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SusanVille My Imaginary World

February 2023

20 Perspectives Art

Architecture

The Inspiration

This is Susanville. Not the quaint border town in eastern California, but the world of my making, my imagination.

A place where nothing is perfect, imagination fly’s its flag along with a happy kites. SusanVille is futuristic, it travels the universe in search of the next best meal and friends to dine with. It is powered by wind and has a bad ass gondola driver who loves to get lost in hopes of finding a great hot dog!



My take on architecture is reflective of a favorite childhood author and illustrator – Theodore Suess Geisel, commonly as Dr Suess. I learned to read with his ear catching verse and colorful characters. I loved his cartoon sketches. One of my favorite stories was Sneeches. A tale of acceptance and what discrimination does to a society. His lessons are timeless, and so palatable because of the worlds he illustrates with the storyline.





I was charmed most with Suess’ illustrations. His figures were very recognizable as people and familiar animals, they are full of life. They were also whimsical and quirky.

When assigned with the challenge of Architecture as a 20 P prompt, I thought why couldn’t my structures be as be fantastical? Why couldn’t my Architecture piece be full of the colors of my imagination? I decided this was where I wanted to go?


To be honest, I struggled with this prompt. I am not an artist who creates visual art about architecture. While I love to reflect on the history of human creation and the built environment- these objects are not my muse.



My first idea was a sand castle. I live on the coast of the United States. The ocean, and its pleasures are my life’s breath. I love nothing better than sitting along the Atlantic and building a sandcastle, or watching someone else build one, or walking the beach and seeing the remains of someone work. Creating a visual image of the edges of a favored building was not drawing any ideas.

Late in 2023, I found a cute children book while doing some holiday shopping Color Blocked, by Ashley Sorenson and illustrated by David Miles.

I loved the fun and whimsical line drawings. The world in this book immediately reminded Dr Suess. As a colorist, I loved the story line about colors and how primary colors become secondary colors in such a fun and creative way.





That was it, I wanted to make my own world, full of color and whimsy.


Methods and Techniques

I am a free motion quilter, I believe if you can sketch it with a pencil, you can stitch it with a sewing machine needle and thread. I can draw, I am far from a perfectionist, I love the sketchy lines the machine creates.

I also love to create my own textiles! I decided I could create my world on white fabric with black thread and then paint after stitching. I wanted an explosion of color.

I used both dry watercolor paint sticks and fluid textile acrylic paint.




Process

I drew my world on card stock then traced over it on tissue paper to create a stitch line. This was pinned onto a white cotton cloth quilt sandwich. The finished size was to be 24” square, I worked on a 27” square sandwich.

I stitched the basic outlines, from experience I have learned not to stitch in details through the tissue paper- unless you want to spend a lot of time with tweezers getting tiny bits of paper off your quilt.




Once I had the outlines of the image, I began painting. I used both paint sticks, Derwent watercolor sticks, and fluid textile paint. The paint sticks give a transparent watercolor look and you can shade easily. The fluid paints lay a solid color and does not migrate through the stitched lines. I started with the “sky” painted, I slowly worked my way around the quilt to add color, carefully placing paint ONLY where I wanted it.

I was 99% successful. By painting in 30 minute periods, I could allow it to dry before I either added more paint or more stitch.




Working from a given topic is not the easiest thing for me in making art work. But I like a challenge. I wanted to create imagery that reflects me as an artist and meshes with the assignment. I am the charater holding a tray of snacks for a passerby!



I had to dig deep into my imagination to find something that I felt met with the criteria- which is how you stretch your creative muscles, how you learn about your as an artist and your artistic abilities!

I am happy with the challenges this piece offered me.

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