Master Knitter?

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I just started a program with The Knitting Guild Association to become a master knitter. It is the strangest sensation to be doing this, and also the most comforting thing I have ever embarked on.  Unfortunately, I do not trust myself.  I know how I am, how I get really into something and then later get bored and move on.  And really this is only the beginning of one step.  Oddly I have tried everything all the way through to the last part of the program, and yet here in the trenches, starting fresh and new, I am learning somethings.  Like how to capture stitches before you rip out to a mistake.  (As you knit so shall you rip).

I have been reading, already, about the history of fiber arts, and about world textiles.  I am absolutely fascinated by the first archeological record of fiber, woven fabrics, knitted string skirts, embroidered and knitted things found in various digs.  I am curious about the way indigenous people create their traditional arts, like Navajo blanket weaving, Mayan (Guatemalan) blackstrap weaving, Thai story cloth,  mud bark paintings from India and parts of Africa, String” fabric from Myanmar and Tapa cloth from Hawaii. I am, and always have been, fascinated by traditional patterning and motifs, going deeper than Fair Isle and looking at the Sammi people.

I was interrupted in my knitting fever, and now am fully in remission.  I went through a phase where I knitted all the time.  I don’t want to always go back to the giant rift in my life, but it had such a significant impact on my life I don’t know what else to talk about.  While I was putting my ex through graduate school, I added 20 hours a week of waitressing to my full time teaching job.  The only thing left that I could do creatively was knit.  And knit I did, I designed several sweaters, failed at a few too.  And I think my ex was disdainful of it, like hanging laundry on a clothesline, I think he viewed my knitting as something loser country people do.  Maybe that is why he left me?  I will never know.

When he left though I mostly stopped and didn’t knit for 8 or 9 years.  There was a brief layover period where a friend and I knitted purses and sold them, and I started a blanket as a wedding gift for a friend I lost in the divorce, I was heartbroken when I wasn’t invited.  And I never finished the afghan.

I did buy a spinning wheel, and I love using it, the rhythm of the wheel, is soothing and calming.  But it is not something that ever drew my interest deeply.  I adore and love weaving, but a large and complicated loom necessary for intricate patterns hold no interest for me.  Warping my little rigid heddle is hours of work and pain in my lower back, makes it hard.  Knitting however has jumped back into my hands, knowing you will never be an expert weaver at this late stage, leaves a prohibitive feeling in you as you work it.

One could say that perhaps I should return to painting, and perhaps I should, in time I might with the same vengeance I am embarking on with knitting.  I have many ideas swarming in my mind.  image

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Transition

Not sure where I am going or why, but here are two new pieces.  The first inspired while listening to the My Favorite Murder podcast.  The second inspired by a photo of cleaning supplies I saw on Pinterest.

Recent work

 

These are some of the pieces I have been working on this summer.  A few were unfinished pieces, that I finally got around to completing.  The three medicinal herbs, wintergreen, bridewort and foxglove are all on 5×7″ canvas board.  Painted from my own photo collection.  The American Catalpa is painted from a tree in my own backyard.  The abstracted painting of blue and yellow and green trees started out en plein air but was abstracted in studio and is still incomplete.  The black lab was a photo from camping last summer at a hunting camp on Copper Lake near Old Forge NY.  And is a painting of my dog.  The two recent abstractions painted on gessoed archival canvas board with a gallery frame, are inspired by the Schweinfurth’s Quilting by the Lake show.

 

I have not painted A lot  this summer, what with babysitting my precious, bright, cheerful, and darling grand daughter.  Wouldn’t change a single thing there.  Would go through every trauma, struggle and heartbreak a thousand times to have her in my life.  I also have been struggling with the chronic disease that reared its ugly head after a 1200 calorie diet threw my whole system off.  I have lost weight but at what price? I am also taking a graduate arts administration class this summer which is super time consuming but worth it.  I am also downsizing tremendously and have gotten rid of some furniture, electronics, books which I can no longer read due to my vision problems (thank the goddess for iPads), clothing, purses, shoes and household items. And of course flat water paddling is my favorite past time besides babysitting, painting and reading.  (I must have read 15 books already this summer).

 

I am am thinking about how all my work fits together, and really having some deep meta cognitive thoughts.  I want to put my love of fiber arts, my realism, my abstractions, my love of line pattern and color altogether into a coherent retrospective of my work.  I guess that is my next goal to kind of weed out more chafe and sort it all into a timeline and mental gathering of my life’s work.

Thats it. 😘😘

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Paul Cezanne and American Abstract Artists

 

One of the first master copies I ever did was one of the incarnations of Paul Cezanne’s Mt. Saint Victoire.  During a critique the other day I was called an American Abstract artist which made me think of my inspirations throughout the years, Cezanne, the artists of The Steiglitz liniage, O’Keeffe, Hartley and Dove and how I have noticed some similarities in their paintings as shown above.  Less so with the O’Keeffe but I am sure there is one out there I have to find it, that shows direct influence of Cezanne.

These are a few favorites:

 

I am also a big fan of Henry Moore (not an American abstract artist but a defining influence) and his flowing forms and smooth lines

And and the simplified shapes and smoothness of the paint and the flowing lines of Thomas Hart Benton

Other artists her artists whom I love and have influenced me are Wassily Kandinsky, Kathe Kollwitz and Ansel Adams:

What these all have to do with each other is beyond me at the moment.  Maybe a better analyst can help me figure it out?  I would love to hear someone else’s thoughts on this.

Throwback Thursday

I have been cleaning out my old art work , trying to be discerning about what I have done, using old pieces for the class I am taking (collage to prepare for a painting) and just generally organizing my space.  I have some ways to go because I need to organize my small closet, take over the “gun room” (shh tell no one!) and work on my storage area.  There are some other things in my work space that I find irritating and have to be set up better.  For me, being a messy artist doesn’t work, I hate bumping stuff off shelves with my elbow, or not having a safe place to put my tea.

I found this while going through my flat files:

firstpainting.psd

WIPs

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The assignment was to make several collages and then create a painting form the collage.  Because I was seeking something different with the endless tired still life, I was told to create four or five paintings based on my backyard painting.  See below.  I think for this reason they have a feeling of collage.  The painting with the small cutout tree.  And the full chickadee is my favorite.

I did both I half assed the collages, taking old images of my own work and slapping them together into something new.  I have at least two good paintings out of that.  I have an unfinished collage that is very intriguing and every time I walk by it I say OH.  I accidentally made a discovery when I was cleaning and placed it on a piece of paper that I liked but didn’t use and it has potential.

I think I will work on those a bit today before my meeting.

These two paintings I worked on yesterday.  I am quite happy with one of them.  The other is in need of additional work.  Especially now that I look at it online.  It helps my eyes somehow to see it backlit and smaller I can focus on what it needs better.

Still adjusting to my new eyes.

On the Easel

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WIP Backyard Exploration # 1
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Backyard Exploration #2
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WIP Backyard Exploration #3
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Brushes and Palette Knife used
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Palette with Williamsburg Handmade Oils and Gamblin Paints

The final weeks of work before my class ends.  I have learned a lot from this class, but the most important thing that I have learned is not to take a graduate level painting class again.   I really was relegated to returning to being an undergraduate, lots of review, and after the midterm (which three weeks was spent on a tired still life) with NO extra work.  Yawn.) I insisted on being given a bit more free rein, which he interpreted as stay home one day a week and paint.  And I interpreted as I don’t have time to work with you individually.  I paid for graduate level class work and was given undergrad work.  I paid for the same attention as the other grad student and got less.  And I think he thinks I am a hack too. (Because now I do) because of some things he has said.  One that he didn’t want me using canvas from home because he didn’t want it on cheap flimsy frames.  I have been using heavy duty stretcher strips for YEARS, and the only reason I switched to canvas board, is because it is easier to store.  I have now moved on to Ampersand archival gesso board, which he claims will warp, and now I looking at bass board boxes.  At least my work is gallery ready.

Or is it?

No my framer who is an artist in his own right is only right for a certain market.  And my reclaimed frames also not gallery ready.  And if only I would find my audience.

And do a collage, six.

I did collage for two whole years, and then fabric collage.

He tosses the work to one side.  Stopping to look at only one or two.

I am Amelie melting into a splash of puddle.

I wake this morning and an idea comes to me.  I sketch it out.  Everyone is sold out of the 11″x14″ Basswood panels.

I will paint it on my stretched canvas, on heavy duty stretcher strips that I prepared a year and a half ago.

I know I have an attitude.