Monday, March 17, 2008

The Crying Towel

I have been searching eBay for vintage fabric, like table cloths and linens. I came across this very interesting kitchen towel. Of course I had to buy it. In our family we have a running joke about optimistic me and pessimistic Joe. Joe always teases me that I see things too naively and would trade the house for magic beans (that's wrong?). I always counter that he could be a millionaire and still be worried and see doom and gloom around every corner. He explains that he is just being a realist.

So when I saw this towel I knew it was for my man. I keep it in a kitchen drawer and wave it around when he starts in on one of his the world is doomed rants.

The truth of the matter is that we need opposites in life and in a mate. Joe and I call it sharing the brain, but really its for helping to have a balanced life (even though my right side of the brain is infinitely more developed than his meager left side). We have to work with what we don't have, to be a whole person and a successful artist.

I can’t draw a picture without a piece of paper. I need it even though it is different from my paints or pencils. There are fabric colors that you may never buy or use, but to make the art work, you need them. Even if you don't like them. Many times you have to add the opposite color to make your art balanced and the painting work.

I have never been a fan of yellow. When I first started quilting, my fabric drawers where full of brights and jewel tone fabrics. I stayed away from gold and yellow. This seems funny, coming from a woman who lives in a yellow house (that’s another story for another day). When you are creating a painting, you naturally squirt out all your paint colors. The primary colors go first: red, blue and yellow and then you start mixing. I have never given it a second thought that yellow was on my palate. But when I started quilting or painting with fabric, I found I wasn’t buying yellow fabrics and I needed them. Just like it was paint on my palate.

You are making a conscious choice of fabric selection at the store. It is very easy to get distracted by all the beautiful fabrics and colors. We need to rethink the way we buy fabric for this kind of art quilting. Remind yourself when at the store that what you are doing is buying COLOR for painting, not quilting. The question needs to be If I had to mix it in paint, what
olor would it be? That means you will probably be purchasing the opposite of what you may want or think you need.

When painting with fabric you will need the muted, the ugly, the dull, the too bright and, of course, the extremes in values when building a balanced color palate.

That is why it is so thrilling to make one of my art quilts work. It’s always a surprise what colors I had to use to make it work.


Miss Magic Beans

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