Monday, June 30, 2014

An Art Tour

Colors and textures in Nature
A while back in the blog-o-sphere, a writer decided it would be interesting to do a virtual tour of how writers and artists create.  Each participant of the tour answers a few standard questions, giving readers a little insight into the varied way in which we each create.  I'm honored to have been asked to participate by Natalya Aikens.  Here's a glimpse into my world:

I have several projects in the works at the moment.  I'm exploring a new way of working with my textiles: thread sketched watercolors using my eco-dyed cloth. My current project isn't ready to share since I'm in the process of adding hand stitching for texture and emphasis.  Concurrently I'm working on a quilt that's just to satisfy my itch to piece.  I've taken vintage 1930s blocks, cut them up (not to fear, they were clearly someone's practice blocks!), and am in the process of re-piecing them in a new arrangement.  I'm enjoying the mishmash of colors and patterns, along with the old seams that are all askew.

As a photographer, I'm constantly looking for the splash of color or pattern that catches my eye.  I'm hoping to spend more time finding venues to display my images.  I'm excited that I have two photographs that will be part of the OSilas Gallery Summer ARTiculated exhibition starting on July 10th.

Emerald Waters, juried in the Carmel Art Institute's Scenes from Pt. Lobos exhibition, 2012

Lately, I've been using my writing behind the scenes at the Katonah Museum of Art.  I am a docent at the Museum, and I've written a few docent training materials that provide background information on an exhibition.  I'm learning so much through the process and am thrilled to have this opportunity.  And, in a similar vein to my photography, I'm always on the lookout for art -- on the street or in a gallery/museum -- and I regularly share thoughts and reviews of what I've seen.

All creative work is influenced by the unique voice of its creator.  Artistically speaking, I tend to make focused and/or uncluttered compositions, whether with textiles or my camera. Though I love monochromatic works and abstracts that are created with a focus on form, my muse doesn't direct me that way.  As for my writing, well it tends to lean towards scholarly because I'm a geek at heart.

I'm often prompted by a thought or word in my textile art process.  Exhibition themes or on-line challenges can lead me in interesting ways.  I may not choose to create something specifically for an exhibition, but the theme may spark an idea.   In addition, I create what makes it through my brain.  I'm not a journaler; I don't make copious notes or keep a sketchbook.  Instead, I tend to focus on the ideas that continue to stay in my mind, that my subconcious can't let go of.  These are the ideas that have captured my imagination, that nag me until they're made.  Sometimes, a photograph I've taken -- even one from years ago -- will spark a new work and/or make its way into a piece of art.

This quilt is made with an image transfer of a photograph taken seven years ago
I love the natural world and constantly want to capture the textures, colors, and patterns on display in nature.  I think it's all a wonder and get so excited when I am able to recreate some of that marvel in a photograph.

As for writing ... well, I guess one answer to that question is that I'm a talker.  I like to share what I've had the opportunity to see and learn.  I also am a geek at heart; I love to research topics and learn about something new.    Finally, I ask a lot of questions when I'm at museums and galleries and the answers to those questions often lead me to do some writing.

As I noted earlier, my textile art is guided by the ideas that I can't get out of my head.  For me, that's also the best culling process; at this stage I often eliminate extraneous details that can muddle a composition.  This is often helpful because I can be very deadline driven.

The biggest factor in my photography and writing is my curiosity about a subject.  It might be an interesting juxtaposition of textures or a sentence on a museum placard that makes me want to look closer. I do love to delve deeply, and that's why I have taken, for example, hundreds of pictures of poppies and spent hours researching topics just for my own satisfaction.

Behind the Barbed Wire, made in homage to Margaret Bourke-White
And there you have it; a glimpse into the why's and how's of me as an artist.  Feel free to go back through the blog trail to see what was written before, starting with Natalya.  And check back next week when the next artist in line will be sharing her thoughts.  


Sue Reno said...

I enjoyed this very much, thanks for sharing insights about your work and process.

Norma Schlager said...

Great blog post, Vivien, so well written, as usual. Love the Point Lobos photo. I was there!

Cindy Green said...

Ditto! Great insights, well-written, makes me see the value in self-reflection/assessment. Thanks, Vivien! (looking forward to seeing your photos at OSilas)