Friday, November 7, 2014

Thoughts, branching out, experimenting. :)

Today is my friend Nina's Off the Wall Friday - I haven't participated in a while so I thought I'd join in this week.  I have been in a strange place with my artwork over the last year or so, but things are starting to make more sense to me these days.

For a while I wasn't sure if the "artist" part of me was separate from the "quilter" part of me...and I did attempt to pull them apart and see if one might take on more of a life than the other.  Am I more of an artist than a quilter?  More of a quilter than an artist?  That might not make sense to some...but for the longest time I couldn't fathom how to connect the two.  Which one should I dedicate myself to and explore?  I liken it to how a Mother has her own identity outside of mothering...but mothering is so life consuming it can be difficult to maintain who you are outside of that major life role.

So what I have come to realize, while profound to me and maybe a little over thought to others - is that I am both a mother, a quilter, and an artist.  :)  Quilting is such a joy for me.  I thoroughly love it.  It has also allowed me the income I didn't have before to explore my artwork more and experiment with different mediums.  They go hand in hand...each helps me improve the other.  How's that for coming full circle?  Well - it was a big deal to ME.  :)

So my big life changing realization?  I can love and enjoy both and they do not need to be kept on separate shelves of my life...because they both are part of what make up who I am!  They both are extremely useful to the other.

I realize that a lot of this self reflection is really just part of growing as a person.  I mean - I am almost 34 so I am no child at this point, but I really think we all continue to grow as life goes on.  We are always learning and always growing and life becomes more full and rich the older I get.

So what has been going on creatively as a result of all this self reflection?!!  :)  A lot!  I have one of Monica's quilts loaded up and almost complete so I will share photos of that next post...but regarding my own works I feel like I've really plowed through a brick wall that was keeping me from enjoying myself.

I recently ordered a set of Derwent Inktense pencils...and let me say - I AM IN LOVE!!!  If you remember some time back I experimented with airbrush painting on fabric.  This was when I was seriously obsessed with Susan Shie's work and all of her bright colors...and all of the emotions her artwork brings up that remind me of my childhood.  She's definitely got that hippie spirit...and the way she incorporates her thoughts on the world and the political world...well it reminds me of my parents and my family!  Endless conversations growing up about God and the Universe and all the strange things that happen in the world.  I still love Susan's work and discovering her was a turning point for me (it's like great song lyrics that change your outlook on life)...she inspired me to really look at things differently.  Look at myself and what I'm doing differently.  Isn't it amazing that you can do something like that for someone else without even knowing it?  You just never know how you might be influencing others in life...

In any case airbrushing is terribly fun and I really loved that the fabric stays soft after painting and can easily be sewn through.  It is probably my favorite way to apply paint to fabric...but because space in my home is limited...airbrushing is going to have to be a summer time event as there is no where safe in my home to do it during the colder months.  I even contemplated converting one of our outdoor barns into an airbrush studio...and that still may happen but you know - I'm busy having babies and stuff like that right now.  :)

So I hemmed and hawed about what I wanted to try and finally broke down and purchased the somewhat pricey inktense pencils and fabric medium to go with them...well boy did that just open up a new door for me!  You know all the possibilities that start to run through your mind when you purchase new art or craft supplies??!!  I really don't know what took me so long!!!

The plan for the above painting on muslin is to quilt and embellish it.  I ordered some Angelina Film (a.k.a. Textiva Film) to experiment with and I'm going to give Shiva Paintstiks another go.  I have a handful of them in muted earth tones but I thought I'd try the iridescent paints so I ordered a tropical pack. Oh how I love the anticipation of waiting for an order to arrive in the mail!

I feel like I am on the tip of something that I am really going to love and have fun with.  If you know me you know I really love bright colors and loudness.  I like happy pictures with elements that my children have fun pointing at and naming off.  :)

I am very intimidated by the art world I'll be honest.  I have several very serious artist friends whose lives are so very different from my own.  I really don't know if I will ever have a place in that world...but I sure do like to watch and learn.  I think that intimidation has really stifled me from playing and exploring and just doing what makes me happy...and let me just tell you...never think that your parents will stop teaching you.  My Dad has given me the best advice as of late.  You have to at some point LET GO.  Care less what others think...or might think...or might laugh at...or don't take seriously...and just do what makes your heart sing.  :)


Patsy said...

I LOVE your bright, rich saturated colors and can't wait to see what all this looks like once you've added your wonderful thread work! Keep going, you are on a roll to a very good place!

Rose said...

Would love to hear if you discover how to have the pencils color have the same texture as a regular dye. I love the colors, but have stopped using them due to the cardboard texture the fabric gets. Good luck!

Norma Schlager said...

What you are doing is amazing! I love the bright colors and your designs. Truly an artist and a quilter.

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

Your dad is right, you have to march to the beat of your own drum, and do what makes you smile everyday.

Michele said...

Oh Wow and I so have to do what feels right to you and what makes you happy and don't worry about what everyone else is doing.

Lara B. said...

Valerie, you write so beautifully, I have tears in my eyes and stirrings in my soul. Love the advice from your Dad!
It looks like your experimentation is taking wonderful, bold, and brave directions! It's fabulous! Inktense pencils are great - I have a tin of them too and they are such fun. That's the ticket - Have fun!