Posts Tagged ‘Plein Air West Reading’

I just finished a busy week teaching youngsters at a summer camp. Yes, a distraction from my artwork, but I like watching them grow up.  And it helps to ground me to the families in my community and feel a part of it.

The week before that, I participated in a Plein Air contest. Luckily it wasn’t a juried entry, as I am primarily a studio artist. I do like participating  — this was the 3rd year. Working outside heightens your senses, and makes you feel very THERE. I’m happy with one of my pieces, and only medium-satisfied with the other two.  I’ll include pictures of all three. Of course it is a logistical challenge working with fabric outdoors. For one of them I took along our marine battery and inverter and my iron. That way I could fuse down the pieces as I composed.  It actually worked fairly well. The first one, Museum Path, was done on a breezy day, and I was constantly chasing bits of fabric.  I was trying to pin them down, which really didn’t work very well. I had to add all the details: light poles, the bench etc. later in my studio.

Also I upgraded to a paying WordPress account. You aren’t supposed to see any ads.

Is it worth it? And — feed back please — do you see ads??

 

I have many painter friends, and I am active in the local art world as well as the community of Art Quilters.  So when Plein Air West Reading loosened its rules this year, I decided to take up the challenge.

This is the second year of the event. For 2017 only 80% of your piece has to be completed outdoors.  The rest can be in the studio.

Here’s what I did: limited my palate to blacks, whites and grays, and pre-fused some workable size pieces to take with me. I packed a scissors, tracing paper, parchment paper, drawing paper, muslin and pencil and set up a small table near an outlet so I could plug in my iron.

I started as any Plein Air artist would: made a sketch.  For me, the sketch had to be the same size as the finished piece would be.  And I worked as I always do: traced the shapes in the drawing from the sketch (the buildings, the sky etc) and cut them out in fabric.

Honestly the experience did me more good than I thought it would.  As in all plein air work, the values are higher keyed (brighter — more white) than when translated through a photograph.  Since values are my most difficult artistic component, it was a useful adjustment to work outside. Also, of course, you can walk around and better see what you are trying to depict than when working from a photo.

The most difficult part was trying to keep the pieces from moving in the slightest breeze.  A pin or two helped here. And I don’t know how I could do this without an extension cord and iron fairly handy. I used it by heating it up, unplugging and bringing over to my work — still hot enough to activate the fusing and hold the fabric pieces down. But I couldn’t be too very far from it.

Of course I finished the pieces in my studio: using my sewing machine for the quilting and binding. I also took photos, printed them on cloth, and places them in key spots.  Those I printed in color, so the works were desaturated with bits of color.

These will be shown June 17 at Art of the Avenue in West Reading.  Just look for the Art Quilts in the Plein Air display.  I doubt there will be any others.  But maybe next year!