Sunday, September 18, 2016

Farewell to 12 by the dozen and HELLO! Charles Sheeler

It was with regret that I withdrew last month from the 12 by the dozen on-line group of textile artists. I have been with them almost since they began, close to 7 years ago. Their membership has included people from South Africa, England, France, New Zealand, the U.S. and Canada. They set quarterly challenges and by that means encourage each other in the growth of their art.

It was through these challenges that I first came to grips with my "Cityscapes" series. First, there was "Street Life", a topic suggested by Linda Bilsborrow.

Quebec City, my response to "Street Life"

Then "Steps", proposed by Venetta Morger.

Steps: The Plateau, my response to "Steps"

And then "Fine Living", set by Colleen Paul.

Fine Living: Window Seat, my response to "Fine Living"

While pursuing these three consecutive quarterly challenges, I was also taking an on-line design course with Elizabeth Barton that was very formative.

All said and done, my Cityscapes series has preoccupied me for almost five years, and has produced more than eighty finished works. Even though it has infinite scope, I am ready to move on to a new theme and style of work. I need to give my full attention to finding a new direction and producing a new "body of work". Sadly, that means no more challenges from 12 by the dozen.

Now here's the serendipitous thing. After I handed in my resignation, but before it was shared with the group as a whole, Linda Forey announced the next challenge. Linda is a former engineer and has always been attracted to complex and even architectural designs. So who did she choose as the artist to inspire our next three-month project? The American modernist painter Charles Sheeler, (1883-1965).

I had never heard of Charles Sheeler, and so I was astonished by what I saw when I researched his name. His work is about as close to my vision for my Cityscapes as anything I have ever seen. You can check out his paintings here. In a way, I'm glad that I was never introduced to Sheeler's work, as I'm afraid I would have been overly-influenced by it.

Note the effect of transparency he is able to achieve in these examples:

Charles Sheeler, On Shaker Theme #2, 1956

Charles Sheeler, Canyons, 1951
Charles Sheeler, Ballardvale, 1946

Needless to say, I will be watching with eager anticipation to see how the 12 by the dozen artists handle this next challenge!

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