Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Will Wonders Ever Cease?

I have been a potter for thirty years and can make pottery with ease at a potter's wheel, forming shapes as I see them in my mind without too much back-talk from the clay. Now, firing...that is another subject... but clay is my comfortable medium. With years behind the wheel I can make myself happy with my creations in clay.

Since the wedding cake business has taken over my kitchen, I haven't had time to spend in my pottery studio in almost a year. Every time I walk by my little green building I think about spending a few hours throwing some clay again but I don't actually do it. It's cold out there. The spiders have taken over in my absence. Maybe when the sun starts shining again I can deal with the clean-up I'll have to do before I can even slap a lump of clay on the wheel head.

So in quiet moments I've been daydreaming about trying my hand at some painting. Just for fun. Just for me. I painted a wee tiny bit when I was a youngster and got very frustrated at my lack of technical ability. Clay was much more appealing and I loved even the lopsided pots in the beginning. With painting I couldn't live with the poor results of my efforts. But now I want to try again. The fact that I don't have to submit the canvas to a process like firing in a kiln makes the idea less ominous.

I bought a paint set and supplies last fall and they sat in the corner for months. Last month I decided to play around and see what I could do. I'm self-taught in so many areas of my life (which I don't necessarily recommend. The learning curve can be looooong and steep.) so I figured that experimentation may lead to something. Either frustration or fun I guess.

I started just making what would be backgrounds for a still life. Color blends and graduations. It was fun. Then I read about the February show at the gallery which was a challenge to artists to think square.
I decided to use it as motivation to complete something with paint.

I know I already told you about my painting but since I took photos of the process I thought I would share that too.

I painted numerous 12 x 16 canvas papers with these graduating "background" colors. In the end I painted about twenty of them in every color.

I then cut them all up into two inch squares. I started with my rotary cutter that I use for quilting. It didn't take long for my arm to ache with the effort and despite my careful cutting, the squares were not perfectly matched.

At my daughter's suggestion I switched to an old-fashioned paper cutter which worked much better and was more accurate.

I ended up with hundreds of squares...

...which I then arranged, and rearranged. And then I painted some more. And cut some more and started arranging again.

The whole section that is more stippled then the rest I ended up repainting too.

...until finally I had colors that blended as I wanted. The final product wasn't exactly as my initial vision had been and I eventually just made myself stop and settle because I could have kept up the rearranging for decades.  I then glued the squares onto a 36 inch square board. At first I thought I would decoupage them down with a roller and a top coat of clear sealer but I decided I really liked the texture of the edges slightly raised up. People have commented that it looks woven or quilted. I'm glad for that since my original idea was sparked by quilts I have seen made in this fashion.

Mr. Dirtywrench made me a perfect frame for the piece that finished it off splendidly.

Today I found out that my little painting exercise- for fun, for me,- sold one week after the opening.

I'm gob-smacked.


  1. Why are you surprised? It's beautiful.

  2. Well, I can't say I'm surprised, but I'm pleased for you and Mr Dirtywrench (framing is not a skill to be neglected!). Congratulations!

  3. Is this like being published? - Bill

  4. That just so awesome!

    Did you sign it somewhere? I never looked...

  5. Thank you, all.

    Bill, no, I would think not but since it's my first real "painting" and "fine" art work, and it sold right away (I just found out- to someone in Portland) it's a milestone.

    Katie- I haven't signed it! Should I use a sharpie on the back or start practicing with paint to fit it on a 2" square??

  6. Ummm.... I'm not sure. You don't have to use paint. A fine sharpie would probably be okay. But as to back or front... I don't know. Ask some painters' opinions. But you must NOT let it go without a signature! If you didn't sign it, you didn't do it, you know.

  7. Wow! My Mom is better than your Mom

  8. I didn't doubt it for a moment. I only pout that I didn't get to purchase it myself. I hope you pocketed a goodly sum. Enough to encourage you to futz around some more!


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