What Next

So I have been dabbling in drawing from a model, and also in pictorial needle arts, which got me thinking about something I made quite a while ago. When I was in graduate school (in the 80’s) I was painting the nude male in situations we have traditionally seen nude females: reclining on the sofa, stepping out of the bath, frolicking in nature… As you might guess, the images read completely differently when a male is the subject. Beside painting male nudes, I did one image in cloth. It was about 12″ x 18″, done with a satiny flesh colored cloth stretched on canvas stretcher bars, and it was stitched with thread of the same color. It was like a bas relief created with cotton batting and quilting stitching techniques. The image was the torso of a reclining, frontal male nude. I remember the pubic hair was done with french knots. When I showed this to my professors in the MFA program I was in, he was dismissive of it. He said, no, not this, no good. I was cowed and embarrassed.

Now I wish I had not thrown the piece away.
So what was I doing? A fiber art generally employed by female artists, but with a nontraditional subject, the male nude. Why not? Why was the professor even unwilling to discuss this direction I seemed to be taking? I’d like to go back to this idea, and use what I have learned in the meanwhile about fiber techniques.

I have been experimenting with fiber techniques to make full color images, needle-felting, and lately needlepoint. Needle-felting has a fragile quality to it, although I now spray them with an acrylic fixative when finished. I thought needlepoint would give me some some clarity of detail I desired, but at first I thought the technique too restrictive. Well, once I learned more about needlepoint, I realized that does not have to be so.pointHere’s a needlepoint of the lakefront on the south side of Chicago which I thought of as a practice piece. I learned a lot doing this one. The tree tops are done with a rug hooking technique.

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Needle Felted Daffodil & Cherry

Both of these are needle-felted with some stitching added.daffodilsI did some running stitches with yarn to create some sharper edges.

cherryThe stem is chain stitch. I think I am playing with illusion and breaking illusion.

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Needle Felted Pear & Strawberry

I have been experimenting with making still lives with needle felting techniques.

Needle Felted PearThis is just about life size, and is needle-feltedĀ  dyed wool on a sheet of wet-felted wool.

DSCF8839This strawberry is slightly larger than life, and is needle-felted wool on wool flannel.

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Color! And a Male Model

I bought this huge box of pastels back in the mid seventies. I had just spent three summers doing portrait sketches with pastels on the boardwalk in New Jersey. So for some reason, I decided to buy myself a big beautiful box of pastels as some kind of reward, which, naturally, I then never used because I had gotten sick of working with pastels. I still have the box, so I decided to use them the other day, and here is the result.

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Charcoal and Chalk Drawing of Model

I usually ignore most of the stuff around the model, but today I decided to include Molly’s rain boots in the lower left of the picture.

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Drawing from a Model

So yesterday I went to a life drawing session at my local art center. It was so much fun to draw again, and not just of plumbing fixtures to take to the hardware store to identify my plumbing problem to the hardware store man. Although that did prove useful. But to draw from a live model, I haven’t done that in… how many years?

Oh yeah, it has been 22 years. Alice.

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