Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Play and Review

The following are exercises begun in Jane Dunnewold's Creative Strength Training workshop last week that I have continued to play with.  This Eastern negative-positive space design technique was originally introduced as an expanded square exercise in the book Notan:  The Dark-Light Principle of Design by Dorr Bothwell and Marlys Mayfield.  My first two examples stay within  the rules by not cutting off corners and keeping square shape.  The last ones break the rules ... encouraging the rebel artist (Jane's description).  Very fun! Creates strong visual patterns.  Could be potential quilts in there, don't you think?  Cut some black squares to play with this cut-and-paste technique for yourself.






Asked to bring a one of our completed pieces to the CST workshop, we each sat with our work, reviewing dispassionately the strengths and weaknesses.  What would be done differently next time?  I realized what was needed was more texture, and have revised the last two Sonata pieces by adding very subtle embroidery to the color blocks.  Happy with the effects.  (Hope you can see the details, difficult to photograph.)  We also had an excellent group critique session with Jane, which I found extremely valuable.  I am sure others would agree.

Sonata in Green by Linda A. Miller
Sonata in Green by Linda A. Miller

Sonata in Green (detail)

Sonata in Blue  by Linda A. Miller
Sonata in Blue  by Linda A. Miller

Sonata in Blue  by Linda A. Miller
Sonata in Blue (detail)

Sonata in Blue  by Linda A. Miller
Sonata in Blue (block detail)

Linking to Off the Wall Fridays, where you can see the work of wonderful artists.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Building Stamina

When you turn around, starting here, lift this new glimpse that you found; 
carry into evening all that you want from this day.   
This interval you spent reading or hearing this, keep it for life-
What can anyone give you greater than now, starting here, 
right in this room, when you turn around?
~ William Stafford, excerpt from “You Reading This, Be Ready”

I had the opportunity to to take Jane Dunnewold's Creative Strength Training workshop this past weekend.  Having had great respect for Jane and her work, it was wonderful to finally spend time with her.  This supportive workshop focuses on, as Jane puts it, building creative stamina and encouraging your rebel artist.  Reflection, writing and creative exercises ... Truly an inspiring day.  I am continuing to explore more of the process with her book.  Jane also offers a 10 week online course.  I recommend CST to all artists.

Very helpful advice was to approach writing as a strategy to explore creative ideas.  Letting that writing be simple, as in jotting notes down.  I agree with her that writing can support art making.  For those of you, who like me, have tried writing morning pages (as prescribed in "The Artist's Way"), but not stuck with them, this useful method may be simpler to add into one's art practice.

To learn more about Jane, there is an informative 3 part interview series on Textile Artist.  Follow the link to the first interview here.

Thank you to Jane for a wonderful day.  And to Deborah Weir for organizing this workshop for us.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Change in Format

An artist is an explorer. He has to begin by self-discovery and by observation of his own procedure. After that he must not feel under any constraint.
~ Henri Matisse

You never know quite what will happen when opening to change.  Itching to work larger, I've been experimenting with these recent brushwork pieces.  Going from 12" x 12" to almost double the size does alter my approach.  With the smaller size, stitching and imagery elements could be simple and sparse.  I felt this new format would need more complexity, even while maintaining the overall simplicity.  A bit about my process...

Stage one- Ink on raw silk
Stage one- Ink on raw silk

After painting on the silk, I fused the raw edge color blocks, and machine quilted them.  Hand embroidery outlines each block.  I hand quilted around the ink work and with wide horizontal lines on the background.  As I mentioned, simplicity is key.  Preferring a clean edge, I used the same pillowcase finish as with other pieces in the Sonata series.

Sonata in Green by Linda A. Miller
Sonata in Green - 22" x 15"

Sonata in Green by Linda A. Miller
Sonata in Green (detail)

Approaching Sonata in Blue in a similar manner, I expanded on the amount of stitching used.  It is echo quilted: hand quilted around the ink work; machine quilted and hand embroidered in and around the blocks.  I used a facing to finish this quilt.

Sonata in Blue by Linda A. Miller
Sonata in Blue,  23.5" x 24"

You might wonder, why so much hand quilting?  Besides enjoying the slowness of the process, I appreciate the textural quality that the imperfect hand stitching lends to the quilt.

Sonata in Blue by Linda A. Miller
Sonata in Blue (detail)

I'd love to hear your thoughts.    Linking to Off the Wall Fridays.  Visit the site to see some wonderful work.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Of Interest

Deborah Weir's  Chroma Series
Deborah Weir talks about the Chroma Series

A small group of us had the opportunity to hear Deborah Weir's walk through of her current exhibit.  Deborah constantly pushes the boundaries of fiber and mixed media in her work. This exhibit shows the range of her expertise, including the amazing Chroma series with 8 large panels depicting meaning and qualities of each chosen color. Loved hearing about Deborah's thought process. 

Deborah Weir's  Chroma Series - Red
Deborah Weir's  Chroma Series - Red

Thank you to Deborah, who is always generous with sharing her process.  Thanks also to our regional SAQA reps, Jamie Fingal and Laura Bisagna, for organizing this talk.  The exhibit runs through June 29th in the central atrium of the Albert Jewish Community Center, 3801 E. Willow, Long Beach 90815.

Deborah Weir's  artwork

Deborah Weir's  artwork

Deborah Weir Suspension

Deborah Weir Jacob's Ladder
Jacob's Ladder

Thursday, June 16, 2016


When I think of art, I think of beauty.  Beauty is the mystery of life.   
It is not in the eye, it is in my mind.   
In our minds there is an awareness of perfection.
 ~ Agnes Martin

There are three remarkable exhibits currently on at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 

I loved the Agnes Martin Retrospective, the first in the U.S. since 1992, showing the full development of her influential minimalist work.  I was enthralled by her serene paintings, many of which were new to me.  Seen from a distance they have a luminous glow, moving closer the details, often her signature pencil grids, come into focus.  Beauty and simplicity.  I happily immersed myself there, losing track of time.

I have known about Martin since my student days, however seeing the work in person sparked an affinity and an interest in learning more about the artist, her work and writings.  Martin left New York behind in 1967, just as her acclaim was growing.  She stopped working altogether and moved to a remote New Mexico location.  She began making art again in 1973, going on to create a remarkable legacy over the decades. 

Organized by Tate Modern in collaboration with LACMA, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, this exhibit is a rare experience and not to be missed!  It runs through September 11, 2016.

More exhibits from another visit (it was almost too much for one day as both are extensive).   
Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium explores body of work including early drawings, collages, sculptures, Polaroid photography, portraits, still life, and figure studies.  This is the companion exhibition to one at the J. Paul Getty Museum that I had seen last month.  Intense imagery, but again I appreciated his clear artistic vision.  Runs through July 31, 2016.

Zoot suit, collection of LACMA
Zoot suit, collection of LACMA

Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715–2015 explores the history of men’s fashion. Drawing mostly from the amazing LACMA costume collection, this exhibit is beautifully presented eye candy.  Each era also includes a modern interpretation, which are fun to see.  Note: you can download some of the clothing patterns here.  What a great resource that would have been back in the days that I made some of my own costumes!  Open through August 21, 2016.



Related Posts with Thumbnails