Working Like a Madwoman

Ever have those times when you wake up in the morning and something starts talking to you?  I woke up yesterday morning very dissatisfied with how the mounting technique for  some mixed media work was coming along.  I have gone to great lengths to order everything to do it in this particular method, even ordering acid free coreboard which then needed the edges painted because I couldn’t find it in black.  But I awoke with a nagging dissatisfaction about it all.  I got up, looked at the work again, and said, oh, it’s ok…but then later the nagging unhappiness came back.  So because they measure 14″ square and of course, no canvases are made that size, I found my self shopping for a new idea, then shopping online and ordering more stuff and spending more money.  But at least I have peace now…these composition pieces are going to look much better, I think. And they deserve to.

Compositions #2

The time until I hang the exhibit is going fast. Today I feel I made much progress.  I worked on Black and White Compositions #2, #3, and #4.  These are compositions on canvas, made with cut pieces of cloth but they will not be stitched.  I don’t know if anyone realizes this or not (surely I’m not the only one!)…our type of work is much more time consuming than the average painter.  For me, there is the creation of the cloth, then the composition, and lastly, the layering and stitching part.  It is slow work.  In the interest of time, I am creating a few like this that will fill in my exhibit in a different color palette.

I also finished the handwork on the back of “Fading Glory” during tv time!

Tomorrow I will get up and do more of the same.  More mixed media Compositions are in the works too.  Can’t wait to get started on them.

How Do You Work?

What is your thought process when you begin to work on a piece of art?  I have been thinking about mine, particularly as it relates to my piece about “Words”.  I think I work backwards.  I will share how I went about putting “Words” together.  I started with a yard sized piece of rust dyed fabric.  I had a fat quarter of a screened design in turquoise/black that I loved and I loved it with the rusted fabric.  So I started with color.  I love color.  I laid the turquoise/black fat quarter on the rusted piece, then added a discharged black cotton sateen fabric.  I laid out a composition, then left the fabrics there to “study” for about 3 weeks!

I had no real concept in mind, except the colors.  I like to work abstractly and intuitively.  It may not happen that way all the time, but I think most of the time, I just go to my room and start “playing” with cloth, and something happens.  I really don’t know if this is a very “artistic” way to work, but I do get inspiration just playing.

I wanted to see if rusted fabric would discharge so I took a round stencil brush and stamped  with automatic dishwasher detergent and that made little circles on the bottom edge, which I figured I would cut off anyway. It was just an experiment.

After deciding I liked the composition and the colors together, I thought about how can I make these parts relate more to each other?  I used construction fence as a stencil to add a few of those areas on the rusted cotton.  The turquoise/black fat quarter was made by laying construction fence beneath the cloth and rolling dye paint over it.  I had used a soy wax screen with x and o on it to discharge the black sateen, so I decided to screen some more of that design onto the rusted fabric.  Probably somewhere about this time, the idea of the theme came to me, along with the other things to do to it.  Sticks and stones…and words became the theme. (See prior posts)  I stamped “sticks” with a bamboo skewer and left the discharged circles as “stones”; I did use ink to outline them.  To unify it, I wrote  across the whole thing all the way down to the area of the “sticks”.

This seems like a backward way to do it, to me.  I guess I think it should be more “planned”. I like how Linda and Laura Kemshall plan and shared in their book, The Painted Quilt. But everything I do turns out to be a surprise to me, because I don’t plan like that.  I am really curious how others work through their process, so please share!  I am very interested in this subject.  I think because I like color and collage, that is why I don’t really start with a “theme” or subject in mind.  Sometimes an image or an idea to unify it around a theme for me comes later.  Is that normal or unusual?