Company blew in and out again. I thought the laundry was going to follow them. Phew!
I had to dismantle my series vignette from the guest room and I am a thinking that if it is taking this much time to get around to starting, it ain't gonna happen. I think series is a wonderful concept but perhaps my 'art' series time has not yet arrived. But I DO want to try working in a series.
A series is a body of work connected by a common idea. The idea can grow from what if next time... or it can be
just one idea that is fully explored. But it is basically a variation
of one subject. But it should come from a natural inclination and
interest. My natural inclination is a simple shape and the modern fabrics that keep winking at me. ;-)
I dug through my design/inspiration file because I remember making a copy of something concerning working in a series that featured quilts. It has survived all the various editing of my numerous files. I saved a Century of Progress block idea that has lots of options but I think I'll start with a simpler block.
Square in a Square is a favourite. I certainly like diagonal square and I made a big quilt using it. But I am thinking the block on the left so I can explore log cabin variations. Lots of what if's!
The first step is to make a completely finished traditional quilt and proceed from there.
I went to my handy dandy ufo busting list and I need a summer lap quilt for my master bedroom! This will be fun and I'll try to remember to keep the window closed when the design wall is needed!
This past week has been busy and a tad stressful. The Rooster and I have gotten a great start on the spring yard work but now we get to take a pause. Looks like spring has been blown off the track by a winter squall. Gee, I can take a bit of a breather!!!
The theme has been Justified. The form has Oneness. The content has Yielded results. Is there JOY?
whY is it finished? Have you, the maker, said all that needs to be said? Can you put it out there? Are the sum of the parts in relationship with the maker, consistent and integrated?
What others 'get' from a piece of art is arbitrary. Hopefully their flame has been fanned. But did you 'get' it?
Art, good art, needs to convey something of the artist.
Lighting a fire is really only a beginning. Once lit it needs to be cared for so it can achieve its purpose. What is the purpose of the fire? Food, warmth, safety, light, signalling, propulsion, cleansing, comradeship, enjoyment ...
Artists perform a vital service to mankind. They feel the pulse of society and then challenge and stimulate the norm. They make the pause in life's busyness and fast freeze that which needs a closer look. They help to see something in a fresh way. Isn't this beautiful? Isn't this important? Isn't this sad? Even, is this art?
There is a yearning in the artist to express what is internally felt. When we neglect to feed the flame within us creativity is smothered and everyone suffers. Hopefully we can keep the fire burning brightly and that it is done for the JOY set before us.
Having yielded some of our own self to the work, a form of exhaling, we can now inhale, embrace the JOY and begin all over again to play with fire. So, Come on baby light your fire!!! It can be as simple as 1, 2, 3!
This is the third guest post for ...And Then We Set It On Fire... . The blog is a technique driven blog and while I haven't exactly contributed a methodology it has been my desire to stimulate myself as well as others to keep the creative flame burning brightly. We are all warmed by its fire!
Having Justified the subject, the theme, the idea of the new art; the second step is to bring oneness to the art.
Art is just form and content. Form is defined as using elements, principles and physical materials. Content is defined as the work's essence or purpose. They should convey an orderly and organized oneness.
Organizing the elements of art, obedience to the principles of design, and the offerings of the materials available is the next step.
Visual unity is one of the most important aspects of well-developed art and is planned by the artist.
Unity provides the cohesive quality that makes an artwork feel complete and finished.
When all the elements in a work look as though they belong together, the artist has achieved unity.
A unified work of art represents first a whole, and then the sum of its parts.
The idea or the theme is the match, the ignition. But the initial spark only lasts so long. Now the fire must be built and that takes a variety of combustibles- tinder, kindling, and a good fuel source. The materials for a fire can also relate to the supplies of an artist. Consider dry grass, shavings, dry waxy pine needles, sawdust, cardboard, birch bark, twigs, peat, even dung; and then soft woods and hard woods. Does not this read as an art supply store?
How the fire is built would be the various techniques the artist uses to portray the purpose and bring unity to the art project.
So clear away an appropriate surface. Loosely lay the kindling on the tinder. Have the wood at the ready. Will the fire be a tepee, a star shape, a log cabin, a pyramid or a lean to? It is all up to the fire maker!
But what about the maker, the artist! Have talents, techniques, tools, and yes, the tests and trials, come together in such a way so as to be poured out into the body of the artist's whole work. Is there a oneness, a unity that defines the artist and the artist's intent? Is the passion, the purpose, even the playfulness that unites the artist with the art work out on display? Can the one who orders/organizes the sum of the art, be glimpsed in the whole?
I ask myself these questions because I want to be a real fire maker.
I believe artists need to catch the concept, the spark if you will; that what brings oneness to the art is the fire, the flame, that lies within the artist. It is the one flame that needs to flame brighter than any other.
While I think it helps to understand who one is as an artist it is also a journey of discovery. And perhaps it is fair to admit that those early works of art, one way or another, are perhaps only fodder for the fire being built now! :O We do get to be better fire makers. :)
I have only just begun to be comfortable with the term artist. I make art but it is mostly technique studies and I am often only following the step by step procedures of other artists. There may be unity but there isn't much of me. This is NOT lighting my fire. In fact, the underlying theme is probably fear of the fire. So how to fan the smoldering art cloth and learn to juggle fire sticks!
I have had opportunity to edit out some of my old photos recently and I found it enlightening to see a mish mash of art that makes me cringe and yet some that brought smiles and happy memories. Joy? I think it is time to make a better wood pile.
My first exploration of the creative arts, aside from just plain colouring, was home decorating. I started with my adolescent bedroom and I matured and I learned. Over time I have come to realize that if I just acquire what I like I invariably pick stuff that goes together. Now there have been a few "what could I have been thinking" but as a whole we do tend to gravitate to what we like. It is just a matter of editing out the the "What was I...'s"! And of course, applying the design principles. Joy!
The next thing I learned was that what goes together in the sixties fire pit doesn't seem to smoke as well in the nineties not to mention the 'now'! Ha! We need a new groove! lol Some of that wood gets kinda punky so it might be time to add some newer varieties of wood to the old woodlot. It just might take a cleansing fire through the mind.
I do believe-
There is a natural stack of wood supplies available to the artist to
art. But there is a spirit of an artist that also needs fuel for
creativity. It is
just as important, maybe more so, to have a nice dry stack of creative,
spiritual 'wood' available and within
easy reach of the artist who sparks within. Artist dates, taking the
time to visit different creative venues or just strolls through the park
can feed that spark. And that is what will bring joy.
I regularly receive this newsletter from Robert and Sara Genn from The Painter's Keys and I liked to just share it today.
The power of three
April 14, 2015
Bateaux Pointers oil on wood 1916 21.5 x 26.8 cm Tom Thomson (1877-1917)
Today, in this studio, I'm reminding myself of the power of three. Apart from foreground, middle-ground and background, there are three trees, three color-grounds, three motifs.
Four has a tendency to be static, two suggests coupling or perhaps
confrontation, while one represents loneliness and is not generally
enough. Three carries with it the possibility of psychological
The philosopher Pythagoras thought three was the perfect number,
expressive of beginning, middle and end. The idea of Trinity is central
to many religions. The Hindu Trimurti is made up of Brahma (Creator),
Vishnu (Preserver), and Siva (Destroyer). The ancient world was ruled by
Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto. Three-forked lightning, the trident and a
three-headed dog figure with these characters. The Fates are three, the
Furies three, the Graces three, the Harpies three, the Muses were three
times three. In Greek mythology a threatening and critical Pythoness sat
on a three-legged stool called a tripod.
Little Falls Oil on canvas 1913 22 5/8 x 28 3/4 in (57.5 x 73 cm) Tom Thomson Man is traditionally threefold (body, soul and spirit), as is our world
(earth, sea and air). Historic enemies of man have been the world, the
flesh and the devil. Today's realistic enemies seem to be fear,
ignorance and hatred. The Christian graces are Faith, Hope and Charity.
The kingdoms of Nature are animal, vegetable and mineral. The primary
colors are red, yellow and blue.
I've noticed that my paintings are good, bad and indifferent.
With all this threeness one might think the idea is valuable. It is.
Threeness rings an inner bell in the heart, mind and soul. Our
inner-child loves to hear of it. There were three blind mice, three bags
full, three men in a tub, three little maids from school and fiddlers
three. The "three little words" are "I love you." In the studio, three
reminds us to look three times, think twice, and paint once. And when
the imaginary Pythoness over there on her three-legged stool sticks out
her three-pronged tongue at your work, you must say: "Out," "out" and
The West Wind oil on canvas 1917 120.7 × 137.2 cm (47.5 × 54.0 in) Tom Thomson
PS: "Say Mark -- you know what I want? Three trees. Black spruce, rough,
cold looking trees, you know what I mean? Three trees against a cold
green gray northern sky -- where can I get them at once?" (Tom Thomson
was speaking to his friend Mark Robinson in 1916)
Esoterica: The popularity of threeness is based on the perceived
sense of completeness. "Three essentials to happiness in this life are
something to do, something to love and something to hope for." (Joseph
Addison) "In order that people may be happy in their work, these three
things are needed: They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of
it. And they must have a sense of success in it." (John Ruskin)
This letter was originally published as "The power of three" on November 25, 2002.
As opposed to setting our art or even our art room on fire, I'd like to talk about setting our creative mind on fire.
I want to talk about the trinity that brings us JOY and sets us on fire.
Very often it is the simplest of things that make for satisfaction- coffee, cream, sugar; or perhaps it is coffee, a good book and a comfy chair; or coffee, friends, conversation, etc. ;^) But anything seriously complicated makes creases in our foreheads. If we eliminate the name calling and use the KIS principle- keep it simple, we can perhaps gain a better understanding of what starts a creative fire, revives cooling embers or even builds up the wood supply for that flaming fire.. It is of course understood that simple is not the same as fast, easy, sloppy, etc. but keeping the decision making simple keeps the firewood ready!
This week I would like to look at the Trinity, The Power of Three as it applies to art.
Art, a three letter word, is comprised of three parts. The three basic components of art are Subject, Form and Content. A creative work employs composition, elements of art and principles of design. The result should produce joy! And light your fire!
Joy begins with J for justification. The artist must have a subject, a theme, a beginning that is worthy of exploring and expressing. It is the motivation that will carry the project from conception, through choice, to completion.
There is no joy in settling for same old, same old. What fires your creativity? A familiar subject or series still needs justification.
Triangle! Three ties- good, better, best! My mum used to tell me good, better, best. Never let them rest, until the good is better, and the better is BEST!
Puttering around in my playroom makes me happy. But am I experiencing Joy? Honestly, no. I'm letting fear of the fire paralyze me. I can not justify my current projects. It is time to start playing with fire! But I think my wood is wet! Next we'll have a look at the fuel.
This post has been for the ...And Then We Set It On Fire... blog. I hope that followers and visitors will support this wonderful resource for mixed media artists where there is lots of fun playing with fire!
I want to give a shout out to my daughter in law, Christine, who is a professional artist. She makes and sells some wonderfully detailed art
Then there are my three grand kiddies who luv to make artistic messes
and are also very inspiring to their Gram'elle. Wouldn't they like to
get into their auntie's studio! :O
Joshua (7) is demonstrating cool colours in this art assignment. He was a tad disappointed with his limited palette even though green is his favourite hue. Hence the splash of warmer violet! ;^)
Eliana (5) is always happy with the pinks and the warmer colours which seem to flatter her painting style.
Jolina, ( soon to be 3) luvs art and has her own idea of what to paint. She is demonstrating that warm and cool colours make mud when they are combined. :O
Now they haven't sold any art yet but perhaps they can add a small display to the summer lemonade stand. :)
Then there is me, who is somewhere in the middle and is happily dabbling in mixed media art here in her playroom. The truth be known, I am a technique junky; lured on by the next and newest flash on the horizon.
This coming week I am going to be a guest on the fire blog. I have benefited hugely from this blog which I have been following for a few years. I also believe that this opportunity has given a better focus to where I want to be as an Artist in the future. I hope you'll come on over and let us light your fire!!!
The Rooster is home for a couple of extra holidays. The grand kiddies are also visiting. It seemed a good day to clean chicken coops, move the laying hens and get a good start on the summer to-do list!
The hens are quite happy and tomorrow they will be outside looking for those early worms!
Not too many other signs of spring but it is still worth that extra look! Come on spring!!!