Sunday, January 31, 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Daily Art Performance Practice

Christine asked me how I make my faces, whether I just let thread and images flow out of my needle. I just loved that image! I begin by making thumbnail sketches in my sketchbook. I have been looking at books, magazines, paintings, sculpture, and pottery for inspiration. When I see a face that appeals to me, I make a line drawing of the essentials.

On most days, I begin my day with my daily art practice, first choosing a thumbnail sketch or an inspiration piece, then sketching or re-sketching the face of the day in pencil. I then stitch it. Occasionally, I have repeated a face but I find that to be more difficult. The less I think about it, the better. When I've dated the piece, I put it aside and upload an earlier stitching. I do this because I find that my inner critic isn't in full form at this point.

I had been very attracted to strategies such as the morning pages described in the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron but it seemed counter-productive to spend time writing each morning when my creative interests were visual. Several times I tried using her guidelines but the process just didn't fit. In fact, I'm thrilled to see a stack of 4-1/2 inch squares and not a stack of paper or another half-filled journal. I love the idea of the artist date and I really need to make time to just look around and record what I see. That was something I had hoped to do more of.

I really hope that this might be a practice for life but I am pleased and amazed that I have stuck to it for 28 days. There are only 337 days left in the year 2010!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

Likeness and Freshness

I couldn't get my computer to log on to the internet yesterday but I got my stitching done.

Joanne at Journeys in Art posted interesting thoughts by Edgar Whitney on painting watercolor portraits.

Read the book here.

Whitney talks about the nature of watercolor as a medium and the need to avoid overworking. Freshness is the goal. Good advice for stitched portraits. A watercolor labored over loses freshness. But the other issue is likeness. How to get a likeness but maintain freshness. Whitney says it takes 5-6 attempts to get down the shapes/elements. After 4 or 5 studies he has the architecture down. To achieve freshness, he works quickly.



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Mid-January 2010 Faces Project Report

I finished number 16 this morning. I've managed to make a face every day in 2010. I stitch first thing in the morning, before my coffee, before I have a chance to talk myself out of it. I try not to be too critical of the newest work. I try to remember to find the line that I love in each sketch. There have been some bumps along the way but my rule is to leave each face alone after stitching it.

Last weekend my critique/support group met and offered a lot of encouragement. Terry Grant wrote a wonderful post about her interest in faces. I've checked out some books of favorite artists from the library for inspiration.

Kathy Loomis has started a blog, Art With A Needle. She has written about her art-every-day journey. It was really her post to the quiltart listserv that challenged me to start this project. What struck a chord with me was that she feels this practice enhances her creativity. I'm believing it.

For documentation, I am using my scanner and it is giving me fits. Each piece is 4-1/2 inches square but the scanner doesn't care. The images it produces are all different sizes. Sometimes Photoshop (PE) will tell me that it can't use my scans. I hope to figure out how to make mosaics of the images. I know it will be very encouraging to see the volume produced by making something every day.

Did I mention that my sewing machine is working like a dream? For my "canvases," I am using a tightly woven, batik-like top fabric; Quilters' Dream Cotton batting; and Pellon fusible interfacing as stabilizer/backing. I'm using a 75/10 embroidery needle and DMC embroidery thread (50/2) on top with Sew Fine in the bobbin.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Days 6 & 7: Art Every Day

I haven't fallen off the wagon, I've just been busy. Days 6 and 7 got done. Last night I dug out Mona Brooks, Drawing With Children. It was just what I needed.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Day 5: Art Every Day

Several things happening today. I must remind myself that not every day will be a great day. Or maybe, there is greatness in every day but I will just have to look for it. Today's block is done and that's about all that I can say about it. My routine did not happen today. I didn't pop-up-like-toast and stitch. Today I'm not sure if I'm making excuses or if it's just general negativity. I am also wondering about process. I tried stitching directly, with no pencil warm-up and with no prior sketches to work off, except a notion that I wanted to "fix" yesterday's work. Right now, I can see no value in what I did: no freshness. This might be something to explore over the next 360 days.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Art Every Day - Day 4

No. 4 is done! I keep telling myself that it's just like baking bread: one loaf after another. Yesterday I went to the fabric store and bought some "substrate." I didn't need any fabric but I told myself that this was necessary to make things easier. I had initially thought that I would use my hand-dyes -- neutrals. But that required decisions and I need to have everything ready to go. My practice is to get up and stitch before I do anything else. There seems to be less resistance. For the first four days I used a "sandwich" from another project. It has a fusible stabilizer on the back, batting, and the top is a light batik that I bought for some class. I cut it into roughly 4" squares. Last night I had to make more canvases so I am good to go for 4 more days.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Stitching Every Day

The recent discussion on the quiltart listserv about doing the work one is meant to do, came at an interesting time. I am very much trying to figure out what that is. I know I am easily captivated by the art I love to look at. This Faces project that I am undertaking is about to exploring line, in particular stitched line. I love to stitch by hand and by machine but usually the "quilting" is an afterthought. It is functional but needn't be perfunctory. I am hoping to elevate my stitching. I completed only day 3 and doubt is beginning to creep in.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Fear and Art Every Day

Christine's comment on my Jan. 1 blog post has been something I've been thinking about since I decided to start this project: will I blog about it every day? I chose words in 2008 (Focus) and 2009 (Gentleness) and I didn't really accomplish all that I had hoped. I knew I would need courage to tackle a daily art commitment. Somehow, blogging about it seems too dangerous right now. I will begin by doing the work, every day, first thing in the morning. (Day 2 is done! 363 to go!). I will begin to show the work when it seems right. What I need to do is to grow my confidence and my practice. I read somewhere, perhaps in Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers (review or here is also an excerpt from the New Yorker, but now I'm not so sure) that it takes 30 days to form a habit. The practice and the habit are what I'm after.

I will say, as a further way of documenting my project, that I am currently calling it Faces. I have been an avid follower of Danny Gregory's EDM list (Every Day Matters). I have sporadically worked on my drawing skills but it has always felt like a distraction to what I thought of as my real work. Tomorrow I will write about that.

PS: Gladwell does talk about the 10,000 hours required for mastery in Outliers. That's a good bit of work.

Friday, January 01, 2010

2010, Courage, Art Every Day

I've chosen courage as my word for 2010. Christine Kane talks about setting one's intent for the whole year by selecting one word. I intend to post the word in my bathroom and acknowledge my word every day.

Last night I read a post by Kathy from KY on the quiltart listserv that was galvanizing. She described her yearly art resolutions and the satisfaction she has gained from them.

I felt as if she challenged me personally to begin a practice of daily art. I felt very uncomfortable. I could begin an art performance project or I could resort to my usual art cogitation projects. That would take courage. The rules are to: 1) Make your own rule, but write it down on January 1 and follow it; 2) Do it every day; and 3) Document it.

I know that the discipline of doing something every day, no matter what it is, would be good for me, and as Kathy said, would foster creativity. I began this morning but beginning is always easy for me. 364 days to go.