Quilt Visions: No Boundaries

Quilt Visions: No Boundaries opening reception at Oceanside Museum of Art

The 2010 Quilt Visions exhibition opened last weekend at the Oceanside Museum of Art in Oceanside, California. I was excited to be able to attend the Saturday opening reception and associated activities on Sunday, including a special breakfast for the artists as well as  a discussion panel later in the afternoon.

The reception was very well attended by both artists and museum patrons.

Opening Reception crowd

We were not allowed to take pictures other than with the artist’s express permission, but since so many of the artists were in attendance, I was able to get a good selection. Sue Willen’s beautiful quilt Ordered Cacophony V was honored with pride of place at the exhibition entry.

Sue Willen with Ordered Cacophony V

Sue Cavanaugh with Ori-Kume #14: Rio Grande at Taos

Joan Sowada with Flight Zone, winner of the Sponsor’s Award

Kathy Weaver with Strategic Alliance

Jane LaFazio with Zen Eucalyptus

Velda Newman with Zinnia, winner of the Quilts Japan prize

Margaret Anderson with Curvilinear

Katie Pasquini Masopust with Cadence

Deidre Adams with Façade VI

The panel discussion, organized and moderated by Judith Content, centered around the theme “Balancing Act: The Art of Being an Artist.” The panel participants were Gloria Hansen, Jane LaFazio, Katie Pasquini Masopust, and me. We each gave a short presentation on our work, and then we responded to questions, discussing how each of us balances our time for making art with all the other things: work, family, friends, and the business of promoting the art. I was especially interested to hear about how different each of our approaches is to the actual process of the artmaking. Gloria and Katie make drawings and sketches or use the computer to plan everything in advance and use a controlled step-by-step process to create the finished work, and Jane and I work more intuitively, making decisions and adjustments as we go. I was honored to be chosen as a panel participant.

Balancing Act panel participants (Deidre Adams, Gloria Hansen, Jane LaFazio, and Katie Pasquini Masopust) listen to Judith Content’s introduction

We were fortunate that a large number of the artists were able to attend the opening events. It was great to have the chance to see some artists I already know, as well as to meet so many new ones whose work I’ve admired for a long time.

Back row, left to right: Jette Clover, Kathy Weaver, Sue Cavanaugh, Sandra Poteet, Lura Schwarz Smith, Deidre Adams, Betty Busby, Kirby C. Smith, Debbie Bein, Velda Newman, Sharon Bell, Susan Willen, Gloria Hansen
Middle Row:
Margaret Anderson, Benedicte Caneill, Joan Sowada, Katie Pasquini Masopust, Nancy Condon, Valya
Front Row: Judith Content, Jane LaFazio, Judith Plotner, Rachel Brumer

I’m very grateful to the many hard-working individuals of Quilt Visions, including Charlotte Bird, Patti Sevier, Beth Smith, and so many others, for making this exhibit possible and for doing so much to promote quiltmaking as an art form. I’d also like to thank the Oceanside Museum of Art for hosting the exhibition in this outstanding and beautiful venue.

On Monday, we drove down to San Diego to make a special visit to the Visions Art Museum, as far as I’m aware, the only museum of its kind – dedicated to staging “exhibitions of outstanding quilts in museum quality settings” and the promotion of “quilting of the highest aesthetic and artistic quality.” They had a wonderful exhibition called “The Art of the Stitch,” an invitational embroidery show including the work of B.J. Adams, Gwenn Beope, Karin Birch, Susan Brandeis, Caroline M. Dahl, Jane Kenyon, Sarah Rockinger, Carol Shinn, Jill Spurgin, Melanie Testa, Robb Watt, Deborah Weir, Joan Wolfer, and Rita Zerull.

There was also a great exhibition of work by San Diego members of Visions, including a beautiful piece by Charlotte Bird called Life Stream. I was drawn by the rich, cool reds, and with a closer view, I was rewarded by the lovely hand stitching and delicate, lacy organza applique. (Click the image to see a larger version.)

Life Stream by Charlotte Bird

Other artists in the show are Kathleen McCabe (also a fantastic piece, but alas, no photo available), Karen Cunagin, Barbara Friedman, Bob Leathers, Jill Le Croissette, Dan Olfe, and Lisa Tan.

The museum is housed in a unique facility which is part of a large complex of arts organizations, restaurants, and other businesses occupying what was once a formal naval training center. The architecture is also interesting in its own right. I highly recommend a visit to the Visions Museum if you get a chance to visit San Diego.

2017-10-15T16:16:09+00:00 October 29th, 2010|Exhibitions|21 Comments

339. Resonance

339. Resonance, 30 x 40 inches, acrylic & mixed media on panel-mounted canvas, ©2010 Deidre Adams

This is a new painting I finished last week. I’m quite happy with it. One question I’m asked frequently is how do I know when it’s done? I’ll admit that I struggle with that. The best answer I have is that it’s finished when it no longer nags at me. Each painting is done in stages. I work on it for awhile, then I set it aside. I keep several paintings, in various stages of completion, standing up where I can see them all around the studio, which spills over into my bedroom and even the bathroom. Sometimes I don’t come back to them for quite awhile, but they stay there in front of me where I see them every time I walk by. They are almost part of the landscape, but somewhere in my subconscious mind I’m thinking about each one, and when inspiration hits for a particular one, it gets another working turn. I can’t take it out of the lineup until I have declared it officially done.

At one point in the process for this particular painting, I thought it might be finished when it looked like this:

339. Resonance in progress

But I just wasn’t sure. It seemed OK, probably, but was it really? Somehow it seemed it wasn’t quite rich enough to me at this stage. This is when it’s the scariest for me. What if I do more to something that’s really pretty OK, and I ruin it? Actually, I’ve done that many times now, and so I’ve figured out that if that happens, I just keep going and eventually I can resolve it. Each of my finished paintings has had several different identities throughout its life. I could have called it done at any point, but I would not have been completely satisfied.

Here’s an even earlier stage of this painting:

339. Resonance in progress, early stages

The title comes from the 1939 edition of Physics by Erich Hausmann and Edgar P. Slack, a couple of pages of which are collaged into this painting.

339. Resonance, detail

This painting started out on stretched canvas. Normally, I like to work on panels because I build up textures by putting many layers of paint and medium on the surface. I don’t have any concerns about structural integrity when it’s on a hard surface. But when I started this painting, I didn’t have any panels handy, and I did have some canvases in storage (more about that here). I didn’t think I’d be making any great masterpieces; I had just come off a longish dry spell and all I cared about was getting back into the studio to paint!

When I got into the process of this painting, however, I became very committed to it and I put a lot of time and energy into it. And I do really love it. However, the weight of all the layered paint on the canvas was too much for the support, and it was obvious that it wouldn’t stand up to being moved around a lot. But I came up with a great solution. I have since bought some very nice panels, and for this painting, it was an easy matter of mounting it onto a panel with Golden gel medium.

I first thought I might need to use some kind of glue, but in researching it (don’t you LOVE the Google!), I found blog posts by people who had used soft gel medium to mount canvas to panel prior to painting. But there was nothing about using it for a finished painting, and I wasn’t sure the medium would be strong enough. So I called Golden tech support. I spoke to a very knowledgeable individual and explained the problem. He said that the Golden medium is preferable to glue because it is more stable chemically and not prone to breaking down over time like glue. He said that I should use the regular weight gel instead of soft gel, though, because it would better support the heavier weight. This was welcome news to me, since I already had a gallon tub of it sitting on my work table.

So all I had to do was pry out the staples holding the canvas on the stretchers and trim off the sides (but leaving about a half-inch safety border). I laid it down on top of the panel and got it positioned the way I wanted it, and then weighted it in the center with heavy books so it wouldn’t move. Then, starting at one end, I lifted up that side of the canvas, and with a wide putty knife, I spread on a layer of gel about a third of the length of the panel. I rolled the canvas back down from the middle, smoothing and applying pressure by hand as I went. I used a rolling pin over a towel like a large brayer to press it into place. Then I repeated the procedure from the other side in two stages: center, then the final end. I gave extra attention to the edges to make sure they were securely pressed down.

The gel is tacky enough that I could keep working on it without disturbing the positioning, so I decided that it would be best to get the edges trimmed before the gel dried and became difficult to remove. A lot of it splooges out the sides. So at that point, I turned the whole thing over and cleaned up as much of the excess gel as possible, then I used an X-acto knife to trim the canvas flush to the edge of the panel. After it dried, I sanded and painted the edges of the canvas to match top layer of the panel. Voilà!

2017-10-15T16:16:10+00:00 October 18th, 2010|Painting|4 Comments

Ups and downs

Mining Chaos, 36 x 36 inches, acrylic on panel, ©2010 Deidre Adams

The past week has been a crazy emotional roller coaster, with extreme highs and lows. Briefly, one high was that I received notice that my textile piece Façade VII has been accepted into Quilt National 2011. This is just about the most prestigious juried show there is for art quilters, and it’s a great honor and achievement to be accepted. Readers who’ve been with me for a while will recall that I complained bitterly about being rejected from QN’09.

(Update 10/6/10: Note that the image above isn’t my QN piece. They have a rule that accepted works cannot have been published or shown on a web site other than the artist’s prior to May 2011. So even though this is my web site, I’m not taking any chances of being disqualified. The image shown here is a painting that will be part of the “Urban Beauty” show, details below.)

One very low was learning over the weekend that one of my favorite professors at Metro had passed away most unexpectedly. Eldon (“E.C.”) Cunningham was Professor and Printmaking Coordinator at Metro for many years; he was mostly responsible for building the shop and the department into a respected force in the printmaking world. He ruled the shop with a velvet-gloved iron fist, and while I can still hear him admonishing all of us to do our “shop jobs,” I also learned a great deal from him about being an artist, about developing intent and a strong work ethic. He didn’t suffer fools lightly, but he could find the good in all of his students and their work. He was incredibly generous with his time and knowledge, and he never hesitated to offer individual assistance. Critiques with him were an educational experience in which I learned some things not only about how to talk about art, but also how to deal with egos both overblown and fragile. Dear E.C., you will be missed!

Finally, I have good news about an exhibition. I will be participating in a group show called Urban Beauty at the CWCC Art Gallery. Details:

Oct. 20, 2010 – Jan. 5, 2011

Fall Art Show: Urban Beauty
Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce Art Gallery
1624 Market Street, Denver
Mon-Fri, 8-5

2017-10-15T16:16:10+00:00 October 5th, 2010|Exhibitions, Painting|3 Comments