What I’ve been working on recently

It’s time for a progress update from the Studio! I took a little break from creating feelings out of fiber to try my hand at a few different artworks.

Please keep reading for news from the design table and the sewing machine. If you’re rather watch and listen, jump to the video at the end.

© Hilary Clark, “Fish Tails”, Fiber, 12” x 12”
Image Credit: Hilary Clark

Fish Tails…

This past month, I did something I don’t ordinarily do. I worked on two different projects at the same time. This turned out to be good for my production rate, but it made my mild OCD a little twitchy. 🙂

I almost always work on one project at a time, usually the next in my Feelings series. However, in mid-July, I accepted a challenge to make a wearable art face mask for these COVID times. I ended up creating ten – the Queen of the collection and her Ladies of the Court. You can read about this Jewels of the Pandemic series here. One has sold; the others remain available in my Etsy shop.

In keeping with my focus on smaller work (the masks have a lot of design detail in a small space!), I also created a 12” x 12” artwork I’ve named “Fish Tails”. This piece was created as a submission for the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) Florida Fresh Fish Exhibit, which will be on display at the SAQA Global Conference in April 2021. The Conference will be held virtually as no one really knows where the world will stand in terms of COVID. As we get closer, I’ll share information in this space about how to view the Fresh Fish exhibition.

I’m really pleased with my little fish. My drawing skills remain about second grade level when it comes to drawing anything that ought to look like something real. There’s a reason I create abstract art – my drawing skills are cartoonish and childlike. It’s just not a skill I’ve cultivated. So when my fish outline came out looking like an actual fish shape, I was pretty fucking happy. Still am.

This little fishy is super colorful and created using fused raw edge applique and machine stitching, incorporating the dense textured stitch lines I prefer.

For fun, I used a pre-printed undersea fabric I found in my stash as the facing for this piece. “Fish Tails” is a fish, through and through. You can read this piece’s accompanying poem here.

© Hilary Clark, “Fish Tails” – detail view, Fiber, 12” x 12”
Image Credit: Hilary Clark
© Hilary Clark, “Fish Tails” – back, Fiber, 12” x 12”
Image Credit: Hilary Clark

Abstract geometrics…

While I can’t really draw anything that looks like anything – if you ask me to draw a tree, it’s going to look like a second grader drew it, all lollipop or Christmas like – I can draw geometric shapes. A ruler and a compass help me with this. I never discount the importance of using tools.

A few months ago, I started creating abstract geometric drawings, using gel pens and markers on paper. I quickly found my voice in those abstract compositions made up of geometric shapes, line, and arrows. I’m entertained by these – I hated geometry class in high school.

I create a new drawing a couple times a week and share them on my Instagram (@hilaryclark13 if you want to follow along). They cross post over to Facebook too. I’m playing with ideas for what I want to do with these; I think I’m going to be uploading my favorites to my Fine Art America shop (opening soon!!) and offer them as prints as well as designs on items like throw pillows, phone cases, coffee mugs, and more.

I’m also experimenting with turning these little drawings into acrylic paintings. I’ve never practiced painting as an art form before, or at least not since I gave up finger painting as a kid. I’m finding it a fun way to spend a small portion of my Sunday afternoon. As my painting skills improve, and I find my voice with the paint, I’m sure I’ll shift from creating little 8” x 6” paintings to larger canvas’. Until then, I’m enjoying playing with paint. These are the three I’ve created so far, all taken from one of the pen and marker drawings.

© Hilary Clark, Abstract Geometrics, Acrylic on canvas, 8” x 6”
Image credit: Hilary Clark

(Feeling) Enlightened…

I’ve begun the latest in my Feelings series. I’m creating Enlightened, which incorporates a yellow canvas. Yellow = light in my mind. As this piece is still in its infancy, the only progress photo I have to share is the canvas.

Canvas for (Feeling) Enlightened
Image Credit: Hilary Clark

The design for Enlightened will use primarily fuchsia, red, and purple. I’m sure blue, green, and even some orange will make their way into this piece. Abstract, curving shapes will dominate the space, representing the Knowing we experience as we evolve towards enlightenment.

Exit through the gift shop…

I’ve been busy over the last month, creating wearable art face masks, a vibrant fish, drawing and painting, and beginning the work on my latest Feeling. It’s been a good month in the Studio and I’m grateful to share my work with you.

If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!

Where I get my inspiration

All artists are inspired by something (or multiple somethings) and I’m no exception. So I thought I’d share where I get my inspiration.

(Keep going to read the article and find out more. If you’re rather watch and listen, jump to the video at the end.)

Light for Yvonne

Inspiration from external influences…

Much of my earlier work was inspired by things outside myself. Things I’d seen on walls and wanted to replicate in fiber. Suggestions made as calls for entry for a particular fiber show I wanted to apply to. Favorite hobbies or interests related to the person I was creating a piece for. Things like that.

The photo above shows “Light for Yvonne”, which I made in response to a call for postcard sized fiber pieces. The pieces were collected and then shared with Yvonne Porcella, who started Studio Art Quilt Associates (or SAQA, to which I belong), as she journeyed through her experience with ovarian cancer. My piece used her signature fabric – black and white check – and depicts a candle with a cross to symbolize her devotion to God. Yvonne was also my cousin; making this piece and donating it as another way to express my commitment and love for her was inspiration enough.

I’ve made a kite, inspired by a painting I saw on a wall. I’ve made the Hulk for my nephew, inspired by his fondness for the green guy. I’ve made the Eiffel Tower for my niece, inspired by her attraction to all things French.

The Kite Perspective
Hulk Smash!
Someday, Paris

Inspiration from memories…

My memories of my grandparents are strong, even though they’ve all been gone a very long time. I created a series to honor them, using their favorite color as the base.

My paternal grandfather had a number of fun sayings, one of which was “Any color’s all right as long as it’s red”. When I first started creating fiber work in the late ’90s, I remembered that saying and thought it would be a fun name for an art piece, however, it wasn’t until much more recently that I allowed my memories to inspire me to create my “Any Color” series.

I made “Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Red” for Basil, using lettered beads as embellishment to spell out the word he’d made up – transmugliforcandambumshamity. None of us ever knew what the word meant and he wouldn’t tell us. Most of us decided it was an elaborate cuss word.

I used green for Lucille, my maternal grandmother, and attached clip on earrings via thread to embellish her memory piece because she wore earrings absolutely everywhere, including while kneeling at the side of her Airstream trailer, hooking it up to the various campground hook-ups.

Purple was Neska’s favorite color, my paternal grandmother. She delivered soft kisses to the cheek at every visit and embodied love, so her piece includes lip prints and heart pendants and a couple of bees because she was my grandpa’s “Honey girl”.

And finally, blue for Gene, my maternal grandfather, who died when I was 10. He was a volunteer fireman and ran a cold storage and gave me a Jolly Green Giant doll and loved to fish for abalone, so I added his fireman’s badge and stitched on little round bits that represent an abalone shell and created a tiny green giant as part of his piece.

Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Red (for Basil)
Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Green (for Lucille)
Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Purple (for Neska)
Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Blue (for Gene)

Inspiration from intuition…

My most recent work, the work I’ve been creating for the last 3 years, has all been inspired by my intuition.

I’m an empath, so I feel a lot. That’s why I create feelings out of fiber.

Everyone has feelings; it’s one of the ways we’re all alike. When I’m ready to create a new feeling, I close my eyes, center myself, and ask my Higher Self (my intuition) which feeling is up next. I always get an answer. And I always get an image that includes color choices, shape arrangement, and the overall outline shape for the piece.

And then, as I work on making the invisible visible, I feel the feeling. Often, I’ll discover the feeling is also being felt by a large segment of the population at the same time. I know this from information in my social media feed or through headlines from various news sources or messages from friends, which all just goes to confirm I’m making the right feeling at the right time.

I allow my intuition to guide the work. If I feel a little stuck, I’ll step back and take a little break. This gives my intuition space to channel more detail about what the feeling looks like. And then I go back to work to create it.

For example, I recently made “Isolated”, which was a feeling felt around the world as we settled into lockdown for the pandemic.

Isolated

In closing…

My work is inspired by many things. Sometimes, there’s an underlying social message, but most of the time, for most of my work, my inspiration comes from the voice that lives deep inside my heart.

My purpose is to make the invisible visible and the intangible tangible. I do this primarily by creating feelings out of fiber.

Inspiration is everywhere, as long as I remain open to receive it. The same holds true for you. Open yourself, and you’ll find inspiration.

If you’re ready for a private (virtual) showing of my art, you can schedule an appointment here.

To discuss commissioning me to make a textured fiber painting specifically for you or someone you love, please schedule an exploratory commissioning conversation and we’ll see what we can create together.

If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!