(Feeling) Gleeful

This year, my art production has slowed (this has been a crazy busy social learning growing year).  However, I believe I have found my voice.  That’s a trade-off I can live with.

The latest in my Feeling series, Gleeful, makes me smile.  In fact, it made me smile every time I sat down in the studio to put more work in towards its completion.  I find Gleeful to be a fun, sassy piece.  I hope you do as well.

Constructive criticism and comments are always welcome.  Please share your thoughts!

Gleeful (link to poem)

Gleeful - (c) 2017, Hilary Clark

Gleeful - Detail 01

Gleeful - Detail 02

Gleeful - Doodle

Next up: The feeling for the next piece has yet to be determined.  The doodle was selected; the next step is to take a good look at the drawing and then pull a feeling off the master list.  Regardless of the tone of the feeling, it is still art.  Come back soon for an update.


Info about my Feelings series: I interpret my random abstract doodles as emotions.  The guiding point is the outer boundary of the doodle.  The boundary evokes the feeling.  From there, I contemplate how to bring that particular feeling alive in fiber. 

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(Feeling) Powerless

The latest in my Feelings work was difficult to create.  An interesting side effect of making a piece named “Powerless” was the actual feeling of powerlessness that entered into the design and completion.

I name my art pieces before I actually start to make them, which is probably the opposite of what a majority of artists do, but it’s how I work — the name gives me the art.  To name the  abstract shapes used in my Feelings series, I hold a drawing of the shape in one hand and a list of both positive and negative feelings in the other.  I look at the shape, then skim the feelings list.  At some point, never too long into it, one of the feelings on the list will sort of pop out at me and resonate as the proper feeling for that particular shape.  This is what happened with Powerless.

I rarely feel powerless.  Ever.  It’s just not how I see myself.  So to create an unfamiliar feeling in fiber was a challenge and an education.  When I was making the other pieces – Inflamed, Inquisitive, Frisky – I was unaware the feeling OF the piece informed the feeling FOR the piece but with Powerless, that was quite evident from the beginning.

The final piece bears little resemblance to the original sketch.  I went through a variety of templates and design ideas before I settled on the figure trapped in a web.  I considered ditching the piece and moving on to the next (one doesn’t always have to finish what one starts), but the experiment was too interesting.  It took quite a lot of effort to finally “see” Powerless in fiber.  At that point, it finally came together.

I will leave it to the viewer to decide if this piece evokes an image or impression of powerlessness.  All I know is I’m happy to have my power back.

Constructive criticism and comments are always welcome.  Please share your thoughts!

Powerless (link to poem)

Powerless-Full

Powerless-Detail 1

Powerless-Detail 2

Powerless-Poetry Label

Powerless-Orig Sketch

Original sketch

Next up: Back to the positive feelings with the next piece!  And in direct contrast to Powerless, I can already see this next feeling finished in fiber.  I can’t wait to get started!


Info about my Feelings series: I interpret my random abstract doodles as emotions.  The guiding point is the outer boundary of the doodle.  The boundary evokes the feeling.  From there, I contemplate how to bring that particular feeling alive in fiber. 

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Frisky

My Feelings work continues with Frisky.  I had so much fun with this one.  And I love the colors!

When I think “frisky”, I think of kittens and puppies, of the old television series Happy Days where Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham would occasionally disappear upstairs because one or the other was feeling “frisky”, and of childhood play, particularly spinning in circles until we got so dizzy we collapsed on the lawn in fits of giggles.

We grow up.  We stop spinning.  We forget the euphoria that comes from simple play.  What if we took that feeling back and inserted a little friskiness into our every day?

Be silly.  Act goofy.  Re-invent an imaginary friend.  Do whatever natural thing works to lighten your mood.  Don’t worry about what other people think.

You’re the one who matters so matter to yourself and feel a little frisky!

Constructive criticism and comments are always welcome.  Please share your thoughts!

Frisky (link to poem)

Frisky - Full

Frisky - Detail 01

Frisky - Poem Label

Frisky - Original Sketch

Original Sketch

Next up: The next Feeling comes from the opposite side of the emotional spectrum.  This could get a little dark, but that’s okay because we can’t feel positive ALL the time, can we?


Info about my Feelings series: I interpret my random abstract doodles as emotions.  The guiding point is the outer boundary of the doodle.  The boundary evokes the feeling.  From there, I contemplate how to bring that particular feeling alive in fabric. 

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Inquisitive

I’ve been working on this piece since early May and just finished as June was winding down.  It doesn’t usually take almost two months for me to complete an art quilt; that makes me feel like I’m slacking off.

However, in my own defense to myself, I have been a bit busy — a couple of out-of-town business trips (a new thing, not sure I like it), a son’s college graduation, assorted beer fests and summer parties.  Before I knew it, all the weekends were booked solid and the weekdays didn’t allow much in the way of available studio time either.  I’m not complaining; we had lots of fun, but I do miss my studio time.  It’s one of my favorite things to do and places to be.

This is the second in my Feelings work.  If you’ll recall, I am interpreting my random abstract doodles as emotions.  The guiding point is the outer boundary of the doodle.  The boundary evokes the feeling.  From there, I contemplate how to bring that particular feeling alive in fabric.  This process is quite enjoyable and seems to flow, which I take to mean I’m on the right track.

We peer through keyholes (or we did in the old days when one could see through locks), we use magnifying glasses or microscopes, we ask questions.  The “why” of the child never really leaves us.  Curiosity – inquisitiveness – is an excellent trait to have.  It’s part of how we learn and we should never stop.

Constructive criticism and comments are always welcome.  Please share your thoughts!

Inquisitive (link to poem)

Inquisitive - Finished

Inquisitive - Detail

Inquisitive - Poetry Label

Inquisitive - Orig. Sketch

Original doodle

Next up: The next feeling is underway.  Stay tuned!

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Inflamed

I’ve spent the last couple years trying to find my artistic voice.  Ultimately, this is a lifelong journey – an artist finds her voice, people recognize her work without having to read a sign or look for a signature on a piece and then, somewhere down the line, just like happens when people grow from childhood into our teens, the voice alters.  If she’s lucky, elements of the “known” voice remain and people still recognize her art as Her.  Or in this case, Me.

Finding one’s voice is tricky.  It’s not like looking for Easter eggs behind the shrubs and among the high grass.  It’s not even like looking for your keys when you just know you put them right here.  The eggs have color working in their favor and keys always seem to turn up, even if in the most unlikely place.  The artistic voice is illusive.  The more you search, the quieter the voice becomes.

And that is downright frustrating.

If you were to look through my gallery (click the link in the menu), you would likely say, yeah, she’s right, her work is all over the place.  There’s no unifying element of design or color or theme (the crosses were part of the voice search – a start but ultimately just a theme, not my voice).  On one hand, I’m okay with this disparate body of work.  I’m still new to my artistic career and I’ve only earned a small chunk of the 10,000 hours needed to become an “expert”.  I’m also okay with always learning.  In fact, I think “expert” is like “perfect” – a ridiculous notion, both of them.  A little humility and imperfection is better for the soul.

But on the other hand, I’m an impatient woman.  I want what I want and I want it NOW.  The universe laughed at me for that.  Loudly.

So, I researched and read and asked other artists how one finds their voice.  And this is what they said:

Narrow the focus.  Limit the technique and the size and the color and whatever else it takes to have as close to a singular focus for your work as is humanly possible.

This too was difficult.  I have a series of sketches, all abstract, odd shapes.  Doodles, really, but fun shapes for my art.  I rebel against square, don’t forget.  I planned to take those sketches – clouds, I thought – and create my next series.  Within the outer boundary line of each sketch, I drew a circle, a spiral, three stripes, and one other shape.  I thought, “This!  This is my narrow focus!”  And then I created a piece with all those elements and it was a crashing disaster.  It did not work.  At all.  Horrible composition when I took it off the page and into the studio.  A lesson from the genius that is my muse.  I paid attention and learned, which is really the best outcome when something for which you had high hopes goes sideways.

Back to the drawing board I went (the one in my head).  I muddled and pondered and grimaced and grouched and begged the spirit that sends me ideas to help me figure out just what the heck those sketches were, just how the heck I was supposed to narrow them down into something that might just turn out to be my voice.

The artistic spirit who hangs around me stepped up (it took a few days…the universe is always trying to teach me patience).  I was reading a book on my lunch hour.  I don’t know what the passage said.  I don’t know what triggered the revelation, but suddenly, exactly like the proverbial spark of inspiration, I realized I was not drawing clouds in those little sketches.  I was drawing FEELINGS!!!

A light went on.  And I knew how to proceed.

The sketch became “Inflamed”, a feeling of passion, of ire, of pain, of pleasure.  The tight, narrow focus to my work now is the feeling each sketch evokes.

Finding my voice might be closer than I think.  It’s certainly closer today than it was a month ago.

Constructive criticism and comments are always welcome.  Please share your thoughts!

Inflamed (link to poem)

Inflamed - Copyright

Inflamed - Detail 03

No. 01 Orig Sketch

The original sketch, for comparison

There’s no poem for this piece.  To me, the piece IS the poem because feelings are always poetry to me.

Next up: I’m working on the design for the next feeling in my sketch pile, but first, I have a stepson graduating from college.  He needs a gift.

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