Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sun and Sand ... and why I both LOVE and HATE email!

(Above: Sea I. Collage of painted canvas appliques on a painted canvas substrata stitched to recycled acrylic felt. Click on image to enlarge.)

On the 2nd of January I blogged about my single-word New Year's Resolution:

I wrote about joining new groups and experimenting with new, hair-brained ideas outside the normalcy of my comfortable (though generally messy) studio. I planned to carve out a "home studio" for 3D assemblage artwork. I also committed to a solo show at a local, alternative art space on Main Street ... an exhibit of "new" work, the results of some of this "change".

(Above: Sand I. Free motion machine embroidery on recycled painter's drop cloth and recycled white acrylic felt. Click on image to enlarge.)

Well, the show is this August. It is called Sun and Sand. It opens on "First Thursday", August 2nd, at Frame of Mind, a specialty eyeglass shop. The work is currently in progress and is a reflection of my art residency last March at the Studios of Key West. Also, I spent lots of time in Key West just looking at the vivid, tropical colors ... wondering why the water was so brilliantly rich in super-saturated shades of turquoise, mint green, teal, cerulean, cyan and even shadows of deep lavender.

(Above: Sand I, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

It's the sun! It's the sand! Light reflects and bounces off the shallow, white ocean bottoms. The prism of colors is intense. I wanted to capture this sensations in new ways ... with new materials ... with my promise for change. I was also working on a very large grave rubbing art quilt called Circular Churchyard. I brought a used (but carefully washed and ironed!) painter's drop cloth for the reverse. It looked just like the sandy beaches. It triggered a "hair brained idea" ... THIS IS MY SAND!

(Above: Detail of the reverse of Circular Churchyard, a grave rubbing art quilt. The material once was a painter's drop cloth. Click on image to enlarge.)

(Above: Sand II. Free motion machine embroidery on recycled painter's drop cloth and recycled white acrylic felt. Click on image to enlarge.)

The drop cloth was much larger than the 86" x 53" piece needed for the art quilt. I ripped it into smaller pieces: two 24" x 24" squares and nine 11" x 11" squares. (There's still more drop cloth left!) My idea: enhance this "sandy" looking material with texture that emulates the beaches of Key West. So far ... the nine small works are completely stitched with free motion embroidery. I'm half way through adding thousands of seeding stitches, French knots and straight stitches by hand. With luck, I'm going to pour clear epoxy over each one for the impression of "water".

(Above: Sand II, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

As shown here, the two larger pieces are now completely enhanced with free motion machine embroidery and touches of watered down silk paint sprayed from a mister. The shrinkage was an entire inch! Each one measures 23" x 23" now. I mounted them on acid free mat board cut slightly smaller than 23" x 23". (Mounting via running stitches straight through the mat board). I glued the mat board onto a wooden strainer and then installed them into "floater" frames.

(Above: Sand II, view to wooden strainer support.)

While I'm not sure that these are "great" pieces, they are interesting studies in texture, a departure into the realm of abstractions, and really do fill my desire to CHANGE my normal approach to art making. I promise photos of the nine 11" x 11" squares as they are completed. The hair-brained idea for epoxy will certainly be a departure for my studio practice ... and likely a fun, sticky mess!

(Above: My studio with six 17" x 17" squares of primed and painted linen canvas drying on the floor. Click on image to enlarge.)

So ... on to the other work for the exhibit. Although the show is called Sun and Sand, I'm not going to make work about "the sun". The idea is to make work showing the sun's reaction on the sea ... all those intense colors. Together there's a juxtaposition of the monochromatic and the ultra-chromatic ... exactly what makes Key West vivid!

(Above: Roll of primed and painted canvas made during my March artist residency at The Studios of Key West ... waiting to be cut into wave-like shapes ... also showing is part of Sand I leaning up against the wall! Click on image to enlarge.)

Well in Key West, I painted a partial roll of primed linen canvas ... with all the colors I saw in nature. I didn't worry about "proper painting" or elements of design, balance, focal points, or principles of art. I just smeared paint happily across the width and then added circles by using whatever round objects I could find as "stamps".

(Above: Wave-like shapes cut from painted canvas.)

I knew I was going to cut up this "raw material" for "quilting" ... but not just any quilting! This is yet another hair-brained idea. Why invent ways to apply paint to cloth? Isn't linen canvas also cloth? Hasn't "painting on canvas" already been discovered, refined, and done for years? Can't I just stitch using this material? Well, the test sample seemed to indicate this could work ... so I cut six pieces of canvas from a new roll ... all 17" x 17" and painted them turquoise. I'm still struggling with tension for various threads but stitching the shapes onto the background is great fun. Oh ... there's a piece of recycled white acrylic felt behind each background canvas ... so I guess these are unique art quilts. I'm sure that by the time I finish the six squares I'll have figured out how I best enjoy doing this ... and I've got plenty more canvas! Who knows? I could have even more!

(Above: Farewell dinner with Steve in our backyard. He's now in England watching our elder son dance with Birmingham Royal Ballet.)

I called this post "Sun and Sand" but I also added "Why I both LOVE and HATE email". This post was supposed to be up yesterday. Obviously, it didn't happen. Why? Our email account was hacked. This unfortunate occurrence was followed by widespread outages for AT&T clients using Yahoo email accounts. (Ours is a "prodigy" listing ... but prodigy was sold to Yahoo several years ago.) Of course, AT&T representatives aren't told to admit to widespread outages. They simply "help" clients change their password and then, when email access is still not possible, say "wait an hour and then try again". Yesterday was a vicious loop, calling, changing passwords for both "prodigy" and "att" listings, waiting an hour and starting over again. I spent seven hours and forty-five minutes speaking with seven agents, two tier-one level on-line chat agents, and finally a tier-two level on-line agent who admitted to the outage and the fact that there was no estimate on the time needed for repairs. Each agent was required to follow a specific protocol which included changing my password a total of TWENTY-ONE TIMES. Email was restore just past midnight. Moral of story: CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD before this happens to you. Use a password that is very, very strong (a long combination of upper and lower case letters with numbers) and don't open a forwarded message (even from a close personal friend) that doesn't have some personal line in the message!

I love email. The older I get, the worse my hearing becomes. I know I'll depend more and more on Internet communication. I love this blog and my website. I have found friends on Facebook and shared photos on Flickr! I even like Pinterest (though I'm not a member). I love technology ... but after yesterday, I can easily say I HATE IT TOO! Thankfully, I don't have to work a job that requires me to use a name I can't properly pronounce, say knowingly useless things (like, "Let's change your password again"), and end conversations insincerely with "I'm sorry for your inconvenience. Thank you for choosing AT&T."


Julie said...

I feel your frustration :-) I'm glad it's sorted out now. Technology and call centres, grrrr!

I am very interested in your Sand pieces as I am making a piece for
Festival of Quilts that is all about surface texture. I am in a quandry about how to 'quilt' it but I am getting there. Your statement that your piece has shrunk by an inch shook me a bit as I am working to a pre-stated size (I had to give the size when I filled the entry form in) so I hope I don't lose an inch too ;-) I'm looking forward to seeing how these exhibition pieces progress (especially with my love of the sea).

lynda Howells said...

I love the way you are always pushing the boundries of your Art.....always experimenting. I too love stretching the boundries, thinking outside the box but l also feel the frustrations you feel. I too am loosing my hearing and can see the laptop being very useful to me later on in life! I love your work..just keep going for it girlxxlyndax

Unknown said...

I think your ideas are wonderful. I really admire your work. I work with fiber all the time. I am always looking a stuff and wondering how that would look on an art quilt.

vwmret said...

I really like your sand pieces. You do have such unique ideas, constantly chaanging. That was a good word for you - change.


Wanda said...

You get so much out of our residencies. Not only do you get and work ideas while you are there, but you take those new ideas, inspired by a residency, and they become part of you. No wonder you are accepted in these programs. You actually get something out of them and take it with you, rolling it into your style and art. Wow. I wish I could be even a little like you! As far as your hearing goes, yeah, I know what you mean. I mean, I REALLY know what you mean. We had some fun with Verizon while we were in the states. But not 8 hours of it, just an hour or so, not including the hours of waiting for the next available agent, on a couple of different days. And that was frustrating enough.