Sketching in Fabric
Studying with Nancy Crow
Last week I took a 5 day intensive workshop with Nancy Crow here in New Zealand.
I wasn’t really sure how the experience would go as it has been 10 years since I was last in the classroom on the student side of the desk.
I started out the first hour or two with my head spinning trying to figure out how to be a student again.
I managed to get things sort, I let go of any preconceived ideas of what I was going to get out of the class and I just did the work. Adopting a “beginner’s mind” let go and see what happens.
Our focus was on figure/ground the first few days and we worked in black and white.
It was great fun letting go of my “voice” and experimenting.
A major piece
After 2 days of black and white, it was time for color – creating a major piece over 3 days. Much of this exercise is a study in value and so I used whatever color I have on hand that fit the bill.
I went with a wide wide color palette.
Here is the final piece with the color removed. The value is doing all of important work in the composition. I actually prefer this in the grayscale as all of that color is just a bit too over the top for me.
Class was Easy Peasy
(As they say a lot here in New Zealand.)
When I studied with Nancy years ago I found it quite difficult to understand the concepts. It could take months to sort out what we were supposed to be learning.
While this class wasn’t exactly easy peasy, it also wasn’t super hard (other than having to sew a huge number of hours to get everything done).
10 years later and the study of much art and learning design, I didn’t struggle with understanding what she was asking us to do. And more importantly – why she was asking us to do it that way.
I’m quite pleased that my understanding design and composition has paid off.
And while I don’t think I learned anything I didn’t already know, what did happen is all of the puzzle pieces (color, composition, value, figure/ground, etc) were all tossed up into the air and they landed in new configurations. New insights and aha’s on ways to make my art better.
Which is exactly what one hopes to get from a workshop.
Earlier this year I declared my Structures series as complete. I was feeling it had become to easy and I had stopped pushing myself. This workshop came along at exactly the right time to shake things up.
So I have to say I am thrilled I attended.
My work and Me
To give you a sense of scale – here I am at the end of class with my completed artwork. It was large.
The big take away from the week is that I am likely to start incorporating more shapes into my figures. The last 10+ years I’ve used almost exclusively line.
I won’t be doing it as you see here – this work looks too much like an exercise from a Nancy Crow workshop.
Next up is sorting out how to move forward incorporating these ideas into my current voice. I can see a lot of sketching in my future.
Nancy Crow and Lisa Call
And of course – the photo with Nancy – she is as energetic as the first class I had with her 18 years ago.