Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I've Been Doing Some Thinkin'



I love what Ton Schulten does, and I really did learn something IMPORTANT for my work. All my life I have been enthralled with the details and I tend to forget the BIG PICTURE and then I am disappointed. I see his work and all the answers appeared for me in my work. I am always looking at other art for answers.
It is hard to explain, but leaving things out and using the structure to define the composition, as well as LIMITING MY PALETTE is crucial to better work.
I understand these things intellectually but it is more difficult to enact these concepts when my visceral senses are in play. And those gut level enablers are always engaged when I am working.


Gotta write this stuff down in big black letters and make myself pay attention.
Simplify!
Only the essentials!
Less is More!
Stick to the structure!
No Gooping it up!
Of course this is not the first time that I have been struck dumb by another artist's work. I think we all learn from what has come before us. Think of the Lascaux cave paintings.
Is the artist/s worried about perspective or shadows? Nope.

And note the limited palette. Works for me!Just the essentials are indicated, and yet we see and know it all instantly. I plan to steal this knowledge and use it in my work.
Speaking of stealing and being inspired...I am not above grabbing a good idea when I see it. Last year when I was in the Birmingham AL airport I was struck dumb by a set of paintings...
I had my camera so of course I recorded every detail, knowing I would incorporate all this stuff into my work.
It felt so ME!
Look familiar? Yup. That's the background for Triumph of Tulips.
"We all steal, but make certain to steal only from the best".
Below is Lisa Grey's work. I purchased a dozen of her fabric collage cards years ago and whenever I am artistically lost I get them out and ponder them. They hold so many of the answers I am always in search of.
Will somebody tell her she needs a website? I had a hard time finding a presence for her on the web. Stuff this good should be seen.

9 comments:

  1. You go girl! I am completely addicted to your blog -- great inspiration every time I check it out. At the suggestion of a friend, I've been looking at the old classics myself. An attempt to push myself more and maybe actually find a direction. The early Kandinsky and Klee that have struck a note with me are not so dissimilar from Schulten. Oh, to be able to do the inspiration justice...

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  2. Melody,
    The fact that you are drawn to this work and feel that it has something important to teach you about your own work is not a small thing. But one thing struck me as I read this entry, and as I've read others in this vein from you: You are obviously drawn to a lot of detail in your designs, a wide range of color, and lots of small shapes. You like dimension in your curves, too. And I'm not sure why you're working so hard to get away from those things, when those are the things so far that have made your work excellent! (Which is not to say that you couldn't move your work in another direction and still be excellent...) But maybe you're having a hard time incorporating these ideas in your work because they aren't YOU, and you're fighting against somehing important about your own artistic style.

    This reminds me of how I've been during my life about my stick-straight hair. I spent years curling it, perming it, doint everything to get my hair to do all the styles I admired on other people with curly hair. And they never worked beyond the first 5 minutes out of the bathroom.
    Finally, I had a stylist point out to me that I was fighting AGAINST my hair's natural tendencies and that I needed to USE my hair's characteristics and go with them. Life has been happier and easier ever since.

    So, I'm just suggesting that while you're exploring these other paths, you might think about why it is that it's so hard for you to incorporate them in your work. And I'm guessing that it's NOT because you don't know how to do them...it's that you can't help but add the stuff that is your natural style. And maybe that's okay...in fact, maybe that's what makes your work YOURS?

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  3. Very well stated, Diane!

    I will agree. During the early 90s I took a workshop with Nancy Crow. I thought the woman was a Quilt Goddess and since I was fairly new to quilting, I thought I should learn from the best.

    I spent a year making myself miserable trying to work in her style. Finally I said, "This is enough!" and began doing what came to me naturally. I purposely moved away from the quilting influences in my life. I refused to buy quilting magazines or go to classes. I didn't ask for any opinions. I did what my muse told me to do. While my pieces from that time may not qualify for Quilt National, they were very innovative for me. They gave me quite a bit of confidence to work through my uncertainties and produce something that was totally mine.

    I learned a lot from that period and now I still try to keep other people's styles and ideas out of my own work.

    I had an artist friend tell me that the worst word to inflict upon oneself is the word "Should". I should do this and that. Baloney. Listen to your muse. She will guide you.

    And, on the subject of "Gooing up Surfaces", on Jane Burch Cochran's website she says, "Once I had more time to spend on my work, instead of making more quilts, I made quilts that took more time." If there ever were an artist quilter who "gooes up her surface", Jane does it. Her work is often accepted in major shows.

    ReplyDelete
  4. All very inspirational - the post and the comments. I rather like getting inspiration from odd places myself. Usually it's the colour which inspires me long before the form.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've tried the 'less is more' approach and it is REALLY tough. Yes, we need to question and keep experimenting but in the end, simple or not, our own 'fingerprint' will come through in the work.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think we all try to immulate the people we admire..it is working past that to find your own style. I feel like I am still evolving. :)

    Thanks goodness for the Internet..what a wealth of inspiration!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous11:56 PM

    Very cool design! Useful information. Go on! » »

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous9:11 PM

    What a great site »

    ReplyDelete
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Hello,
So nice of you to drop by. I love your comments, and if you would really like a reply, please email me at fibermania at g mail dot com