work in progress: ordinary intensity

May 28, 2014

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?


  • Reply
    vivian helena aumond-capone
    May 29, 2014 at 11:40 am

    I put the project away and always have something else to work on.. I learned a long time ago, what I might have planned out so carefully, might not work, and that the piece has a mind of it’s own and will show me the way.

  • Reply
    May 29, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Often I used to abandoned projects when I hit a glitch, but I heard the graphic artist Tommy Kane say he always finishes every project, and every drawing because he learns so much by working his way out of the problem areas. So now I just keep working, and even though my project may careen wildly away from my original idea, I’m usually happy with the end product. Actually just finishing is satisfying.

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