A blog about my interests, which include fabric landscapes and various and assorted other artsy pursuits and sometimes known to contain mumblings of a random nature.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Critics Unite!!

Ok folks, here's the mystery (to both you AND me!) project which is, I think, finished? As Arlee said, I am poised on the ledge of artswomanship (no such word, I know). Am I about to leap off or am I still clinging by my toenails? (Picture is clickable).

Feedback needed and wanted! I'm strong, I can take it. Have at it!!.....


  1. I guess my question to you would be what are you trying to convey as an artist through this piece? Only in answering this for yourself will you be in a position to ascern how successfully you've communicated. Whether, as a viewer, I get the same message upon seeing it that you meant to convey is important, but I think it more important for you to be able to say you've communcated as clearly and fully as you are able to what you wanted to say...

  2. I like it very much--and i ain't sayin' that just cause i'm yer Sis :] The only thing i would add is a bit more hand stitch---if you morph the leaves down the side and across the top into a diamond shape meeting up with the bottom motifs i think it would look more finished--tie the stitching in too by matching it to the background. This would also make the beaded circles more focused, as without that last touch you have three distinct shapes carrying the eye rather than as a unified whole.
    The bug adds a nice touch to the diagonals as well! I like the naked dots as well-some movement without being heavy or over powering.
    This would be a smashing panel on a bag!

  3. I think it came out beautifully. Congratulations. What are the dimensions and what becomes of it now? I see many more shortly...

  4. Well done MA--I like how it looks and I do agree with Arlee about more hand stitching to bring it all together.
    Is this the beginning of a new direction for you--I hope so because you have a flare for it.

  5. I really like it. I agree that more stitching wouldn't hurt. Maybe continue the circles around the flowers? I love the little bug. I have that fabric with the triangles that is at the bottom. It's such beautiful fabric with so many colors. It looks great here.

  6. Me again. Lol. I got this in a newsletter recently and it helps me a lot with art quilts. I don't necessarily follow them but I do think about them.

    It's best to plan your pattern first, not after the fact.
    Don't be afraid to use thumbnail value plans as starters.
    Think of the pattern as a structure that moves the eye.
    The eye moves first to the simpler, larger shapes.
    The overall pattern is best when it's irregular and varied.
    Avoid predictable shapes--blocks, circles, rectangles.
    Avoid equality, kissing shapes and homeostatic effects.
    Patterns should move beyond the periphery of the work.
    The focal area can be more active, with smaller, sharper shapes.
    Viewers' eyes ask to be entertained--pattern is the opening act.
    Patterns thrive in lights, darks, and plenty of middle tones.
    Add mystery--shapes can be muzzy and obscure.
    Yin and yang your pattern--alternate dark and light activity.
    Squint at your work, invert it, or look at it in a mirror.
    Your work should "read" from across the room.

    If, in the early stages, your work is not turning out to have enough pattern, face it against the wall, or bury it and come back later. Very often the simple passage of time will give fresh keys to pattern improvement. As Don Quixote said to Sancho Panza after a particularly vexing passage: "Tomorrow will be another day."

  7. You're off to a great start MA. I love the colors and the stitching. Think about... what is your focal point. I love the face you have added now. But at first I didn't see it because now the leaves and bug is the first thing my eye saw. Also you have everything in three's, which is good to have odd numbers, but it's good to change it up a little. My suggestions would be to focus on the flowers and face more. You may have to take something away or add something more to your piece. Keep working on it as you are very talented and have a good eye for beauty. I see it in your photographs. Don't think too hard on it. Just think collage with a focus and I know you'll have it. You'll be happy with it I'm sure after you tweak it a bit.

  8. Well, interesting reading the others comments and I have to disagree. I think it's perfect as it is. I think more stitching will detract from what's already there not add to it. But I'm a minimalist. Less is more in most cases for me. The color tones are perfect and the objects are such that the eyes move around the "page" but return to the center. Funny that someone didn't see the face at first and saw the bug. I saw the fast first and didn't see the bug! Go figure. Different brains...

  9. Hi!
    Thanks for the kind words on my blog. I'm often not sure how some of my ramblings come off....sort of like your question about this piece: Did this make sense? Is this piece done?

    Quilt Pixie is correct and I agree most whole-heartedly with her initial question. This question is one I ask myself over and over again. (Although my exact, mental words are: What are you trying to say? Perhaps this explains my love affair with using "real words")

    Anyway, one of the most important parts of critically looking at art is determining whether the piece successfully conveyed the desired affect. Of course, the viewer might get a totally different message....but, if it is "communicating"....then that part seems quite successful. If it is, then I look at the craftsmanship, composition, and presentation....not necessarily in that order.

    So...if this piece communicates the desired meaning (or a satisfactory one...or at least something!)....then look to the the stitching. Your design is great. Whether you add more stitches or not is a personal choice. The color palette is wonderful. It could certainly be done. It might not be.

    I personally think it is finished. I say this because the design is straight forward, simple, happy, and easy to understand. Thus, I don't think it needs additional stitching. The stitching seems to compliment the composition.

    Of course, I have absolutely no background whatsoever in art, design, or critical you might be much better off with the suggestions of others!

    I am typing all this out because your recent comments on my blog indicate that you, like me, are looking to achieve some sort of artistic achievement and enjoy the process of growing creatively. I appreciate more than mere words can convey your comments of support...especially letting me know that I made sense!

    So, here's one of the things I occasionally do to mentally focus on artistic intentions: I make three lists: THINGS I LIKE IN OTHER ART, THINGS I DON'T LIKE IN OTHER ART, THINGS I WANT TO SAY WITH MY OWN ART. I often fill out these lists after visiting an art museum. Viewing other media from different countries, eras, and cultures can be mind boggling. By simply putting words on a list, it helps define how these influences can better seep into my work....not the design or composition or the colors but the ideas behind these pieces.

    For example, I don't generally relate to abstract expressionism or color field paintings but historic etchings resonate with me....the sense of history, time, and attention to detail. I love pattern and decoration (likely a common element for all embroiderers!) I dislike flat surfaces. I like the feeling of isolation as opposed to crowded canvases on which a painter has tried to capture every realistic detail. I gravitate to the naive. I gravitate to conceptualism but dislike much of the simplicity generally associated with it. I want my work to speak of passing years, how the past touches the future. I want my art to address my fears and frustrations about my younger son who left home at seventeen and flunked out to high school (Feb. 2008). I don't know where he lives....and I can't change him or force him to make better decisions....I'm forced to accept the poor decisions he's made....hence, the Decision Portrait series, my door and keys installation....trying to focus on the fact that everyone makes personal choices and we all must coexist. I could go on and on....but this is my way of determining what is important to me and what I want to SAY with my art.

    Try it for yourself, especially after viewing a lot of other art. It might help you focus on your own intentions. Also, if you've never done Julia Cameron's The Artist changed my life. It is a book you don't live. I hope this helps.

  10. MA, I really think you have a nice piece. The turquoise throughtout the piece moves your eye around and it moves in, around and across the work. I guess, my personal taste is I don't care for the leaves. I like the idea of leaves in exactly the place you have them, but they look like they are cut out of fabric. Is there a way you could have done a leaf print...either from a real leaf or from a hand carved stamp(or stamps) They dont seem to have the life and depth of the other items on the piece. I dont think it is too over done. I think this piece can stand on its own and would suggest you find a way to frame or mount it. G. suggested a handbag or back of a jacket but that would take away from the piece just as it is. I do think making a series is very helpful. It allows you to flush out your ideas (for me, at the stage you're at, I'm not even sure what my idea is) Making more helps is gel. When I was in art school, my first assignment in fabric design was to come to the next class with 50 designs (really just doodle sketches) and that seemed ridiculous. But it is easy to generate the first 10-15. After that things get really interesting because you go beyond the things you normally think about. I think it was one of the most valuable things I did there. Now I use that technique as often as possible. I think you have a nice sense of composition. I just read all of the comments and I think Susan is right about Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way it is a very helpful sort of therapy book to help get unblocked.

    Can't wait to see the next 49 designs!! Just kidding...but think about making tons of sketches. You'll find that in all of those many will be o.k., some will be just crap and there will be some true gems.

    Good luck I cant wait to see more.

  11. MA I don't feel qualified to answer whether this piece is finished or not, I have so few completed pieces myself. Overall I love the effect, just not sure if the little face looks a little lonely on the bottom there, or is that the idea? I love it though, LOL. Will be checking back to see what you do with this,
    Christine in sunny wintery Sydney

  12. Boy MA you ask for comments and you got em didn't you. YOu got different answers from everyone, including me, so you see, you have probably learned a little bit from the main thing to remember is do what makes YOU happy. YOu can ask 1000 more people and they will give you all different answers, some will like it, some won't, some will think it's finished, some won't, some won't want to give you a critique at all. I mean if you really want to get into composition, color balance, repetition, and all the things artists go for, then you'll stress yourself out about it. I say not at our age. this is supposed to be fun so make it look beautiful to your eyes!!!!
    That's all that matters.:) So you tell us, do you like it, is it finished?


Thank you so much for leaving comments! I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy life to talk to me. It's wonderful to know that someone is actually reading my mumblings and even more fun if I can connect with you and visit your blog.