Friday, January 30, 2009

Color & Composition: Contour drawing & cutting

Well, it seems the results are at least somewhat humiliating, but maybe I can be an encouragement to others (heh heh) by demonstrating how little natural or trained skill I have. I keep telling myself it's not talent but perseverance that counts, and I will get better as I keep working at it and enjoying it.

Photo #1: Blind contour drawing.

As demonstrated in the book, the artist is to look only at the arrange fruit while drawing, and to keep from cheating by holding a piece of paper with the non-working hand above the paper you are drawing on. I knew my left hand would become extremely bored sitting there holding a piece of paper in mid air, so I rigged up a box top suspended by four glass tumblers, and broke my pencil in half so that it would be short enough to draw under the box top. This exercise, meant to take 25 minutes (it takes that long to disconnect your left brain and engage the right brain, the book authoritatively states, though I know some people who are in their right brain all the time) . I stretched it out as long as I could. Seven minutes.

Photo #2: Semi-blind contour drawing.

This is the same still life as above, but this time we could look when starting and ending lines, but still most of it was to be done with eyes on the still life.

You may or may not discern that this is a whole pomelo*, a peeled, halved pomelo, and a tangelo, easy fruits to procure, since they are now ripening on my trees. This one took 13 minutes -- closer to the 25-minute ideal.

Photo #3: Contour cutting.

This is a different arrangement of fruit, necessary since the halved pomelo had begun to mold by the time I was ready to start the fabric part. I used only fruit that was growing on my own trees, and only fabric that was already in my stash. The fruits are: Mandarin orange, tangelo, lemon, navel orange, and pomelo.

The cutting, as in the drawing, was to be done by looking at the fruit, while avoiding looking at your cutting hand as much as possible. The shapes could not be drawn ahead of time. I must admit I had a number of false starts before I got the proportions right. I think my left brain was fully in gear. I could not swat my naughty brain with a ruler, because it was so sincerely doing its best.

I am trying to use up my Heat 'n' Bond, that detestable stuff, to fuse these projects. It is unpopular with me because it makes the fabric so stiff that it is hard to sew through, but worse than that is the stickiness that never completely goes away, collects on the sewing machine needle, and causes skipped stitches and shredded thread. I am sure this product is good for something, but not for sewing through.

Photo #4: Contour stitching - "drawing" with a sewing machine needle.

The photos are slightly out of order, so that you can look above and see what this was supposed to look like.

I've never done free-motion quilting without a line to follow, so this exercise was challenging for me. However, I did enjoy it, especially since it ended up looking almost all right. What's a spare line or two? It's not like having a spare nose.

Photo #5: Abstract using the identical pieces as in #3.

I chose to use a radiating design. I started doing some contour stitching on this one, and it was while I was enjoying ruining this composition with my squiggly lines of stitching (not shown here) that I absent-mindedly boiled my pasta for an hour and fifteen minutes. See here for that story.

* A pomelo is the parent fruit of the grapefruit. The grapefruit, named by someone with a sense of humor, was created by crossing a pomelo with an orange. The pomelo is sweeter than grapefruit, much firmer, and huge. Should you ever have an opportunity to eat one, you absolutely must. They are delicious, and don't have the grapefruit bitterness.


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