Sunday, December 14, 2008

Yippie Ti Yi Yo...

...git along little doggies!... This old cowboy ballad is about riding along in the saddle driving a herd of cattle to Wyoming. I confess that I'm a fan of American folk songs.

That tune came to mind this morning as I sat and finished hand stitching the hanging sleeve and label on Translations 2. Sometimes working on a piece feels like riding herd on a long, lonesome trail!

So I couldn't help but feel like celebrating when I put the last stitch on the label. Yippie ti yi yo, this little doggie has been a thorny one from the very beginning, challenging and stymieing me on all fronts -- composition,color and value issues.

The light it hid under its big ol' bushel? I discovered that I absolutely loved painting onto the stitched surface, creating shifts and plays of color and softening the hard edges of the applied letter forms.

It's a different and hopefully more successful approach to blend some shapes and highlight others so they appear to come forward on the picture plane. I still don't quite have the depth I'd like, but I do have wonderful color and shape contrasts. The topographic stitching enhances the sense of movement in the piece as well.

Art making as a process rewards hard work and commitment by slowly building trust in our personal creativity and our eye for composition and color. This piece made me stronger.

That being said, it will soon be time to send this piece off to the RAFA exhibit at the Arts and Cultural Council for our January 6-30, 2009 group exhibition called "New Year, New Directions."

Riding the trail can be a long road for sure. A cowgirl just has to tilt back her head once in a while and croon a few tunes in the saddle!

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