Friday, May 6, 2016

What you're listening to...and....knowledge beneath the surface.

I was listening to a podcast with Julie Mehretu, one of the leading abstract painters of the 21st century.  She said that whatever she's listening to when she's working in the studio tends to get into her work.
 D'you find that happens to you?  it does to me, and can significantly affect the way a piece is going...
and sometimes even leads to mehaving to get rid of a piece very quickly because it has so many negative the one when I was listening to Schindler's List. (not that I told the buyer!). so hard....

Sometimes the work literally changes as a result of what I hear, other times, the work remains the same but  becomes imbued with the podcast or the story or the music I have going on at the time, so I'm finding I have to be careful of what I listen to!

I remember that Bluebeard's Castle, the opera by Bartok

 totally got into this piece:

Bluebeard's Castle

can't you just see it?

and I was listening to some very spooky music at Hallowe'en that got into this one:

Lavender Gothic

 Don't think many kids would be wandering up that path to Trick or Treat!!

I'm busy working on 3 abstract tops...I like to make a series of tops and then let them season for a while away from sight...when I get them out, it's like being able to see something for the first time and I can get a much better impression of them.  And since they're just tops, things are easily changed.

This one, for example, was horrible classhing colors...and I threw it into a blue dye bath:

Pump Court

I enjoy sketching and planning an outline, then a rather free form stick stuff up on the wall approach.  But I never do such a detailed sketch that I can't improvise a little when it comes to blocking out and sewing together.

I read a lovely definition of intuition the other day: Knowledge Beneath the Surface.
That's the clearest way of describing it that I've ever read.
In order to make art or play an instrument, improvisationally, one has to rely on that knowledge beneath the surface, embedded knowledge of keys and chords and composition and color theory and the whole nine yards. 

That's why so many of the best art quilts one sees in shows these days are made by people with art training...they have that underground knowledge.   They don't always acknowledge their knowledge however!    Both art teachers and music teachers (and probably other teachers too but I've not had experience of them) sometimes give the impression that one should just be able to come up with the right answer if you want it enough, if you stare at it enough.......if you practiced hard enough etc etc. 

So start learning!.....A little knowledge isn't  a dangerous thing, it's the start of a great journey, the culmination of which means that you have skills that you can use effortlessly.....
well...I hope! I'm looking forward to the day...

And now, I'm off the the Big City - New York!! - for a I won't be blogging next week, but I do hope to have some interesting new inspirations, comments, photos, cogitations etc...the following week.  and then I'm off to the beach!  and then the Smoky mountains...before hunkering down in my workroom for the indoor season here in Georgia that is otherwise known as summer!

If you have been, thanks for reading!  And do please comment - I love the comments - they keep me going!!  Elizabeth


Pat and Govind said...

I have a somewhat different reaction to yours ---- less momentous but clearly related. Hand stitching means that I listen to many different radio programs as I stitch. When I pick up a partially-completed piece of work to begin again, the last program I heard while I was hand-stitching comes unbidden but intensely into my consciousness.

Melanie McNeil said...

I like that thinking about intuition. Contrary to popular "modern" quilting methods, improvisation is not just trying stuff to see what happens. Improvisation happens by people who know their subject/art/craft deeply. Jazz musicians aren't just playing notes randomly. I am all for trying stuff, and I've seen a lot of happy accidents from that. But it's a different thing altogether.

As to whether my listening enters my work, no. I usually work in silence. But my moods certainly have an effect.