Feels like painting in oils

This stitching project feels the most like painting yet. I'm playing with layers of opacity and translucency, with line and shapes. My goal is a backlit view of a gourd vine on a fence with a majestic orb spider and web among the browning leaves.

The colors are the earth pigments Richard Trickey listed for our Oil Painting 201 palette in the drafty Richards Hall classroom: raw umber, burnt umber, raw sienna, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, and ultramarine blue. Colors of rich compost, primordial stew, and fossil fuel meet mixtures of turp and linseed oil...

The design uses positive and negative collage concepts from Gail Butt's Drawing, Composition, and Watercolor classes. How many times do I contemplate his definition of drawing as "linear, monochromatic, or incomplete"? Whether I cook, write, or stitch, I think of his color lecture about "delicate, rich, or bold".

The process of stitching is my on-going internal discussion with James Eisentrager about saving and discarding parts of a painting. Eisentrager particularly warned about avoiding "the precious save" of the favorite section when it impairs the development of the whole form. In my mind he sits at that gray university desk in his smoky office patiently opening my mind to large decisive areas of creamy cake frosting or clear broth, instead of a picture full of anxious narrow strokes (or stitches).

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

1 comment:

Genevieve said...

I wish you lived nearby, Nancy. I'd contribute some fabric scraps to your stash.


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