Sunday, May 28, 2023

Why Isn't It Easy?

Right now I am working on two very different focuses (foci?) I am continuing with my series on Vessels, which I have mentioned previously. It will continue to be an important part of my practise, there are many ideas percolating around and I have been sketching and journaling about the series.

But I also wanted to make collage pieces like I did in Mexico, when I made a few small pieces like this:

I started by printing fabric and paper to use in “building construction”! Have you ever done gel printing? Its a style of mono printing using a synthetic gel surface to print on…it feels a bit like silicone and is very user friendly. Check it out on YouTube or Pinterest, it is amazing!

But I want this work to have a different influence from my time in Spain with old buildings and little village with interesting profiles.

So I made a big stack of papers and another big stack of fabrics - some of the best prints I got by tearing up old white bed sheets! I also tried painting dilute gesso onto the fabric to give it some “tooth” that worked very well (my formula is 75% water and 25% clear gesso).

Here are some of my favourites:

I had made a few sketches of the village while I was working in the hostel and I would like to use those as inspiration - I am finding the scale tricky to interpret - just how large do I go?

Now I am facing a couple of challenges:

  • what should the background be? I have painted washes for sky and ground on watercolour paper
  • I think the wonky buildings are fun but maybe too frivolous
  • I tried painting buildings behind the collage - not sure that worked
  • one piece has a nice grouping but isn’t grounded onto anything below.

As a textile person most of my work has been either abstract or representational - now I am trying more realism - how does one shift into a style that others seem to master quite easily. I know the obvious answer is through practise and observation and I hope I will get there but I am so impatient!

I want to be “good” at it right now!

I don’t want to take time and thought!

I want to work bigger - and fear is holding me back!

I try a layout and it doesn't work - I have failed!

Wow! Wow! I have only spent two days on this work - why do I expect perfection so quickly? I didn’t get where I am in a week, where is the patience that I suggest to others? I know mistakes are ok, the garbage can isn’t quite full…yet! 

Does this sound familiar: We watch a two minute video and it looks so easy - why doesn't mine? We bought the right supplies, why isn't it working? I followed the instructions but why is mine different? 

So I had some serious self-talk and now I know there’s still time….and I made some sweet little windows!

Breathe - smile and have a cup of coffee!

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Take the Risk - Open the Door

A few months ago I wrote about how vital it was to continue in my studio even if it meant that all I could do was to just be there…the work would come but sometimes all the work I could manage was simply to be present in the studio. This was during a time of loss, confusion, many conflicting demands and fatigue. My comfort place, my sanctuary, where I can be just myself, is in my studio. Even during this hard time, I knew I would turn the corner into a better, brighter space and but at that moment I just needed to be.

I am just beginning a new and challenging series of work. While the process has been progressing, I must admit that it has not been without difficulties. My latest endeavors have brought me into the world of three-dimensional art, where I have been learning about new materials and techniques that are outside of my comfort zone. In fact, much of what I have created up to this point has been discarded and redone, with a few glimmers of success.

One of the materials that I have been working with is chicken wire, which has become an essential component of the interior structure of my work. I have also been experimenting with fencing grid, and have found that it too has its advantages.

Furthermore, I am delving deeper into the themes of this series. I challenge myself to spend time researching, reading, and writing, and to consider different approaches to my work. Though I have never thought of myself as a shallow person, my previous work may have only scratched the surface of the various topics, relaying facts or concepts without truly delving into my personal connection. This time, I aim to dig as deeply as possible and, ultimately, feel that I have approached the subject thoroughly.

I am thrilled to be moving forward with my latest project. Lately, I've been experiencing a surge of creativity and new ideas that are constantly popping up in my head. These ideas have led to exciting conversations and thoughts that fuel my passion for art even further.

I'm currently in the process of creating prototypes and small samples of my work, which has been both challenging and rewarding. I'm pushing myself to incorporate more of my life experiences as a woman into my artwork, which has been an exhilarating journey. It's exciting to see how my perspective and experiences can come to life through my art.

Ultimately, I can't imagine not doing what I love. Art is about taking the risks.

I have just returned from a six-week trip to Spain. Part of the time, I was running a hostel for pilgrims along the Camino Frances. I was the only person in charge in a small village, working in multiple foreign languages (with lots of really bad verb conjugations) and just making it all work. This part of the trip was all about taking risks, being responsible to people and a community I didn't know, and tending to a parade of strangers each day. It was exciting and exhausting, but taking risks can also open the doors to a wider and more beautiful world.

Take a risk and open the door.

All images were taken during my visit to Spain - I love the idea of old doors and wonder about their stories!