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work in progress: ordinary intensity

The Canadian artist Emily Carr said,
“Do not try to do extraordinary things, but do ordinary things with intensity.”

ordinary_intensity1I was given this quote as a basis for making a piece for consideration for Lesley Riley’s forthcoming book Inspirational Quotes Illustrated. The words spoke to me and I knew I wanted to work on a piece with neutral cloth but intensely textured. Bits and pieces from my stash appeared and were collaged onto a piece of batting. I can’t remember what size I used. I have a small bin of batting scraps that I keep for my small collage works and this piece looked good enough. I think it might be around 10×14.

ordinary_intensity2After I stamped a coppery paint over part of the piece and looked at all the elements I decided they weren’t hanging together enough, not really integrated. A little bit of white opaque textile paint would meld the pieces all together. I had the words “ordinary” and “intensity” from an old dictionary and wanted to keep the words “ordinary” and “intensity” visible so I covered them with bits of paper before rolling.

ordinary_intensity3A good pressing flattened out the cloth and set the paint. Textile paints are an acrylic but they have a polymer added to them to keep them flexible and soft instead of feeling plastic like regular artists acrylics. I’m a textile artist because of the wonderful element of touch – that tactile connection to the material. I like my cloth to feel like cloth instead of having a hard plastic feeling surface.

ordinary_intensity4It seems like in almost every project I get to a point where if I had a plan, it went awry. Or if I didn’t have a plan, I just plain am not sure what needs to happen next. This was that point for this project. Sometimes I toss the piece and start over. With this one I simply waited for a bit.

What do you do when you don’t know what to do next?

work in progress: ordinary intensity

This piece need to be tied together even more. The color palette was all neutrals and I wanted to keep that, but I wanted to bring out the texture more. The actual texture of all those different fibers on the surface is something I really love but the visual patterns didn’t mesh until I did some serious stitching with embroidery threads. I love the mostly controlled and very delicate lines contrasted with the heavier and more chaotic seed stitches.


Now to deal with the words. The black wasn’t working for me. By the way, if you haven’t tried the Pentel Gel Roller for Fabric pens yet – they are WONDERFUL! They go on super smooth and dark and so far appear to be nice and permanent. It’s just that they were too much for this piece.ordinary_intensity5

With this much time and effort invested in the piece I didn’t want to start over. I have found that with many pieces if something stands out or is bothering you, sometimes the way to make it work is to add repetition. In this case, even more stitching. Varying the weight and intensity of the stitches felt right here. ah. Intensity. I get it.

ordinary_intensity7“Do not try to do extraordinary things, but do ordinary things with intensity.”  That makes sense. There is some fairly intense stitching happening here. Adding in a little more value contrast and then the red adds a focal point – and also feels intense. I think I’m good with what has happened here. In fact, I really like it. At some point I’ll probably mount this on Canvas. I really like the presentation although I’m finding that those thick canvases take up a LOT of storage space. Perhaps what is happening is that I’m getting ready for my one woman show, right? In that case I’d better get busy.

You know how the colors yellow and orange can behave like Divas in a work of art if the whole color cast is not well balanced? Red can lean in that direction but for me, it has a certain intensity to it that keeps it from simply being brash. It’s all subjective, I know. This is simply how it worked out for me with this piece.



art for sale: ordinary intensity


Ordinary Intensity
2014 by Lyric Montgomery Kinard
Mounted on Gallery Wrapped Canvas at 16″x 20″



You can read about the creation of this work of art

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