Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Abstraction, Reality and Feeling

"Nothing is less real than realism...Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things." Georgia O'Keefe

Georgia O'Keefe is a favorite artist of mine - as much for her work as for her struggle to be able to do the work. Her life was not easy. Her flowers and landscapes represent how she feels about them. She was a friend of Arthur Dove, who shared her goal . O'Keefe wrote that she wanted to paint how she felt about flowers. Agnes Martin also wrote about making art about feelings as have other artists.

I thought I was going to begin a series about the way birds make me feel. The coloration of feathers, beak, eyes and feet are so full of variety and beauty that they bring a sense of awe. An Audubon book of birds shows the different species but can't bring the quick intake of breathe when you observe a bird in it's natural habitat and feel total wonder at the very fact of it!

I have made one quilt about the Magpie, a common bird in Ireland. They are white and black with markings like tuxedo jackets. When they lift off to fly, you see that their open black wings are iridescent. It was a wonderful treat for me every time I was close enough to see their wings.

I'm not sure if this quilt is successful. I'd appreciate any critiques. 

The quilt below is titled "Magpie". It is made with Shibori pole wrapped fabric. 
I have shown it to a few people whose judgement I value, and there has not been an "Ah!" One instructor recommended cutting it to the composition below. What do you think?


  1. What if you changed the orientation so that the V-shapes were pointing up--or possibly to the side? I really like your idea of abstracting the way birds make you feel, and the shibori captures the feather idea very well. But for some reason it seems a bit too static to me and perhaps the orientation change might change that. Did you use shibori to make the blue fabric? If you did, those are amazingly tiny lines.

  2. Madalene, thank you for that suggestion! I did try changing the orientation and it is better either horizontally or turned 180 degrees from its present orientation. I'll look at it for awhile and decide how I will keep it for entry opportunities. Yes, the turquoise is pole wrapped shibori. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment.