Sunday, December 2, 2007

Romancing the Red

November in Upstate New York is grey and dark -- way too many scenes like this one outside my front door. But the greyed landscape, white snow and bare branches in the winter months do have a beauty -- even minus much longed for sunshine. In the "bloom where you are planted" tradition, I have decided to celebrate my surroundings with some monochromatic compositions.

The piece in progress below started life as a length of exhibition art cloth. I pulled it out and recently updated it with additional silkscreening to reflect my current fascination with language imagery. The idea of a color accent had been tickling at my mind while I contemplated this piece on my design wall -- possibly a royal blue, possibly gold or red -- and then I saw a small red rectangle of sheer organza laying on a stack of fabric in my studio. Oooh, red -- this will take no time at all, I thoughtly smugly, just to add an accent color. I cut the rectangle into three geometric shapes and placed them on this piece in what seemed like a decent arrangement. Well that was disappointing. This is where we could all nod knowingly and chuckle, because the red rectangles just didn't work. Then I got another brilliant idea as the evening got later and later, to stitch sheers on in irregular lines, much as I had done in my textural piece for the SDA member exhibition.

This first effort seemed thrilling by the time I went to bed, and I felt euphoric, but in the cold light of day I realized that the lines just weren't right.

At this point I was totally doubting the red accent idea, ready to return to a monochromatic piece. I took the piece in progress on Friday afternoon to my crit group. They all said KEEP THE RED, even suggested that it needed more. OK, I thought, go for it, and so I added more lines. I kept at it until I realized I was now creating a PATTERN of red lines on the surface -- a case of Red Running Rampant. No, NO!
I stopped. Now there was too much red and because of that it no longer had the visual impact that just an accent of red would give. I don't have anything against the idea of adding a red pattern over the surface except that it was not my original vision and intention for this piece.

So there is that word again. INTENTION. It is coming up a lot lately in my creative process right up there with REFERENCING (more about that another day). So I have been editing lines -- stitching down the sheers, auditioning the lines, then editing and removing sheers and/or stitching as I feel my way towards the combination that will satisfy my eye.

I would like to say that this last image is resolved, but it still isn't. In a day or two my eyes and mind will be fresher and more objective. I am not sure what else may get removed, shortened, edited -- or added!


  1. We just returned from a visit to a small town in the Catskills and I was constantly seeing the iron red in the rocks and rusted public works in the area. We just missed the winter weather by 8 hours.

  2. Not that you asked, but I'm bothered by the orientation of the lines of red. I think it would be more effective and more of an accent if they were running more at an angle and much shorter.

    But then, that would be MY vision, not yours!

  3. I think it's a wonderful strong image..