Thursday, January 24, 2013

Challenge 77: Touchy-Feely

Theme: Touchy-Feely
Host: Lisa Quintana
Due:  Feb. 2, 2013

I like to paint.   Many of my quilts have painted elements.  Not too long ago I looked at a quilt top I had finished and thought about the fact that if I had just been painting the piece, I would be done, but instead of painting an image, I prefer to quilt them now.  What is it that makes me want to create pieces of art in fiber?  I realized it was texture.   For a review of texture as a design element, look here:

In traditional oil painting, texture may be physical texture like the thick impasto that Van Gogh achieved with thick paint and knife strokes or imparting the sense of texture by realistically portraying objects (visual illusion) such as was done in the Dutch Masters, such as Vermeer, or by the incorporation of textured pieces like Rauschenberg.  Pattern imparts texture as well.

As quilters, we can impart texture to our works with a variety of techniques and of course, fabric itself brings out a tactile response….if it didn’t, we wouldn’t have to have signs asking people “please do not touch the quilts.”  In traditional quilting, we learned about line and texture by the prints we used; different sizes of prints on our fabrics make for more interest, as well as the physical texture that quilting imparts. 

Take a look at this stuffed and corded white work quilt:

Of course as art quilters, not only can we express texture with our quilting, but we can use threads, specialty yarns, embellishments such as beads and buttons…stones, found objects, and our choices in whatever textured fabric we wish to use.

So…get touchy feely!  Express texture either through tactile expression or a visual illusion. Try something you’ve never done before.  Incorporate layers of texture as only we fiber artists may do, with quilting and use of embellishment.  

For inspiration:

Vermeer.  I use him just as an example, I am sure you can pull up many other examples where the fabric in paintings look so realistic you want to touch it. 

I have always liked Willem Kalf’s work because he usually incorporates glassware,  fruit being peeled and oriental rugs which were used as table coverings at the time because they were so expensive.   He manages to portray the rugs so that you can feel it, just by looking at it.  Part of the interest for me is the fact that he combines so many different textures in his paintings.

Or for a little later period, look at Anne Vallayer-Coster’s work

Dimensional art work

Van Gogh’s sunflowers are probably the first thing which  pops to mind when you think of the three dimensional type of brush/knifework on paintings.

But, check out Albert Pinkham Ryder.   Pinkham Ryder was an American who used very thick paint, and overworked paints, sometimes using paints which dried at different speeds which caused his paintings to deteriorate or change over time.  Still, take a look at how he uses texture in his paintings to move the eye and provide contrast.

Of course Robert Rauschenberg incorporated a lot of texture, including an old quilt, in his famous “Bed.”

Go to the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associations) website -  and watch the slideshow on the website.  The slideshow shows many works by Professional Art Members and Regional Representatives.  As you scroll through them, look at the different ways that texture comes into play.  Pay particular attention to pieces by Wendy Lugg, Chiaki Dosho, and Eileen Doughty.

For realism look at:

Kate Themel (in particular her still life pieces and her flowers which are in environment.

Denise Labadie’s stones are remarkable in imparting their texture, even though it’s fabric: 

One final note: have fun with this!

No comments: