Wednesday, August 15, 2018

How Do You Handle Design Challenges?


Imagine being given a photo of Italian art to use as design inspiration.....how would you handle it?  Would you use the imagery as it is - a realistic portrayal? Would you take pieces or elements of the photo and go from there? How about colours....or size? So many choices, so many decisions!
 
A few months back I was invited to create a piece of textile art based on "The Annunciation" by Fra Angelico......as a group of artists we were each given a different art work to use as a "jumping off point" for our own work. I'm not sure what images the others were given but since the exhibition is at the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver, I imagine the art was all Italian.....haha!


Have you ever taken part in something similar? How did you approach this? What ideas and decisions were you faced with? Sometimes it's easier to work within parameters than being given free rein. I began by turning the art into a rough portrait format and thinking how I could place the figures, I also loved the multicoloured wings of Gabriel.


After some reflection I realized that I really had never used figures or people in my work and I didn't want to start doing so......amidst all the design work I wanted to explore how this piece might be come a beginning for a new series. I had taken masses of photos during my recent walk on the Camino de Santiago and had some great interior shots of the cathedrals I had visited:







So then I started to focus on the building part of the artwork - the figures appear to be in a "cloister" which is generally "a covered walk in a convent, monastery, college, or cathedral, typically with a wall on one side and a colonnade open to a quadrangle on the other". It was beginning to make sense for me...look up to the soaring arches of the space above>




I wasn't sure about the columns, so those were eliminated. I was working at simplifying the design to some very basic shapes.

I'm  looking now with the idea of construction - how am I going to put it all together? As my career began as a traditional quilter, I'm familiar with a wide variety of piecing methods so I decided a "stack, slash, shuffle" method was the best choice. the widths of the sections would be the same but I could work with different lengths and thereby achieve a variety of rectangles and get some visual interest going....

The fabric had been chosen a while back, luscious hand dyed vintage linen with wonderful drape to it - a little on the heavy side but I knew the texture and thread count would be perfect.

Construction began and went smoothly - put together in less than a day.


 
I had pulled out a dozen or more threads for the quilting but in the end only used four - I thought some metallic would be good but changed my mind. 
And so "In the Cloister" heads off for the exhibition shortly and the shapes, imagery and design will be considered for the future, perhaps this winter would be a good time to begin!

In the Cloister

I hope you'll join me at the Exhibition Opening - September 12th at 7pm. at the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver.

 


Friday, March 30, 2018

So Much Changes....so much stays the same....

Since our move over to Pender Island we've been busy getting our home organized for full time living, trips back to the "city" plus planning for the next few months.

One of the tasks I've enjoyed, even if it sounds a little strange,  is to get up in the cold mornings and get a fire lit in the wood stove, make a pot of coffee and enjoy the warmth moving through the house. Our routine has changed so much with my DH being retired and there's not as much rush to be at certain places with certain deadlines....I've been enjoying that part so much!
My studio is mere footsteps away, so easy to pop in for a minute or two or work but also easy to be distracted! However, thankfully there are deadlines and I was able to complete this piece over the past couple weeks. Its one of my largest at 44" x 62", part of my "Industrial Shoreline" series and destined for a group show in June. 
 
Retired to Rust

Maybe you're thinking that I'm incredibly well organized to have all my work ready so far ahead of a deadline....well, there's a good reason!

Hang on...its a long story!

Tomorrow I leave my (new) home to celebrate Easter with family in Victoria. On Sunday I travel to Vancouver and stay with family until Tuesday when I fly to London UK to stay with family (very short visit)....until Wednesday. On Thursday I fly to Madrid and then to Pamplona (Spain), overnight in Pamplona then on Friday I take a bus to Roncesvalles so that on Saturday (one week after leaving home) I can begin my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela that will take me 6 weeks and 800 kilometers to walk.

....my bags are packed and I'm ready to go.....
The tube carries my trekking poles as I can't carry them on the flights, they'll be in the checked baggage

I should say that my "backpack" is packed, a mere 14 lbs. to last me through 3 months of travel (I'm planning on more travel once I'm finished in Spain) I guess I could say that I missed the "backpacking through Europe when I was a teenager, so now it's time"! But now we have lists...Google with far too much information and Youtube to explain endlessly all the items we need for our travels!
My route is the red line across northern Spain
 I'm excited, but also a little nervous. Happy and a little fearful...all natural feelings I know. My art practise will change, my supplies are very limited but that should never be an excuse! A small sketch book, a little watercolour set, a pencil and tiny eraser, a water brush and my iPhone with a good camera. What else do I need, right? and its all about keeping it lightweight, LOL!

In case you've not heard about the Camino, here are a couple links that you might find useful:

https://www.caminosantiagodecompostela.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camino_de_Santiago

So....I'm off then! See you soon! If you'd like to follow my journey, I'll be posting on Facebook here:
https://www.facebook.com/Susan-Purney-Mark-141959029220043/?ref=bookmarks







Monday, February 12, 2018

How Did That Happen?

It's  been a roller coaster past few weeks....with major changes in my life. All good things but it certainly made blogging and creating more than just a bit challenging.

Back in November I had a very success Studio Tour with great sales and lots of visitors stopping by! I sold Antique tiles, a shadow applique piece that I loved so much. I had a little bit of a tear in my eye as I wrapped it up for its new owner. but it went to a good home!


The following weekend I had a massive Studio Relocation Sale - downsizing as we prepared to pack up for our move in the New Year. I cleared out lots of books, fabrics and all manner of surface design supplies. I think I made some friends very happy as they carted off lots of great bargains!



Then the chaos began, as I sorted through the remaining supplies and had to decide what could be packed away and be put into the storage container and not access for 2-4 years! And then what items I could fit into my much, much, much smaller new studio.



Moving day came with a large truck to take our belongings over to Pender Island and our next home (its not a "new to us" home as we've used it as a vacation property for the past 10 years). We got everything into the truck - with virtually no room to spare.


A few days after that the BIG storage box came and two strong men to pack that up! Again, it was filled to the brim - and we said good bye to the overflow from our Victoria home......just to clarify, our move to Pender Island could be described as semi-permanent, we are renting out our home in Victoria and making the move to Pender for a few years so we can have an opportunity to travel and have a different lifestyle.


Once the kitchen was unpacked on Pender my first goal was to get my studio organized. I had mapped out a general idea of how I wanted to arrange things and it has worked out OK. Still some tweaking - getting the design wall set up, bulletin board in place, making it a little prettier (and removing the closet door) and trying to find where I put everything...it's all good and I am so happy to be here!






Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Artist in Residence - No Sleeping Allowed!

What comes to mind when you think about an "artist in residence"? Maybe living in a remote national park with moose and marmots for company? Or working at an art school with vigorously engaged students creating along side? Or how about a space in a luxury downtown hotel?

Yup, I got picked as Miss October at the Delta Oceanpointe Resort for the Artishow programme here in Victoria. The Victoria Arts Council has set up a "Artishow" for local artists to showcase and demonstrate their artwork in four of Victoria's most prestigious hotels .....ok, but not The Empress!



Now before you get all excited - let me tell you I chose October, and I knew it would be quiet, because my summer months were taken up with family commitments. But even in October, Victoria is a tourist destination and I've met some very nice people from Calgary, San Francisco (he lost a second home in the recent California fires), Mexico and Montreal!

So three of my large pieces are on display on the Mezzanine - if you happen to stop by, that's up the large stair case. And I have a table to display and demonstrate my work. My focus for the month was to work on smaller pieces that didn't require and paints or dyes and I didn't want to bring my sewing machine (I was afraid I might get asked to hem some pants!) So I knew there would be some limitation but I've been quite excited to have large chunks of time with out the distractions of other errands that might pop up. I tend to be a "flitter" when it comes to working in my studio so I can easily distract myself from tasks at hand!


I trialed a couple of ideas, combining paper and fabric into books - not quite what I was looking for but they helped me to fine tune some ideas....


I've been working on simplifying my designs into what I'm calling my "HouseMade Cards and HouseMade Books" - cut out and illuminated houses from paper. I'm so pleased with the cards I've put them into my Etsy Shop: HouseMade Cards


I have two more weeks of my "Artist in Residence" left and I'll continue to work on my HouseMade cards, I have a Studio Tour coming up in Novemeber so I can build some inventory!



What else has this residency taught me? I've learned a little about the ebb and flow of life around the hotel: the airport shuttle comes by about every 45 minutes. The coffee shop (with Starbucks coffee) closes at 2pm. The bar starts to fill as I'm leaving at the end of the day. Conference meetings break out at 12 sharp, but they are busy with their own groups and rarely look up from their "tech" devices! People in the neighborhood stop by as they walk through the hotel, often with little dogs in tow.
Plus I have an amazing view of the Inner Harbour from my work space.


Stop by if you are in the area: Wednesday-Friday 10-5pm! Delta Oceanpointe Resort
There's some cool fellows hanging out there as well!


Oh yeah - the "residence" part of "artist in residence" is a bit of a misnomer - I go home to my own bed each night!

Monday, July 24, 2017

When Visitors Create Art....

About 10 days ago I was part of the Moss Street Paint In, you may have read about it in previous posts....I was asked to 'engage" with the public and decided some "mark making" would be a good way of inviting people to make marks onto my fabric! while adults were a little more reticent, the kids got into this in a big way! No surprise there!


I think there was a total of 6 panels produced and I've heat set the paints and photographed them. They will be used in my art at some point, I love some of the cool designs that were made!





 This one is my favourite.....
Did you miss seeing me and getting your mark on the fabric? Come to the Sooke Fine Arts Show on Monday, July 31st! I'll be doing a Squiggle, Line & Dot Demo, I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

No More Ships

I've just finished photographing my latest art quilt, measuring the dimensions and setting it up into my online gallery. Those are the detailed tasks that are always a pleasure to do, bringing some closure to a piece that has consumed a lot of my physical and mental efforts over the last couple of months.

Now it's time to send it out into the world....the first stop is the TD-Art Gallery Paint In, more commonly know as the Moss Street Paint In this coming Saturday. No More Ships will be the feature piece, it's the largest art quilt I've ever done 44 1/2" x 59". It's my intention to work large (for me) in the future, after visiting a couple of high end art quilt shows recently, I like those larger works....going to give it a try!

No More Ships is the latest in my ongoing series Inspired by Structure which focuses on the abandoned buildings of the Burrard Shipyards in North Vancouver. I'll be continuing to work on this for the foreseeable future.


The fabrics I used are either hand painted (the sky) or dyed and painted. I tried some of the painted fabrics and then decided they were too stark so toned down the contrast with some textile paint!



The sleeve and label will be sewn on this afternoon and then it'll be one more item checked off the list for the weekend. If you're around Victoria, please stop by at Booth #114, south of May Street.

Here's a detail shot of the building:




Monday, July 3, 2017

Why Was I "Left Behind"?

While working in my current series that uses "structure" as my theme I made a piece titled "Left Behind" that was inspired by the photos I had taken at the Burrard Shipyards in North Vancouver. Here's the picture:

 I cropped the photo and made it into grey scale:

For some reason I thought I should incorporate the modern building in the background and make that part of the design. I think it was a mistake, while we can identify it as a component in the photograph, in the quilt it didn't make any sense....

In fact it was turned down from two juried shows.....it was Left Behind.

So yesterday I masked off the "good" areas and painted over the background with a sponge roller. One of the things I like about the effect is the texture created by the quilting, lots of areas of lines and shapes in there. At first I used pure white paint, which seemed a little stark, so I then reapplied a light grey over top to tone it down.


 A much better result, I'm happier with the quilt now and I will try entering it again. Maybe it won't get Left Behind!