May 7, 2011

A New Textile: "Red Diamond", with Some Inspiration

Red Diamond, hand dyed wool on linen, 10 x 10 inches.

With this work, I took a ten inch square and turned it so that it became a diamond. I've been thinking of using a diamond shape for quite a long time, ever since I came across the paintings of Ward Jackson (see below) on the internet a couple of years ago. It seemed like an interesting form to work with and I did some sketches which stayed in my maybe-to-do pile. The thumbnail sketch finally caught my eye; I worked some color into it and came up with a theme of grayed red and pink, which I dyed by adding some green, along with a bit of yellow, to the red. The composition is of a path, or an opening, dividing two triangular shapes.

I decided to hook the wool parallel to the sides of the work in the two large shapes, and have them move in different directions. I hoped this would create a visual tension, a push toward the middle, where the pink is hooked in a random pattern.

As I was working on this I started thinking about it as one of a pair, so went back to my sketches and colored in a second composition in green and greenish yellow. The original sketch is the one below; above that, next to the red, is an adjusted sketch, where I tilted the central shape toward the left instead of right, thinking it would work better for the pair. I am now working on the green diamond and hope it works well with the red.

Theo van Doesburg, Contra Composition V

When I was working on my blog post on geometric abstraction, I became very interested in the paintings of Theo van Doesburg, a Dutch artist of the De Stijl movement. This diamond shaped painting is a dynamic composition of triangles and truncated rectangles.

Ward Jackson, Ladder Series, 1996, acrylic on canvas, 34 x 34 inches.

Ward Jackson, St. Martin, 1983, oil on masonite, 34 x 34 inches.

Ward Jackson was a New York based artist whose later paintings were intensely colored, very dynamic minimalist abstractions. I find his diamond shaped paintings particularly inventive and very compelling. The link above to Metaphor gallery shows more of his strong work. Joanne Mattera is an artist working today extensively in the diamond format. Go to the link to see her current show "Diamond Life". It is fun to work on something other than a rectangle, but I leave this exploration of different shapes for my textile work; with my paintings I will stick with the quiet of the rectangle.


  1. It's interesting to watch you develop your textiles. With every one you bring out new ways to control the medium. The random pattern of the path does evoke some tension and the "paving stones" act a a good transition into the outer field. I get a sense of familiarity in them, like I've walked there before.

  2. thanks, john, for the poetic reading of this piece; I like your feeling of having walked there.