At Least I Learned Something

After so much experimentation with paint and collage I was anxious to see if and how it might translate to fabric.  I gave myself this assignment:
– Make 4 small collages, each with paint used at least once.
– Experiment with different ways to get a sheer/transparent effect.
– Start with materials immediately on my work table.
– Start by adding something sheer to every stage.

These were my initial materials, all of which were lying around, (i.e. not properly put away.)  They included some hexies which had been stitched to a background piece of muslin, small fused scraps and sheer fabrics.

At Least I Learned Something. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I cut up the hexies and used them as part of the backgrounds.

At Least I Learned Something. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I expected the finished compositions to be about 5 x 7.  I used a paper frame (above) to help me arrange the hexies for each.  These were my starting compositions.

At Least I Learned Something. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I’ll show you some of what I did.  However, I don’t consider any of them finished.  As a matter of fact, I wasn’t very happy with any of them.  But, I managed to answer my questions, so then I felt find about putting them away.

This is as far as I got on the orange one.  As you can see, a layer of organza greatly obscured the layer below.  It’s also got paint on top of everything you see here.  Except for the little black line which I added with stitching.

At Least I Learned Something. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

This red and green one got a transparent layer with over printing.  I liked that effect.  Yellow lines were fused on and organza was added to the right side only.

At Least I Learned Something. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

This blue one was pretty much a dud.  I added a gridded sheer and then melted parts of it with a heat gun.  I didn’t like the wounds.  I also used heavy stitching as a transparent layer.  It worked pretty well, but was too much work for my liking.

At Least I Learned Something. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

This one was quickly getting overworked and it had questionable color choices.  But, I did like the line I added with two lines of stitching.

At Least I Learned Something. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

And here it is when it got so ugly I couldn’t face it anymore!

At Least I Learned Something. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

With all this ugliness, what did I learn?
– I don’t really like sheer fabrics as translucent layers.  They tend to obscure the lower layers too much.
– I DO like allover printing as a textural/sheer layer.  I can see myself using it again.
– I like adding a black line with machine stitching.  I’d like to explore hand stitching it too.

I think I’ve now well and thoroughly put this episode of exploration to bed.  On to the next thing!

Ellen Lindner

 

10

Online Class with Jane Davies

After getting so much out of Jane Davies’ book about abstract elements I decided to take an online “class” with her.  I put class in quotes, because this was not interactive.  You just download the content and do the exercises on your own.  More like a book – although she does have interactive classes, too.

This was MUCH more challenging, primarily because it involved a lot of – to me – tricky painting techniques I wasn’t familiar with.

The first exercise was easy enough, however: paint a lot of paper in a monochromatic colorway, then combine it in a gridded collage.

An online class with Jane Davies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I made two.

An online class with Jane Davies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

The ease stopped there.  The next assignment was to make a horizontal collage with different background colors top and bottom.  That part was fine.  But then, I was supposed to sort of merge the background and foreground.  This is what Jane does so brilliantly that is completely foreign to me!

An online class with Jane Davies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I did 4 of these, with my most successful 2 shown above.  In places, I pulled the color of the collage into the background and in other places I painted a background color onto the collage.  I had no idea what I was doing!  But, it WAS interesting.

Next came an assignment that started with a cruciform composition.  That part was okay, but the quadrants were each supposed to be different, and again, the two were supposed to be merged with paint.  Again, lots of completely random attempts on my part.

An online class with Jane Davies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

This next 3 examples are so hideous I hesitate to show them to you.  Ugh!

An online class with Jane Davies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Again, these were cruciforms, with paint added everywhere and then wiped off.  I completely overworked these three!

Finally, it was time to put it all together.  After watching her video twice I was ready to start.  First, I referenced my earlier sample papers showing a variety of ways to make marks with paint.

An online class with Jane Davies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

For this assignment I followed Jane’s example of painting over every single layer, (until I got to the last few elements.)  Here, the orange circle and the black lines are not painted over.  Everything else is.

An online class with Jane Davies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Finally, I had a little bit of success I think.

Things I learned:
– I  love the look of partially veiled paint, but I don’t know how to do it.
– I love the idea of foreground and background merging, but I don’t know how to do that with paint either.  Maybe with fabric?
– I continue to be entranced with skinny wild lines, inspired by some of Jane’s work.

Questions going forward:
– Can I get a veiled look with fabric?  Maybe with sheers or overprinting with paint?
– What’s the best way to add those skinny lines to my fabric art?
– Can I successfully  merge both fabric and paint in my art???

You know me: I’ll HAVE to do some more experimenting as I try to answer these questions.  Stay tuned.

Ellen Lindner

6

Opening Night: 100% Pure Florida

Oh my goodness: opening night at the 100% Pure Florida exhibit was mobbed!  It was very difficult to move around, but this was one of those “good problems to have.”

My piece “Lava to the Sea” was over in the corner.  Not ideal, but that’s okay.  It won an award of merit even so!  Yippee!

Opening Night: 100% Pure Florida Exhibit. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I wore a name tag with an image of the quilt on it and received many nice comments about it.  (The quilt, that is, not the name tag.)  This is a favorite trick of mine to help viewers connect me with my piece.

Although I took many photos, I didn’t meet most of the artists, so was unable to ask their permission to show them here.  So, I just have a few for you.

I really admired this piece, which was prominently displayed.

Opening Night: 100% Pure Florida Exhibit. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Caren Sarmiento with her piece, Royal Poinciana Flower

Caren also won an award, but I don’t remember which one.

But, the most interesting part of the evening was meeting and talking with this beauty.

Opening Night: 100% Pure Florida Exhibit. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Kestrel Michaud with her pieces, Classy, and Snoozy

Her name is Kestrel Michaud and she’s a fiber artist!  She designs pieces like you see here, often with a somewhat art deco look.  And always stylized like this.

These are fabric!  She told me the cat one has 450 pieces of fabric in it.  (My kind of gal.)  She uses fusible web, but never stitches her pieces.  Instead, they are mounted to foam core, matted, and framed.

Here’s a detail shot of a kitten’s tail and paws.  That’s a lot of tedious cutting!

Opening Night: 100% Pure Florida Exhibit. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I bent Kestrel’s ear for quite some time about SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates,) framing vs. quilting, and other technique issues.  I love meeting new fiber artists!

This is a very nice exhibit, in Melbourne, FL with runs through September 30th.  I hope you’ll get a chance to see it.

Ellen Lindner

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Abstract Exercises: Line and Composition

Continuing with my abstract exercises, I focused next on line.  (Although I’d been using it since the very first exercise.)

What kind of line(s) did I like?  What came naturally?

Line and Composition. Ellen Lindner, AventureQuilter.com/blog

I’m still trying to figure that out.  On the grid above, my favorite line is the one top right.

The next assignment was to use two shapes and add a line.

Line and Composition. Ellen Lindner, AventureQuilter.com/blog

I love that little squiggly line above!

The next exercise required multiple shapes, arranged in a grid format, with line added. By now I found myself leaving space for the future line.

Line and Composition. Ellen Lindner, AventureQuilter.com/blog

I was beginning to smile more and cringe less at my results.  It was beginning to gel in my brain, I think.

Line and Composition. Ellen Lindner, AventureQuilter.com/blog

Finally, I read (or saw?) something in the book that surprised me.  First, some background: I’ve often heard that elements in a composition shouldn’t “kiss.” That is, they shouldn’t just barely touch.  They should either clearly miss one another, or clearly overlap.  Same for elements in relationship to the edge of the composition.

However, Jane’s work often has elements kissing.  So, I decided to test the kissing, non-kissing concept.  I cut out similar elements and made two different compositions.  The first one had no kissing.

Line and Composition. Ellen Lindner, AventureQuilter.com/blog

And I was pretty happy with it.

Next, came full on kissing!

Line and Composition. Ellen Lindner, AventureQuilter.com/blog

Hmm, to my surprise that wasn’t too bad.  It had a certain edginess to it.  I decided I might occasionally ignore the “no kissing” rule.  But not at the edges.  I didn’t care for that.

How about you: kissing or not?

Ellen Lindner

10

Listening to Fabrics and Other Odd Behavior

That’s the title of my newest lecture and I’m very excited about it!  If you’ve been reading my blog for a awhile, you know that I DO exhibit some odd behaviors.

Things like cutting up quilts and putting them back together,

Urban Sprawl, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com

Using unusual materials,

And changing the shape of the quilt.

It’s kinda funny, because when I started searching my quilts for signs of odd behavior there were lots of them!  (Of course, I’ve been quilting a long time, so there’s plenty of “normal” stuff too.)

I’ll be presenting this lecture for the first time next week.  If you live in western Florida, maybe you’d like to come.  I’ll be speaking at The Piecemakers Quilt Guild of Brandon, FL on Monday evening, September 11th.  Cost for visitors is $10.  (And if you come, please introduce yourself.)

Ellen Lindner

 

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“Spring Forth” Complete

After many distractions, I finally got back to working on my Red Bud quilt.  I decided to name it “Spring Forth,” because I was captivated by the way the Red Bud blossoms pop right up out of the trunks.

Spring Forth, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Spring Forth

 

I got lucky with the background fabrics.  Many of them had colorful dots which worked well for implying more blossoms.  I love it when the fabric does the work!

Spring Forth - detail, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

As you can see, I abstracted the flowers quite a bit.  That was fun!

Spring Forth - detail, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Find more details, dimensions, and purchase information on the Spring Forth web page.

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  I’m the queen of cropping.  It VERY frequently improves the composition.  Which I sorta noticed in the second image.  I really like that composition, too.

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Abstract Exercises: Pattern and Scale

While working through Jane Davies’ book, Abstract Painting: The Elements of Visual Language,” my next exercises had to do with pattern.  This assignment was to find a variety of pattern scales, which I did with fabric.

Abstract Exercises: Pattern and Scale. Ellen Lindner, AdventurQuilter.com/blog

She talked about how a variety of patterns, in a variety of scales, can really enhance a piece.  This was my first exercise adding patterns to a basic background.

Abstract Exercises: Pattern and Scale. Ellen Lindner, AdventurQuilter.com/blog

I started with four fabrics and one magazine image of a strawberry.  It was pretty boring.  I added patterns, with markers, and that added TONS of interest!  I’m a believer.  And perhaps you can tell that some of the patterns I added mimicked those that were already there, only in different sizes.

Here’s another one, before.

Abstract Exercises: Pattern and Scale. Ellen Lindner, AdventurQuilter.com/blog

And after.

Abstract Exercises: Pattern and Scale. Ellen Lindner, AdventurQuilter.com/blog

Once again, the patterns added a lot to the composition.  (Although I think I may have over done it with the circles.)

Jane said if you’re going to vary the sizes of patterns or shapes you should do it in a big, noticeable way.  This was my interpretation of that.

Abstract Exercises: Pattern and Scale. Ellen Lindner, AdventurQuilter.com/blog

As you can see, I wasn’t trying to make great art here.  Generally, I just used whatever I picked up first.  But, I was really learning a lot!  Each exercise confirmed one of the book’s concepts.  I was gluing things down and writing notes.  Very exhilarating!

What great books have you learned from?

Ellen Lindner

 

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Upcoming Exhibit: 100% Pure Florida in Melbourne, FL

I’m excited about an upcoming art exhibit in my own town of Melbourne, FL. It’s called 100% Pure Florida and, as you might guess, all the artists reside in Florida.

My piece, Lava to the Sea, will be part of this diverse juried show.

Lava to the Sea, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

(I’m kinda in love with this piece, which features a center “scrap” from Judith Content.)

Lava to the Sea - detail. An art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

You can see my piece and more at the exhibit, which runs September 1-30 at Fifth Avenue Art Gallery, in the Eau Gallie Arts District.  Or, better yet, come to the opening reception next Friday, September 2nd, from 5:30 – 8:30.  I’ll be there and would love to meet you.

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  I’m going to start adding this sort of promotional information to my blog, since I’m considering phasing out/down my newsletter.  Don’t worry: it will only be occasional.
P.P.S.  See a blog post about this piece in progress,

 

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Now I’ve Done It

Well, now I’ve done it.  I’ve dipped my toes into learning more about abstract design and have become – what is it the Borg say? – ASSIMILATED!  At least for now.

I “blame” Jane Davies.  She wrote an excellent book, which got me going. It’s called “Abstract Painting, The Elements of Visual Language.”  It was that last part that attracted me.  I didn’t want to do any painting, but I DID want to learn Jane’s way of approaching design, because her pieces are wonderful.

Learning about abstract design. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

So, I started STUDYING her book, doing every exercise multiple times and creating a few more of my own.  (Like I said, “assimilated.”)  My plan was to do my own exercises in fabric and thread, rather than paint.

The first was to experiment with mark making.  Not only in the shape/line/thickness of the mark, but also in the technical materials and processes with which the mark was made.  I did this.

Learning about abstract design. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

It was a good reminder of ways to add marks that I don’t use very often.  Like that sketchy stitched multi-line near the top.  That’s pretty cool, right?

Jane is brilliant with line and after reading her approach and looking at her examples I was ANXIOUS to use more of it.

Next, I did collage exercises with various prompts.  This one was meant to be shapes I don’t use that often.  I used primarily scraps and altered their shapes very little.

Learning about abstract design. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Note: I was NOT trying to make great art here.  The emphasis was on learning, so I purposely ignored balance, etc.  I just played and it was exhilarating!

Next, I shifted to magazine pages as my collage material of choice.  This one was my response to a high contrast assignment.

Learning about abstract design. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

This was great fun.  I used shapes that were not in my usual wheel house, with a variety of edges.  And by now I was getting enamored with the idea of line, so I found myself adding it even when it wasn’t requested.

Here’s the low contrast result.  (See that low contrast line again?)

Learning about abstract design. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

The next assignment was to create a composition with lots of negative (background) space.  No problem.

Learning about abstract design. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

But then I got myself in trouble.  I decided to emulate Jane’s example of painting over elements, adding new ones, and completely altering the piece.  I did NOT have the skill set for that!  Here’s my result.

Learning about abstract design. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Oh my gosh!  Can you say “hideous?”  Not wanting all this effort to go to waste, I decided to look for viable small compositions within this larger one.  I used white paper to isolate small sections and found many wonderful options.  I photographed each one.

Learning about abstract design. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Okay, so all those little compositions made me feel better about this piece.  Not that I really felt bad to begin with.  I KNEW I was experimenting and learning, so I wasn’t expecting awesome results.

This is just the beginning of what I’ve been up to.  I’ve got lots more to show you.

Ellen Lindner

 

6

QBL Classmates at Work

My classmates at Quilting by the Lake worked hard and did some amazing work.  I somehow missed final images for most of them, but these few will give you an idea.

Rosalie Dace, our teacher, circulated around the room almost non-stop.  She gave one-on-one advice to each student.

QBL Classmates at Work. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Barb worked late each night and almost completely assembled her piece by the end of the week. (Here it is still in-progess.)  It was inspired by a stone wall, but she took a lot of liberties with her color choices.  I loved it.

QBL Classmates at Work. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Peg started with rectangles and turned them into house shapes.

QBL Classmates at Work. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

This is Lisa’s piece very early on.  Hers is the one inspired by her engagement ring.  She quickly mastered curved piecing and it’s a good thing.  As you can see, she has quite a few yet to do.

QBL Classmates at Work. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I wish I had a photo of Lisa’s work further along.  She used some wonderful hand dyed fabric and many bright colors.  It was really singing at the end of the week.

Olan was the only man in our class (or at QBL for that matter,) but it didn’t seem to phase him in the least.  He pieced these intricate feathers as part of a very large stylized piece.

QBL Classmates at Work. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Emily went for a minimalist look and for good reason.  When she began to play with these fabrics, they interacted so well she didn’t want to break up the composition.  She hand appliqued them in place and her top is finished!

QBL Classmates at Work. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

My neighbor in class was Annemarie and she brought these vibrant colors.  I knew I’d like her piece when I saw them.

QBL Classmates at Work. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Sure enough, here it is.  I love the composition and contrast!  It was my favorite.  This is it at the very end of the week.  She just had a few more seams to stitch.

QBL Classmates at Work. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

One of the great things about taking a class is learning from your classmates.  I definitely did that!

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  If any of my classmates read this, I’d love to receive photos of your finished pieces.  With your permission, I’ll add them to this post.

 

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