Monday, April 6, 2015

Working in a Series, some thoughts

Some of our members have done classes with respected teachers on working in a series. It is generally accepted that this way of working will help any artist to uncover elements that have personal meaning, which will in turn produce a body of work that has artistic integrity.

I came across an artist recently whose paintings could easily have been expressed in fabric and stitch.

Valeriane Leblond is of French/Quebec origin and now lives in Wales. Her paintings are often oil on various wooden substrates. She has been exploring her adopted homeland since 2007. Her landscapes have a fresh charm, and encapsulate the essential features of Welsh rural and coastal life.

The way she works illustrates how we can explore a subject by using different scales, colour palettes, horizon lines and all the design elements, such as rhythm, repetition, harmony, that we read about in our Art and Design manuals and course notes.

I will give the works their English titles, as the original titles are in Welsh. When I look at these paintings I can so easily imagine the quilting lines, hand stitching and textures.

Would that it was still summer
There is no catch

ebb and flow
autumn equinox


gold moon

Notice that there are traditional quilts featured in some of her paintings - a bonus!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Value and How to Create it

Value is an interesting design tool it can create drama and mood.
Dark values carry a sombre feel while light colours give a feeling of peacefulness. If you want to create a focal point, surround a light area with a dark one, it will create a frame that draws the eye like a magnet. Used in conjunction with texture, colour and line, interest can be heightened and intriguing images created. In his picture Temple Gardens, Paul Klee uses value to draw your eye around the painting.
Temple Gardens

A grey scale image makes this clear, as your eye dances around following the black shapes or the light ones.

In quilting, then, the key is finding enough pieces of fabric in your chosen colour to create the values you "need". 

Edinburgh Sunset
Edinburg Sunset, challenged my stash, and as I have 5 large boxes of fabric and odd pieces tucked here and there in drawers and on shelves because the boxes are too full, I just couldn't explain the need for more fat quarters when all that was needed was a tiny square or two. 

Fortunately I have a wonderful tin of Inktense pencils and a selection of textile paints. 

The pencils were used to darken the fabric for the windows. To use them just colour, then brush with a barely wet paint brush and iron once dry to set the pigment (protect your work surface with a piece of paper or plastic sheet). Then the fabric can be bonded using any bonding agent of your choice. The textile paint was used to create the orange red sky fabric,  foreground and windows on the dark house. A good range in value can be achieved by dilution of the paint with water (again protect your work surface), or more than one coat. Lightly sprinkling with salt while it's wet will create texture, if it is left to dry without moving. Again heat set the colour with an iron set for the fabric, in both cases I protect my iron with baking parchment. As both paint and pencils blend and mix with water, you only need a few colours to create a wide range. I would recommend this as an alternative to buying more fabric if small pieces are your passion and you enjoy a little colouring. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Techniques used for Dragonfly in Green

Nicole asked me to explain in more depth how I got my original image for my last piece, so here goes.

The original image came from a gelli block print on white cotton fabric. I printed the dragonfly on plain copy paper, cut around the edges and then placed it on the pre-dye/print pasted gelli block. I then took the end of a small paint brush and drew around the lines of the image. I peeled the paper away and transferred the image to the white cotton.

Dragonfly print - Amanda Sievers


Once dry, I ironed and scanned the fabric. I tend to do this with a lot of the fabric I produce so that I can then use the image multiple times to either print onto fabric using the printer or to manipulate on the computer and then print or use as an image transfer before cutting the original fabric.

After scanning, I manipulated this image on my computer using Paint Shop Pro 7. I did several manipulations until I was happy with this one.

For 'Dragonfly in Green', I used the 'ImageSplitter' application which you can find easily on the internet. I sized the image and then split the image into 6 x A4 sheets which I printed on my laser printer. I then transferred the image using Amsterdam Matte Medium onto white sheer polyester.

Once dry, you soak and then rub off the excess paper from the back, and voila, you have your image to quilt!
Dragonfly in Green - Amanda Sievers


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Edinburgh Sunset

 I chose buildings as my theme for the year and Through The Window for the series title  Buildings are endlessly fascinating with all their variations and yet they all have the same basic features, roofs, windows, walls etc. They have a multitude of different purposes and we decorate them with ingenuity to make them stand out or blend in. The one thing they all have in common is people. What goes on behind those windows,when we are inside do we learn, rest, dream or search for something new? What is going through the minds of the people on the outside, where are they hurrying to? Life is constantly fascinating.

For this challenge the image came from a view through a window in Edinburgh. I recently took a design class and wanted to use the lessons to take my art into a more informed place so value, colour, line, shape and figure / ground were considered. Cubism was the influence for the style, particularly the work of Oscar Bleumner. The colour scheme is a split complementary using yellow green and blue green with red orange and red purple. Unfortunately the dark green blue reads as blue against the other greens on screen something to do with the light possibly.

Materials used are, fabric paint and Intense crayons on commercial and hand dyed cottons, Bondaweb and a variety of threads. Raw edge appliqué with machine quilting is the method of construction. The quilt is not quite finished as a hand injury prevents the use of a cutting ruler, hand sewing and very controlled stitching. It will be bound with a 1/4 inch black binding once I can complete it. Completed quilt will be 15.5 x 24 inches.