I participated in the Journal Quilt Project again this year. Karey Bresenhan of Quilts, Inc began the project as a special exhibit for the annual IQA show in Houston. Originally, it involved making one small 8.5″x11″ quilt each month for one year. The small format and regular nature of the production allowed artists to experiment and challenge themselves to create and grow. This year, the last year for the project, the format was slightly different – a larger size (17″x22″) and only one was required, not the usual one/month.
Here is my quilt, the original photograph, and the artist statement that accompanied my piece.
The vast majority of my work up to this point has been representational. I find myself getting more and more detailed rather than simplifying and abstracting. As a result, I wanted to try to work in the abstract arena for this journal quilt.
The first step was to learn a little about artists who work in the abstract. I have a friend who is a docent at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and even though the abstract wing is not his favorite, he conceded to take me there and share what he knows about the “who, how, and why”. I learned much more than I could retain and came away fascinated by the color field painters, the likes of Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Ellsworth Kelley, and Jules Olitski. I was intrigued with their expansive canvases and large areas of pure color.
I chose a close-up photograph of a hibiscus that I took in Hawaii as my inspiration and decided to try the color field approach adding simplified elements from the photo. Several times I had to stop myself from adding more detail and being more true to the actual flower. The idea was to hint at the subject and compose a piece that was balanced and responsive.