Art with Fabric Blog Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Art with Fabric Blog Hop!

I am so excited to be a part of the hop. I think of myself as artistic in nature, but I haven’t done much to stretch myself artfully as a quilter. Sure, every quilt I make is an artful expression—from the carefully chosen fabrics to the selection of the quilting pattern to every stitch in between. But to make something artsy from fabric just hasn’t been an area I’ve explored much.

Faithful readers already know about this piece, because I chose it as my Brave Quilter challenge this month.

The first thing I needed to do for this project was to get over my fear of starting. I'm not an art quilter and I don't make art quilts normally. Luckily I had the Brave Quilter challenge to help me with my fear of making mistakes and to jump start my artistic mojo.

Next, I needed to select a masterpiece to act as my inspiration. I chose “Wheatfield with Crows,” by Vincent Van Gogh. I've always loved Van Gogh so choosing one of his paintings made me even more motivated to create an art piece based on it.

Next, I used Vincent’s eye for color to guide me in my selection of fabrics. I had a lot of fun with this part. Always do.

One of the things I love best about Vincent’s paintings is his wild, uninhibited style. To me, Vincent seems to attack the canvas with wild abandon, brandishing his brush and palette knife in chaotic precision as he rushes to capture the beauty of the moment.

To create the look of brushstrokes that for me was such an integral part of his painting, I cut my fabric into strips 3/4” wide and arranged them into my "palette."

Next, I created a rough outline on my design wall that defined the major areas of the piece.

My approach was to select strips as I might select paint on a palette, and then sew those strips together to create the brushstrokes I saw in the painting. Mostly I sewed straight strips as in traditional piecing, but other times I tried free wheeling it using improv piecing. Improv piecing is hard for me because it doesn't come naturally, so I tried to push down my fear and just go for it.

I worked in sections, creating small sections of colored “paint strokes.” Then I sewed those sections together. I would put sections up on my design wall and make adjustments to each section as needed. I wasn't trying to duplicate the painting so much as to capture its feeling. Here are some photos that might explain the process a bit more.

Life intervened early last week and it became very apparent to me that I was not going to get my piece done on time for the blog hop. So today I’ll simply show you what I have so far.

I'm calling this piece "There is No Blue Without Yellow," which is a quote in a letter from Vincent van Gogh to his brother. We can only guess at the meaning, but to me, it means that as artists we should try to explore colors and the way they interact. In his painting, I was especially intrigued with the interplay of green and yellow in the wheatfield of Vincent's painting. They seem to shimmer when placed close together. Vincent had a love of unmixed, bright colors, especially yellow. so I wanted to pay attention to that as well.

Since we know that Vincent was bipolar, perhaps he was hinting that the gloom of blue he often felt would be followed by the sunshine of yellow if he could only hang on long enough to see it. That's something I want to be reminded of too, especially when I get sad. So the title seems appropriate.

My grateful thanks to Alida @Tweety Loves Quilting for including me in the blog hop and my deepest apologies for not getting my piece done. When I called Alida last week to let her know I probably wasn’t going to be finished, she was very gracious and understanding. Without her encouragement, I probably wouldn’t have even gotten this far with my piece. Thanks Alida for everything. This has been a wonderful and challenging experience!

Even though this is the last day of the hop, you can still visit everyone who participated and gaze in awe at the beautiful works! Meanwhile, I’ll keep working on my art piece. I have a lot of thoughts on finishing touches I want to add to the quilt after I get the basic piecing done. I’ll post more details as I work it, so please come back to cheer on the finish!

Monday, May 9th, 2016

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Friday, May 13th, 2016

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