Make Over

Get out the rotary cutter. Sometimes the best thing to do with a piece that isn’t so good, is to visualize cutting it up, and then have fun doing it!  Since you didn’t like it anyway, nothing is lost. Making artwork is always a risk, so I say, go for it.

Abstract Figure

Abstract Figure

Modern Diagnosis, 59 X 29, $610

Modern Diagnosis, 59 X 29, $610

I cut ‘Abstract Figure’ into strips and added a few new strips to create ‘Modern Diagnosis’.

I have also saved the ‘good bit’ of many pieces by cropping off most of it. A small jewel is better than a not so good larger piece. Sometimes the good bits can be combined.

I have transformed a boring horizontal abstract garden piece into a beautiful vertical piece with Asian overtones. In that case I reused almost all the cut up pieces again and created just one new bit to add to the others when shuffled and reassembeled. Nothing lost, everything gained.

I recently took a piece that was pleasing but seemed unfinished, and created a strong supporting cast of color and proportion for it. In doing so it also was turned on it’s side. The first piece was called My Mother’s Skirt, because I used fabric from a striped linen skirt of Mom’s. It was a landscape that related to Wyoming hills and sky. It is the center square area of the new piece called Rain. The miracle and drama of rain on the plains still relates to Wyoming, but in a fresh way.

Rain, 61 X 31, $700

Rain, 61 X 31, $700

Rain Detail

Rain Detail

Another recent Make Over piece was first called Together Here. The tree shadows ended up looking too regular, and I was also bothered by the bottom heavy composition and the one shadow coming out of the top of the man’s head. The reason that I had been inspired to use this image to begin with was the nice connection of dog and person and the feeling of calm. I like the color palette very much.

Together Here 46 X 35 , sold

Together Here 46 X 35

Singular, 40 X 36, $800

Singular, 40 X 36, $800

I got out the rotary cutter and sliced away. I reassembled the bits using most of the original square inches of quilt. I added and substracted fabric in a few places. I scribbled with pastel sticks and markers. The changes put the calm figures in the middle of a some what chaotic storm. The idea and feeling of the piece have changed, but not completely. Life is often spinning fast, but we can still find our anchor in one another. The new title is Singular, because the man and dog relationship is unique in time and space.

Rain and Singular are both nurturing contemporary images.

Everyone is happy

When a commission turns out well, everyone is happy. The woman who asked me to make a piece based on a photo of herself and her children, was already familiar with my artwork. She knew about my medium, style, subject matter, and my love of light and shadow. She could safely feel that I was… Read more »

Something to Say About the Digital Age

New inventions have always been both delightful and frightening. An autonomous car is no different than a telephone, except for the century in which it is imbedded into human lives.  My Voice (the artistic voice of Joan Sowada) is exemplified by using images of people and animals, usually in relationship with each other and the out… Read more »

New Order and Taking Stock

After reading “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, I have given myself permission to devote several months to the task of going through everything in my house that is mine. It is simple enough to ask the clarifying question of “Does this thing bring me joy?”, but after that it is… Read more »

Inspiration from Photos

I am often inspired to create art quilts based on my own candid photos. Here are some examples of pieces that started out this way. I am drawn to photos that have good composition and strong contrast of light and dark. I sometimes combine multiple images of a subject to add impact. (Magic Wall also has… Read more »

Is it Good Artwork?

I was recently asked to judge an art show. The art was created by adults, in all media (including photography), from all over the state of Wyoming. The previous time I did this task was children’s art and County Fair. Thankfully in both instances there was a second person judging, making the decisions easier. It… Read more »

If the Power Goes Out

After a week of enjoying 2 hours a day of Spring garden cleanup, Winter has returned for a bit. The power is not likely to fail, but what if it did? Some artists work without power tools of any kind – colored pencil, paint, markers, etc. to render an image, as long as there is day light…. Read more »

Entering the Studio

This week it will be easy to descend into my basement studio, because I am enjoying hand stitching on a large abstract piece. It covers about 1/3 of a ping pong tale and I am exited about the process and the results. I can already see the piece complete, so I am excited to finish… Read more »

Repeating Myself – in a good way

I have recently chosen to create two art quilts comprised of multiple images of wonderful exciting shadows! How many times have I already been drawn to this subject matter? Cosmic Bicycle, Magic Wall, Purple Stroller. Only three times? It seems like way more than this. So… after reviewing my inventory list back to 2003 I… Read more »