Monday, January 14, 2013

Working in a series

Last fall I took a class with Elizabeth Barton called "working in a series." I had been in a funk and dissatisfied with what I was working on and it was a wonderful class that actually gave me a lot of new ideas to work on. I decided I would start a series of work around images of Latin American architecture. I love old buildings especially and in traveling in South America and Mexico I have been fascinated with the grand, but often crumbling buildings left by the Spanish and how they contrast with the more colorful, humble buildings of the native residents of these countries.

I started with this smallish piece.

There are a lot of things I like about this piece. I was able to really simplify the shapes and I used Elizabeth's ideas for creating groupings of value. I especially liked putting aside the realistic colors and using a palette of my own choosing. What I did not like was that I felt I was only partially successful in using a looser more spontaneous way of working. There are areas that feel tight and really fussy to me.

Then I moved on to this piece.

Ugh. I got so bogged down in that big, gray building, which in real life is quite an interesting building that is obviously very old and crumbling. It lost all its character in my translation.

At this point I was quite discouraged. Something was just not coming together between my head and the cloth. My friend Kristen LaFlamme knew how frustrated I was and commented that I seemed to be able to work in a more free-spirited way in some small pieces I had done.  Like this:


I thought and thought about this and finally came to the conclusion that it might work to construct small elements that I could then combine into a larger composition and this is the result.

THIS makes me happy. It really expresses my feeling about that wonderful architecture and doesn't feel as fussy and forced. I am not adhering to all the things I learned from Elizabeth Barton, but I am grateful for what I learned and where it is leading. This piece actually feels like the beginning of a series.

28 comments:

  1. Wow! There is so much life and happiness in your last piece. Thanks for blogging about the difficulties you have and how you work through them, it's really helpful. I mean, I love seeing beautiful artwork and hearing happy stories, but it's not all like that and you actually learn more hearing about the real work that goes on behind the scenes.

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  2. Quite wonderful. I think you have captured other aspects of South America (I have been in Brazil) in unique ways on a par with Elizabeth's British or June's Portland architecture.

    and I love your new blog banner.
    Sandy in the UK

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  3. very nice! I love how the eye wanders through the last piece, finding little pathways from the bottom to the top - giving the viewer something to do is always more exciting than a straight forward presentation. If you want to be really bold, Terry (!), cut the middle one (the large grey building) up and rearrange the pieces. Try with a photograph first. you're right it is very static, though the top left hand corner is lovely - a place you want to get to!! Very metaphorical! so glad the class was helpful. Elizabeth

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  4. Oh I love this new piece. The color scheme is what grabs me first and the buildings do seem much more free and happy.

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  5. Your end result is wonderful and so expressive! And like the new layout for your website

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  6. Oh Terry! It's just wonderful. It makes me happy too!

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  7. Absolutely love this! Love the village feel and how the path leads up the hill to the plaza at the top. And the new blog banner is adorable! Fantastico!!

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  8. I LOVE this piece! I understand why it makes you happy because it just knocks my socks off. I love the fact that you scrounged around all the thrift shops for old shirts and then dyed them with those yummy colors to provide the fabric for this beauty. Such an important part of the journey. How big is it?
    If entered, I think it will win many awards!

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  9. WOW! That's a really great piece there! Something about it really speaks out. Love what you accomplished. :)

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  10. This is a wonderful piece. Congratulations on finding a way to work freely within your strengths!!

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  11. This (the last piece in your post)is lovely! I like the little stitched squiggles under the buildings for the ground. And the patchwork background.

    But I like ALL the pieces in this post. I think you are very brave to venture out of your established style somewhat. It is hard to take that step, to do something different and new, and still feel like you are being true to your vision, your style.

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  12. I have been following your blog for awhile and your talent just amazes me!! I love your final piece and look forward to see what's next in the series!

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  13. very interesting and pleasing to the eye! love it!

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  14. Your sunny city has a charming, naive look that is so appropriate to the subject matter. I'm glad that you are happy with where it's taking you! I know that this is your journey and you should do whatever YOU want, but I'd love to see in the next pieces even more abstraction and that whimsical stitching from the little study. :-)

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  15. I love it!!! This takes me back home :)

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  16. Oh, this makes me so happy - that last piece, at least. It is fantastic.

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  17. There is a lot of joy in this piece. I enjoyed "walking" up the pathways with my eyes and ending at the fountain in the church courtyard. Very much like my visits to rural towns in Mexico.

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  18. Love it!! The edges are perfect for the feel of wear and patina and old city has.

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  19. This last piece is great! It portrays a warmth and quirkiness in the buildings. I think putting some of the houses in different perspectives makes if very interesting.

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  20. It really is a winner. Very well done...

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  21. I like the color and composition of this piece Terry. I agree with Elizabeth about the lower grey building ( I think that's the one she's referring to), it looks too "stand alone" to me compared to the groupings of the others. The use of plaids adds to the old world feeling.

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  22. Gorgeous...I really like the way the background plays with the idea of shadows amongst and between the individual buildings. The color scheme is beautiful too, so moving.

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  23. Taking what you learned and using it as you head in your own direction is the best use we can make of a class. You have done that wonderfully. Your new piece is joyous and such fun to look at. One wants to linger th ere and see what the little village is like when the people come out. It lightens this grey and rainy day ( southeast TN).

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  24. I loved this piece!
    Being a brazilian and living in Brazil I can say that this one looks very southamerican. You captured the "spirit" that rules our lives I guess. It's about our colors, our "ruelas" ( street ways that are born "by themselves"without any rule),the spanish influence in all the countries except Brazil.
    It is fantastic...

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  25. When I saw your header I could not wait to see the resulting piece. Amazing and I think it has brought where you have come from and married it with where you are going.
    I love it and the dyed shirts are working so well in it.
    Congrats.

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  26. You really nailed it on this one. :D

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  27. Wonderful piece - makes me want to travel to Mexico or Brazil. I look forward to seeing more in this series.

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