Saturday, May 19, 2018

Trompe l'oeil

What we see versus what we perceive has been much on my mind this week. First, after hearing a talk at the Wimberley Valley Art League during which Texas State University art professor Jeffrey Dell described his use of maquettes to inform his choices of color, light, and shadow in printmaking. And then again while looking at the sphere and cone shadow studies by Deb Sposa's students over at Artisun.

And so, after some pondering, I decided to revise (re-envision) Southbound 35 Oklahoma Spring to more closely match what I saw versus what my brain wanted to depict (and yes, I know I didn't see square clouds, but Anna Lisa's comment yesterday made me realize each square is like a snapshot impression of the things I wanted to remember) ...


Many stitches were removed and replaced with more lightly stitched overhead power lines, this time guided by a French curve (which I serendipitously found while looking for something else) ...


And still more stitches were removed from the road, although my latest impression will probably require another reworking to get the perspective right before all is said and done ...


But wait, there's more! I also started testing out ideas for Moon Myth in the form of an appliqué sun and a reverse appliqué moon ...


As always, I'm tempted to use the back instead, at least in the case of the moon ...


but it's still way too early in the process to make any hard and fast decisions.

And looking at the magical bit of Deb Lacativa cloth on the dark side of the moon reminded me of the colors we encountered on our journey through the lunaresque landscape of the Meramec Caverns last week ...


dark beauty ...


a false sense of great depth created by the high cave ceiling reflected on perfectly still water ...


and a new appreciation for the limestone structures that may (probably) lie hidden beneath our own home in the hills ...


All this was in my mind as we had our well tested by representatives from the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District a few days ago.  Before they arrived, I dug out the original well drilling records from the first owner of our property ...


I always knew our well was over 900' deep, which in my mind had translated into an imagined weeks-long drilling process. But  informed by our recent travels and thinking of this recent cave discovery in a nearby north Austin neighborhood ...


along with listening as the education coordinator explained the average water level in our neighborhood is 350' below ground, I began to look more closely at the drilling record and started to reconsider. Apparently, after 42' of drilling, there was a free-fall through about 300' of open space and then another 600' of water before the end of the drill touched down on solid rock. So the drilling only took one day.   

Which leads me to believe that our little piece of heaven may actually be perched atop a vast cavern, the likes of which boggles my mind. Could this be? 


Gulp ...

Friday, May 18, 2018

Not my usual style

This one was a quickie, tentatively titled Southbound 35 Oklahoma Spring ...


which is a lot of title for a little piece.

It has a backstory of course ...


so settle in ... this one's a real shaggy dog (as my mom used to call my ramblings).

Just before we headed to St Louis a couple of weeks ago, my eye caught on this illustration in a New York Times article ... 


which led to a Google search for information ...


and more images ...


planting a seed in my mind.

While in St Louis, I jotted ideas down for a new Triangulation piece (the original Triangulation project can be viewed at  
in anticipation of our planned summer road trip to Taos, New Mexico and Glenwood Springs, Colorado with a quick hop over to St Louis before heading home ...


Now I've mentioned before how much I love driving through Oklahoma
as memorialized in this Remember 2016 patch (which also brings me back to Girl Scout days) ...


But I wasn't always a fan of road trips, as noted in a 2009 blog post entitled Crazy Country: A Little Farther West, which was about our original journey from Virginia to Texas ...
Thankfully, I've learned that driving in the Southwest and Midwest is nothing like East Coast driving.

Anyway, it was with Triangulation II in mind that I decided to create a test piece. During the drive down I-35 from Oklahoma City to the Texas state line I made careful mental notes of the sights along the way and mused over which bits of thrift store linen might stand in for them. 

Once we got home, I quickly sketched out some possibilities ...


In truth, I almost abandoned the project as the colors were so vastly different from my usual comfort zone, but decided to soldier on, trying to be true to what I recalled seeing.

The fresh green of spring grass and the clear blue of cloud dotted sky ...


splashes of Indian paintbrush orange and masses of little yellow flowers ...


the dusky purple of wildflowers along the edge of a red dirt infused stock tank ...


and above all, incredibly dense patches of pink primrose ...


And the highway, in grey patches that I almost stitched together, but ultimately left apart to recall my less-than-steady attentions, the left slightly wider to denote my preference for taking the fast lane ...


I made sure to note the striping, how white precedes black with long intervals between both, here still tinged with the vestiges of water-erasable marker ...


Last, but not least, the power line ...


one of many that sailed overhead as my inner soundtrack played "oh what a beautiful morning ..."

And if some of the clouds are a bit scawumpus and the power line not quite the right arc, still I'm OK with it (now humming "LA HO MA ... Oklahoma!")

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

After Ellsworth Kelly

You might have noticed I've been gone. Which is to say, there's much to get caught up on, including a process post for this most recent trial ...


Fortunately, I've been well-occupied, what with birthday celebrating ...


tower building ...


spelunking in the Meramec Caverns


and lots of driving, fortunately with a stop at the Philbrook in Tulsa along the way. While there, we were awed by this Red Dirt Rug 



Literally red dirt ...


stamped with sneaker soles ...




to form patterns ...


Then it was back on the road. But all the while I was thinking of the Ellsworth Kelly exhibit at the Blanton, 
and of this study in particular ...


While driving, I considered how it might go in cloth. Thus it was I was well primed once we had settled back in at home.

I cut pieces of thrifted linen cloth about 2" to a side, then finger-pressed them around a 1" strip of cover stock ...


turned each resulting strip 90 degrees and finger-pressed again ...


Before invisibly basting each patch a la Jude Hill, I made sure to trim the interior edges so they just touched ...


in order to make the resulting patch a uniform thickness (something I neglected to do with the Peace Pin Project). 

Then I tried something that I thought up in the car: glue. Not just any glue though ... washable glue. Because I wanted the patches to stay as straight as possible on the base cloth and I knew pins wouldn't cut it. 

So I borrowed some from G, and made sure to keep the glue within the line of invisible baste to avoid having to stitch through it later  ...


attached all the patches within a grid ...


drawn with water-erasable marker that began to vanish as I attached the patches ...


Then I waited impatiently for the glue to be (almost) dry ...


and stitched them all down (by which time the glue was actually dry). Both the white and the clear glue ended up working equally well holding the patches in place ...


The end result from the front wasn't perfectly square ...


but then again, Kelly's also wasn't without its imperfections. As a study, it accomplished my objective of seeing whether the techniques I envisioned over the course of driving 1800 miles would actually work in practice. I was especially skeptical about whether the glue would actually wash out and am happy to report that it did. 

Next up: a roadside reverie inspired by Helio Oiticica.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

An ending and a beginning

The Land as the Crow Flies is done and hung ...


giving us something else to look at beside (or perhaps I should say "over") the blather on TV ...


And now, at long last, I'm indulging myself in quilt math and patch trials for Moon Myth ...


an imaginary tale written for our grandkids about the moon in all its phases.