New Abstract Under Way

After having so much fun on the last abstract quilt, I’ve started on another one.  I’m allowing the first to inspire the second, but making LOTS of changes.

This was my starting sketch.

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I thought I’d probably ROUGHLY copy the background, but with plenty of alterations as they occurred to me.  Right off the bat, I knew I wanted to add some undulation to the central vertical shape, and I also thought it would benefit from the addition of some yellow.  I spent  a little time studying the background, then I put the sketch away.  After all, I didn’t want to copy it!

I started construction by using scraps to create the central shape.  I left all the odd points in place, thinking they’d help me decide where to take the undulation.

An abstract art quilt under way. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

That was just the start.  Next, I added more fabrics – this time very purposefully – to create the undulation I wanted.

An abstract art quilt under way. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

MUCH more interesting, don’t you think?

Next, came the left background.  I used a couple of print fabrics to create a sort of soft/fuzzy edge where the two orange/rust and blue-green met.  (Sorry for the pathetic focus.)

An abstract art quilt under way. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

After making progress on the left side, above, I auditioned some additional elements as well as color placement for  the background.  The skinny navy line and the orange squiggle near it did not make the cut!  I was doubtful that they would, but you have to make visual decisions visually.  You HAVE to do some trial and error!

I added white and yellow and worked on the background on the right side.  It was coming along nicely.

An abstract art quilt under way. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I finished the background, but wanted to add some little squiggles of color.

An abstract art quilt under way. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

However, the orange above took over.  Not a good choice.

How about yellow?

An abstract art quilt under way, by Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Ah, yes.  That’s much better!
Did you notice that I changed the shape of the yellow on the right, too?

At this point I considered the background complete.  It was time to consider the design elements.  Clearly, I’d need to repeat the white and orange.  Per the sketch, I thought I’d need a good bit of orange in the bottom right corner, to balance that in the opposing corner.

Ellen Lindner
P.S. Just for kicks, scroll back to the top of this post to see how much I deviated from the sketch.  But, that’s FINE!  As a matter of fact, it was my plan.  The sketch – especially with abstract designs – is meant to be the starting point only.  All of this is very fun.

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Will This Pear be Famous?

Will this green pear be famous?  I certainly hope so!

A Double Reverse Applique sample by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

It’s the sample I’ll be using when teaching Double Reverse Applique on Quilting Arts TV!  That’s right, I’m going to be on TV!!!  To say I’m excited is putting it VERY mildly!

I’ve been spending lots of time making samples and “step outs,” practicing, and timing myself.  (Right now I’m too long, so I’ll have to work on that.)

A Double Reverse Applique sample by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

This technique is only one of three I’ll be doing!  The other two are on Design Tips and Using a Photo as Inspiration for a Quilt.  All 3 of these are close to my heart, and I’m super excited to be working on them.

Taping is in September, but I have to have my ducks in a row much sooner.  What fun projects!

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  Learn more about Double Reverse Applique with these resources:
DRA Gallery
Ebook
Online class description
Live class description
Blog Post

 

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Fabric Twig

Sometimes you just need to wrap a twig in fabric.

Fabric-wrapped twig. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Fabric-wrapped twig. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Fabric-wrapped twig. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Fabric-wrapped twig. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Update:  Degen asked about my technique, so here’s some more information:

At my local quilt store they save the tiny strips cut from fabric as they create fat quarters.  Then, they bag them up and sell them.  These are what I used, which means they’re cut on grain.  I didn’t use any glue.  I started like a bandage:  lay the strip down in the area you’re about to cover and start wrapping.  When I changed colors, I’d leave a tail of the first color and cover it in the same fashion with the new one.  At the ends, I had to tie a few knots.

I’ve also used these fabrics for knitting.  See this post.

Ellen Lindner

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Liquefy and Crop

Are you playing along with me?  If so, you’ve printed out the liquefied image from the previous post and you’ve found some small compositions within it.

I found ten, but I’m only showing you four of them.

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog
Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Again, any one of them would be a great start to an abstract quilt.  What did you find?

Later, I wanted to select one or two of my compositions for the next stage of experimenting.  The first thing I did was to turn them all upside down.  That gave me a new perspective.

I chose two and cropped them SOME MORE!  Maybe you can find their points of origin in the images above.

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Finally, I began to play with the image above and to turn it into a viable sketch.

Maybe this?

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Or, with slightly altered colors:

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Hmm, yes.  I think that’s a good starting point.  As with Brainstorm, I won’t try to perfectly replicate the sketch.  I’ll use it as reference to get me started, but then – once again – take plenty of detours.  I’m already thinking I’ll add a little yellow.  We’ll see.

Ellen Lindner

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Taking Detours

When I’m in experimental mode, my plan is to take every creative detour that pops into my head.  What an Adrenalin surge that is!

After completing Brainstorm I wanted to continue to work in the loose, experimental way I had when creating it. First, I wanted to play with colors.  I figured I’d probably use the same ones I’d used in Brainstorm, but perhaps in different proportions.  Hmm, how to best audition my options?  Since my Brainstorm fabrics were still strewn all over my work table, I could have easily pinned them to my design wall.  But, I decided to do some coloring on the computer, instead.  (I used Photoshop Elements, but you could do lots of this with colored pencils and paper.)

I opened a picture of Brainstorm and digitally “sampled” the most prominent colors.  That is, I copied them.  I loaded my digital paint brush with each one in turned and slathered them onto a plain sheet of digital paper.  I tried to do it without a lot of thought.  I used the same size brush throughout and my only criteria was to spread the colors around.

Well THAT was fun!

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

As you can see I also drew on a few motifs that I thought I might use at some point.

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I was pretty floored at this point, because either of these could be tweaked a little and turned into a wonderful quilt background.  Wow, what a concept!

Next, I decided to make blocks of color in a computer file that I could fill in with the colors.  I didn’t intend to make a blocky quilt; I just wanted to play with proportions.

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Woah, another good result.  What’s going on here?  I like these proportions a lot.

But, as I said, I didn’t want a blocky quilt, so I did some digital magic.  I “liquefied” the above image.

Ellen Lindner's color experiments. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Also very cool.  But, I don’t want to make a quilt with that much action in the background.  No worries.  I’ll go back to that recent exercise where I found small compositions within the larger piece.  Now, doesn’t that sound like fun?

All this play would be more fun with some playmates.  Would you like to join me?  You could do something similar with one of your favorite quilts as a starting reference.  Or, I tell you what:  I’ve made the image above copyright free.  You can print it and play with it to your heart’s content!  To find compositions, use two L-shaped pieces of cardboard to create a frame.  Move them around, adjust their size, and tilt them some too.  You’ll find many intriguing little designs.  Draw them on your image and cut them out.  I suggest cropping way in and getting 3 or more compositions from this.  But, that’s up to YOU.  I sure hope someone will join me.  My enthusiasm is getting hard to contain!

Preview:  Of course, after finding a composition I like I’ll take some more detours. 🙂

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  If you want to work with a larger version of this image, go here.

 

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“Brainstorm” Complete

This is one of the most enjoyable quilts I’ve ever made.  I cut loose and experimented and embraced lots of
new-to-me ideas.  And I love the result!

Brainstorm

Brainstorm, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com

Brainstorm

Here are some detail shots.

Brainstorm - detail, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com

Brainstorm - detail, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com

I was kinda proud of the title, too.  Doesn’t it look like a brainstorm?  Certainly my process involved some brainstorming.

You can read about my process in the blog links below.  I hope you like it as much as I do.

Ellen Lindner
P.S. Would you like to audition this art in your home?

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Abstract Fun: Adding Elements

After altering the background of my quilt, so it didn’t completely copy the sketch, I took a different approach as I added the various elements.  I decided to copy them fairly closely, but to give myself PLENTY of latitude when altering them.  This is the sketch.

ketch for abstract art. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

And this is the background.

Abstract art quilt in-progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I added the two large flowers, my favorite of the elements.

Abstract art quilt in-progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Then the brown semi-circle.  I wasn’t too sure about using it at all, but I thought I had to at least audition it.

Abstract art quilt in-progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

My first brown cut was too skinny, so I added another line beside it.  But, I HATED the shape of it!  A change was definitely needed!

Back to a single line, with a shorter shape.  And another partial circle nestled in.  As you can see, I also added some orange shapes on the right.  I thought that color needed to be repeated somewhere, so I let the sketch suggest the location.

Abstract art quilt in-progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I really disliked the hash marks, especially since they were done in a muddy olive-green color.  But, again, I felt like I had to at least try them.

Abstract art quilt in-progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I made mine skinnier and more irregular.  Perhaps they weren’t so bad, after all.

Looking back at the sketch perhaps you can see a faint whitish circle in the lower left corner.  It was made with a white paint stick, which served as a resist to the wet paint added later.  I wanted to add something similar to my quilt, but decided to alter the location.

Abstract art quilt in-progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I like the faint sketchy character of it.

Finally, I shrunk the size of the right orange shape and added white lines to the flowers.

Abstract art quilt in-progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I’m really loving this!  Next will come some hand stitching and quilting.

Ellen Lindner

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Abstract Fun: Background

Oh boy, have I been having fun!  Remember my “Paint Mojo” exercise and the three sketches it produced?  I loved one of them so much I had to immediately try to recreate it in fabric  use it as the inspiration for a quilt.  (Did you the notice the shift in my thought process there?  I want to produce work LOOSELY.  If I just copy a loose sketch it’s still copying.  Not what I want.)

Here’s the sketch I was working from.  (The yellow-orange is more orange in real life.)

ketch for abstract art. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Since I wanted to work loosely I set some limitations for myself, so as not to accidentally copy.  First, I studied the sketch closely and selected fabrics that exactly matched my colors.  I also studied the composition, knowing that I wanted to emulate it, not actually copy it.  And then I put the sketch away.

Working on a muslin base, I began to arrange and layer fabrics.

Abstract art quilt in-progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

 I knew I was deviating from the sketch and I figured that was a good thing.  I switched the center shape to orange.  I love orange with blue-green.  (Although the orange is much softer than it appears in these photos.)

Abstract art quilt in-progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Abstract art quilt in-progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Once I had the muslin covered it was time to do A LOT of tweaking.  I spent a good bit of time on the shape of the central orange element.  I thought it was important for it to undulate and for the width to change in an interesting way.  I also added a thin yellow line to the edge of it, in places.

Abstract art quilt in-progress. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I completed the background without ever looking at the sketch again.    And I was very happy with it. In my next post I’ll show you the addition of the graphic elements.

Ellen Lindner

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It Was Bound to Happen

 Below, left, is my blue Frixion pen.  I write on fabric with it and then erase it by applying heat.

Oops, that was the wrong pen. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Above, right is my blue ink pen, with permanent ink.

Until today they lived in the same container.  And then it happened:  I picked up the ink pen instead of the Frixion one and drew on my quilt with blue ink!  GASP!

Thankfully, I was marking an area to be stitched with black thread.  I was able to cover the marks pretty well with SEVERAL passes of black stitching.

Whew.  Heart beating again.

And I moved ALL the ink pens to another drawer.

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  This is NOT the worst mistake I’ve ever made!

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