Wednesday, May 25, 2016

New Work: I Spy (Sailing With Ellsworth)

I Spy (Sailing With Ellsworth)
collage-image size approx 15" x 18"

Forest Study 1
Approx size 11" x 14"
The above two pieces were completed over the last several days. For each piece, I had several different goals and ideas. For the first piece, I wanted to use some of my landscape sketches as the basis for an abstract piece. For the second piece, I wanted to apply the shapes more freely and not be so tied to the grid. There was some success with both pieces.

Though I like both results, the top piece feels the most like me. I started with that turquoise rectangle in the middle area. From there, I added other shapes to give a kind of "under structure." Because I didn't start with a specific theme or whatever, I looked to the shapes to provide a little story. Those blue shapes with the angles started to look like boats to me. A beach idea came to mind. I had trouble though when it came to advancing things into that top area. How to get from the middle to the top? I really wanted a sort of "standalone" shape, one that was its own thing but that blended with the other areas. All of a sudden, I thought to myself, "What about piano keys?" In quilting, a piano key border is very common and often very effective. Why not in painting? As I visualized it, I thought about this painting by Ellsworth Kelly. It's one of my favorites for its sheer simplicity of idea. Once it was down, that was it. I brainstormed about some other ideas and round portholes seemed appropriate. One thing led to another and then I was all done! 

The second piece isn't quite me. I wanted to try just laying down shapes without relying on a grid. Though I am not super fond of this one, I am glad that I did it. I know now that I either need to go "grid less" or use the grid effectively. This one is somewhere in the middle I feel.

I'd say that overall, the best times for me in the studio seem to be when there are these "a-ha" moments when I realize that I have no idea where something came from but it has appeared and it is just right. I could not have drawn the above two pieces with a conscious effort. Not yet. I realized this morning that I don't draw this way really. I don't know why exactly but I am considering things.

OK, hope everyone is having a good week so far. Thanks for reading and commenting.


  1. Libby, to my eye, the top piece has more breathing space and I like it better than the second one as well. I'm also really convinced that those half circles that dot the blue strips at the bottom of Sailing with Ellsworth are really important, not to mention that central circle with the plus sign, which is just brilliant! Just my opinion, going with my gut.

    1. Carol,

      I sure agree with you on all counts and not just because you said complimentary things! I like the space on the first one also. I thought that the minimal amount of details helped to pull things together. It's clear to me that less can be more but finding that break even point isn't always easy for me. But, I really enjoy the challenge.

      The second piece doesn't thrill me either. It just isn't exactly me. So, I will keep trying things out. We will see:)

      Thank you for your visit and observations. I appreciate it!

  2. I disagree about the bottom one. I like it. It thrills me!
    I find it has a strong pull of perspective. Depth. The top half has the verticals pretty well straight, but the bottom half has this wonderful energy with angles and curves to offset the top. I find it far more exciting than I Spy. So I am pleased you did two.

    1. Julie,

      I really appreciate your comment about that second piece. I was really on the fence about it. I have in my mind that being constrained to a rigid grid doesn't make me happy. Yet, my personal tendencies seem to make me want to line things up and even them out. I feel also that nothing is really random so even things that feel edgy or exciting are done on purpose and have order to them. You may be able to guess that I am in a quandary! So, that is why the two different but similar pieces emerged.

      Your observations are important for me so thank you. I have missed your painting lately. Hope all is going well.

      Thanks, Libby


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