Jewel Boxes, combination of acrylic and gouache, 12" x 12", on wood panel
The class theme for last week was all about composition. I've always thought that the composition in the work I've done (like quilting) happened by accident, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it can't be an accident. Things are placed with intention whether I realize it or not, color is added here, taken away there, until I like what I have. But translating that into a painting seemed challenging. Its all so subjective, isn't it?
Lisa Solomon also had a wonderful thought of extending the quilt in these paintings I'm doing all the way to the edges, instead of a border as the previous 3 have. Yes, let's try! This is all about me learning something new.
So, continuing the theme I've accidentally started of painting my quilts. This one is called "Jewel Boxes" and if you've read my blog for a while you may remember these are the quilt squares I started at the workshop I took with Denyse Schmidt last year at PNCA. I worked on these blocks a bit when I got back home. I was really excited to continue, until BOOM, the book project popped up, everything moved to the back of the line for a while.
The idea that I worked on with Denyse when sewing these original blocks was to have the tiny pops of color, print and pattern surrounded by white breathing space. She encouraged me to treat several of the lighter printed fabrics as white, even though they were cream, or had tiny prints on white grounds. I'm so glad she did, I love them as part of the lighter borders around the jewel boxes, and my painted version would have had no real life without them.
In the painted version, each section of white around the jewel boxes is painted separately, to try and replicate not only the tiny prints on some of the whites, but the subtle shade differences. The fabrics I used for these squares was all scrap fabrics, and there were several shades of white, off white, and cream mixed in. I didn't intentionally place them, just picked up and sewed, and this is what resulted.
To be honest, most of the time I worked on this painting, I wasn't happy with it. There was a lot of white space and I didn't know if I liked that. (I instagrammed a tiny bit of it in one of its earlier stages last week, at a point when I was ready to gesso over the whole thing). Instead, I walked away and came back to it the next day. Fresh eyes can be a wonderful thing. I started adding the tiny details of all the fabrics (to be clear, there is no collaged fabric on this, we're using only paint for this class). I actually started feeling some love for this piece. The details started to pull it together for me.
Its also the largest piece I've done, a 12" square. I chose square for this piece because the original quilt squares are square (wonky squares, but square). I ended up loving how this piece extended to the edges of the board (thank you Lisa!).
All of my paintings for this class have been done on pre-gessoed artist boards from Blick and I think painting on these makes each assignment feel "big" and "important". Strange as it sounds, that idea has helped me focus in each week. If I'd painted this on paper I fear I may have thrown it out in a much earlier stage and not seen it through.
We have one more week of class left, one more painting to come. Thank you all for sharing this journey with me.
Happy belated Mother's Day to everyone out there. Hope you were treated like a queen!