Monthly Archives: November 2011

More indecision/decisions

I feel ready to tackle some more complex ideas. Working on these simple designs is very useful for exploring various principles, and seeing their effects. Yet I am not so satisfied with that right now, and I want to do more.

I feel the need to create, create, create some more. Develop 20, 30, 40 scenes, and hopefully at the end have a better grasp of what I want to do, and how I want to do it. But how to do it? Part of me is drawn to the idea of acrylic on canvas, and just keep painting on top. It seems like a good way to get ideas down. Though I am already out of space, and I don’t want to buy more paint. So sketchbook it is. I’m tempted to choose a sentence (current contender is “Life on Mars”), and illustrate it in all the ways I can think of.

In my spare time. While I finish the sea creatures quilt. And clean the studio. And finish the Life Studies quilts I have on the go. And finish the Painted Pictorial Quilts course – which is fantastic, it will be so helpful with what I want to do. At least I am having fun 🙂

I tried making my bewildered guys with higher contrast, and some shading. I like them:

Life Study #11 (2011) 9″x9″

The Fall "I don’t wanna’s", and making decisions

I don’t know quite what it is about Fall that derails me. The abrupt changes in weather, the first colds for us all, the inevitable last-minute sewing for Halloween, when minds get changed. Even though I’m still accomplishing something in the studio most days, it feels much slower and less productive than usual. And my heart just isn’t in it.

For instance, these guys were finished a week ago, and yet I haven’t taken the few minutes to post them.

Life Study #10 (2011) 8″x8″

Once I had these guys all complete, I realized I must have miscalculated when it came to the final trimming and sewing, and they looked very misbalanced (I blame lack of sleep). It gave me the perfect opportunity to add the moon, and to try a technique I had wanted to, for a while. The moon is fusible webbing painted with acrylic paint, which gives it a lacy uneven look which is perfect to give that lunar quality.

As I was finishing up this piece, I got to pondering the sizes of my small works. To date they have been 9″ x 9″. However, this size is often a challenge, given that the natural width of a bolt of fabric gives me initial pieces of 11″ x 11″. When I cut stencils, my source material is 12″ square, but I can’t cut close to the edges. In short, it would make far more sense to work to 8″ square. However doing so leaves me with the first 15 or so works in the series as larger than the rest. I ultimately decided I was ok with that.

It could be that decisions like this are part of what holds me back in the studio. Also the ambiguity lately. It has been very helpful to spend a few weeks focusing more on art principles, and drawing, doodling, sketching, and designing. And while I have assimilated those into my regular studio time easily enough, I feel a lot of uncertainty over the right balance between practice & exploration of ideas (whether on paper or digitally), and turning those ideas into finished quilts.

I generally need to remind myself that I am doing this for me, and me alone. And so what do I want?

• to have fun
• to learn all I can, and never stop learning
• to challenge myself
• to continue making works in this series