Thursday, April 15, 2010

Flying with Quilted Birds

Talking with friends, I learned my quilted bird paintings contain intriguing dualities. First is a tension between natural & geometric forms.

Another is solidness & transparency. When I started Raven at Home, I planned to let a little pattern show through. Gradually I was drawn to an increasingly transparent raven. Most parts of the bird are white lines interrupting the quilt pattern. Artist friend Antonia Gottesman urged me to leave the eye empty--keeping attention dispersed over the whole picture.

Looking at Flicker, photographer friend Michael Sterne asked why I put a recognizable bird over a grid. I suggested that all worthy human design comes from the inspiration of living things. Here's a direct link between quilt design & the beauty of birds.

Another duality is art & mathematics. Antonia, math wizard as well as artist, loves to find mathematics & art together. I'm the daughter of an electrical engineer & once received a pin from the Mathematical Association of America. Maybe unconsciously all quilt-makers love this.

Transparency suggests another duality--existence & non-existence. Patterns & birds move into & out of being across the page. This creates a feeling of time, enhanced by activity. The raven is alert & nearly sways on his branch. The pelican flies over water. The flicker bursts into upward flight. The kingfisher watches for prey, poised to dive.

I love to twist to our thought process, so we sense for an instant alternatives to what we perceive. I hope these paintings stimulate some juicy questions about what is real. I hope they increase delight in how beautiful birds live independent of our beliefs, & yet entwined.

At Sebastopol Gallery, 150 North Main, through May 30 (

Thursday, April 1, 2010

quilted birds

I love ravens. A couple of years ago I decided to make a raven quilt. A visit to the Gee's Landing Quilt show inspired cutting & sewing a bolder version of my first sketch. Recently I woke under this Flying Raven quilt, & was enjoying its colors & warmth. Hmm, I thought, maybe I should make a painting based on it. Raven at Home emerged. The white borders on the right & bottom suggested a set of 4 with the borders rotating to different positions. Flying Pelican & Flicker came next. Kingfisher is in process. I'll hang these, with small studies of the quilt patterns, at Sebastopol Gallery from April 11 to May 30.

Sebastopol Gallery is at 150 North Main, open daily 11-6,