July is well under way, and so is my new series. I extended the June 2015 'Grateful Dead' series to cover our time in Chicago for the Fare Thee Well shows...so the July series will be five short...which really bothers me...because I am so OCD...so that may change.
Many times I link my themes with travels and/or events that are happening in any given month. That's what happened with my June series, everything leading up to the shows. In previous years I would follow the Creative Every Day theme suggestions...but for the month of July I didn't really have any travel plans (other that a short, local 10 year anniversary trip!!!) so...and the CED theme didn't jump out at me (it's 'slow', BTW, the theme for July)...so...I was kinda on my own with the theme.
I have been cleaning and organizing, which I LOVE to do. One project that I am working on is going through old pics, trying to get them at least a little bit more organized. I half-heartedly started this project before our last trip, but gave up and put everything away. One of the things I came across were pictures of my art from undergrad, when I was in textiles at East Carolina University.
And one of specific items was a flier from my senior show with fellow art ed/textile senior, Kelly;
One thing that I can say about the way I learned about art and the way I teach art...I really do focus on the formal qualities of the work. There are different opinions on how art should be taught, and I love hearing about all of them...but at the end of the day I break work down (and OBSESS) over specific formal qualities of the work, often expressed as elements and principles. This being said, I could ponder the quality of a line in a piece of work...get caught up in color...enthralled by subtle changes in value...I could go on...
But TEXTURE. Texture has always been kinda my thing. Implied texture, actual texture...I love it. I think that is what really connected me to textiles in undergrad, I loved the feeling of the different yarns when I was weaving...the feel of the different fabrics...layering my screens when I printed, 'painting' with them and not washing them in between, too caught up in the layers I was creating. And don't even get me started on beadwork and basically any type of embellishing...just...don't.
Here are some old skool pics from my undergrad and grad days at ECU that show my interest in texture;
But it wasn't just the textures in fibers- it was textures in drawings, paintings and mixed media pieces, which has continued into what I do now. I don't dye fabric anymore. I haven't made a tapestry in a minute. I can't tell you the last time I dressed a loom, or went into the dark room to burn a screen. And as for beading...my containers are all on the shelf, color coordinated...but untouched. But...I create textures with salt and rubbing alcohol in my watercolors...I like to print and stamp when I paint with acrylics...I like to layer different papers and materials and then draw/paint on them...so that passion for texture is still present, just in a different form.
So for July I decided to revisit that idea of surfaces. Last month I worked with markers, color pencils and watercolor and had a little fun with salt texture. This month I want to try out a few new techniques for creating textures in paint...maybe some additional materials...stamp..collage...who knows...maybe I will even break out some fabrics and beads...that's a slippery slope for me...but I just might, gonna leave it wide open. This is the perfect time to take this on- we will be home for pretty much the rest of the month so I don't have to worry about travelling with a bunch of materials, something that I always plan for when deciding on my monthly series.
Another motivation...and please understand I am NOT READY to think about going back to school yet (hey, I just trained myself to sleep after 6am!!) ...I was thinking that this is also a good chance for me to learn/practice some new techniques that I could use with my students next year, so this is for my personal AND professional development. (gotta love a win-win!)
All this being said, I have my first three pieces up in my gallery, and here below;
I try to think about maintaining some kind of linear narrative within my monthly body of work, I don't like it when there is a huge change in material or colors...again...just me being an #OCPDartist. I figured since I just finished working with watercolor then it would be a good place to start...then I jumped into adding some gouache and acrylic on the second and third pieces, having fun stamping the color onto my paper with saran wrap and even my fingers. I keep going back to the image of the face with the eyes closed, at peace, calm, content...when I think back on my love for textiles I always think about the personal connection that everyone has with fabrics...the feel of your favorite blanket or your favorite stuffed animal...a crocheted blanket or quilt passed down from a family member...that sense of connection and memory...comfort.
Again...starting off this series in paint and mixed media...but it may end up going back to fibers in some form or another...but the focus being that treatment of the surface, whether it be through actual or implied textures.
Artist and Art Teacher