In April/May 2021 I took an online painting class at Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, PA. The class was called BLENDING ABSTRACTION AND REPRESENTATION, and over 5 sessions our class explored the continuum between these two endpoints of a line. This set of classes is a continuation of the previous group with the same teacher and most of the same group of students, plus some new faces.
The class was structured so that we worked on our individual artworks in our home studios while participating in discussions and vewing demonstrations by the teacher. I did quite a bit of work and I’ll be showing them to you over a few posts.
Thanks to my instructor, Lesa Chittenden Lim, and my classmates, for a good experience.
Our assignment was to choose a piece of art in any medium, examine why we were attracted to it or what appealed to us about it, and to create a painting based on that analysis. After some thought, I chose the work of the Gee’s Bend quilters as my artwork inspiration.
Why? I have loved these works since I first saw them. As you may know, I have a sewing and quilting background and fabric work will always interest me. The quilters have a compelling story behind their work. But in the end, I love the vibrant, emotional, and free qualities of these quilts. They are the essence of improvisation but are never random. Each artist listened to their inner voice to make these works.
I feel a kinship with this way of working.
All right. I did not want to paint a quilt. Fabric does not behave like paint. I thought of images that make me feel the way these quilts do, of something that I could depict.
I settled on these houses in Allentown, PA. You know of my love for houses and this style of building is exuberant, lively, and alive – like the quilt images are for me.
I got to work. First I painted a pink/red/orange etc. background all over the paper, in a nod to the construction of the quilts. Then I took India ink, acrylic markers, and acrylic paint, and I added the houses on top. I amended the sky a bit and I had my painting.
The painting is called “Houses Sewn Together” and it is 18″ x 24″, acrylics on paper.