If you follow me on Instagram you've probably seen a few of my Color Block paintings, a series I've been playing with for about a year. I'll be sharing a new collection of finished Color Blocks in the coming weeks, but wanted to give you a little peek behind the curtain at the painting and stitching that goes into making them!
First secret confession, I don't keep a traditional sketchbook. More like a writer, I write down and describe ideas that come to me and save them for later. The idea usually comes as a flash of an image and then I get excited about the details and start filling in more or I let the idea ramble on to someone else, just like Elizabeth Gilbert describes in Big Magic.
The little inspiration seedling for the Color Blocks came awhile ago (years? hard to say), just an image of one solid color on a canvas. It was a perfect way to highlight my favorite colors, i.e. all of them, and give them uninterrupted space to shine.
When I see tubes of paint, I get so excited about the colors and all the mixing I can do, not necessarily to be used for anything concrete, but just so I can see them all. A lot of times even if I'm not crazy about an artist's work I'll be obsessed with seeing his/her paint palette. I love seeing a studio covered in open paint tubes and messy palettes.
The most important thing in each piece is the paint color. That's where I start. I look through magazines, scroll my Pinboards or just let the color options pop into my head. Once I'm in love with an option, I go with it. I try not to second guess the colors. I just get to painting. My desire with the entire series is that the blocks can be paired or grouped together in different combinations to create larger works of art on the wall.
When I thought about making paintings that just emphasized one color for its own sake, I felt like the color should be outlined or framed in some way to bring even more focus to it. That's how the embroidered borders came to be, though they've now morphed into different shapes. I'm still brainstorming new ways to add embroidery with more designs and maybe even some lettering. Recently another idea flash came - gradient paint colors! We'll see...
Anyway, once I've chosen the paint color - or it's chosen me - I draw lines on the back of the canvas to give myself a guide for where to stitch. The final step is adding the embroidery! It's a slow and steady process that can be nice and meditative, but sometimes I just need to watch a little Shahs of Sunset while I work to keep me sharp ;)
I'm so excited to share the new Color Block collection with you soon!