I was able to spend some time at the Institute of Art in Chicago a couple of weeks ago and stood in front of this iconic painting, American Gothic by Grant Wood. They say that good art creates an emotional response and I have to say this one did. I wasn't really focused on the man since he was scary and forbidding. The woman held all of my attention. First, the look in her eyes. It looked to me as though she was afraid to speak but was thinking about a lot of things. Her hair was pulled into a severe bun and her clothes we unadorned except for some rick-rack on her apron and a cameo at her neck. The colors, brown, black and white reflected even more austerity. Women's lives were hard in the 1900's — especially on the farms. I wondered if she was a quilter......
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I've taken on the challenge to learn how to work in a new medium — watercolor. Everyone said "Why pick the hardest one to start with?" and my answer was "I didn't know it was supposed to be hard!"
I started by taking some drawing and pen classes at Craftsy.com to learn some basics. Then, I moved on to watercolor and now, my "style" is to combine all these techniques into a finished piece. I love the color and transparency of watercolor but also love the detail of applying ink.
This was one of my first pieces — made from a photo I took of an old building in a rural area of Colorado. And to my surprise, it sold! I don't know who bought it yet because it was sold at the Park Hill Art Sale last weekend.
I don't know how many of you have sold your art or remember back when you sold your first piece but for me, selling the first piece in a new medium is a big deal. At least someone liked my work and it is validating. Especially when it was offered next to some very accomplished painters in the show. My other 5 pieces came back home to await their fate in the future!
I belong to an artist group called "To Expand". It was started by Mary Williams, a wood worker who wanted to find artists working in different mediums to show at the Madden Museum in Colorado. I was one of the lucky artists she chose to represent fiber. The other 3 artists are Victoria Eubanks (encaustic), Janice McDonald (collage) and Ken Elliott (oil and pastels).
We have been invited to show at the Art Gym from June 3 through July 3, Opening reception is June 23 from 5-8pm. Hope to see you there!
Given that this is an election year, I decided to showcase my Conversations piece for 1968. That was an amazing year, full of hope (passage of the Civil Rights Act) and despair (the murders of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.) It was the beginning of the Woman's Liberation movement and we elected Richard Nixon to run our country. It has taken us 48 years of hard work to finally have a chance to have a woman President of our country. I'm finding that my art is taking on a more political voice in the past year as I continue to explore how history continues to repeat itself and we seem powerless to prevent wars, famines, natural and man-made disasters while our scientists continue to find new ways to extend lives through the miracles of modern medicine. To me, seeing evil and good existing side by side is puzzling.
Judy and I have collaborated on a new book and we just published it!
This is the coloring book that quilters have been waiting for!
Coloring books are all the rage but this book is different. Written specifically for quilters who want to design their own quilts and who don't want to learn a complicated computer software product. Contemporary Patchworking: A Design and Coloring Book combines the relaxing activity of coloring with the inspiration provided by understanding how color affects good design. Each of the 25 grids is accompanied by four fully colored examples as a springboard for the user’s own creativity. This is a book that engages the artist within and encourages experimentation with color and design.
If you are among the first 25 people to order a copy from my website store, I will include some coloring pencils for you to use to design your own quilt! Order here.