10 February 2015

Ode to Barbara Rae

Oh, this craving for color is driving me wild! We are inundated with about 2 feet of snow and ice here in New England, with two more storms coming through later this week. 

Ugh. And ugh, again. 

Last weekend I was poking through my baskets of quilt fabrics -- way too many for my health, I think -- and nothing seemed to strike me. I have piles of UFOs (unfinished objects) and WIPs (works in progress), but have not put all these random pieces together into something whole and complete. 

Another round of 'ughs,' please! 

And then just as I was about to abandon my workroom/studio for an afternoon by the fireplace, I looked over at my painting area and spotted this book about the Scottish artist, Barbara Rae, which I've had on my bookshelves for several years.

Every time I open it, I am astounded at the range of colors, textures and patterns she creates through the monoprint and stenciling processes she utilizes in her work. If you ever have a chance to buy or borrow this book, do so! 

I stood for a few minutes flipping through the pages, half my mind still on the waiting fireplace upstairs, when I opened to the two pages displaying "Carrowteige-Yellow Field."

"Carrowteige - Yellow Field" by Barbara Rae

I stopped and sighed. The rich purples and blacks, the striations and that powerful vivid red/pink rectangle made my skin tingle [this image I found on Google does not do the work justice, sadly]. I carried the book back over to my sewing table still filled with scraps and started to sort through, pulling colors and patterns that I thought would evoke Rae's own. 

I found myself selecting colors I might not normally choose -- dark, brooding, heavy except for the vibrancy of the red/pink shape. So this is what I created in the next hour -- my humble ode to Barbara Rae's 'Carrowteige-Yellow Field.'

Color Study I (hand-stitched, machine stitched, cotton batiks)

I think of this 8"x8" work as a color study for a future art quilt, possibly incorporating the other half of her work. But for now I plan to stitch this to a large piece of heavy watercolor paper and frame it.  I want to hang it in the living room by the fireplace so that I can rest my winter-weary eyes on it whenever I feel the need. Perhaps this will get me through February and March, nourishing my spirit? 

All I know is that just when I was about to give up and walk away, a vibrant piece of artwork shook me up and inspired me. 

A random moment, yet ever so welcome.

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