Last Wednesday I wrote about my 100-day project, during which I will collaborate with Bill in making artwork or fiber objects inspired by his photographs. These three are the subjects of my first week.
Back in 2017 at the Kansas City Zoo, Bill has a close encounter with this lorikeet. In his image you see plumage in colors that, impossibly, co-exist on one bird. I accepted as my challenge to swatch out this feathery palette in watercolor paint.
Day One: Samples
Day Two: I turned it into a color wheel.
In 2010 we visited The Louvre. While I wandered around, Bill found this sculptural fragment in the Antiquities gallery.
My initial idea was to do a simple drawing using Micron pen. To get a better look at the details, I edited the photo, brightening up the shadows, then printing it in monochrome.
Day Three: Drawing
It actually took me two days to finish the drawing because I chose to stipple.
The next photograph was taken while vacationing in the Caribbean, but I am unsure if we were in Barbados or Belize. I really love the wave action and the colors.
My brain must have mashed up the last two photographs because I ended up superimposing the face onto the water.
1st Week Final Note: Searching my yarn closet, I found scraps to match up with the Lorikeet plumage. Today I used them to knit this swatch in fingering yarn.
What do you think of the combination? Would you wear it on a hat, scarf or vest?
If you follow this blog, you may well guess what my next experiment must be:
Yes! I had to try my new pencils out on fabric! You see here a piece of cotton muslin. I have marked a part of a rainbow, running the colors into each other. After liquifying the colors and letting the fabric dry, I used my hot iron to set the pigment. Then I sprayed on more water, just to see if the color bled further. The paint passed this test, so I moved on to a bigger experiment.
There is something about the medium that reminds me of stained glass. Thinking deeper about the possibilities of blending colors, I decide it is more like medieval illuminated manuscript. Then I remembered that I have a book.
What if I reproduce one of these paintings on my muslin cloth? I flipped through the pages to find a likely subject and landed on this image depicting the creation of the world.
First, I drew a series of four circles on the muslin. Next, I used my swatch card to find matches to the hues of the illustrations. I began working the two days on the right side of the panel.
This was very fun and pretty satisfying. Despite the slight bleeding outside the margins (totally fixable) I find the results most acceptable. I did notice that there are tide marks left behind by some of the blue and green pencils. But this extra texture seems very much in keeping with the pigments and style of the era.
After I paint days 1 and 3, I’ll put the fabric in a gentle cold-water bath to look for more fading or bleeding. If the piece passes this test, I’ll move on to a bit of quilting.
I hope you are enjoying your year-end holiday. Please do let me know what you think of this experiment or share what you are planning to make in 2023. Happy New Year.
On Wednesday I got started with the backing fabric for the Badlands art quilt. It turned out even better than I had expected.
I started with a black-on-white cotton print, which imitates Carrera marble.
I was drawn to this fabric because it represents a stone product. The veining suggested to me the many cracks throughout the Badlands formations.
The first step was to achieve a consistent ground color by dipping the fabric into diluted blue-green paint. Squeezing out the excess, I smoothed the piece out onto a large piece of butcher paper. Then using the other paint I had mixed for the quilt front, I applied horizontals bands of color – orange first, then blue-purple. I let the piece sit and slightly dry before sprinkling on rock salt, also in horizontal bands.
I allowed the paint to dry almost completely before brushing off the salt.
The next morning, I hung it outside to get this photo:
It looks so dramatic, I’m wondering if it will be a waste to use it as a backing.
Earlier today I learned that the batiks I ordered for this project will arrive this afternoon. I can’t wait to see them.
While rooting through the garage this week, I found this frame.
I decided that I could make a decor item for my patio, which also could hold various gardening implements on a row of hooks. But what I really wanted was to fill the opening with an abstract painting of geraniums. Something like this:
I picked up a remnant of solid white cotton twill. It seemed to be sturdy enough to stand up to outside conditions. After I washed and dried the fabric, I cut a piece approximately 3 inches wider and longer than the frame opening. Now the fun starts.
My fabric paint choices included green, emerald, red, and yellow. I mixed some violet into the yellow to make a gold color. After about twenty minutes of messing around I had a nice background painted.
To give a little variety to the patches of color, I scrunched up the fabric.
And here is my panel, fully dry and ready for further paint layers.
I’m excited by this result, and keen to work on this fiber object some more.
While tidying up my studio the other day, I came across several of my watercolor test swatches. I have three samples, each no bigger than 4 x 6 inches, that were made as I prepared to paint the geometric abstract of the Belize lagoon.
Looking at them with fresh eyes I got the idea of framing the paintings as a group. But first, I would want to work on them some more.
In the language of watercolor, a wash that is painted over existing washes is called a glaze. The term emphasizes the sheer characteristic of this medium. Today I got busy adding some glazes. When the paint had dried, I added a little line work.
Here is what I have so far.
I like the fresh and bright colors and the variety of shapes. But I am wondering if these tiny paintings are finished now. I’m toying with the idea of sewing on them with embroidery thread.
Rather than ending up Dazed and Confused, I believe that I will put this project aside and see how I feel about it tomorrow.