Tag Archives | Abstract

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.

 

1

More Black and White Exercises

One of the great things about taking a class is that you get to learn from everyone around you.  In my class with Rosalie Dace, she was very good about going around the room and coaching everyone.  And she didn’t mind eavesdropping, so I overheard quite a few good tips.

I thought you’d enjoy seeing how some of my classmates tackled their black and white exercises.  Each one started with a single shape that was then altered, multiplied (maybe) and explored at least three more times.

When Stephanie alternated the values in her shapes she got something that looked almost like a rib cage.

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and white exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Olan cut his very exact shapes with an exacto knife.

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and white exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Mary’s sharp triangles morphed into a large flower.

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and white exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Lisa used her engagement ring as a jumping off point.  Thus, the curves, which emulated her oval stone.

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and white exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Kenna did an awful lot with a basic triangle.

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and white exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

And look what Cathy did with the same shape.

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and white exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Annemarie’s composition seemed pretty basic at first, but wait until you see what she did with it.

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and white exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

More triangles.  Betsy used very sharp ones.  Almost like thorns.

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and white exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

What a lot of diversity!  These little sketches turned into some really awesome quilts.

Ellen Lindner

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A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and White Exercises

Are you familiar with the work of Rosalie Dace?  She’s a fabulous art quilter from South Africa and a highly sought-after art quilt teacher.  I’ve been wanting to take a class with her for quite some time and I finally got to at Quilting by the Lake a couple of weeks ago.  It was very good – although somewhat different than I expected.

She gave us some very useful tips, concepts, and pep talks each morning.  Our first assignment was to use black and white paper to create some “sketches.”  We were to choose one shape and then explore it over and over at least five times.

I chose the humble rectangle.

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and white exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

These are shown in the order in which I created them.  This was actually quite a stretch because it was sometimes difficult to come up with one more variation. I noticed that I was somewhat enamored with the idea of line.

For our second shape, Rosalie suggested that we choose something special to us or familiar to us.  I chose a palm frond.

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and white exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

As usual, I had to make a literal depiction in order to get that out of my head.  In doing so, I was able to focus on the long skinny tapered shape within the frond and I started playing with it.

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and white exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Soon, things got interesting.  I really liked the last 3 above. Rosalie wanted me to make more, so I began to search my favorite two for tiny compositions.

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and White Exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

There were many that I liked.

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and White Exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and White Exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and White Exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and White Exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and White Exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and White Exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and White Exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

A Class with Rosalie Dace: Black and White Exercises. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Can you believe so many viable compositions came from those little sketches?

The fact that these designs no longer say “palm frond” is not a problem.  As a matter of fact, it’s actually the point.  The idea is to play with shape only and to see where it takes you.

I found these black and white exercises to be fun, enlightening, and useful.  Why not give it a try?

Ellen Lindner

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“Circular Abstractions,” an Awesome Exhibit

While at Quilting by the Lake, I got to visit the Schweinfurth Art Center, which was hosting an exhibit called “Circular Abstractions.”  Oh my, these quilts really make an impact!

As you can see, they’re quite large: each about 80″ square.

"Circular Abstractions" Exhibit. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

By Kaci Kyler, Marks IV

The quilts were meant to be inspired by a large Bulls Eye pattern.  That is, four quadrants, each with a bulls eye (target) motif.  The challenge was proposed by Nancy Crow, and she invited certain students to participate.  Some artists got very creative with their interpretation of quadrants and bulls eyes, as with the quilt above.  But, that was sort of the idea.

Others stuck to the bulls eye motif more clearly, but still with LOTS of variation.

"Circular Abstractions" Exhibit. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

By Randi Morgan, Traveler

Some artists disassembled the components and put them back together askew.

"Circular Abstractions" Exhibit. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

By Patricia Guthrie, Rolling Color

Our class teacher, Rosalie Dace, gave us the assignment of selecting a piece to buy if we were gallery owners.  This piece was my pick.  I really love it.  Wouldn’t it be great in a large public space or on a business wall?

"Circular Abstractions" Exhibit. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

By Tommy Fitzsimmons, Orbicular I

Tommy, (above) really S T R E T C H E D the proportions and I think it’s very successful.

Rosalie also asked us to select a quilt we’d like to take home.  Although the one above tempted me mightily, I just kept gravitating back to the one below. I think I could look at it for hours!

"Circular Abstractions" Exhibit. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

By Kaci Kyler, Marks III

Doesn’t it just glow?  When you look closely, you can see the woven effect created by ALL THOSE LITTLE PIECES.

"Circular Abstractions" Exhibit. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

And then, finally, you notice the VERY TIGHT matchstick quilting.  Compare the texture to that of the wall.  Amazing, right?

"Circular Abstractions" Exhibit. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

This is a FABULOUS exhibit, which demands a little bit of study.  It’s divided into trunks and is traveling around the country.  If it comes close to you, you’ll definitely want to see it!

Ellen Lindner
P.S. I only showed you a few of the quilts in the exhibit.  There are about 20 or 30.

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Should I Make it More Abstract?

I’m really happy with the way the background of my Red Bud quilt is turning out.  Here it is before quilting.

Should I Make it More Abstract? Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

This image shows the heavy quilting I did on the tree trunks.

Should I Make it More Abstract? Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

But, about the time I finished quilting the background I had a sort of disturbing thought.  That is “would it look better if it were more abstract?”  Hmm.  Making something abstract isn’t disturbing at all to me.  But, doing so this far into a quilt seemed daunting.

Still, I began to sketch options on my computer. First option: what if I cut the background into three pieces and added to each of those to complete three different quilts.  The idea was intriguing, but the work load was not.  (You may remember that I’ve done a bit of this lately on a smaller scale.)

Should I Make it More Abstract? Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Next thought: what about leaving the center as is, but changing the two sides dramatically.  Maybe painting over them and continuing.

Should I Make it More Abstract? Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Or maybe I should just leave the background as it is and do all the abstraction with the flowers.  Since I had no idea how I was going to make the flowers, anyway, this was pretty appealing.  Maybe something like this.

Should I Make it More Abstract? Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

For now, I’m going to experiment with this last idea.  I really like the idea of abstracting the flowers. The question is whether the background will need something, too.

Have you noticed that I take a lot of detours?  It would definitely be faster is I just went from point A to point B.  But where’s the fun in that?

Ellen Lindner
P.S. UPDATE – Shirley asked “I am interested in how you use your computer to play with your designed especially in abstraction. What program do you use? I would love to see/hear how you so it.” In case you’re also interested, here’s my response.

I use Photoshop Elements for photo editing.  It gives me the ability to work in layers.  That way I can use different techniques on different layers, showing and hiding them as I choose.  For instance, look above at the image with the clear center but the faded sides.  The sides are a different layer, below the one with the in-focus center.  I reduced the opacity of the side ones to give a painted-over  look.

The bottom image is completely (and quickly/sloppily) drawn.  It was easy to do.  I created a new (invisible layer) on top of the full image.  I kept the full image layer visible.  Then, I used the brush tool, picked the color from the original photo, and drew on the new layer, right over the original image still visible  below.  The paint didn’t “stick” to that layer, since I was painting on the invisible layer above it.  As though I was painting on glass with the photo underneath.  I hope that makes sense.

I don’t have a great deal of “go to” tricks when it comes to abstracting, but I generally try some version of simplifying the image.  In this case, I used the same painting technique described above, using a very fat brush.  This kept me from focusing on details and about all I could do was depict the direction of the petals.

But before drawing the petals as described above, I first used a skinnier brush to draw some big open loop/petals.  Just because I thought they’d look cool.  I used them a few months ago and liked them, so I guess they were still in my head.  See this post.

PSE is great software and commonly used. However, there’s a definite learning curve involved.  If you want to try it, I suggest a good tutorial book or online class.  I highly recommend the “Teach Yourself Visually” series for any new software purchase.  At $30, these books are awesome!

Good luck with it!
Ellen Lindner

7

Project Resurrected

Remember the “project that wasn’t?”  After sketching it I decided not to proceed with it.  My issue was that it looked too jumbled, and therefore didn’t accurately depict the plant that inspired me.

My inspiration photo:The Project that Wasn't. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

The initial sketch:

The Project that Wasn't. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

However, I was slow to put the sketch away so it lived on my design wall for a while.  That gave me time to consider it further and I thought, “Why work so hard at making it just an abstract design?  Why not let it look more like the subject?” So, I rearranged my six squares a good bit and came up with this.

Project Resurrected. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

There. That was more like it.  Definitely abstracted, but with the nice curve and drape of a few flower petals.  I was happy enough to continue.

Next came a computer sketch.

Project Resurrected. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Still happy.  Time to audition fabrics.  Starting with “black” for the six backgrounds.

Project Resurrected. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I constructed this piece in a very non-standard way using reverse applique.  That is, I cut the black fabric to the needed shapes, so other fabrics could be tucked underneath. Like this first block, bottom left.

Project Resurrected. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Why use this technique?  One reason: to avoid the black fabric from shadowing through the lighter ones.  Putting black on top got rid of this issue.

From a technical standpoint this worked well.  The only issue is that it was difficult to change my mind, since the first version would be cut before I realized I wanted a change.  Thankfully, my design explorations meant that I needed only a couple of very minor changes.  Whew!

Project Resurrected. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Above, most of the black cuts were done.  Time to audition petal fabrics.

Project Resurrected. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Auditioning is extremely important.  I always tell my students “everything affects every other.”  Which means you can’t make a decision in isolation.  You have to see how each fabric, item, or placement will work with those around it.  For instance, look at the middle two fabrics above, in the left center block.  Can you see that they blend together a little bit?  So, I changed one of them, which you can see below.

Project Resurrected. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

The photo above shows the flower petals partially complete.  They were pretty easy to do, since most of the shaping had already been done with the black fabric.

Here the flowers are, complete.

Project Resurrected. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Green leaves and other details would happen soon.  I’ll show you next time.

Ellen Lindner

 

6

“For My Own Amusement”

I’ve finished up the series of four pieces made from a stitched indigo sampler.  See numbers one and two here.  And numbers three and four below.

"For My Own Amusement." Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

"For My Own Amusement." Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I love the art paper with the circles, above.

"For My Own Amusement." Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

"For My Own Amusement." Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Piece #2 includes a bit of a dictionary page with the word “amusement” defined.  Since I was doing these just for fun, I thought I could use that word as part of my title.  It came to me very quickly:
“For My Own Amusement, #1-4.”

I like the way the four pieces look together.  What do you think?

"For My Own Amusement." Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Ellen Lindner

14

The Project that Wasn’t

Have you ever lost steam on a project part way through?  This happened to me recently, only I lost interest before I even got started.

After the FUN and success of Bush Berries, I was excited to try another “cut and paste” design.  I started with this photo of a Flame Vine.

Pretty awesome, right?  I decided to cut it into squares, as I had done before and to rearrange the sections.  9 pieces, perhaps?

The Project that Wasn't. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Or, maybe just six.

The Project that Wasn't. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I preferred the six-block option and traced the main lines to get a pattern.

The Project that Wasn't. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

The Project that Wasn't. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

It looked a little hodge-podge at this point, so I colored in the values, to see if it looked better.

The Project that Wasn't. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

And, indeed, it did.  As a matter of fact, I thought it looked like a pretty good abstract design.  But, I realized that it no longer depicted the heavy hanging blossoms of the original photo.  And I missed that.

So, I’ve put it aside in lieu of the next thing.
Did I waste my time?  Absolutely not!

As a matter of fact, this time spent designing will help me to be more creative the next time.  And besides, it was fun.  It’s quite possible that I’ll revisit this sketch one day.  Or maybe start again with the same photo and go in a different direction.  No worries.  It’s all part of experimenting.

Have you ever stalled out mid-project?  What are your thoughts on it?  Did you learn something anyway?  (I’ll bet you did.)

Ellen Lindner

2

Small Pear Collages

In my last post, I showed you the start of several small pear collages.  I had great fun with them as I continued to work with portions of my original pear picture, vintage linens, papers, and hand stitching.

Here’s the completed version of the one in the last post, Pear Study #1.

Pear Study #1, a small art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/

This is #2 complete.

Pear Study #2, a small art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com

#3, complete

Pear Study #3, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com

And #4, in -progress.  Scroll down to see it completed.

Collage fun. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Pear Study #4

Pear Study #4, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com

Can you see the piece of the original pear applique used in three out of the four?

I’m very happy with these four small collages and I especially like the way they look together.

Pear Study #1-4, by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com

Which one is your favorite?

Small works like this often benefit from additional mounting or framing. I’ve got some experience with that and will show you some options in my next post.

Ellen Lindner

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