August 10, 2012

A New Textile: "Blue/Yellow Ground"

Blue/Yellow Ground, hand dyed wool on linen, 11 x 10 in.

After my last textile, which was illusionistic, with curving folds (see it here), I wanted to work on something very flat, hooked in straight lines. I decided to add a piece to my continuing Figure/Ground series, in which I attempt to make color and shape balance each other so that none take precedence. A little flip-flopping is great. When I first dyed the blue wool and looked at it in the pot next to the yellow, I realized it was too pale and gray to hold its own. So, it went back in the pot until I got a color that was more intense than my original intention, but I think balances the yellow. 

Blue/Yellow Ground, detail

One way I try to equalize the shapes is by outlining each one of them with hooking following its edge, as you can see here in the detail. If I left out the outline on one, it might seem as though it was visually behind the other. I'm hoping that we see the blue curved forms are as strong as the squeezed yellow shape and that neither holds the attention for too long. 

Here are four previous pieces from the Figure/Ground series. 

*And a little extra news: a Facebook friend has written a nice piece on me and my online art life for Art New England Online, which you can read here


  1. I find these colors very appealing. I hope it doesn't indicate that I'm getting sappy in my old age. The blue here and the pink in the candy stripe painting seem new to you. I like them; I'm thinking it requires some bravery to use them.

    The treatment of edges is an elegant solution to the usual stair-stepping issue with woven textiles. Now that I think of it, however, I guess that ability to smooth the edges of forms is a strong attraction of hooking.

    Anyway, I really like this particular piece.

    1. Thanks so much, Erik. I looked back at my textile database to see if I'd used a similar blue before and it doesn't seem I have. The pink in the painting is definitely new. No bravery though, just fun.

  2. I always find these most interesting when I can see a group together since the technique always seems to influence how I look at these — for example, outlining the shape. I was wondering how it would look without that outline before I read your text as to why you did it.

    Also, that was a wonderful piece about you and FB and online communities. One of the things that struck me was the experience of an artist friend of ours whose work has gone from photo realistic watercolors to small slightly abstract landscapes to very large and bright expressionistic abstracts over the course of his career. His gallery in Madison and another in Minneapolis have continued to carry his work all these years and through all the changes. I guess that is more rare than I realized. Or perhaps a Midwestern sensibility?

    1. Thanks for the comment Linda. I like seeing my textile pieces in groups too. I like the conversations that sets up.

      I'm glad you liked the article; I was very pleased about it. I think your friend's experience with his galleries is the ideal in a perfect world, where a dealer is committed to an artist through thick and thin. It is rare these days.

  3. as sensitive as ever, Altoon

  4. The colors, almost, of the Swedish flag.
    That dynamic line moderating the colors very much engages me. I find this hooks me perhaps the most of the series with its balance teetering.