Saturday, May 16, 2015

Giving Birth (or EBMC May: Landscape)

I slept through the arrival of my children who, for medical reasons, were both delivered surgically.

I'm making up for that now by birthing my art work with all the push, pull and pain that goes with labour and delivery.  Very little of the process is easy for me -- notwithstanding that I am 'given' the images for some pieces in their entirety, having only to assemble them according to the Creator's instructions.  :-)

You'd think with all the landscapes I've made that this months EBMC theme, "Landscape", would be easier, but no.  For one thing, having gotten away with creating two 'minis' last month, I determined I would try to produce something larger this time.

My motivation is two-fold:

  • First, I want to enter SAQA's Canadian call for entry -- "My Corner of the World" (All SAQA members)* and "My Corner of the World: Canada" (Only Canadian artists)** and there are size requirements that are in the realm of "large" based on my usual work; and
  • Second, I have a commission to do a landscape, and my hope is to make it larger than a 'mini'.
So I'm looking on this piece as -- if nothing else -- practice for the Larger Leagues!

Poplars - Charles Beck
If you read my last post, you'll remember that EB had me consider woodcuts as a style.  Woodcuts?!  So...yesterday I spent most of the morning looking at woodcut landscapes and the artists who make them.  Woodcutting is a venerable form of print making, but there are contemporary artists who still do this work.  I was particularly captivated by Charles Beck who, as far as I can tell, is still alive and working in his nineties.

Mr. Beck lives and works in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, a small city not much bigger than Lacombe, Alberta, and -- like my beloved Mirror -- situated in a topography of rolling prairie, woodlands and small lakes.  

Taking some inspiration from his work, and noting EB's feedback, I set to trying to sketch variations on my original sketch.  

More sketches...

A couple of them ended up in crumpled heaps on the sewdio floor.  The rest are stacked on the edge of my cutting table,  By the end of the day yesterday I was exhausted, and rather frustrated at my inability to 'birth' what I "saw" inside of me.

Prairie Spring (C) 2015
I decided to sleep on it.  As I drifted off (I later explained to EB when I sent in the assignment), I had a notion to return to the pieced simplicity of "Prairie Spring", which I did for the  "Line" assignment in March.

But...when I returned to the sewdio this morning, the image of that shed and the field, slough, trees and fencing wouldn't leave me, wouldn't let me distill them into a more linear or abstract form.

I decided to try for a very primitive approach -- as few 'frills and furbelows' as possible...

And I came up with this (working title: "Prairie Primitive":

"Prairie Primitive" (WIP) 2015
Materials: hand-dyed cotton (sky, slough from the same piece); hand-dyed silk (tree tops on left - no trunks yet - and trees on horizon), commercial cottons and batiks.  And those lumps in the left foreground aren't rocks; they're cattle...or will be...

While I await EB's feedback, I'm going to enjoy a quiet evening finishing a murder mystery (may I recommend Steve Burrows' A Siege of Bitterns'?) and catch up with the others over at Nina Marie's "Off-the-Wall Friday".

Tomorrow, if the rain lets up, I'll be helping my Sweet Sis plant her veggie patch over at her Sylvan Lake Sanctuary...

WD's veggie patch - photo from July 2014

Happy Victoria Day!

And if it's raining where you are, pour a cuppa, and enjoy this vignette of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Beck:

*See SAQA Calls for Entry HERE.  You must be a SAQA member to enter.
**See SAQA Regional Calls for Entry HERE.  You must be a Canadian SAQA member to enter.


The Inside Stori said...

What a treat to watch the Charles Beck video...thank you!!!

Kathie Briggs said...

Wonderful video about Charles Beck. I can see why he and his art appeal to you (as to me as well) especially when he describes his art as "my reaction to nature." Bingo. His reaction is what makes it art. Thanks for posting the video and good luck with your challenge of changing the scale of your work for this submission.

Bethany Garner said...

Hi Marg...
I had not known about the wonderful contemporary art of Charles Beck and thank you for sharing. Loved the video and both he and his wife.. how blessed that are to be together, sharing life.
And thanks for closing your post with link to the SAQA Calls...
Keep working on your prairie piece... and I love the drawing.

quiltedfabricart said...

I hope we all get to live to 90 and still create art - what an inspiring video! His art and his spouse are what keeps him young.

On your frustrations with your landscape - it will come around. You will get up tommorrow and everything will fall into place.

elle said...

I feel your pain, Margaret! But what a very fascinating way to art. :)

Maggi said...

Great video. Good luck with the birthing process.