the year of the robin

Robins have been in my life in a big way this year...lots of them around all winter, encounters with them in the snow, and now a nest with four little ones on my patio. It seems appropriate to mark 2006 (even though we are only 1/3 of the way through it) as the Year of the Robin. And to commemorate it with art.

The problem, as usual, is how to achieve that. The idea has been rolling around in my brain for weeks, encounters lodging themselves in my memory. My work in general has been getting more abstract lately, but most of the visions I see for this piece take a step backwards from that.

This quick sketch was done with shiva paintsticks on a suede-like polyester fabric. I drew directly on the fabric, and then softened it with mineral spirits (the only solvent I had in the house that would work). Then I stitched some on it with varigated thread. It's a start.

I keep thinking of some pieces of western art I saw on Antiques Roadshow. I think they were done by a native American artist, and were kind of petroglyph-like. Just outlines mostly, with some color filled in here and there. A kind of narrative moving across the piece.

So I could start in a corner of a piece of fabric and add things as they happen this year--but I'm torn between just drawing them with paintsticks or ink, and stitching them...

Which brings up yet another dilemna working away in my brain. Lately I've just been backing my pieces with acrylic felt, so they are only two layers. Less finishing to deal with, flatter, less heavy. So they are no longer really 'quilts'. Do I care? Not much, but it makes the piece harder to define on a show submission...maybe I just don't have enough real life problems to worry about, huh?

The year of the robin will probably end up being a personal enough piece that it will never be for sale anyway. So what do I have to lose, right?

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