I've been working hard to find ways to incorporate both paint and stitch in my work in a coherent manner. I get closer and closer to finding a method each time I try something new. So doing the work is a very important part of the process. As important as it is to actually do the work, I am finding that it is also critically important to take time away from the work as well.
Back in January, I wrote about my struggles finishing paintings with patchwork and stitched frames. I posted a picture of some pieced borders I had sewn to a painting, but I was never happy with it. It was too predictably patchwork with the multi-color pieced border. There was nothing innovative about it. But even worse, to my mind, there was nothing expressive about it. It looked like any old quilt border sewn onto a painting.
So two months ago I cut the borders right off and played with raw-edge applique to create a border that I then quilted with an irregular grid pattern. This made me happy because it felt like it was getting closer to my intention and my vision.
A month later, I played with the idea some more with a photo of a bridge I took with Instagram. (You can find me there as kimberly_paints. I follow everyone who follows me.) While I really liked it the effect, I felt that it lacked presence and didn't feel substantial enough as it was just a small floppy quilted piece. (I am still playing with different ideas adding substance to the piece.)
And just this past week, I had another inspiration during my commute home. I took the basic idea of raw-edge applique and grid quilting, but stretched it around a canvas. That made me happy because it added that presence that I felt was lacking.
So today my intention was to return to the studio and continue working on my finishing conundrum. But it was a glorious Central Pennsylvania summer Sunday and I found myself drawn to planting flowers and vegetables in my garden, reading on the back deck, knitting while watching Spain vs. Italy, and going for a meditative walk.
I didn't enter my studio until well after dinner. I painted for twenty minutes and then decided to pull fabrics to frame this small painting.
I chose a wide range of colors thinking that I would create a border much like the previous pieces.
But as I started placing the painting on the fabrics in different configurations, I wasn't happy at all. I didn't want it to be derivative or predictable. I wanted to take another step forward.
And then, like a flash in the night, I had an image of an appliqued frame that echoed the motifs of the painting. The painting itself would be mounted on a piece of black duck cloth. The appliqued shapes would be stitched to a background of osnaburg that had been painted to resemble the background of the painting. And then the entire piece would be stretched around a canvas.
I grabbed a sketchpad and pen and quickly captured my idea so that I wouldn't forget it.
I am learning that as important as it is for me to do the work, it is equally important for me to take time away from the work. I had a relaxing day that was clarifying and was a break--a pause--from the constancy of work. While I was enjoying myself, my subconscious was still mulling my creative conundrum.
Doing the work is essential, but it may be in the pauses where the greatest growth happens.