Tuesday, 28 February 2017

May's Artist

Presenting.... Mr. Alex Janvier

A Canadian artist currently showing at our National Gallery www.gallery.ca/janvier/en

Three Black Blobs

This is so exciting; my first quilt with 12 By The Dozen. Thank you so much for inviting me.

Three Black Blobs

I am very pleased with it, not being very keen on his very colourful paintings, it has been much fun to make this into mostly grey and monochrome quilt. 

I tweaked a photo of the original painting in Photoshop then removed the colours. Then I pieced and quilted the background, and after some hand stitching, fused the flowers and added machine stitches in black. 

I had it in my head for a long time, but true to form started too late, finishing on Tuesday afternoon - long before midnight though...........

Then it turned out I had it problems, thanks for the help Hilary!

Based on the painting (745) Blobs Grow in Beloved Gardens, 1975


There were so many different ways to approach this artist!  I decided to be influenced by his paintings of buildings - I liked the wonky grids that he created. 

Here is mine: 

based on one of many paintings like this:

Sunset over the Kruger Park

Did I give myself a challenge!  Sorry to those who also struggled! 

I finally settled on putting something together which had an element of Hundertwasser in that my colour range would be kept simple along with the subject matter.  Because of my title I also wanted to add animals in some quirky, naive, caricatured form. Hence the 'Tinga Tinga' style of the giraffe & zebra.  

This is my finished piece. Whole cloth, painted & stitched.

This is the Hundertwasser that I used as my starting point.

Tinga Tinga is a painting style that developed in the late part of the 20th Century in Dar es Salaam by a local painter called Said Tingatinga. Today Tinga Tinga paintings are one of the most widely represented forms of tourist art in Tanzania and neighbouring countries. Here are some examples.

On reflection maybe I have kept it too simple.  Possibly dividing the green areas left and right of the blue in half again and the lines slightly variable would have been a better option. You live and learn!

The best of all was visiting Kruger Park in January this year, having been there last January, and seeing a flourishing green park again. Last year it looked like a tornado had ripped thru the park, it was dry and barren.  Now it is so green and lush.  The rains have worked a miracle.

Hunterwasser - How my brain works

I assumed that my piece would be inspired by Hunterwasser's use of colour, but when I looked at my books what caught my eye was the busyness of his work, the small details, the concentric lines. I was also taken by the number of times he used head outlines and when I came to a painting that, to me, resembled a brain, the link was made. Probably because this was at a time when I had more things to do than time in which to do them!

Unfortunately I'm in the English Lake District with fellow CQ members and my book isn't. I can't find an image of the painting that helped things click  on the web so will post details later.

For my piece I actually used a small detail from another painting that references the concentric circles, but I also liked the lines running through the middle which to me represented those sudden shock of remembering things yet to be done.
I've worked on top of a piece that I made for the CQ Horizon challenge as the piecing, in the central area, of small irregular shaped scraps of fabric represents both how I like to work and how my brain can feel at times with lots of ideas jostling together!!!!

Two offerings

Well, after struggling for a long time with the challenge of making something 'inspired by' and not a copy of a Hundertwasser painting, I suddenly had two ideas.

Red Sky in the Morning...

It was so good to get out fabric from my stash and be happy to cut into it.  The piece is raw edge applique, Bondawebbed and edge stitched. I added colour on the face with Fabrico pens and some very old Pigma Micron pens (excellent for fine lines).
Tapestry of painting, Aurora, by Hundertwasser

My second piece is a bit of whimsy.  It was my first idea but I am glad I waited as more ideas came as I dived into the previous piece thinking I wouldn't have the time to do this one.

Weymouth gets a Hundertwasser Make-Over

Weymouth, home of the 2012 Sailing Olympics and the white chalk picture on a hillside near Weymouth of King George lll on a horse (Weymouth was a favourite holiday town of his).  I realised while I was working on the first piece that I might have the beginning of a series - Corfe Castle (Pierneef) and Shipley Canal (Scheeler) so why not make my piece about Weymouth which is only about 30 miles away and has just been voted 'Best Beach in the UK'.  And yes, there is a building with 'rounded' towers on top!
I have drawn from a lot of Hundertwasser paintings of houses, faces, fishes but this was the starting point.
Downtown - the Outskirts of Town by Hundertwasser
I had a lot of fun creating this piece but learnt a lot about the use of paint - when you dilute a colour it can become too liquid and bleed!!!!  I wanted the blotchy/sketchy effect but not the bleeding.  It is a wholecloth quilt with Fabrico pens, acrylic paint, and Pigma Micron pens. 

Hunterwasser - Colourplay

I found this artist to be extremely inspirational to the point that this piece practically made itself. I loved working with the solid colours to see how they played off one another. Fused and machine quilted with smoked nylon thread.

I drew my inspiration from this piece in particular:
Image result for the great way hundertwasser

Hundertwasser in Kawakawa

This artist felt like a gift to me.  After trying to base all the artist challenges on pictures I had taken on my trip to New Zealand (and Australia) this one was so easy!!  Hundertwasser spend the last few years of his life living in a small town on NZ's North Island, and whilst there he helped redesign, and build, the local public toilets.  In his own words "a toilet is very special because you meditate in a toilet. Like a church. The similarity is not so far fetched".  Whilst Mick and I were travelling in NZ we made a point to visit Kawakawa, and to visit (and use) the public toilets there.

This piece is based on one of my photos of the toilets, though somewhat simplifed.  I debated putting more quilting on it, particularly on the grey walls, and perhaps I will do this later.  As I am going to be in Africa on reveal day I wanted to get this piece finished in good time, so I took the simpler route for now.

Garam Masala

The wonderful colours of Hundertwasser were so fun to work with. I set out to 'Hundertwasser' the facade of our house but ended up working from a picture of my daughter's dog, Garam Masala. Using  Steam-A-Seam II is my preferred method of appliqué. The wavy quilting lines and lollipop flowers were inspiration from several of Hundertwasser's paintings. 


Researching Hundertwasser and his body of works, I preferred his spiral paintings. He wrote an essay in 1974 titled “The Spiral”. It is a fascinating perspective on his philosophy of spirals. Here is an excerpt:  ... “Our whole life proceeds in spirals. Our earth describes a spiral course, that is we move in circles, but we never come back to the same point. The circle is not closed. We only reach the same level as the point where we began. It is characteristic of a spiral that is seems to be a circle but is not closed.” ...

For my inspiration, I chose the following piece that he created in 1960:
                                                      The I Still Do Not Know

That title is very appropriate for my journey as an artist…I still do not know what my "artistic voice" is. However, I DO know that I am not an abstract artist. I DO know that I do not like layering, collages, or “messy” work…I prefer realism and harmony.

Creating a piece in his style has proven to be the most difficult task that I have undertaken.  As I attempted to interpret his style, I realized that I did not own any fabric in primary colors. No problem, I went to my quilt shop and stocked up on what I needed. Unfortunately, I could not accomplish my vision with cottons. Eventually, I found it easier to felt wool and wool rovings to complete the top. To finish, I layered it with batting and backing, then quilted around the spiral. 

Upon completing this challenge, I am pleased with the results and what I learned: 
Despite coming full circle in this project, I never arrived back at my starting point, building a spiral of my development as a fiber artist, moving onto the next level.
The title to my piece is:
                                                                I Know Now


Having spent a number of years in New Zealand Hundertwasser is an artist I have been interested in for a while. Like Gaudi he was an innovative architect and I  only wish that there were more examples of his architectural work in  New Zealand.
I could not find a single painting that I wanted to interpret so I decided instead to look at his paintings overall ,extracting from them a number of repetitive shapes or symbols and then including them in a piece with buildings . So there were windows and doors , faces and eyes, 'circles', onion rooftops spirals and of course his love of mainly primary ,but always bright ,colours.
Because he had an aversion to straight lines it was liberating to simply innovate as one went along . Having been somewhat at a loss to begin with I ended up enjoying the process.
So here it is .

Monday, 27 February 2017


This was far more difficult than I thought it would be!  I started twice and on both occasions threw them both away and then finally decided on a different approach and tried to simplify.  I used the background of one of his pictures as my background interpretation and another for the rest of my interpretation/inspiration.  I also tried to bring in some texture which you will see in my final piece, making cords in various bits and pieces I found in my collection of stuff one tends to collect over the years and which I knew I would use some day!  I guess that I can say I did have a good use for some of it!  I also used gold foil on parts of the piece.  I can't say I am overly excited with what I have done, but hopefully it gives an idea of where I was going.

This was very challenging, but in the end I feel OK about it.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Feeling slightly smug

I have to admit I finished my piece at the end of January.  I knew I was away in South Africa until the 1st March, so I didn't really have a choice, but equally the choice of subject for me was far too easy.  You could say I'm flushed with success!  Looking forward to seeing everyone else's work, even though I probably won't be able to respond until later.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

May Artist Teaser

Hold on to your cowboy hats! I've made my choice and there's more colour to come.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Hindertwasser teaser

Just thought I give you all a little taste of the wonderful fabrics I have been able to pull from my stash - hooray, wasn't that why I bought them (some many years ago!)?  I don't admit to doing any of my own dyeing; I have dabbled but not all that successfully so now I leave it to the pros and support their talents.

The red Phil might remember was bought in Dar es Salaam - that's the back.

Then there are some glorious two-colour gradation dyes from Frieda Anderson, some of Heide Stoll-Weber's wonderful hand dyes and then a couple of the shibori dyed pieces I did in a class with Jan Myers Newbury.

I am having fun!


Friday, 17 February 2017


...... the next person to choose an artist is ................


(all above board as my husband who is recovering from an op around his eyes and is as good as 'blind' at the moment picked the name.)

Thursday, 2 February 2017


   I am afraid that Iwill not be able to start, let alone finish my Hundertwasser piece for the end of the month. Unfortunately I have had an accident: I fell in the street in Paris and have broken my shoulder. I will be in a sling for a minimum of 6 weeks (I see the orthopaedic surgeon next week and will know more then). The good news is that I can't do any housework and the big pile of books and magazines can at last be read!