This week started pretty well. Our mini assignment for the Wall Art market was to go on a scavenger hunt in your house and find items of our colors, which were assigned to us according to our astrological sign (smart, isn’t it). Mine were orange and yellow. I admit I wasn’t too excited by this palette at first, but these are such happy colors after one day all I could do was smile!
Usually I did this kind of things for making models or dioramas. Turns out I didn’t have very interesting collage materials but then I got inspired by people in the class to gather all the yellow and orange objects I could find in the house. It makes a pretty picture and I was kind of amazed to discover a trend of patterns hiding in the things I see every day.
The last three weeks I tried to make textures but each time my results failed to be project worthy. So this was going to be the week for textures I decided. And to be sure I’ll succeed I went and bought some tools from Martha at Michael’s, haha, clever no? With a bunch of sunny circles and lines I felt I had a pretty good start.
Then the assignment came and we learned why we had to gather circles and lines of our colors. To make an abstract piece of wall art for the 25-45 yrs old woman shopping at Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie (totally my demographic). The kicker is that we also had to have floral and organic motifs in there plus words, like a quote or at least one word. Lilla suggested we write down what kind of abstract art inspired us and for me it was this piece from Lisa de John listed in Lilla’s examples. I absolutely love it!
I started by sketching initial ideas on paper. Something I thought about last week when scanning my fox and crow is that the shapes from the different parts of the character might make a cool piece of abstract art. And I did play around with that idea for a while in Illustrator, but wasn’t going anywhere fast with it. I was worried about the floral motifs and thought I’d better figure that out first.
Taking a walk in my neighborhood I was very inspired by ferns and nasturtium (capucine in french, what a pretty word). In a watercolor book I saw an idea for making a stamp directly from a leaf so I picked up some leaves to try that out.
Painting over the leaves with a brush worked ok, but the results were a little blotchy. Eventually I transitioned to the roller as if I was doing block printing and wow that worked so much better! You’d think I had etched the leaves on a metal plate.
So I went a little crazy with the textures, dipping whatever I could find that would make a cool impression (wall covering samples, egg carton, and plastic meshes of all kinds). I went to the store and bought whole bags of lemons and avocados just for that. I had no idea how I was going to use the resulting textures, but making so many made me feel fulfilled in some funny way.
Late in the night I made a first attempt of collaging my new bag of textures in Photoshop. Hum, a bit of a mix match. Normally I like to rely on a concept of some sort. Of Lilla’s examples the ones I gravitated towards the most had repeating elements in a strong composition, like Rex Ray or Jen Ski. So I tried to find what “my shapes” could be, though I was still confusing everything in my head with the floral motifs.
I narrowed down some favorite shapes of mine: leave/eye kind of long oval, house, boat hull, moon phases, soil/water lines etc. In my mind I could see it, a really cool painting with abstract shapes and fun colors. I tried starting to lay down some paint, then also tried to elaborate a collage. Yikes, it wasn’t going to be what was in my mind. Darn. Thank god there is Photoshop!
I went back to my original circles arrangement, which was quite cheerful and people seemed to like it. But for the florals through me off course a little bit. I really struggled cause I kind of fell in love with ferns while searching for images, with the spores on the leaves and the reproduction diagrams, so cool. And I did a bunch of drawings, but at the end of the day I felt it would just be better as it’s own thing.
Below is the piece I submitted for the assignment. Doesn’t it looks so simple, but I swear it took me sooo long to even get there! I feel completely exhausted. So many things I tried didn’t make it in. Ah well… It’s all for the learning, which is always a good benefit anyway. I spend a lot of time searching for a good quote, which I wanted to be about either sunshine or play. It came to me in the last couple hours before the deadline, trying to make the piece more “me”, and that’s usually adding playful elements to my design. “I am most myself when I play”, indeed.
I have to say it was challenging to try to mix floral and words and keep a piece abstract. When I have time I’d love to explore some of my abstract ideas without the floral motifs. As the week went by my inspiration went from abstract paintings to exclusively floral patterns. No wonder my piece looks like fabric, haha. Which is so funny because my fabric assignment looked like a piece of wall art, go figure! The good news is I’m going to have lots of material for patterns after this week of wall art ;-).