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.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Missing in Action

Well, I guess it is time for me to show up again...seems like time has really been flying past me.

I have been working on various projects as a result of the trip to Uganda...finishing my  journal (which still isn't finished), creating note cards made from paintings done by the kids at Sunrise House, creating a pattern for a small cell phone case to send to Sunrise House for them to create and sell, selling the cards, printing out the cards, etc....

And then there is the art which I have been doing a lot of lately. Mostly small things, lots of 5 x 7 pieces with the most recently finished pieces using bristol board and then stitching fabric on to it.

Now I am working with canvas which I have been painting and creating multiple layers of glazes, adding silk screening, sketching, mark making and what ever else I come up with. There are also layers of fabric and now I am at the point to putting more fabric on it and doing the stitching.

This is a small series called Hidden Science. The underlying image is a page from an old science report hand written and corrected by the teacher, then painted over multiple times with glazes and then a glazed piece of fabric was stitched down. There is a lot of depth in these although it doesn't show up well on the web
                           Hidden Science 1                              

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about my art and trying to understand my voice and style. I have been reading about the importance of having a cohesive body of work which I don't really feel I have. I seem to do series of works in different styles and then move on to another series. I am not sure this builds a cohesive body of work.

I especially enjoy working with glazes and being able to create depth and layers in that way. The incorporation of images via papers, drawing, silk screening or stamping and then adding more layers really fascinates me. Now I am working at bringing this all together in fabric, using canvas as the substrate instead of paper.

So I have decided that I need a mentor, someone to discuss my work objectively with, someone to give me honest feedback, someone who will push me in my art work. I don't need a coach. I am not afraid of doing the work, I do a lot of it. I need help in the mentoring area. I have mentored others and now find myself in need of someone with a lot of expertiese.  Oh well, this shall happen at some point.

My husband and I are babysitting our 2 year old grandson, Ashton, for about 6 weeks while his babysitter is off on maternity leave. Ashton starts out at our house, I get breakfast taken care of and then head off to the studio for a good 3-4 hours of intense, focused time, and then come back, pick him up and take him to his house for his nap, which means I have a couple of hours of quiet time! We have just finished week 2, although the first week was not as great as my husband was sick with the flu and consequently I spent all my time with Ashton for the week...not much time at the studio a week ago!

I have just finished a new piece based on my mediation along the pathway which is about how I am not walking the pathway alone. It started out with white fabric and then I fused painted fabric cut out like stones to create two pathways and then decided to paint in between the stones. It is filled with a lot of machine quilting. Not sure if I will show it for now or not...have to see what else I come up with!