My apologies for the lengthy gap between this and my previous post. I hope to be back on track now.
Following on once again from my previous blog, this is the third of my 16 inch square quilts made in my 'Works inspired by artists' series for the group '12 by the Dozen'. This time the artist was chosen by Uta Lenk and she selected Gabriele Münter, a German expressionist painter who was at the forefront of the Munich avant-garde in the early 20th century. Münter studied with the painter Wassily Kandinsky and was a founding member of the expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter.
Discover more about Münter by clicking here.
Initially I didn't care for her style very much, but as I got to know it better I have changed my mind and find her work particularly striking. You can get a flavour of her work from the images below and if you would like to see a lot more then I created a Pinterest board where I have gathered together a collection of her work which you can see by clicking here.
A small selection of the work of Gabriele Münter, (1877 - 1962)
For my third quilt in this challenge I decided to focus on one of the techniques Münter spent time exploring; that of woodcut/linocut printing.
In 1903 her tutor, Wassily Kandinsky encouraged her to experiment with woodcutting. During their joint stay in Paris in 1906/7, Münter studied cutting and printing techniques and created about one quarter of her entire printed oeuvre during these months, not to mention numerous colour versions of each motif (so Andy Warhol wasn't so original after all!). Many of these early wood and linocuts were portraits or park and street scenes which demonstrate her talent for reducing motifs to simple outlines and flat areas of colour. It is these design elements that I decided to focus on for my next piece of work.
Lino printing is a particular favourite technique of mine, although I have only ever worked on a small scale prints until now.
Because the sharply defined lines of a lino cut block somewhat restrict the use of very subtle shading, I was forced to focus only on colour and value; light and shadow.
The 3 works above are those I used as the inspiration for my print block.
None of these blocks is particularly complex, each a single block depicting a person with whom she was closely acquainted.
Gabriele Münter, Aurelie, 1906, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies, © 2013 Gabriele Münter/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, photo © 2013 Museum Associates/ LACMA
For my attempt at a piece in a similar style I drew then scanned the head and shoulders of a young boy. Uta and I are working on a shared project where we try to draw a face every day and share our progress. (Uta is far more diligent than me - I really need to try and keep up!) It has proven to be a very rewarding project and I have learned a lot about how to capture the essence of a portrait from the daily practice.
I used one of the images I had previously drawn of a young boy to develop for my lino block. His name is Joseph.
To create the print block it was necessary to decide the positive and negative print areas then reverse the image.
Using the printed image to create a small quilted panel was the next step.
Looking at Münter's work I decided to print the image onto a piece of dyed cloth then added some additional colour and shading with Derwent Inktense pencils. I did not want to add any further line to the image so I quilted only around the printed marks.
And this is the finished panel, measuring 16" x 16", mounted on stretcher bars.
My collection of portraits is growing, and since I finished this one I have taken a short course to learn more about printed portraiture and am developing a new multiple block print of another person. I hope to share that piece soon.
The next artist in the '12 by the Dozen' challenge has now been chosen, this time by Jinnie Robisson and the artist is Jean Lurçat. His techniques and ubject matter are something quite different from the previous artists. He was a painter, ceramist and tapestry designer, creating the cartoons for hundreds of tapestries. He oversaw the weaving process and was instrumental in reviving the tapestry industy in Aubusson, France.
Looking at his work I have absolutely no idea of how I will interpret it yet - so lots to think about!
Thanks for reading.