This is going to take a while. More progress reports later.
Still working with that newly-greened dresser scarf, now stitched to green organza for stability. It will be part of a three-panel work. One panel is inspired by van Gogh's painting of a mulberry tree near the sanatorium where he resided for a year. If you google " van Gogh mulberry tree" you'll get multiple opportunities to buy prints and so forth. According to the commentaries, when Vincent's seizure disorder was under control he was allowed to wander outside and paint in the neighborhood of the facility. When he was badly disabled, of course, he had to stay inside which made him quite depressed. So this tree was painted on one or more good days. We can feel the warm fall sun and appreciate the intense sky.
My panel is not horizontal, however, so the composition of the whole tree had to change to tall and narrow. And of course, I'm using fabric, not oil paints--though there's some paint applied to the fabric pieces. The squiggly shapes are surprisingly easy to manage with cloth cutouts; I thought it would be more difficult. It's still in process and not ready for photos, as I'm really struggling with the best length for the panel and how it will dance with the rest of the piece.
I am quite pleased with the stitched tree trunk. It's made of chenille, dyed with natural dyes at the Folk Festival in May, then overpainted and hand-stitched with variegated thread. I had bought the chenille a few years ago to make teddy bears (which never happened) and decided to dye it as I was winnowing my stash. Texture is a good thing!
This is going to take a while. More progress reports later.
Taupe crochet scarf, unpainted
I'm beginning work on a new piece, as yet unnamed. This really nice crocheted dresser scarf has been sitting in my stash for some time, awaiting a destination. It was advertised as a dresser scarf, and it's a beigey-gray cotton thread. The seller did not know who made it. I particularly like the hanging leaves on the ends. I don't remember where I bought it, but I know it was sort of an afterthought--too nice to leave behind. And every time I saw it in the drawer, I heard the tiny voice: "Let me out! Use me!" I suppose it would have been perfectly happy to be placed on a dresser in one of the bedrooms, but that wasn't happening.
The piece is all about growth, so some color changes were in order. I got out all my green paints, spray bottle, and an apron (that was after I got paint on my shirt, unfortunately). I've developed some painting courage while working with the artist canvas in the last several projects, enough to dive right in and start painting, mixing, blending colors, going back over areas with secondary coats. In the end I had a nicely mottled crochet piece that was a little stiffer (this is desirable) but not rigid.
The color in this photo is less vivid than the real thing. Your monitor may differ, of course. There's some metallic paint in there also. I plan to mount this on a sheer background; maybe grey, maybe blue or green, so it won't sag too much. And then, who knows? I've bought a couple of books about painting with acrylics so I can better anticipate how the stuff will work on various surfaces--so far they all talk about painting on paper (what a concept!)
Today I drove over to Fayetteville to pick up the new painting. Unfortunately I wasn't aware that the gallery is not staffed until 4:00 p.m., so found everything dark and locked up. I went down the street to the art league gallery and the nice folks there contacted the gallery owner for me--she clarified the times and volunteered to come over if necessary (ironically she was on her way to Eagle Lake). Instead I opted to drive the 12 miles to Round Top and visit my friends at Copper Shade Tree Gallery. It's hard to describe how much Round Top has changed in the years I've been going there. The square is all newly developed with galleries and shops, and a grand hall is available for events. Gerald and Debbie Tobola are managing the square now--which essentially means they have no time off at all--very involved in everything going on in this tiny town. I had not visited since Pat died so we had a lot to talk about.
Then I headed back to Fayetteville and picked up the Anzalone painting. The exhibit closes tomorrow; a lot of the work had already been claimed by eager buyers. I will hang my painting in the dining room tomorrow and post a photo. I think studying it will give me courage to attempt some more challenging color work. On Monday I'm taking an armload of work to the photographer, something I haven't done in almost two years. It will be good to see and talk with Rick Wells again.
In the annoying pursuit of "my artistic voice" I'm apparently supposed to work in series, exploring various aspects of my subject matter/style/technical skill or whatever. I've only done this once before, in the "Yellow Arc" series, which was entertaining for a while until life got in the way. I may return to it at some future point, as I'm enjoying reading about color in a couple of art books. Unfortunately, they are written for painters and assume the ability to make a named color (and to plan for the uses of that color in advance). This is harder to do with cloth unless one is committed to dyeing endless spectra; the books don't contemplate discovering that I have a small amount of color x, a large amount of color y, and lots of other colors that don't quite match the color wheel. My philosophy is, "Let's throw them together and see what comes out."Comes now the rain at last 12x12" 2013 copyright Bobbe Shapiro Nolan
I visited the Red and White Gallery in Fayetteville TX last week to see some of the paintings of William Anzalone. Now this guy really is a colorist; I loved the work and had a long and interesting discussion with Kathy, the gallery attendant (recently retired from teaching art in the public schools and preparing for her own one-woman show). I think I could learn a lot just looking at this sort of work close up, thinking, "Now how could I do that???" You can see Anzalone's work at the link: www.RedandWhiteGallery.com. It's there until June 15, and worth a visit if you're in the neighborhood.
Color study aside, I've made several smaller pieces on painted canvas, using the purple muhly grass theme, figuring that I've become pretty good at machine embroidery of these grasses by now. I wanted to paint some more skies and see how they felt behind blowing grass--also, I have all this gessoed canvas to use up, and a couple of exhibitions I'd like to enter.
SAQA Texas is planning a traveling trunk show, "A Texas Experience" to begin in 2014 and requested 12x12" art quilts. This one has a partial overlay of sparkle tulle in chartreuse to show the wet grass, but that doesn't show up in the photo. I'm pleased with the result--it does look rather like the end of a sun shower with the storm clouds moving away.
Twilight Storm 12x12" 2013 Copyright Bobbe Shapiro Nolan
This small art quilt has a darker sky with more silvery accents. I'll make an appointment with the professional photographer Rick Wells to get better images. I have one more piece in this "series," but no good image of it, so that will have to wait.
Bobbe Shapiro Nolan, Fiber Artist in Eagle Lake, TX. Trying to learn to call the sewing room my studio, and myself an artist. I retired after 15 years in hospice nursing--so now I have the time!.