Friday, January 23, 2015

Review and "How I Did It"

Collage review of work since 2007
Since 2007 I have been making some kind of art: quilting, painting on fabric or just straight painting. Recently my painting has taken a turn towards harder abstraction and minimalism. Where does this trend in my painting come from? Reviewing my past artwork seemed like a good way to find out.

Starting with the quilting, I can see that solid colored shapes have been my preference. The shapes themselves vary between geometric and more organic (geometric grouped together to form an organic whole). For a long time the shapes have had gradations or at least some kind of color shift. The gradations and color shifts have helped to provide some depth. About halfway through I started using obvious linework to define spaces and to provide some kind of movement. Since I was never a realist artist, some kind of abstraction has always been the norm. I started learning about composition first through my husband who tried to tell me about it from a photographer's standpoint. It's why I have lots of paintings of roads going into the distance! Figures were introduced in the last couple of years and incorporate my beginning ideas about color, shape and line. No depth other than layering really but just a manipulation of those variables set against a plain backdrop. The palette knife work came in as a frustration with the stiff style of my landscape pieces. That knife is very freeing and provides a lot of movement and color to my pieces which I felt were dull and lifeless. 

What about it? Definite shapes, well defined, with manipulation of color, layering, value, and line seem to be the underlying trends that I can spot. It's why I think I have arrived at this point of using the abstraction of shapes with their juxtaposition of color, value, and chroma. Why is that appealing to me? It suits my personality I think. I like plans and a relative amount of obvious order. Believe it or not, the style of painting that I am now trying involves quite a bit of planning and thinking as well as emotional reaction (and a strong conviction in that reaction).  In addition, simplicity really works for me. (Except maybe in my writing!) Straight talk and bottom lines are what I gravitate towards yet I enjoy reading between those lines. I have had a great time trying to analyze paintings that on the surface seem very simple. After all, what is there to know about about a couple of blocks of color on a larger field of color? Plenty! It goes back to what I have heard termed a 'harmony of arrangement." It's exciting to try and figure out what is happening, why it could be happening, and how you feel about it. How can I do it too? Shouldn't all artwork do this in some way?

OK, enough about me! How about you? Did everyone have a good week? I have some work in the offing and will be getting to it shortly. In the meantime, I made some posts earlier this week of new work so if you aren't bored silly by now, take a look!

Thanks for reading and commenting,


  1. This is a really interesting post, Libby. I guess we all compose artwork that suits our personality in some way. I'm fascinated by the concepts of composition too, and why we find something to be appealing to us. I like how you're experimenting with the shapes and colors to see how you feel about the different combinations and movements.

  2. I like the way you are analyzing your direction through your past work.
    As an observer, it has always been clear to me, but I have enjoyed seeing the necessary steps explored on your path to personal discovery.


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