Els was right!

river abstraction process

A couple days back, Els said she was interested in seeing how I got to abstraction, because she generally failed on the side of realism. And as yesterday's post showed, so did I on that piece.

(You should totally click on that link, because she just finished an amazing felt book, and is working now what looks to be a crown with a story.)

On this one, I thought I had some good abstract stuff going down, and then the river went in, and it feels like I could, with a little effort, pinpoint this valley on the globe. Which, I hasten to add, would be tricky because really I was working hard to keep it simple and not representational at all!

I can try again, maybe smaller. But first I have to finish this one.

Valley, summer

valley and river summer

Every time I say someting I'm working on is big, Timna snickers at me, because my stuff is always, always small compared to her sizes. This one is 12×24" showing a fairly realistic view of the Connecticut River Valley from Hatfield to the Holyoke Range. North is to the left, which can confuse those who live for maps. It could probably hang either way; north up or east up, depending on the comfort levels of the individual who ends up owning it.

Below are two details from the above, one of the Hadley penninsula, some of the msot amazing farmland in the state, and one of the Northampton Meadows, a very similar texture of farmland but used quite differently.

meadows detail Hadley detail

map? sort of? or quilt? (not any more)

valley process july 2

For some reason, when I show the river, it is always brown. It shows up brown  or black on true color satellite images, which I worked with for a while, a long time ago. It shows up brown when I fly over it in tiny planes out of the local tiny airport. It looks brown (with some green) when I go over the bridge to and from everything. And yet every cartographic instinct I have tells me that water is always blue. It is what we call a cartographic convention. And I am so torn!!

Above you can see my lovely brown river (maybe it was from hearing the Just So Stories involving the great, gray-green, greasy Limpopo River) and while I love it, I also think it is not quite correct. 

So I tried an experiment overlaying a dark and sparkling blue organza over that brown. It looks like so:


Since I am not at all sure, I thought I should maybe let it rest until tomorrow, when I will have had sleep.

Five a.m. is for the birds.


valley, july 1

Timna Tarr invited me to participate in an exhibit she is curating at a gallery in Holyoke. The exhibit is "Texture and Substance: Contemporary Fiber Art" at Paper City Studios, 80 Race St, Holyoke. (I'll probably say that a couple more times before it happens!)

I wanted to experiment with a larger size, and a more abstract feel. While I started with a fairly detailed aerial photo, I realized the detail and the idea of precision was making me nervous and unhappy. So I'm headed towards abstraction, give or take.

This is the base layer of fabrics. The piece gets some stitching now, to make sure everything stays in place. Detail is added with cut fabric pieces and more stitching.