While in London a few weeks ago, I went to see the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition at Tate Modern. It was fantastic and packed full of drawings and paintings spanning her lifetime. I was particularly delighted to see Blue and Green Music (1919), a painting inspired by music. O’Keeffe believed in “the idea that music could be translated into something for the eye”. This got me thinking about other artists whose work was influenced by music, and my research, of course, led me to Kandinsky and his works, such as Composition 8 (1923). Kandinsky, apparently inspired by a performance of Wagner’s Lohengrin, used colours and shapes to evoke sounds, and named his paintings as if they were musical pieces.
Of course, this interest stems from my current work on a challenge to make a quilt inspired by music. In a previous post, I described the challenge and my dislike of the given music. However, the more I’ve listened to it, the more melodic and pleasant it feels now, and although I may never be a great fan of brass instruments, I have definitely warmed to this particular trumpet concerto. Here it is if you would like to hear it.
I decided on a restricted colour palette – a triadic arrangement of golden yellow, fuchsia and aqua blue, each colour representing a different element, ie golden yellow for the trumpet, fuchsia for the orchestra and aqua blue for the music. Having been reluctant initially to use yellow, I’m actually enjoying the warm quality of golden yellow. I’ve had a lot of fun dyeing fabrics to achieve the exact colours I want and also plan to throw in a piece or two of golden yellow and fuchsia ice-dyed cloth.
Printing pattern, with fabric paint, on some of the fabric is next using a selection of Indian wood blocks from Colouricious, and Thermofax screens I’ve designed featuring words … and more words!
The composition has come together well though not quite finalised yet, will post photos next time of the stages that will take me, hopefully, to the final version. And then, all there will be to do is cut out the pieces and put them back together again. Oh, and put the quilt together, stitch it, then bind or face it. Not much then!
While I was using golden yellow dye, I rescued one of the peely-wally cloths that I mentioned in a previous post. I overdyed it, split it in three, printed on one piece with a fun, funky wood block using a very close colour so the pattern is very subtle, printed another piece with a different block and soya wax, then painted it with magenta dye to change its character and give it some depth. I now have three pieces of fabric that are much more interesting and will be fun to use.
I admire people who work on a dozen projects at the same time and manage to jiggle time to fit them all in. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people, I need to keep my workload to a maximum of two or three ongoing things at any one time. However, as the musical quilt, and my icy quilt blocks, are well under way, I’ve accepted an invitation from a very talented stop motion animator to collaborate on a very exciting project involving a wire figure. I haven’t made an art doll in sometime but will happily brush up on my skills and enjoy the challenge. Much more to follow next time ….
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