[ Content | Sidebar ]

Archives for overpainting

Comparing Media: Intaglio, Quilting, and Language

In a recent critique session of quilted art, conducted by two “fine” artists, I found myself having a “eureka” moment. Then, a few days ago, Jay and Melanie’s discussion of Jay’s intaglio technique on board and foamcore (published prior to this post) pushed some of my insights a bit further. All this was added into a melange of thinking I’ve been doing about where I am in relation to quilted art and painted art.

The eureka moment came through the phrase used by one of the fine art critics: the phrase was “working the surface.” “Working the surface” in the traditional fine arts means adding, deleting, scraping, underpainting and overpainting, sanding, gouging — all the kinds of things one can do that either uncover and/or add to a planar surface. It seems clear to me that Jay’s process of working his boards and foamcore are fine examples of “working the surface.”

With quilted art, “working the surface” seems to show up in two ways. One is what is called “surface design,” which basically alters the flat plane, by dyeing it, laying rust on it, discharging (bleaching) it, monoprinting on it, and even digging into it, tearing and unraveling the threadwork. This work sometimes adds texture (especially with elements applied to the surface (applique) or taken away from it (“cutwork” or just plain gouging holes). These kinds of working of the plane are singular, patterned for the effect in a particular work, not meant to be turned into a commercial design for fabric (the original use of “surface design” had a strong commercial element.) The other part of working the surface with textiles is the work of embroidery and quilted lines that make for a frieze effect; when stitches are pushed through the two layers of fabric and the in-between batting or wadding, the stitched line makes an indentation, beside which the surface becomes raised by the pushed-aside materials.

I have never heard the phrase, “working the surface” applied to quilted art before, but when I heard that and then saw the intricacies of Jay’s working of his surfaces, I realized that the language may give me new insights into what can be done with quilted art.

At the critique, the guest “critics” (very kind observant folks) looked at two pieces I had brought, comparing them.

The first was one you’ve seen before: Mrs. Willard Waltzes with the Wisteria, 76 x 61″, 2003, hand dyed and painted cotton, embroiderie perse with computer-generated prints, and dyed overlays.


mrswwaltzesdetw.jpg detail

more… »

How I Stop and Start Something New

DaydreamerThis is the end product of a demo I posted on another site. The process I used was to do a series of acrylic washes until I thought I knew the person I was looking for in this painting. Then started to build in oil, leaving some of the acrylic visible. I kept from moving away from my original idea by avoiding the urge to make everything perfect. I thought about making the hand smaller or detailing the neck line of his T-Shirt, but it remained just a thought. I had the feeling that I was done and it was time to move on to something new.

Colorful Underpainting

Many people think of underpainting as a working in monochrome — either in grays, or browns. Artists of the past like Jan van Eyck used very colorful underpaintings. The usefulness of this I see in my painting of grapes.

I was painting these grapes from some dark purple-blue grapes in my studio. I made the underpainting much more bright, and warm, than real grapes, as you can see in the picture above.

When the first layer of oil paint was dry, I began overpainting, putting darker shadows over the grapes to make the colors more realistic, darker and cooler, as you can see above.

Here I have gone further with overpainting in another session. Now the grapes have a realistic color, but the brightness of the underpainting color shows through and gives life to the colors. If I had started with dark gray grapes, instead of a colorful underpainting, the colors would be dead when I did the overpainting. This this picture is not quite finished in the cloth. Here is where I left it yesterday afternoon.

Any suggestions?


(detail requested by Steve)

A painting a [in several] day[s]

Recently we looked at one of Hanneke van Oosterhout‘s finished still life paintings. There were a number of excellent critiques. The painting was already sold, however, so comments could have no further impact on that picture.

Now Hanneke is in the progress of making another still life. It is not yet finished, which means that your comments could help her make this painting better.

We can follow the painting’s development over several days. more… »