Thursday, November 19, 2009

Getting it Straight

There has been much discussion on the SAQA Yahoo group about finding one's voice. I have been thinking about this for a long time, as it shows up in some way or other during the past year's worth of postings here.

I think the biggest problem is not in finding one's voice but recognizing it.  I think that is why other people can recognize my work even when I change styles or medium that I am working in.

So after some thinking I have come up with some thoughts on my work:

I work primarily with color and line

I love organic lines and shapes

I enjoy working with geometric shapes

I like multiple layers in my work

I like simplicity in my work

I like to work in series

I like to problem solve design issues

I like to share with others

I have a difficult time talking about my work

I like to change styles

I like to work on paper

I like to work with fabric

I like to work toward combining the two

When I am working with paper collages, I really feel like I am playing with paint and images. Lately I have done quite a few (over 40) in four different series. Many things are the same in them: they have multiple layers of glazes and colors; I incorporate pages from old books; I incorporate transferred images; I like to include stamping and silkscreening; I like to include some type of text. I have realized that I tend to work in series of colors also.

I have always believed that the most important thing for an artist is to do the work. And do more of the  work. And do even more. The more work I do, the more comfortable I am doing it. I am not afraid to make mistakes or have work not turn out right. I can just do more and keep doing it until I do get it right. My studio has piles of papers that I have started and left behind, some to come back to at a later date,  and some to just consider cutting up and including in bits and pieces. But then, that is what is fun about creating art.

I used to teach a lot of classes of machine quilting and stopped that when I realized I had the patter down completely and it was all getting pretty stale...time to shift to something else.

What I enjoy doing the most with other people is helping them to free themselves from their confines and look at new ways of doing things...getting that "Ah ha" much fun when the light comes.


Kimberly Davis said...

Hi Liz, I'm a new member of SAQA but didn't know there was a Yahoo group. Is it accepting new members? How does one sign up? This discussion about finding your voice sounds very much like what I've been working on and would love to hear what others have to say. Cheers, Kimberly

Nikki said...

That list is a great start Liz. My suggestion would be to take two or three, (or one or two), of those statements and start asking yourself 'Why?'
For instance: what is it specifically about working in layers that appeals? How do you feel about revealing/concealing? Surface/what's under the surface? What does working in layers give you a chance to discover or express? What does it remind you of?
"The more work I do, the more comfortable I am doing it. I am not afraid to make mistakes or have work not turn out right. I can just do more and keep doing it until I do get it right."
I think this statement is as true for talking about art as it is for making it, and as soon as we can accept the understanding of it as being a process, rather than something we can 'fail' at, then the sooner we can step in to that place of exploration and discovery, where progress in one area sparks and feeds progress in another. Which, lets face it, is the really fun part!

LoieJ said...

Hi Liz, Yes, I've recognized your work, for example, in QA magazine, I first just look at pictures, not read, and I've had an Ah Ha moment when I see your work.

I don't seem to have the discipline to buckle down enough to work in series. Also, I keep getting distracted by some guild challenges. I say no to many, but also want to be part of the group. Plus there are sandwich generation issues that take time.

But the one time I worked in a series was great. I think asking and answering the questions you posed is a great exercise and I need to do that.

Cate Rose said...

Great post, Liz, thanks! It's a good exercise to get all those things down on paper and look at them in one place. Really helps to clarify.

Gerrie said...

Good list. I would always know your work, it is true. Someone asked on complex cloth about who was the first to do the sating stitching, changing the width. No brainer for me - that would be Liz.

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Mary Ann said...

Have you ever studied with Fran Skiles? I think you would love her experimentation and work with paper and fabric.