The amazing Sylvia Benitez, founder of the Gentileschi Aegis Gallery Association, (GAGA) has devised a new group painting installation for the COASTAL BEND COLLEGE Gallery in Beeville.
Individual artists first create a maquette (scaled study) of a painting that might be cut into quilt squares – here’s mine, with notes, which was completed several months ago:
This was the small sketch for the larger painting in close-up – it was just a general idea that I hoped to develop somehow — in my notes on the maquette, I wrote, “I have come to rely on synchronicity, intuition, and collective unconscious” – in other words, I try to trust the process and the concept will emerge.
The next step was to create the painting itself, a 20×20″ work on unstretched heavy canvas with six coats of Gesso. One of Sylvia’s brilliant ideas was to use a separate canvas for the palette, which could them be cut up into a quilt design that would reflect the colors in the painting.
Working from my initial composition, I started the painting, laying our blocks and texture:
At this point, I posted on Facebook that I liked the palette better than the painting! You can’t go wrong with Quinacridone Gold and Payne’s Gray!
Then the painting got to that stage where things get murky and uncertain – I had imaged that it would be misty and soft, but more geometric shapes seemed to be called for.
I almost stopped here. The painting was pretty – but that’s ALL it was. There had to be more . . .
Immediately, I knew there need to be a large dark block on the left — a WALL:
I realized that the painting was becoming the abstract representation of a borderland in turmoil – fences, walls, wire, smoke. Just yesterday I had seen photographs of a bulldozer at a protected butterfly sanctuary on the Mexico border.
Here is the finished painting, titled Borderland:
I am so grateful for the intuitive guidance that helped me express the frustration I feel about divisions and conflict. It’s cathartic to paint it through. Every little dab and brushstroke in the finished piece now has new meaning for me.
The next step will be to cut up the painted scrap palette I used, and create a quilt collage on the back side of the canvas. I’ll post a photo for that when it’s done.
Sylvia’s vision for our GAGA group show, A Certain Sense of Her, should play out well at the Coastal Bend Gallery – can’t wait to see all of the quilted-inspired paintings on site!