Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I feel blessed to be an extremely visual person. It wasn't always easy in educational settings, because I always had to see and read something to understand it. But it's a great way to never be bored!

A sprained ankle has me taking it very slow, and limiting my use of a sewing machine. I needed to get out to feel the air and be a part of the world for a little while, and hoped that a short walk would encourage healing.

I took my pocket camera with me, and sure enough, found things to get me excited - visual candy!
Being a visual person, and artist, means that the world is always offering you stimulation. I love that I can compose in a camera, and then think about what I can do with the idea I grabbed out of my brief walk. The bark of a tree can be an idea for painting fabric, and then there's discharging to get the luminosity reflected from leaves. Or the lines of granite stones with green moss providing texture - could be done through piecing hand dyed fabric, or painting...so many possibilities to consider. Even when I'm procrastinating - and I'm really good at that, I know that all I have to do is walk out the door for more ideas, and energy.

It is a grey day in Dublin, so everything was very subtly lit. The photo of the shadows on the bridge was supposed to be uploaded for another posting about design, but got left behind. Love the lines across that bridge!

The stones made me think of the work of Jeanne Williamson, an Art Quilter. She uses Orange construction material and fabric, paint and stitching. Her work is dramatic, and graphically complex. Jeanne has a show opening soon in Providence, RI. I won't be able to go, but if you do, please, let me know!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lynn Kenny was the speaker at the Irish Patchwork Society meeting in Dublin, on Saturday. Lynn is a professional artist from Killaloe, in County Clare, Ireland. She uses paper, paint, fabric and stitching in a very distinct style.

Lynn has lots of birds in her work, but I admired her abstracts most of all. She starts with a page from a magazine or catalogue, adds some tissue paper, puts PVA glue over the whole thing, and when dry, adds acrylic paints. She then layers fabrics and threads which add depth and texture. She said that she never knows what will come through the tissue paper - sometimes faces, sometimes words, or partial objects, but she lets the piece lead her where it wants to go. I really liked the depth and complexity of her pieces. Take a look, and see if they inspire you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Finding design ideas

Traveling gives me so much inspiration because everything feels new. I'm using my camera as a sketchbook, and plan to use some of these photo's for inspiration when I get back to my studio.
The white Dahlia is a wonderful possibility for quilting a whole cloth quilt, or using the photo multiple times on a piece. The cabbage is gorgeous color. The shapes of the leaves, with all their different sizes and ruffled edges make it so voluptuous.

The shadows on the wooden bridge could be a design in black and white, or many colors - the lines and shapes are already an interesting place to start. Both the stone wall, and the rocks, are good possibilities for positive and negative shaped designs. They stand up as designs whichever way they are turned.
How does traveling inspire you?

The Fuschia of Ireland

In Ireland, the Fuschia plant is a shrub. The flower looks like the hanging fuschia flower plants we buy and try to baby through the summer. In Ireland, the plant is a shrub, that needs to be pruned back every year, or it can grow to 10 feet! I'm posting a photo of the flower, the shrub, and a hedge of fuschia's. In the landscape photo from the Dingle Peninsula, there is a couple walking along a path with a row of red plants - they are actually a hedge of fuschia's. They just glow in the sunlight.
Ireland has a mild climate and is in the Zones 7-10 according to Wikipedia. It's a great place to garden, or visit gardens.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The colors in the photographs of the mosaic don't show the depth of color as I experienced them.
Might have been having an out of body experience, but if so, it was with 100 other people!

I've been thinking about why these mosaics are such masterpieces, and at this point, I think it is because of their depth of color and complexity of design. The whole composition is so richly textured and patterned that they are a feast for the eyes. I've been looking at other artists work to see if I can get a better understanding of how to accomplish this level of richness (someday in the future). Pamela Allen, an art quilter, does similarly beautiful and interesting work, with lots of detail and embellishment. Nancy Crow, uses a rich palette of color as well, and many of her art quilts glow as the mosaics do. Lino Tagliapietra is an Italian glass blower who also has complex shapes, designs, and very rich color in his pieces. All are masters, creating masterpieces, and it is the richness of their work that is teaching me what raises their work from the GOOD to the GREAT.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ravenna, Italy Mosaics

I recently visited Ravenna, Italy, where there are masterpieces of mosaics from the 4th century and up. They were a real surprise to me because they were so fresh in design, color and lines. Many are from the Byzantine age, so they are completely full of texture. There are 8 World Heritage sites in the city of Ravenna, with 6 of them being sites that are decorated in mosaics. It was a very inspiring visit, and reinforces the thought that nothing is new in Art. The density of color and complexity of design exemplify the more is more concept. The glass pieces are 1 cm. and smaller!

The photo showing the 3 floors and ceiling is from S. Vitale, the best known of the mosaic sites. The glass pieces that make up the mosaics are placed at slightly different angles, so they catch the light, and are very reflective, even after 1500 years.
Gold was often used for it's reflective quality, but doesn't
show up well in the photo's. You'll just have to go!