Thursday, September 25, 2008

Drawing, Drawing, Drawing

The painting class ended, and now I'm taking a longer class in Beginning Drawing. I'm hoping that the skills that I'm learning in the class can transfer to what I'm doing with my quilts. What I want is to feel like I'm not so limited in what I can create. Yes, I love trees. Yes, I love a good landscape. But, I don't know that I want my message to be limited by the things I can draw. So it is that I'm working on still lifes in my drawing class. Here are some of the things I've done so far:

On the first day of class we did some gesture drawings, which means that you work really fast, and use sweeping movements to create a picture of what you're looking at. It's meant to be a warmup for the main drawing, but I find it's a good way for me to get out of my own head and put lines to paper. In the end, it's not as scary as I make it out to be.

Along the same lines, we did some mass drawings, which were similar, but you used the whole piece of charcoal to create areas of shading and fill in between the lines. But, it was still a fast drawing, with not much time for second-guessing, and no time for erasing. I was surprised at how liberated I was by the process.

On the first day we also did some contour line drawings, in which you draw with one continuous line--without picking up your charcoal. It makes for an interesting look. Especially when you're then asked to do it without looking at your paper (blind contour). The first of these pictures was a contour drawing, the second a blind one. Isn't it pretty?

Finally, I'll leave you with some drawings from the second day of class, where we spent an hour (rather than 2-4 minutes) on each drawing. Our focus was different materials: metal, wood, and glass.

Progress, I think

Last we checked in with our quilting hero, she was traveling the states to different quilt shops in search of the right fabrics for her competition project. First, a little more about the competition.

The parameters for entries were threefold; the quilt has to address the theme of the competition, "What makes life good"; the quilt has to be within a certain size range; the quilt must incorporate a noticeable portion of a certain fabric, the "challenge fabric." I have settled on a landscape, inspired by a photograph I found taken in Alaska in June. It's beautiful, and the colors are luscious. Which is what makes the fabric selection process so important, and so excruciating.

After countless visits to quilt shops, I have come to terms with the fact that I have all the fabric I can buy for this project. That doesn't mean, however, that I have all the fabric I need. So, on Saturday, I set out to create some. I used some of my sun paint, but just didn't create a heliograph pattern with any objects. My first goal was to get the right shade of blue for the sky. I was looking for something so subtle you barely noticed it as blue. Here's what I came up with:

Mission completely accomplished! You don't even know that it's blue, do you? Okay, take a look at the fabric next to some that is still white (white fabric on the right):

Subtlety accomplished! It may be too subtle, but we'll just have to go with that.

Next, I wanted to create the right color of magenta, in all the shades that I would need to portray the flowers in the landscape. It was important to have dark and light values, to create the subtle variations in shading on the petals. Here's how it turned out:

I think I got the color I was looking for spot on. In the end, the variations in shading in the fabric may or may not help me; I may end up going back in and painting on some of the shading onto the bigger petals.

But, I have some of the mixed paint in reserve, so that shouldn't be a problem.

And now I've reached the point in the process where ironing must happen in order to forge ahead. And then, the decisions and creating can really begin! Until then...