Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Janet is also working on butterflies ...

It is so strange that Susan has been working on a butterfly project, because I have been thinking about the butterfly form also. I renewed my interest in butterflies, after watching a resent PBS program on the Monarch migration from Mexico to Canada up the East of the US.

I often start working with images and shapes by cutting black paper with a very sharp blade. In this case I am following one of the popular excerises from the book Notan by Dorr Bothwell and Marlys Mayfield. This paper cut is similar to the expanded square assignment presented in the book.

I am not trying to copy a butterfly, but filling the form of the wing with sections similar to those of real butterflies and then filling these sections with simple shapes. The paper is then flipped out to create the reverse or negative image. I may not use the outside square in the final design or I might add some more cuts to this field to create more symmetry. This is a good start, but I think a dozen or so cuts and I will have something - or a group of images that I love for an environmental exhibition I am collaborating on with a painter friend. - janet

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lepidoptera in progress

Here’s a sketch of a new work in progress. I’m calling it “Lepidoptera,” and it is based on a drawing I made from my photo of a Painted Lady butterfly. (Lepidoptera is the scientific order of insects that includes butterflies and moths. ) After painting in the colors, I scanned my drawing and then copied and rotated the wings until I was pleased with the composition.

After blowing up my drawing to full size (40" square), I used it to trace all the lines onto white cotton fabric. Then I painted in the colors, using fabric dyes and paints.

I’ve never done a whole cloth, painted piece before, so this is a big experiment. I am also using this piece to wander a bit into abstraction. Most of my work tends to be fairly realistic. I thought it would be a good exercise to start from a photo of a real subject, and then try to make it more abstract, so the focus would be on line and color instead.

I have just started the quilting, outlining my pencil lines that define the color areas with dark blue thread, and beginning to quilt in the colored areas. I always love this stage, where the quilting turns the fabric into a quilt.

–Susan Brubaker Knapp