Time goes by and then you arrive at a standstill., not knowing how long it has been and how you got to where you are today. I have not written for sometime but have been occupied by how 2020 has changed my everyday life and my artistic practice. My last post was this year, a week before a lockdown in my area due to Covid-19. Yet I know we can all say it feels like it has been at least a century since March 2020.
My standstill came with the lockdown, not being sure what was happening, how it may affect my everyday and the total oppressiveness of uncertainty. Being shuttered inside was not very different than my everyday life. Being retired from “normal work” and being an artist full time means you stay inside to create, create, create. However, I do use nature as my muse and without being able to take my daily walks took me down a path of numbness.
After way more binge watching TV shows than I care to admit I pulled out my picture files on my laptop looking for inspiration. I did some sketches, then began a few small works to get my squeaky joints oiled in my embroidery skills. I then set to work a large landscape bigger than my usual 11 X 14 size. Get myself out of the funk by trying something new.
I wanted to show a field of crops in the front, a dark middle field with the contrast of a bright pink , red and yellow sunset. Picking out the fabric to start with was fun, I have enough to last me at least 10 years it seems. Then I went over the colored fabric with fabric markers and Inktense colored pencil. Picking out various threads, I set up a large quilting hoop in my stand and started stitching. Now I am not saying I wasn’t still binge watching TV but at least I was stitching while watching.
So this was a beginning of what I did to work thru my creative slog. I see stitching as another form of mark making for my art quilts. This picture shows the foreground up close. I used fabric makers to indicate the rows of crops, using the orange color from the sky for highlights. The needle is long because the fabric is dense and layered.
I started the the sky color after I completed the crop rows. Sunset and sunrise are often in my art. There is a beauty and brightness from nature during these times that I am trying to capture. To show the joy of the new day and celebration that the day has ended in beauty. I began with a batik that has a pink base. The color is all over with no breaks in the clouds, bright and ranging to a yellow at the horizon. I added brighter pinks, yellow and orange to the sky fabric. I then wanted to darken the pink color so picked up some dark pink tulle. Cutting it up and using gel glue to put it on the sky area simulating colored clouds. Backing away from my table it all seemed too much, so as a good friend of mine says I “put it in time out”.
A month later I pinned it to my wall and looked with a critical eye. There were blank areas that did not add to the picture. It had areas of marks that were very interesting leading to dullness. The middle area was fine in the tint and color but needed something. Yet the most upsetting thing to me was it was TOO big. Out came my scissors with a renewed vigor. I know many would say this was too drastic but I was sure I could save it. Or if I couldn’t then I would know what not to do.
I cut down one side and the top and part of the bottom. I then found some printed fabric images of different sized barns and glued them to the middle. They were also adjusted in color to go with the sunset mood. This helped to give a visual hint to the depth of the dark field. I must have done well for I am happy to say it was accepted for the virtual show of the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Tx. for 2020. “Sunrise Crops” will be part of the In My Mind exhibit and can be viewed from December 3-5, 2020 at http://quitls.com
Sunset Crops 36 X 26 Fiber collage, fabric marker, Inktense colored pencil, tulle and hand embroidery. $600.00