We are all encouraged to live in the moment. To cherish life as it comes to us each and every day for no one knows what will happen tomorrow. I try to do this each day, to see the abundance of life and have gratitude for what is before me. To appreciate the single moment of the beauty of nature and express that in my art has been a driving force.
I want you the viewer to see nature as I do in all it’s glorious wonder. I find I have a fascination for sunrise and sunset pictures. It has to have something to do with the rich and colorful skies. Yet I believe it also takes me directly to seeing things in the moment for the sky can change so dramatically in just a second.
I have completed another sunrise art quilt from pictures I took one early March morning in my neighborhood. I wanted this piece to focus on the colors of the sky ranging from yellow to dark rich red. I started with some commercial batiks that had the colors I wanted to use as a base moving from the orange to a green grass for the base. Collageing the two pieces of fabric together it appears I could have used just the fabric but thought the stripes of color in the sky were too predictable.
Working over the entire area of the sky with colored pencil I added clouds and definitions to the colors already printed in the fabric. You can see I blended the grass line into the sky lightly using orange and red over the green of the fabric. I am really liking the way this is coming along at this point.
I wanted the foreground to be in shadow to further inhance the brightness of the sky. I first positioned a dark green fuzzy yarn on the fabric to indicate a line of grass. I then layered two pieces of fine black tulle netting over the bottom half of the piece for a shadow effect. I then fused dark gray and black building shapes in the middle ground. At this point I was able to gage the position and size of trees that were behind the buildings. I decided to use a very dark blue embroidery floss for the tree limbs, going all the way down to one strand of floss for the smallest limbs. You can see my faint pencil layout of a light pole on the right and a tree overlapping the building on the left.
I then used various twisted dark green threads on top of the green yarn and over the bottom of the buildings to add texture and depth. I let some of the orange in the grass area to peak thru giving it a reflected light effect. Using colored pencil I added dark features of windows along with a touch of orange on the buildings. I also enhanced the yellows and reds in the sky with a watercolor pencil. I had to stop to allow this to dry before I could stitch anymore though.
I started the light pole using a needlepoint thread that is a mix of wool and silk in a muddy gray color. I love the sheen of the silk in this fiber making it look reflective just like metal. I did a satin stitch at an angle so it would appear three demensional. This took a bit of time and patience to keep it all aligned but not flat. Once I got to the top I switched to a smaller spun wool in an earthy gray for the standard that holds the bulb. Using the same wool but in a whiter color I stitched the bulb making it a satin stitch also. Decided it wasn’t convincing so lightly went over the bulb area with a yellow watercolor pencil. Using a small brush I set the color into the fiber with water.
As this was drying something started to bother me about this light pole. It has the right proportion, I really liked the shape and the placement as it makes the eye move to the sky my main focus. Still couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I pulled out the camera took a picture and adjusted to just black and white.
I immediately saw that the base of the light pole was too light for the rest of the picture. Out come the watercolor pencils again. Using a black pencil to lightly go over the thread, blending it with water. This method of going to black and white is a very old technique used by the masters in paintings. Often they would start a work completely in black in white. Then the actual color was layered in a wash over the black and white painting.
Trying out thicknesses of twisted pearl cotton thread I laid in the rest of the trunk in black. I just love how this mimics tree bark. I decided it needed a shadow so added a very dark blue pearl cotton thread. This turned out very well. I wanted this tree to stand out against the brilliance of the sky. I decided it would be a well worn tree, one with unusual curves, bumps and appear as it survived lightning strikes.
After adding many smaller banches with thin black thread moving upwards and a bit to the side for movement I decided it was complete. I like it a lot yet as most artists I can see a few things I would do differently. Perhaps there will be another sunrise to work out. Dang that would be three making it a series. This one will be Holmes Street Sunrise #2.