onsdag den 3. april 2013

Saved by feedback!!!

I've got a commission art quilt I've been working on (and off) for about four years. I've posted some of the work I've done on this piece in this blog. Here are the direct links to them:


The art quilt must be about 170 cm long and must not be higher than 60 cm. It has to fit on a short wall, over a couch. This has not been the challenge.

The challenge has been to compose an image with all the atmosphere I wanted on a long piece. The theme is nature, since the commissioners are keen on long walks with their dogs. My house lies in the middle of their daily tours...


Inspiration has not been a problem: I live in the middle of the woods, and I'd even taken some pictures of the wife and their dogs, one day they walked by. We've talked about colours and they would like to have some warm colours in the room. But to start with I've made a light blue background - and the atmosphere is still cold... But I have plans to change it a lot... the background colour isn't always what dominates... By the way, the photos below were taken at different times, with different sources of light - that's why the colours look so different...

Background and the first layer: the old tree

There have been changes - many, and huge. They all happened in my private life, and ended up sinking my work a whole lot. At times I just couldn't do anything about this art quilt, so it hang on my wall waiting for some peace and quite, so I could work on it. But time goes on, and it became a source of bad conscious and self criticism - which is not constructive in any way.

So I decided to take it down, pack it and hide it in my cellar and there it remained until a couple of weeks ago. It was good to take a break from it - it stopped feeling as if it was a heavy burden I couldn't deal with. Instead, I'm motivated to finish it. But efter ironing it flat again, and considering the work so far and wondering what the next step should be, I felt hopeless.

I just couldn't understand what I'd done or how it would become something decent. My first impulse was to throw this piece away and make a whole new one from scratch. But then I took a deep breath and realised I've done this before. It's part of the creative process to doubt and to get lost. I know that if you don't give up, it might become a masterpiece. But that's when I need help - usually  a fresh pair of eyes to look at it.

Alice and my unfinished art quilt
And help I found this time with my friend, and artist, Alice Frost. She makes wonderful things and we've exhibited together a couple of times. So I called her and asked if she could give me a cup of coffe and packed my art quilt in the car.

Alice was great! We spread the piece on the floor of her living-room and rolled a piece of plastic over it, and then we discussed the possibilities and drew a few sketches on the plastic, so we could se how it'd work. Efter 15 minuttes I was confident again - I knew what I had to do next!!! And next!!! Actually I could almost see the end picture for myself...

With plastic on top, I drew some of the ideas with a marker - and choices were made!

The tree hole... 
Feedback is really a powerfull instrument - Alice listened and watched carefully. She helped me see what was lacking and how I'd put a 'cave' atmosphere in the picture. It's something I thought of while the art quilt was hidden in the cellar. I needed that possibility to shield, hide and protect, which you find in caves, holes and closed spaces. But I had trouble finding place for that in this art quilt. Until we decided that it could be a part of the great old tree in the front!!! WOW!!! So simple!

Transition pine forest

We also talked about the transition area between the autumn forest and the lake area. I realised I'd also developed a winter landscape on the right side, which I wasn't aware of. That also needs to find a balance with the rest. And the key to all these issues is pine trees!!!

I can bring some of the darkness of the tree hole with a smaller pinetree forest in between autumn and the lake, and some pine tree's outlines on the winter landscape. Spring will come later on the old tree in the foreground, and sommer  may show around the tree hole, I think...

Counterbalance pine trees and quilting  

At least now I know what I need to do and I'm looking forward to working on it, and to see what will come out of it!!!

I want to send a huge THANK YOU to my friend Alice Frost. It made a real difference!

 You can see her art work at http://www.af-tekstilbilleder.dk/