didn't know I have a blog and that is all I do!)

And then, the numerous compliments on the work that I had up and then later, the work I was doing. I was overwhelmed with all of the kind words and I think I still smiled all night long in my sleep. It was just amazing.

I have never had such accolades for such a long period of time! I really don't know what to say.

I was discussing this with someone and she wisely said to save up all those good thoughts and great comments which I should write down for those times when I am questioning myself.

How true this is. As artists, we all go through periods of wallowing in self criticism and angst about our work. We all have periods of time when it seems we can't do anything different or new or anything at all.

I had gone there without any real sense of what kind of work I wanted to do. I had cut timtex out in 12 x 12, 8 x 10, and 6x8 inch pieces to work on, I had my Misty Fuse, and some new batiks, my discharged fabrics and a bunch of dyed cheese cloth as well as a few pieces of my dyed and discharged work. But I ended up working in a way I have been trying to progress to in a long time. The past eight months have not seemed very productive for me, although I do have two more of my California Dreams pieces done. But I have wanted to do more fabric collage work and was having a hard time pulling it through. So I did a lot of mixed media collage which included a lot of paint.

This time, I didn't paint fabrics. I had to buy lots of very pale fabrics without a lot of design elements in them to use for the background, just as if I had painted a canvas with lots of tints.
Then I worked with shapes and values in my placement. I like to stitch down fabric I have fused. But silly me, I forgot my whole box of threads that I bring with me. So I took a look at Cotton Patch and they had some black which I used for the first piece. I liked the loosey-goosey sketch stitching that I did and felt that it added the feeling of brushstrokes or underpainting to my work. But I didn't want to use black on everything (although I should have!) so I went in to town to Hand Maden to pick up Anton Robinson rayon threads in beautiful colors. I used those on some of my work which was nice but had a very different feel to it. So back to the black I went for all the rest of the small pieces. And I am getting to the idea that I have been searching for, looking at lots of painters' works on the internet and really studying different people's types of compositions for ideas. I have spent a lot of time drawing those basic compositions and design elements into my sketchbook and when I felt they were sufficiently divorced from the original artist, I felt I could start incorporating them into my own work in my own way. And, by golly, I like what I have done!

Besides all the compliments people gave me, I had tons of questions as I was fusing (what fuse do I use ...Misty Muse) what is the stiffener I am using (Tim-Tex) what kind of thread do I use, how do I do the backing, etc. It gave me a good opportunity to just talk to people about the art of quilting and making art quilts. And it was so much fun!

I got home yesterday afternoon, ran some errands, and today I am doing laundry and business work and catching up with my students and then going to the Easter Vigil tonight. Tomorrow it is up to cook and then go over to my daughter's for a family day, then come home, pack up and be ready to head out to Mass. on Monday morning!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hey you all!

Wow, has stuff ever been happening! I am down at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, CA with the Empty Spools Seminars where I am artist in residence for this session. Below is a picture of where I am staying, the Pirate's Den and my room is on the upper right. I can hear the ocean and have great windows on two sides...not that I am in my room much!

I am set up in Merrill Hall:

and the other half. On the back of the room divider I have more work and then there is work up on the stage. The flowers belows were set up for my table and the flowers above were given to me after my 30 minute presentation which everyone has said was great! Am I basking in the sun!
So, as artist in residence, I had to start making art! I did six pieces that are 12 x 12 on timtex. They are all square although that isn't the way they look in my snapshots. Each is $150. As I haven't had much time to dye new fabrics, I have chosen to work in all batiks which is a lot of fun. I haven't used commercial fabrics in a while. Of course, a few odds and ends of my stuff does creep in!

This piece below was sold before it was finished!

I have left my students dangling for a week but they can critique my new work. By tomorrow I should have eight little 6x8 pieces done. I am having too much fun!

Then today I checked my email and got a date for my two person show at the Galesburg Art Center in Galesburg, IL for Oct 9- Nov 7, 2009! I have a little time to get stuff together!

And I also got a request to teach at Quilting by the Lake this year in the fall...they will have a QBL2 this year. I am trying to work out the dates which would be just before or just after I am at the Hudson River Valley Inn to teach there.

And now, the gratuitous images of my grandsons: Jacob, age 3

And Ashton, age 3 months...
I leave you with that happy face! Life doesn't get any better!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

More Student Work

I just want t brag about my class. We are working on Lesson 6 although there are several students who are a little behind. This has been so much fun for me. It is really exciting to see the work that each person is producing through the small exercises and to see how each student has improved so much since we first started. There are a lot of ideas floating around in this group!

Many of the exercises are only 4 x 6" and the larger ones are generally about 8 x 10". This way the exercise is not so overwhelming!

I am posting some of the exercises that come from different lessons so each one is in response to my request for them to compose something using specific guidelines. I'm not going to tell you all of those as it would take me forever to get the right lesson with the right image! So, just enjoy what they have been doing!

And, if interested, my next class in Better Art by Design starts on May 12. You can reach the sign up by going to my website or clicking the class on the right hand of the blog.

This piece is by Marianne.
This is by Sandra:

This is also by Sandra:
This is by Sylvia:
This is also by Sylvia
This is by Hilary:
This is by Judy:
This is by Judy also:
This is by Liz N.:
This is by Marianne:
This is by Cindy:
This is by Diedra:
This is by Donna:
This is by Heather:
And this is also by Heather:
This is by Amy:
This is by Carol:
This is also by Carol:
This is by Cathy:

And this is also by Cathy:
And this is by Gerrie:
And another by Gerrie, one of four on the eclipse:
And a last one by Gerrie:

I have twenty students in my class. I like to keep the number down as I spend a lot of time doing very specific critiques on the work each student does. They are able to read the critiques on everyone's work. Part of their last lesson is to critique their own work!

Aren't they good!?