Monday, March 1, 2010

You Know How I Feel

Blue and white with a bit of black.  Well, to me that was sky, of course, with the silhouettes of birds in the distance.   The image came to mind immediately, but it took me a bit longer to decide on how to execute it.

I finally settled on something I've been wanting to try for a long time.  I started with a piece of hand-dyed blue fabric, painted on the birds, and then heavily quilted "wind lines" around them.  Then, using a white oil pastel crayon, I rubbed the crayon over the surface apply white where I wanted it and to emphasize the texture of the quilting lines.  Here's a detail shot:

I really liked the effect, but observed several things I would do differently were I to do this again.  First, and most importantly, I would NOT use a typical oil pastel crayon. I'd use a Shiva Paintstick or a Watercolor crayon.  The soft texture of the oil pastel crayon worked great to apply color, but the surface of this at present has a slightly tacky feel to it.  Maybe it will dry at some point (one friend suggested that oils can take up to 6 months to dry.  Sigh.)  I tried ironing this to set the white marks, but the heat just melted the color into the fibers of the blue cotton and started to vanish.  I had to reapply the white.  So, I'll keep this hanging on my design wall for some time until it feels dry, and THEN try ironing again.  In the meantime, it makes me happy.

Oh, I should mention that this is the first time I've done any piece with half of a binding and half of a turned-back facing.  But this just wanted that, so there you have it.

The title comes from the old Nina Simone song:

"Birds flying high
You know how I feel
Sun in the sky
You know how I feel
Breeze driftin' on by
You know how I feel
It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good"

* I'm editing this entry to add that Lynn Kough has reminded me that this song actually comes from the musical "Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd" and was written by Anthony Newly and Leslie Bricusse.  Thanks, Lynn!


Lisa Flowers Ross said...

These are all so wonderful and very different. I have posted my play-along piece on my blog, too.
-Lisa Flowers Ross

Kristin L said...

Of course it wanted only half a binding -- otherwise the birds would have had no where to fly to! I think you've embraced the experimentation part of our challenge and it's payed off beautifully. Nice technique and lovely, spare composition.

Gerrie said...

Everyone is fooling me today - well, almost everyone. I did not say "Diane!!" when this popped up. I love how the quilting really gives the feeling of a windy day and birds playing in the currents of air. I do love how you did the edges with a border on only two sides. It creates the illusion of a never ending sky for the birds.

Dale Anne said...

The binding on only two sides was SUPER.

Terry said...

Beautiful! And a song that I love. I will be singing it all day now. I love your white on blue technique that picks up the texture of the quilting, which, by the way, is beautifully expressive. I understand the problems of using white over a colored fabric. I can assure you that the watercolor crayon would have been just as elusive. It tends to disappear when ironed or water added. I have had better luck with white pastel that I then painted over with diluted acrylic medium. I hope your oil pastel dries and stays intact, because it looks perfect right now!

Karen said...

That half binding is so cool, it fits this piece perfectly. The stitching makes the air move and these birds are soaring!

Brenda said...

When this piece first appeared on my screen, I thought it might be Terri's work. That wonderful striped black & white binding tricked me! What a great complement to your Pink piece. I can't wait to start putting the 12x12 Colorplay artist galleries together!

Deborah Boschert said...

The oil pastel over the quilting is fabulous. I just love it! Six months to dry... yowza.

I see that Francoise and I also used asymmetrical binding methods on our pieces. Interesting!

Flying away is quite a powerful metaphor. I think we've all been there and "know how you feel."

Françoise said...

I like the quilting, and the colours of course. The white highlights are brilliant. If they go away, you can always redo them with pearl acrylic paint.

Terri Stegmiller said...

This piece gives me a soothing, calm feeling. I love watching birds and can see myself watching these three up high in the sky. I love the effect of the binding on half the piece.

Nikki said...

What a beautiful sky with the whispy clouds. I am so glad they are able to fly forever!