Monday, January 10, 2011

What's in the works

Did another drawing of the salt and pepper shakers.

Eh. It is OK, but a little too tight and fussy. I need to loosen up. A lot. And that probably applies to more than just my drawings!

I finished my 12 by 12 quilt. Now I am thinking about some of the other work I want to get done this year. I have some deadlines to meet. The problem is that I am so sick of myself I can hardly stand it. My work, that is. I really wanted to make something a little more interesting and edgy for this 12 x 12 and it turned out so very "Terry" that I am pretty disappointed with it. I am in a rut.

The next piece I have planned will have a face in it—two faces, actually. I have made work with figures and faces before and I usually start with a peach colored fabric and shade it with paint and pencils. As much as I love prints and patterns I have shied away from using them in faces, but I have this idea that I want to be more bold in my use of the prints that I love, so I am experimenting with prints for faces. Here's an experiment. I haven't done any stitching, which I think will add another dimension to it. What do you think? Is this worth pursuing?


  1. The patterns work! I think you might have the same courage about the shapes of the face and meet Picasso or de Kooning.
    The drawing is charming. It has become a kind of surrealistic illustration on towers in a far away and strange land.

  2. I think it's bold in that it has more color than your usual skin palette, but if you want to be bolder in your use of pattern, I don't think it's quite there. Do you have any fabrics that have both the light skin tone and the medium one? A larger floral perhaps? Less tone on tone. I do love the purple shadow and that particular purple plays so well with that particular rust.

    I was thinking of the works of Diedre Scherer ( but looking at her site, she's not even as bold as I remembered (skilled yes, but not what I would describe as bold in her use of pattern in the faces). Susan Carlson is more like what I'm thinking of (

    Though she doesn't do much in the way of people quilts, I've always admired Ruth McDowell's boldness in her use of commercial prints in works that remain quite recognizable. Do you have an inner Ruth to draw upon?

  3. Yes...keep going with it! I will say that the tan bit under the nose doesn't seem quite right to me, though...the top part of it seems to come too far out towards the tip of her nose.... But I like the combination of bold colors a lot.

    When you first mentioned rut I thought, make a piece with NO paints, just cloth. OR make a piece with paints only, NO print cloth. Make just a small thing, a sample, but something that uses basically ONE of your signature techniques. Or look at your body of work and then pick a different subject. You do people, nature/birds, landscapes. What about a cityscape? Something architectural?

    Like you, I work in representational themes, so abstract just doesn't cut it for me. I don't like it and don't really "get" it, but maybe even force yourself to go for a real abstract (for me taking off my glasses gives me instant blur!).

    Anyway, yes.... keep going!
    cheers, Sarah

  4. I think this is a great start. Faces in fabric are so tough-they can look aged, too angular, something-not right-especially when stitching is added. This one looks finely chiseled which is nice.

    You probably already do this but when I am in a rut (or at a complete loss, which happens a lot) I look at other mediums to work in. I read lots of different blogs: painting, illustration, paper art, printmaking, etc. I find that bringing some of those ideas and styles into a trial piece helps a lot.

    Lastly, I took down most of my current work from my walls. This way I am sort of forced to start from scratch. My favorite personal quote: I am in danger of becoming myself.

  5. Most definately! My face has patterns all over it! lol Getting out of a rut requires drama!


  6. Yes, yes, yes! Keep going!

  7. Looks like we all agree that you're on your way here, but have a mile or so to go to *really* break out of your comfort zone. *S*

    Good on you for giving this a try.

  8. Maybe try putting the same pattern together 3 or 4 more times with different fabrics. Try different color schemes and bolder prints.

    Thanks so much for sharing your process and struggle. It's so instructive.

  9. I like your sketch very much -- love the lines for shading.

    And I also like your face very much! I think you have a wonderful way of using prints. This is looking great so far and I can't wait to see where it goes.

  10. I like your idea for the faces. I took a one day workshop from Esterita Austin on portraits that was similar to what you are describing. Normally she offers it as a multi-day workshop, but has been paring it down to one day. It was a very good workshop, and she is an excellent teacher. I am very happy with the class project I finished...quite out of my comfort zone, but no longer. Besides learning her artistic approach to such a project, I also learned a few new techniques that can be applied to other projects. Check out her website:
    Linda Evans