Mesa Canyons - Feedback needed

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RUEdOAK wrote
on 17 Jun 2011 11:15 AM

approx 14" square, this piece mixes quilting, layering, polymer clay, beads, Shiva paint sticks, knit lace edging,needle felting, frayed edges. I am struggling to get a decent photo, as the roving always seems to turn to fuzz...and I realize now that I have loaded this that the beading and the hand quilting with embroidery floss is hardly evident. Sigh.

The piece was inspired by my many drives across Utah, through wonderful mesa valleys.

I need another's eye as to the composition. The blue of the roving and the paint sticks is strong. The "sun" with its curling knit lace is a stronger element in real life, but I am debating as to whether to bring it out more. The piece is more about the cliffs and the valley river than the sun -- but maybe my intent is simply not where this is going...Thoughts? And be candid!

Jen

 

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ckquilter wrote
on 20 Jun 2011 2:30 AM

hi jen

your colors create a very warm, sunny feeling. good for big skies.    and the yellow/orange works for rock.

it feels ok until i get to the square,  white border  - why is it there???it is awfully confining and square, and not in keeping with the feel of the rest of the quilt. a  more organic edge would be more in keeping with the feel of the rest of the piece. (remember - edges do NOT have to be straight ).

your sun would be more apparent if the colors around it were the blues you have used elsewhere.

in the upper areas, you have some nice curves on the left side. and then some very static, rigid straight lines in the middle and right side. i like the curves better. and i like that they change angles from the lower areas. but still feel free, until they hit the straight yellow lines.   ckquilter

 

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Shirley280 wrote
on 22 Jun 2011 10:11 AM

Hi Jen,

I agree about the restrictive white border.  I think the organic nature of the fringe on the upper left is nice--perhaps that should be the edge.  I love the water elements.  I swam in the Green River in Dinasaur Nat. Park and it felt like that, a little icy, a little swift but still friendly.

 

If you don't want to remove the white border-how about using some natural color (sandstony) that might pull border and interior together. . .

 

Shirley

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RUEdOAK wrote
on 23 Jun 2011 7:18 PM

My thanks to both of you, ckquilter and Shirley. I hadn't even stopped to consider the border as a compositional element. Silly me. :-) In part, I think, because of the way this evolved. While I have always had the cliffs and valleys and hot high desert in mind, HOW I got to it has changed. And the border went in early. AH HA! I will play with this. Before reading your thoughts, I had added a thin band of orange into the arc of the sun, and was contemplating adding blue. Will play with this and add a photo to show changes.

MANY thanks.

Jen

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ckquilter wrote
on 29 Jul 2011 4:57 PM

hi jen

have you made any changes to your canyons quilt?

the sky? or the white frame??               i would like to see the changes/results and hear your thoughts on the process, and the final
(if it is done) product.                           ckquilter

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RUEdOAK wrote
on 16 Aug 2011 3:27 PM

CKquilter,

You are so great to be prompting me on this. I have been largely away for the past month -- some work, some family -- and EVERYTHING in my art life has been on hold. Just home yesterday and NOW I will be able to make some progress on this project, as well as a couple of others. And visit what others here have been posting.

 

Jen

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RUEdOAK wrote
on 17 Sep 2011 8:51 PM

Ok, I am finally back with some changes to Mesa Canyons.

I took the border off, and made changes to the sun. In addition I used tulle with marks in the same blue paint stick already used, overlaid across the polymer clay and needle felted horizontals. My thought was to address the feedback about the rigid horizontal vs more organic line. Also used more beading both in the sun and in the diagonal netting.

I first did a solid arc of both orange and blue felted wool on the sun. It felt too contrived on a piece that has so much abstract, broken line and form. So I tried to think as though I was painting -- hence the daubs of blue and orange.

Again, I sincerely welcome your feedback!

Jen

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ckquilter wrote
on 18 Sep 2011 1:11 AM

hi jen

well - i am liking the absence of that white border. 

and i like the new sun too. the dark blue really makes the orange             pop.

the white waves on the lower part - don't have the right feel, for me.   with all the other texture, and then they get too flat.                the edges are also too distinct for me.           i like the darker blue you are adding, and the dimensional feel - and that gets lost when you hit the waves.   with all the other soft lines going on - how about some bigger waves, as well as smaller, and more dimension to them (multiple layers?) and maybe some lace froth on top.                similar in idea to what you did with the sun (     which i really like).       the dark blue and lighter blue and white rather than just the spotted white fabric.                                        i also like the bit of brown (yarn?) in the lower right corner.  and you have the same stuff in a couple other places - nice.                   

have you decided on a border/binding?                                                                                                 ckquilter                                               

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RUEdOAK wrote
on 18 Sep 2011 9:40 AM

ck, you are great. I love the detailed ideas and your willingness to give direct feedback. It is very helpful.

Well, I confess I have been debating about the waves. One of those times when the original plan seems to be giving way to something else. :-) I think compositionally the flatter / less textured part COULD work, if visually balanced. But I think I have lost that, in building up the other areas. In real life, this has become highly textured.

Lace froth is a wild idea. But on water in a high mesa environment....or am I still hanging on too much to the original idea.

I am thinking of mounting this on stretcher bars, like some of my other pieces. This treatment handles the highly textured well. I may even take the border I pulled off, rework the corners so that they wrap, so that instead of being a border, it becomes the sides of frame. Of course I should have thought of that earlier when I was ripping it off. :-) One step at a time.

Jen

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ckquilter wrote
on 18 Sep 2011 6:39 PM

hi jen

don't ever be afraid to let the art lead you.  your original ideas are important. they are where it is from.  but it is also about the journey; and being open to where it leads - especially when you can see that the new paths are better than the original plan.     but i also prefer the piece have that cohesiveness to it - instead of going everywhere - keep that high mesa rock idea - and let it continue to be the theme holding everything together.  just think it through more - and play with the ideas that the piece generates as you work on it.   it has already shown you some new paths (which you followed - and which i think are an improvement to the original.  good for you !)

i think you need to let the flatter parts go - that would be a good starting place for the next design in the series!   and i am liking this the more textured it gets (but that is also personal taste).    

if the lace waves are too much - and i can see how they might not fit smooth water - although if it were white water between high rocks ??

but that might not be the feel you want here. (maybe for the next one).    if you are wanting to keep the original idea of the high mesa (and it has been a good one), then maybe removing the waves entirely would be better (save them for white water or the ocean).    instead, how about dropping in some water between rocks ?     the rocks would allow more of the warm colors - and when you set those next to the deep blue (like you did for the sun)  - nice things happen.

what do you think of/ remember when you think of the water on the mesa ? if it was shallow and slow running - probably not waves.  or was it just pools or puddles of water? and then you would want to rework the water shape, maybe.   was there anything living in the pool of water? and how could you add life to the puddle? or if pools of water, rather than running water, how about a reflection?  maybe even your own, or your families - especially if they were there with you.                or some other reflection in the pool of water.   maybe reflecting the sun?                          that would give you a repeated element - and maybe let the dark pool of water have bits of sunlight glinting off of it. a little touch of metallic, shiny spot - would be different in feel and texture from the rocks and sun around it.

you are right, in that the stretcher bars will help support the weight.i still would not go around the edge with white though. instead continue the colors that are on the front, and take them around the sides.                           ckquilter

 

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on 25 Oct 2011 10:47 AM

Hi Jen!

 

Did you ever end up mounting this piece? I would love to see it if you did!

 

Lindsey

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RUEdOAK wrote
on 25 Oct 2011 11:23 PM

I haven't officially finished it. I want to bring out the waves/water. So it continues to hang pinned to my wall.....

Akkk!

:-)

Jen

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hpthecat wrote
on 26 Oct 2011 8:09 AM

I really like the enhancements made in the second photo.

CK has a good eye knowing what is needed next- and she called that one good with the added blue around the sun.

To my eye-- when I first look at the orginal-- without reading any explanation of the  piece-- just cold looking with no written context: For me, the white rocks insinuate ships on a sea because my mind wants to reference them to the waves I see in a bed of blue.

I really had to go Google some photos of the Mesa desert to grasp the wide open blue sky of the Arizona desert and understand your inspiration better. Now having more reference for your inspiration, CK's advice of reworking the water is clarified for me. Then maybe work in some browns in the lower edges.  For this reason: to bring the viewer who has no written explanation, back to an impression of the scene being rooted on land. IF that is what you want to impart. It wouldn't take a lot, combined with the water being 'abstractly insinuated' through a darker value than the sky.

I really salute you overall on your grasp of how to compose and technically "marry" the components of mixed media together into 'one story.'

Bernina 820, Babylock Evolution, Babylock Embellisher, Babylock Audrey.

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RUEdOAK wrote
on 26 Oct 2011 8:36 PM

This is SO wonderfully helpful, hpthecat! CK's comments have been right on target for me, and have helped me "see" through an other's eyes. And yours as well. Bridging what is in MY mind's eye to what you as the observer -- with all of your own life references -- sees, experiences is of course the profound task of any artist, if my objective is to have a work "read" as I intend! Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, and I have had plenty of people read different things in my artwork than I have intended, and if it has meaning to them, then I am satisfied. BUT with all that said, there is such satisfaction in expressing through the art what is meaningful to me AND having others "get it" too. :-)

Hence, your thoughts about working in browns at the lower edges, to evoke rooted to the land are something I will noodle on. Something called Life has kept me away from finishing this piece....but it has also been not yet a clear sense, vision, inspiration, call (get all my sensory triggers in there!) as to handle the water.

Thank you for the food for thought.

Jen

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RUEdOAK wrote
on 28 Jan 2012 8:35 PM

I am back after a LONG autumn deep in other projects. But finally I have finished my Mesa Canyons.

I have been staring at this on my work wall for months, overwhelmed by the idea of undoing all of the stitching on the bottom section. So though it may not be as well balanced as it might, simply adding more needle felted roving and yarn, as well as larger beads, helps. At least I hope those of you who gave me such thoughtful comments think so!

Jen

 

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