Last weekend I posted the latest iteration of the Tarts. Mostly, I get really nice, short comments on my posts. I was surprised and delighted to find a long and thought provoking comment from SherriD. She wrote:
“You are more of a trained artist than I am, I think. You’ve taken classes or studied art perhaps? So I am only asking these questions in order to understand as I have not taken any art classes or quilting classes for that matter.
1. Why did you choose to have the purple background and the pie’s innerds almost the same shade? (btw, I like the orange crust very much!)
2. On three of big corner pots, are you going to embellish them with perhaps something like thread painting?
3. Have you considered adding cookies or scones? I noticed that you have in a row, cream and sugar, then two cups, then a cupcake with another cup.
I hate to say things about someone else’s work but I really am curious as to the “why” in your projects. This is such a happy quilt in process. I love the colors and have really enjoyed watching the progress.”
Thanks to SherriD for taking the time to post a comment – a long and thoughtful comment. I thought responding through a post would be a great way to spark conversation about SherriD’s thoughts among all of my readers.
I was not an art major in college, though my major did allow me a lot of opportunities to take classes outside of the required courses. I took art history classes, studio art classes, Swedish, German, political science (blech!) and many others. I have also taken a lot of continuing ed and adult ed classes in art practice. I am not so much trained in art as informed by the classes I have taken.
In a roundabout way, I have tried to answer SherriD’s questions below.
I have taken a number of art classes and lots of quiltmaking classes. Many people think it is a badge of honor or courage not to have taken any classes and to have taught themselves. I applaud you for your fortitude. I just don’t have it in me to learn by myself. I learn by someone showing me and by doing, so I take classes regularly. While I am not interested in taking art practice classes right now and I am interested in taking more quiltmaking classes, I enjoy taking classes, in general, for a number of reasons:
- I don’t learn well by myself with books, especially something completely new.
- Even if I never finish a class project I always take something away from the class or the teacher.
- I like being a room with other people. I enjoy seeing what they are doing and how they are reacting to the teacher.
- I work mostly alone, so classes get me out of the workroom.
- Classes re-energize me when I get back into my workroom.
- I get turned on to new sources of inspiration, such as books, blogs and websites by the teacher and students in a class.
- Classes clarify things that I don’t understand.
- I am a visual learner so I learn best when someone shows me how to do something.
- Classes make me think about things in different ways.
This is one of my favorite pieces from a studio art class. It is colored pencil on Bristol Board and I took the class from Wayne Thiebaud’s assistant at the time. I wish I remembered his name, because I would LOVE to thank him. You might recognize the image from an old Lancome ad featuring Isabella Rossellini. I also took a framing class after college and framed this piece myself.
The other thing I do is practice. When you see a piece of pie appliqued down as part of the Tarts, what you see is the final piece. Sometimes I sketch many, many drawings before I make a pattern and cut fabric. I don’t consider myself to be an accomplished drawer (if that is a word). I do feel like I am getting better and I feel like I am getting better because I practice. Drawing skill is not something with which I was born. I feel that most people don’t have it when they are born. Drawing is a skill a person needs to practice. If you want to draw well, practice. You will draw a lot of crap before you draw something great. The thing to remember is that if you practice you will draw something great.
SD: “1. Why did you choose to have the purple background and the pie’s innerds almost the same shade? (btw, I like the orange crust very much!)”