Saturday, February 18, 2017

Enjoy the Ride

the piano arrives.....some people get a Long Arm machine, I got 88 short ones!

Never pass up an opportunity!  I heard that there was going to be someone at the university today who wants to try to train people's ears!! Now my ears have long wanted to be I have volunteered!!  

 What always interests me are the numerous parallels between various art forms however different the media appear to be at first.  For example, there is an absolutely wonderful, (I couldn't recommend it more) website called Living the Classical Life  where great musicians talk about the lives, their struggles, their triumphs, fears and hopes. The interviewer is Zsolt Bogn├ír, a fine pianist in his own right.

We all hope that our next quilt will be perfect... listening to these musicians talk about taking months (yes months!) to get just one musical technique right, or to be able to play a piece with great authority, integrity and passion, I just am amazed at the time and dedication that goes into great art.   How can we possibly hope to get there with an hour here or there?   It is evident, of course, that the really great art quilters of our time spend just about all day, every day on perfecting their art.  It all takes a lot of time, and a lot of knowledge and experience.

I do think a lot of the knowledge relates to composition and design.  Knowledge of how one goes about creating a strong design, quite possibly making numerous attempts to do so.  While the Very Famous Quilters never show us their lesser works, or even their horrors (!), I am sure they do exist - at least for a short while!!

In a way we are just scratching the surface of the art....we may never hit pay dirt!! never reveal the gold, but (as my pedagogue tells me (repeatedly!) when I moan at my failures!) we sure can "enjoy the ride". And, gradually, we'll learn to incorporate those techniques and that knowledge of how things work together whether shapes and values or notes.  We will continue to improve our efforts, not just dashing off the first idea and then spending weeks trying to correct the problems.  We'll learn to vary the shapes and the edges of those shapes, letting some stand out sharp and bold, and others softly meld into the background. We’ll learn to make music with our shapes and values!

We'll also learn to avoid the most popular subjects, or, at least, if we do use them as inspiration, we'll try to bring something fresh to the work.   I have a  good friend who paints very competently but who never gets into any art show.  Why?  Because we've seen the work way to catch a juror's eye is to show them something fresh.  And that takes time to figure out...when we first look at our inspiration source, the  more trite, the more commonplace ideas come first.  You've got to keep pushing, give yourself time ...think about the violinist who only gradually over months and month learns to play a decent staccato.

We also have to learn to use color...oh the mistakes we make when first we leap into a great palette of colors !!!  I always start my yearlong masterclass with a monochromatic assignment....and so often those are some of the best pieces!!

It does take be sure to relax and enjoy the time that it takes!! 

 Less angst, more pleasure!  
Unfortunately so many of us these days have been taught over and over  to be goal oriented, rather than process oriented.  But, in anything that has a slow process, like learning a piece of music or making a quilt (so many parallels!), it's much healthier to be process oriented, otherwise we miss out on all the pleasure and joy to be gained from just working towards that goal.

 Sadly so often we come to see the process as a nuisance!   Something we have to endure to reach the goal.   But if you think about it in terms of one's life??!!  who wants  to reach the end goal of life?  and how awful if you just went careering on and didn't enjoy the journey.  So, let's take our time...enjoy thinking of different design possibilities, different value patterns, different colors schemes and so on....Relish the time you spend doing this and be sure to enjoy the ride! 

I'd love to hear your thoughts.......please comment!

And, if you have been, thanks for reading!   Elizabeth

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Abstract Art: Advanced and Irascible

To the left is a monumental Beverly Pepper sculpture....this is about 15' high and Beverley Pepper is her 90th decade (yes there is hope for us all!!)

this is outside our local art museum...(on the right in the photo)

I'm seriously into abstract art!!  I started looking at it when I wrote my first Abstract Art for Quiltmakers class, and then got even more into it with the second class: More Abstract Art for Quiltmakers (by the way the first one is just about to start again this Friday; if you're interested go to this link)

When I started researching abstract artists I realised just how many of the Big Famous Names actually had wives who were doing work equally as good, and sometimes even  before their husbands had "got the abstract message".  Of course, as in music and politics and so many other fields, the ladies were overlooked.  And that led me to use mainly their work for inspiration for my two classes...and also to put together a (now very lengthy!) Power Point Presentation on female abstract art.

And then Denver Art Museum got in on the act with their big show of Female Abstract Expressionists last year.....and now our local museum has a very good show of the Irascibles - abstract artists from the 1940s in america.

   I'm so lucky to have such a lovely museum just 10 minutes away, no crowds, easy parking, free, extremely pleasant attendants!   So I thought I'd share a few pictures from their current show with you...and encourage you to really seek out good abstract art - it is SO incredibly inspiring for us'll come away with a million ideas!

apologies for my shadow on all the framed under glass pieces...why oh why don't museums use non reflective glass???!!!  And more apologies too for not giving artists' names....that's due to lack of time at present, each photo has to be resized etc.....but if you are really interested put a note in the comments and on a much quieter day I'll look up the painter for you.
What struck me about each of these, is what a fabulous design for a quilt...and...I think a lot of them would be quite stunning as a quilt!!!  A large quilt, instead of a measly bit of paper under reflective glass!!!  that yellow/blue quarter circles would make a great mod quilt!!!  I might design a few riffs on that to add to my Mod meets Improv class!!

well.....dashing off to a concert to which I've been looking forward...piano...or should I say Pianos!!  5 steinway grands with 25 pianists!!!  I reckon they're going to break the sound barrier.  I do hope they're recording this for Performance Today (a popular public radio show in the USA).....they often do as the hall has good acoustics.....

hmm first though, I think, a nice cuppa tea...wouldn't you agree? !!
if you have been, thanks for reading!!!  Be inspired by abstract art!!


ps...don't forget to comment!!!!