Sunday, December 2, 2012

Finding your own visual language




Finding your own visual language.

Written my Claire Benn, Leslie Morgan and Jane Dunnewold

This is my favorite book for really jump starting my creative process as well as an artistic "AAA" for when that process has a puncture on the road to completion. After I talk about the segments of the book I will explain why I find this book such a rich resource of inspiration.
The main premise of the book is that if offers a multitude of directions like road signs along a journey to bring an artist during any stage of development from point A to point B. For me it has been like taking private lessons from a master, learning to see, understand and correct or redirect the path along the creative process. These include how to get started, move forward, evaluate your work during the process especially when you feel stuck and finally going deeper down the path.
I may know what I like judging from the scrap books of ideas, colors and textures I've made. However, I need the guidance of one who has been there to give me the suggestions that help me focus and examine what I am trying to accomplish as an individual. This is where the visual exercises help me see things in a new way, develop ideas on how to create mark and actually put my finger more closely on what it is I am trying to say.
In the first section of the book I worked with shapes, cutting stamps, line drawing, mark making, texture, using mark to express feelings, line studies, rubbings, monoprinting, examining color and pattern and abstraction of images. After doing the work, I am given questions to ask about my work so far and guides for drawing some conclusions.



The second part of the book is an explanation of art and design principles: contrast and relationship, focal points, and balance. Again I am given a series of questions and guided evaluations, ways to seek solutions and make decisions.
To carry you through the process, the authors offer two case studies which are very illuminating. You can see the process in action, like watching someone’s mind work. The last portion of the process is a writing exercise. This is not my forte but using the guidance of the book, I was able to follow through.
Now I come to the point of telling you why I like this book most of all the books I have purchased about surface design. Many books are about technique, or about how the author does her/his work. This book is like having an instructor right in the room with you, guiding YOU down the path of understanding. It’s not about how this person makes their art or that person makes their art; it’s about how I can make art in my own voice. I love the questions and guides provided which show me how to examine what I've done and ask myself if I've achieved what I set out to do, if I've said what I wanted to say.
This book is my “go to” place whenever I feel stuck or in a dry place. The exercises always “get my creative juices flowing” again. I've heard it said that we learn by doing and these exercises are a sure fire way to get me “doing” and launch a creative burst.

On a personal note, I have created a book of marks that I use to whet my appetite for "work"or to simply create a page or two when I need a creative outlet. I have included a few pages. 

 Drops of India ink blown with a plastic straw
 Tiny spray with India ink and a toothbrush
 A roller pen
 black acrylic paint applied with a wad of burlap
 Black acrylic paint smeared with a 4" squeegee
 Stamps from the exercises in the book with acrylic paint
 A closed cell foam disc used as packing material rolled in acrylic paint and rolled onto the pages
The gold dots were already on the pages and I made a clam image I use frequently with white china marker.

GIVE-AWAY


I have a free six month "Star Membership" to The Quilt Show for my giveaway.The show used to be pretty traditional but in the last few years have some great art quilters. There is a great 70 minute Threadplay tutorial with Libby Lehman. There are also scads of things available only to Star Members. These would be available to you also. You can't beat free!! I usually learn at least one new thing each time I watch a show. There is a new show every other week. I will give the free 6 month subscription to one person who leaves a comment.

Quilt Show Newsletter


37 comments:

  1. I have Finding Your Own Visual Voice and it's a wonderful book. I have also taken classes with Jane and they are excellent and inspiring.

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  2. Great review, Beth! I may have to add this book to my list of 'have to haves'!

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  3. Thanks so much for your review and the shots of your pages are wonderful - so very inspiring. And true, Leslie, Claire and Jane are just amazing artists who love to share too! Would love to add the subscription of Quilt SHow to our Resources at St. Lawrence fro atudents in the Textile Design Program...could really get them going!
    Bethany Garner
    www.SAQACentralCanada.blogspot.com

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  4. Wish you were giving away the book! lol Your pages are inspiring. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  5. This sounds like such an exciting book. I hope it's still in print because I'm going to look for it now. Mary Ann

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  6. So inspiring to read and see your scetchbook. This time I really wish I'm the winner of that book. I want to start right now.

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  7. J'ai beaucoup aimé voir les ateliers de démonstration de Claire et de Leslie au festival quilt de Birmingham, je connais leurs livres mais pas celui-ci, je serai enchantée de le lire et à voir l'inspiration qu'il vous a donné ce doit être un excellent livre

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  8. Finding Your Visual Voice looks like a fabulous book. Something I am working on myself. Thanks for the great giveaways! Love this blog.

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  9. I have this book and think there are some very good ways to find your own way of making marks I recommend it.

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  10. Wonderful review. I'm putting this book on my Christmas wish list.

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  11. Yes...good idea for wish list the book looks wonderful! I've taken a class with Jane D. and loved it! Love seeing your mark-making practice, Beth! Thanks!

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  12. This book looks wonderful. Thanks for a great review process.

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  13. Thanks for the review and the giveaway. The book sounds great and anything by Jane Dunnewold has to be good.

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  14. My favorite as well. All of the books of Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan!

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  15. You've made the book look like a 'must have'. Thanks for the info. Your samples are way cool. And I'd love an opportunity to win the give-away. Thanks.

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  16. An excellent book and thorough review. I have it, but your post reminded me that I could get a lot more out of it. Thanks!

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  17. Ohhh thanks for recommending Finding your voice - funny - took a class with Jane and she never mentioned it. It should prove an interesting read!

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  18. This is such a generous giveaway Beth. Thank You! Recording mark making is a very good idea...ideas travel thru my brain on the fast track and sometimes it's hard to...um...remember! This solves that problem!

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  19. Great review! I have this on the wish list I made for my husband and kids. Thanks for the great giveaway. I've wanted to join The Quilt Show for a while now but just haven't done it.

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  20. How can you beat the offer to sign up for this giveaway!
    I am interested in the book -although I know it is not part of the give away. But maybe I can find a copy of it somewhere...
    Thanks for the review.

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  21. The Quilt Show seems like a great resource to have at hand, thank you for the giveaway!

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  22. Thanks for this opportunity!
    The book looks like a jump start toward creativity! Something I really need at the moment.

    Thanks,

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  23. I would love to win the subscription to The Quilt Show. I really like how Ricky Tims quilts. I also enjoyed hearing how you use EQ! Judy www.goldendogquilting.com,










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  24. I borrowed the book briefly once, but this review and accompanying photos have renewed my interest.

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  25. Beth, your review greatly inspired me to add Jane's book to my wish list but I found it was already there. Then I went to Amazon and discovered it was $45. sigh. It sounds just the thing to overcome hesitation. Maybe sometime after the holidays are over. Being taught by the artists of the world in any media, visually on paper or video is such a gift, as would be winning the 6 month membership to The Quilt Show.

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  26. Well I don't have this book but would love to have it. Thanks for a great giveaway!

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  27. I have a couple of years now and I love it. In spite my difficulties with English. I can recommend it to every one.

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  28. Excellent review of the book, and I truly enjoyed looking at your work (as I enjoy all of your work!).

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  29. I have wanted to join TQS, but worry I won't have the time to get enough worth out of it. This would be a great way to find out! Thanks for the fab giveaway! shop(at)betoncat(dotcom)

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  30. Thanks for exposing us to the book. Looks like a must have for my library. ;)

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  31. Another great giveaway, thank! Finding your own visual language seems seems like a very interesting book!

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  32. Great review, Beth! This looks like something I will have to buy!

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  33. Great book review and I love your sketchbook work! If that book can help you work like that I may have to dive in. thanks for posting the giveaway.

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  34. I agree that this is a greta book review. This is one of my favorites. Leslie and Claire are great teachers.

    I would love to try the Quilt Show! What a great giveaway week you have planned. Thank you.

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  35. I've been hearing a lot about the Quilt Show - I'd like to check it out! Thanks for the chance to win. :)

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  36. I stayed away from the Quilt Show because it was too traditional. Then I saw that Susan Shie and Freida Anderson were on!!! The Visual Dance is a fantastic book and I encourage all that do not have it to put it on their Christmas lists. They will not be disappointed.

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We would love to hear from you and even better have some links to your work!