Monday, July 26, 2010

Rain Rain Don't Go Away - A New Piece

Well back from Quilting on the Lake.  It was an amazing week and I was so blessed all the way through.    First of all, I just love the venue, Onondaga Community College.  There are nice close suites to stay at, the food was pretty much great (with a few exceptions) and there is plenty of pretty walking trails where you feel like you're out in the country but safely on campus.  Really you couldn't find a nicer place for a conference.

That said, my class with Jeannette DiNicolis Meyer, was definitely the highlight.  Our class was almost full with 18 VERY talented ladies.  It was good to see Jeannette again, since her classroom is such a safe place to create.  Our classroom, although tight, still had comfy chairs and air conditioning so I was cool with that. (okay that's my pun of the day).  Since this was a guided studio, we could start on our own work right away.  I really had no idea what I wanted to work on - just prayed and mediated until a strong thought came to me.  One inspiration photo kept on coming to mind.  It was a stock photo which I had bought and literally been sitting in my sewing hole for 3 months.  Still I didn't want to use it as is since it was photographer's composition and I thought it needed more.

So I took out my trusty sketch book, which I gotta do more often, and started doodling.  It always seems to free my mind a bit - Andddddd as usual curves came out which eventually ended up being a tree.  So added a tree to piece.  It took a bit of playing to get the bench just where I wanted it and the horizon line set but by noon on the first day, the sketch was ready.

Next came the fabric auditions.  So many fabrics wanted to be the star of the piece, but I was aiming for a limited palette and a nice balance of cool colors and just a hint of warm for some tension.  Plus, I wanted to add a nice accent color in there.  Can't have Elizabeth Barton thinking I had forgotten everything she taught me LOL!  I was doing fine until I came to that dang horizon line.  Its so hard to get the correct value of fabrics when the range of that value is so small.  Still the darkest fabrics ended up near the front and the lightest faded away into the background near the top.  It only took about 4 hours to get them that way.  Also the accent color needed to be placed around the piece so that it would help the eye move nicely.  Because the figure was so dark and saturated against the horizon, the contrast was there for the focal point.

Finally, with Jeannette's blessing,  I got to sew it down.  First though I anchored it with a million blood drawing silk straight pins.  Talk about Bleeding for your Art.  But I managed to not stain up the top.  With all the fabric sewn down to a stabilizer back, I could put in the thread work textured.  It was such a treat to be at this point by Wednesday, so that I could consult with Jeannette on where texture lines should go and how line would be a whole new addition to the design elements.  Her big advice - DON'T GO TWEE. (excessively sentimental, sweet,or pretty ) Since I'm not twee by nature - well the Calandar Cows are the exception - it wasn't hard to do.  I'm about a quarter the way done with the stitching - which I'm doing with the batt backing.  Next time I'm going to layer with a thin muslin backing since the batt tends to get every where.  I'm really pleased with the progress so fair on this piece.

So as you can tell, I had great time this week.  Jeannette is easily one of the best teachers out there to take a design class from.  She's generous with her time (we had a meeting during dinner one day and she came back to check on us at night), she always knows what answer to give you in the least amount of words and she had the patience of a saint.  She was so hard working during the week - never leaving when the class time was up and always rotating around the room in case you had a quick question.  I loved her inspiring poetry, her funny cartoons and her quick little talks on different aspects of being an art quilter.  Really its the kind of week that can sustain your creativity for a year!


Rayna said...

Ah, you make it look so easy! Nice piece, Nina-Marie.

Quilter Kathy said...

So happy you added your link to the design wall posts.
I LOVED reading about the development of your quilt, and the experience you had at the class! Thanks for sharing it!

Suzanne Kistler said...

I love it!!

...What is "twee"?

Nina Marie said...

Twee - excessively sentimental, sweet, or pretty - I had to look it up when Elizabeth Barton used it. It is a Brit word so we aren't used to hearing it often.

Cathy said...

That is fab-u-lous! I feel like I could walk right into that picture and tap her on the shoulder. Thanks for posting it

Barbara said...

Beautiful work! I so wish I had your imagination and your talent for drawing what you see.

Lynne said...

I love the figure on the bench and how the limbs of the tree almost reach out as if to grab. The tree looks ominous and beautiful at the same time.