Wednesday, August 29, 2012


"The wind comes creeping, it calls to me to come go exploring.  It sings of the things that are to be found under the leaves.  It whispers the dreams of the tall fir trees.  It does pipe the gentle song the forest sings on gray days.  I hear all the voices calling me.  I listen.  But I cannot go."
~ Opal Whiteley~
(The above quote is the text used on this piece)
When I set out to do what I thought would be a simple three piece series of artwork I had no idea of the depth of discovery I would make about myself or the art making process.  I thought I would share some of my thoughts, impressions, and frustrations along the way.  In a former post I described the "how to" of working in a series, over the next couple of posts I will be revealing each piece in the series individually and sharing what I hope are some helpful tips and thoughts on working in this manner.
(Stray fibers and scraps found new life as bird, egg, and nest)
Each piece of work you create was or is wrought from inspiration and inspiration can be be found anywhere.  This series was inspired by nature, one of my favorite subjects to mimic, thoughts of kindergarten, and my inability to waste something that would normally be tossed into the trash.  

The nature part of my series is obvious, a bird, branch, and an egg appear in each piece and is kind of self-explanatory upon viewing. 
 (A handmade "branch" with fiber "moss" supports the dimensional nest)

The background technique for each canvas was developed by both thoughts of kindergarten and some trash I was about to toss.  I am a notorious note taker and love to use colored legal pads.  I had scribbled several pages of no longer needed notes on a blue pad and was tired of flipping the pages to find clean paper.  I tore a hunk of used pages from the tablet and started to toss them but the color of the paper struck my eye as that of complimenting the artwork I was doing.  I used some paint to slightly obscure the writing.  This became a portion of the piecing for the background.

My little grandson has just started kindergarten and he called me to tell me all about his first day of school. I was instantly catapulted back to my first day of school where I remembered the teacher getting us ready for open house.  We were allowed to choose two colors of construction paper and taught to weave a mat that would sit on our desk where we would serve our parents cookies and kool-aid using our best manners.  The background technique was developed from the triggered memory of that little woven paper mat.
 (A bit of metallic lettering gives the piece an unexpected shine and interest.)

TIP:  Inspiration truly can be found anywhere.   When contemplating a series, work with a subject, thought, feeling, or idea that inspires you.  This will ensure that you will stay interested in the work and bring it to completion. 

Continuity of color is key when working in a series.  You do not want your work to look disjointed or too disconnected.  There is a lot more to color than meets the eye.  Color plays two roles in the creation of your artwork: description and composition.  The spectrum of color you use will set a cool or warm tone to your work.  Saturation of color can make your work look either vivid or soft.  
 (The torn edges and burnished edges of the hand painted background fabric gives the piece a rustic textural appeal.)

Color also affects your composition.  It can harmonize or contrast your series.  It unifies your work, sets a visual path, produces rhythm, and creates emphasis.  Strategic placement of color can draw the eye exactly where you want the viewer to be pulled in and have their interest piqued.
(Hand stitching adds additional texture and interest plus provides the appearance that the  fabric has been stitched onto the woven background.)

I chose the colors for my series based on nature to compliment the theme.  Blues to represent the heavens and greens to ground the sky to the earth.  Contrasts of hues in grays and browns, that mimic the tones of wood and stone, were highlighted with white and ivory to bring in a balance of  light.  I kept the tones of the paint complimentary to those in nature but with a softer more gentle palette wanting to evoke a peaceful feeling to each work.  

TIP:  Thoughtfully choose the colors you will work with to set the tone, mood, and feel of your work.  
 (Piece one of three complete!)

I hope you have enjoyed watching this series come to completion.  
Thank you all, as always, for all your support and encouragement along the way.
Have a wonderful day!

Part 2: Setting Artistic Goals can be found HERE
 Part 3: Tips for Titling Your Artwork can be found HERE


Vee said...

It is a beautiful piece built around a quote that is so meaningful to me that I had that hot stinging tear reaction.

Your lessons on this creation are much appreciated. I'm going back to let them sink in a little more.

I hope that you are keeping this one...It seems to be a work that perfectly describes your circumstances just now.

Vee said...

Somehow my selected music works perfectly for relaxing and rereading and looking at your photos more closely. I could spend the day!

Lady Locust said...

Your work is just beautiful!

Leanne said...

oh wow! that's gobsmackingly gorgeous and I love the continuity between your legal pad colors and your painted background. Genius! said...

What a magnificent use of layering and techniques!

Ruth Kelly said...

I was mesmerized by the writing of opal Whitely and think that your art work fits with it so well. I miss your music.

bobbie said...

Oh my stars! What a lovely, lovely piece! Can't wait to see the others ~
Thanks for sharing the process with us.

Rebecca said...

Such a wonderful collage Sandy... enjoyed hearing the thought and story process behind it. It is what makes good art.
Wishing you a lovely week, I hope your summer was a good one.

Amy said...

Very nice "One of Three" I can't wait to see the others. "His Eye is on the Sparrow" has been a real encouragement to me for the past several months. As a result, i keep seeing little birdies popping up in my own projects. I enjoyed seeing one in yours!

Katherine Wolak said...

And yet another masterpiece!!! :D LOVE the texture, theme and colours! :) Absolutely wonderful!!!


Marilou Bain said...

So beautiful Sandy and I can see how much thought you put into it, so well worth the time spent, just lovely. So much detail to spend time on enjoying. Hugs and love, Marilou xoxo

suziqu's thread works said...

What an incredible journey Sandy. Thanks for taking us along with your evolving thoughts and inspirations from
Opal Whitley.
It's amazing how that simple woven mat has stayed with you since your childhood to be using it here in this 3 stage art piece.
There is in nature almost everything we need to create with and it is fantastic that you continue to use all of these recycled materials.
Just stunning work!
Thanks also for the little tips along the journey of your own discovery.
x Suzy

Robin said...

Gorgeous piece!


Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Only truly talented you would take what was once destined for trash and make it a treasure! Lovely my friend.

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