Monday, August 18, 2014

Oklahoma Windsong

                                     Oklahoma Windsong

You never know where you will find inspiration for your next project.  This quilt began when my husband and I were traveling through Nebraska and came upon a windmill farm.  I spent at least 30 minutes photographing these windmills.  I was fascinated by the variety and beauty of the rotating forms.  

Windmills dot the landscape in Oklahoma's countryside.  With this as a starting point, I wanted to create a view of my home state as I remember it from my childhood.  

The process of construction of my quilt began with a great hand dyed fabric that already had the feeling of movement and of windswept skies. I chose many different fabrics to portray the color changes in the vanes of the windmill.  These were applied raw edge to the background.

Scissortail Flycatchers are the Oklahoma state bird and were a natural addition to this typical summer scene.  The shadows and light reflections were very interesting to  investigate.  The birds were constructed in much the same way the windmill vanes were, but with a bit of thread embellishment to give depth and definition.  As a final step, small touches of paint enhanced the realism of the forms.

When I began the quilting, I wanted to accent the directional  movement of the clouds and the sunshine as well as the currents of air caused by the windmill blades movement.                                                                    

This quilt has been recognized with several honors including, my home quilt guild's Viewer' Choice award,  First place  - First Time Entry - Wall quilt AQS Paducah, and Omnigrid's Future of Quilting award IQF in Houston.  It was also featured in the AQS 2013 calendar (I told my husband I was 
Miss October), and it also appeared in the IQF 2013 Festival Magazine.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Skin Technics

                                                            More Water 4 Inspirations

These images of women going about their daily activities are compelling in their contrast to daily life in America.  Their  difficult  tasks are  accomplished with strenuous work and fundamental tools.  I was inspired to tell their stories by capturing their beauty and movements in fabric.

The Cultivator
The Water Bearer

As I approached making this series of art quilts, I found that each one required individualized technics that would add to the realism of the scene.  My first concern was to accomplish accurate skin tones.  Originally I tried to create the skin with hand dyed fabric and transparent paints.

I quickly realized that the hand dyed fabric colors were too dark to allow much value change and opaque fabric paints caused the skin to loose its translucent quality.  It was necessary to appliqué lighter fabrics on top of the dark fabrics to accomplish the skin contrasts.

My next effort started with lighter fabric and I used acrylic inks to give more of the value contrast that I wanted. This also allowed me to under paint with blues to capture some of the highlights of the skin.
The results were more satisfying but it was difficult to get the depth of color that was more natural as opposed to a water color effect.  I still used some transparent fabric paints to add definition.

The values in the hands were much more varied than in the figures.  I  wanted to convey the translucent quality of the skin but also the realism of intense colors.  My watercolor background reminded me to reserve the whites by leaving the highlights unpainted.  I found the acrylic inks could provide very deep colors by applying many layers.  In  looking for a way to represent subtile shading I used colored pencils as a last layer, even burnishing the pencils to refine the smoothness of the skin.