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 a good fit for what she had in mind. She showed me the photo before I agreed to take on the project.

In the innitial interview I asked her questions about her house and colors of her decor. Were there colors she would not want me to use. Was it OK with her if I changed some of the colors presented in the photo? Was it OK if I edited out some of the elements, like a picnic table that was behind the little girl? Since it was a very active image, I was seeing this piece with a border of some kind (to contain it). I showed her ways that I have finished the edge on other pieces, and got her responses about that.

As an artist, we love it when the client gives us a lot of freedom to make any changes that will improve the work as a piece of art. The client wants a keepsake and the artist wants to create quality artwork. When both happen then everyone is happy.

 We Are Family, 32 X 26,  Sold

We Are Family, 32 X 26, Sold

These are the things that I did that were a change from the reference photo: I cropped the very top portion of the image so there is less tree and sky proportionally, thus improving the composition. I simplified and abstracted this top area and moved trees slightly. I eliminated a tree that originally was growing out of Mom’s head. The movement of the trees are still present in the quilting of the background. I removed a picnic table and moved the placement of a shadow on the right edge. I exagerated the halo of light behind each of the people. I changed colors of the outfits worn by every person. I exagerated the blue gray color of the shadow and the blue green color of the tree shadow on the left. By doing this, shadows and outfits were made more harmonious to eachother. I lastly added many bits of the shadow blue up into the trees on both sides. Before doing this, the shadow seemed too dominant to me. After circulating this color, it all looked good.

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 »

Seasonal Artist and Late Bloomer

When are you most productive? I love to work in the garden, specializing in Xeric landscaping, but also growing food crops and tending public places that receive water. Each season has it’s own challenges and delights, that I find enormously and creatively entertaining. Thank goodness I live in Wyoming – a place that really does… Read more »