Friday, April 8, 2011

You know you're getting old when... find yourself in an art gallery looking at paintings created by one of your former junior high students in the SAIC BFA exhibit.  That is exactly where I found myself on Wednesday of this past week, after I had spent the day at a social media conference downtown.   I snuck over that evening to the Sullivan Gallery on State Street to see the work of Samantha Haring.  I had the pleasure of teaching Samantha during her junior high career at The Willows. The entire exhibit was beautiful---and inspiring.  It's exciting to think of all of these young artists graduating and moving on to making art.  You can see some of Samantha's work here.

I love visiting galleries and looking at art in all forms.  It can be so inspiring, especially for a quilter (or just plain anyone who's crazy about color)...I often come home from a trip to the Art Institute with new ideas for color palettes and quilt themes.  Looking at art online can also be very inspiring.  Do a google image search using some of your favorite artist's names.  A host of images will come up, some of them with commentary on the colors or a brief history of each painting.  Some of my favorites are Grant Wood,  (partially because of my penchant for all things green--look at those Iowa farm hills!  How can you resist running to your bin of green fabrics?)

                                      Young Corn by Grant Wood
                                   Source:  Grant Wood Art Gallery

Vincent Van Gogh (I love the yellows and blues in this painting--)

                  Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night
                                         by Vincent Van Gogh

and Vermeer (speaking of blue and yellow, see below!)

                                   The Milkmaid by Jan Vermeer

So just how, you might ask, can you use these paintings to inspire your quilting?  You can, of course, do the obvious thing and take an entire color palette from a painting and use it in a quilt.  The simple thing would be to use equal amounts of each color.  If you want to be more complex, you can study the color relationships in the painting and determine each color's proportion.  You can also take just a few of the colors (or even just two) and use them as a color palette for a quilt.  If I were using Grant Wood's Young Corn as inspiration for a quilt, I would use all of the shades of green.  To further the farm theme, I might create a strata-based quilt (hmmmm....I might have to try that when spring market is over).  If I were using the Vermeer or Van Gogh painting, I would probably do a quilt with different shades of blue and yellow and possibly cream.  Since I am not ready to use any of these paintings for inspiration at the moment, I will come back to them from time to time.  You never know how something will inspire your work in the future!

So, congratulations, Samantha!  And thanks to you for giving me the opportunity to look at some art on a busy Wednesday afternoon.



  1. Isn't that such a great show! :) Our dd is a 2009 alum of SAIC and seeing the BFA show opening night was a treat! She still goes to check out the new student work.

  2. It is a great show! And, I love the atmosphere of the gallery and the way they've set it up....