Monday, December 31, 2012

Goals Update

It's that time of year, again isn't it?  It comes around faster and faster each year.  Here is my assessment of accomplishments and outlook for 2013, trying to see things in a positive light, and not beat myself up.

My posted "Art Quilting Resolutions" for 2012 were:


  • 1 - Focus on 2 classes for fall
  • 2 - Focus on Art Quilts
  • 3 - Study and practice Crow assignments
  • 4 - Work in a Series: Strip Piecing
  • 5 - Work in a Series: Map Quilts
  • 6 - Prioritize "Painted Lady" quilt
  • 7 - Resist temptation to do "functional" stuff
  • 8 - Learn all I can from the GT's.
  • 9 - Finish or give up on the current UFO's
  • 10 - Learn to use Photoshop and take better photos

In brief, I'd rank my success:

1 - 100% -  The classes were definitely my priority
2 - 80% -  Most of what I spent time on was art quilts (but see 7.)
3 - 80% - In addition to the strip piecing series, and finishing Filmstrip I started an abstract curve piece and made an improvisational piece from Filmstrip leftovers.
4 - 100% - Did this.
5 - 0% - Didn't do this.
6 - 0% - This ceased to be a priority
7 - 50% - I only partially resisted.  Started a quilt for my granddaughter, and an iPad case for a friend.
8 - 100% - The group has disbanded but I did learn all I could in the meantime.
9 - 30% - Finished a couple, I think, and gave up on a couple.
10 - 40% - Did some work with Ps on the Petunias.

Considering the move/remodel/new studio I think I did fairly well in putting in time in the studio.  I did not succeed in creating any sort of standard schedule, but my life is never standardized enough!  Of the time I put in, I'm about 75% satisfied with what I chose to do with that time.   I am disheartened to note that I really didn't finish ANYTHING, but since the focus for both Nancy Crow and Lisa Call was to create quilt TOPS, I should not feel that way.  Unfinished pieces was my GOAL for goodness sake.

So in that vein,  in 2012 I created the following quilt tops:

1.  Background Noise
2.  Filmstrips
3.  Filmstrips improv
4.  Golden Mean Series #1
5.  Golden Mean Series #3
6.  Golden Mean Series #4
7.   WIS maquette
8.  FFF Challenge #66 - Starry Night

I also started several new projects, and rather than be depressed about them adding to the UFO list, I am feeling more positive, because they took me in the right direction...   The curved piecing study has already taught me (again) that curves are harder than they look.  The other two Golden Mean pieces maybe unfinished and ugly, but I learned a lot (color, value, composition, figure/ground).  So that is three more "studies" completed.

I also started some non-art things, and rather than beat myself up, I need to acknowledge that there will be down times (like after completing my two classes on Dec. 11) that I need to let my brain rest, and if it gets the urge to make a quilt for a granddaughter out of Kaffe Fassett fabrics, well - let it!  It's almost done already, (the top) and I promise I'll post it soon.   It also taught me a lesson about value - I generally tend to go much too much toward middle tones, and end up without enough contrast.  I made the reverse mistake in G.M. #2 and #3, so maybe I'll learn eventually.

I also learned that if my brain is feeling an overwhelming urge to do something, like try paper piecing, I should just do it.  Because I'm likely to try it, understand it, not like it so much and get over it, whereas if I resist doing it, it continues to haunt me, and I spend time thinking, sketching, Pinteresting, etc.  I tried enough of this method to learn that it is really fun, in small doses, and probably the only way I'll ever create anything detailed, intricate and precise.  

There, now that feels like a more satisfying annual report! 

Incorporating what I've learned about myself, my goals, and my available time, 2013's goals are:

1.  Prepare for March Crow workshops by working on similar assignments, finishing one large?
2.  Create pieces for at least two shows, SAQA due Feb. 28th, and Whatcom Museum due May 15.  
3.  Look for other exhibition opportunities that match up with what I want to do anyway.
4.  After Crow workshops focus on free motion quilting by finishing UFO's.
5.  After Crow workshops assess where I am with a "voice," and where I want to go.
5.  Learn to dye fabric, focus on solids.
6.  Continue learning Photoshop Elements.
7.  Learn all I can from members of my small group.
8.  Continue studying - modern art, abstraction, color, theory, composition, etc. either on my own or in classes.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

WIS Assignment #2 - Space and Scale

It's been a  slow go here with the blog, excuses range from seasonal chaos to being a landlord, to a complete hard drive melt down.  Nonetheless I still have high hopes of writing about and posting more details of my Working in a Series pieces.  At this point three quilt tops are done, #1, 3, and 4.   Today's feature is #2, which is currently in many pieces.  I still have some hopes of "finishing" it, or at least sewing it all together.  This was my least favorite of the five pieces.

This picture is how it looked when I submitted it at the deadline.The assignment as I interpreted it ( we were encouraged to start with the proposed topic and define our goals and the exercise we planned to do in a way that was meaningful to our particular medium, style, etc.) was to try to convey a sense of depth or space by overlapping elements, and also to focus on the figure/ground relationship.  I attempted to do this by using value to make dark pieces stand out on a light background.  I also used the shape of the cross-bar or tee to create the effect that the dark green piece was behind the lines.

I felt that to achieve a clear figure ground relationship I needed to exaggerate the values I used.   This is my least favorite of the five pieces, and it was a big disappointment after liking #1 so much.  Yes, there are clear figures (dark) on ground (light) and yes, there are some interesting compositions in the individual "vignettes" (my term for these little "units" I like to make), but as a whole this piece just sucks.  It sucks because the figures are just blobs. And they are bumping up against the edges of the composition, or just floating in space, neither of which is really interesting to look at.  

The way the dark bit in the upper left just barely touches the green bit that passes "under" the cross bar is annoying, and the sense of a square that it and the pieces below it are supposed to make is destroyed because it's awkward shape is jumping off the page, and the lower pieces connect to their mates on the other side, not to the square.  I thought it would be enough to make the shape, but without value as part of the definition, it doesn't work.

I should abandon it, but I have taken that upper left piece apart to see if I can find something more satisfying.  I tend to want to fuss and slave over a bad piece, when I should just toss it and move on.  I should learn that it's very unlikely that fussing will transform a bad piece into anything better than a mediocre piece.  Why put all that effort into something that will never be good?  
I guess because I learn from it.  I can see that this is bad, so if I can see that I should be able to figure out why it's bad.  And that should lead to knowing how to make it less bad...

Following are some photos of other variations I tried, other units that were deemed too ugly or too mid-value to create figure ground...  So you can see, or at least I think I can see, that the final piece was at least an improvement!
In this one I am overlaying pieces on #1 to get the size and proportion right.
I struggled and struggled with that gray part, and it never did make the "cut."

Here are some other variations.  Part of the problem is I just DON'T LIKE RED.

As you can see, it received way more attention than in was worth.
So that's the scoop on assignment #2.  Chalk it up to another learning experience.