Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sweet Ride: Libby Fife




8" x 10"; painted and fused fabrics; affixed to 3/4" painted canvas

This photo of me in my first car, a BMW 2002, was taken when I was 16. I am sitting in the driveway of my parents' home and may have only had my learner's permit at this point. I couldn't wait to drive. Driving meant freedom, independence, and adulthood. When you are sixteen you sure don't know what you don't know!

Looking back, I tend to paint that time with a "golden brushstroke", filtering out what was unpleasant and only remembering things through my adult perceptions. Because our challenge concept is fluid and flexible, I began to think how to reinterpret this photo in a way that would be meaningful to me. As I thought about things, I realized that although I am in the photo I am not the main event. My memories of that time are what stand out for me and are most important. The car itself and not my image represents for me possibility and promise. So the piece became more about me working on it, remembering a time and place, and not a piece that would show a final picture of me. In the end I wanted something to remember what I thought was important about that time which was the car and all it represented to me.

I altered the colors a bit to emphasize a feeling of light and shadow; gold and orange colored fabrics, darker batiks in the foreground and a painted sky. My style is to simplify forms and outline them if possible to create a "graphic' effect. The car body and wheels have been altered with chalk pastel pencils. I am on an "Impressionist" kick and so the border is fused bits of fabric to create an effect of filtered light through foliage (or so I hope!). The last pic shows what I was going to do with the border. Glad I changed that! Thanks for reading. Enjoy!



Libby

16 comments:

  1. This is a surprise, and a fun one. You've done a good job with the painting on the car to add detail, and the border is wonderful. It succeeds in giving the feeling of light that you wanted; lovely colors too. That driveway color is an unexpected touch that really works. Good job, Libby.

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  2. I agree with Kay, the border is wonderful! It all just works.

    I'll be interested to see how many of us hark back to the past for this, and how many are planted in the present.

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  3. You did achieve a dream-like, idealistic, memory feeling to this piece with your choices of fabrics and techniques.

    I would've liked to see a hint of your physical presence ... even if it were just a ghost-like shadowing or a quilted outline.

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  4. A great quilt with a story behind it! I was so shocked initially at first glance to see the quilt with a car, and nobody in the picture. It wasn't until after reading, that I do find you in the picture by what the car represented to you. All the quilted components work well together, and I love the way you've framed it all with the leaves!

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  5. I often watch the Jackson Barrett auctions where many vintage cars are sold. It's always the personal stories of the people who drove the cars that influence the higher bids. A car is just a car until someone loves it. Our histories are often dotted by when we owned certain cars which I think is what you are trying to show in your piece. For me, the connection to the car and the freedom, opportunities it represented is missing. I would have loved to have seen some wild curly hair poking out the window driving into the future.

    You captured the graphic look of a vintage car well and I certainly like the foliage and the border too.

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  6. This surprised me too at first, until reading the thought behind it. I too would have loved to see the wild hair in the car window or some form of you in the piece. I also would have liked the quilting in the golden foliage to be more foliage-like.
    Absolutely love the border and your use of color is excellent.

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  7. Thanks so far to everyone for the feedback. With this piece, as I had mentioned, it wasn't so much about me as it was what I was thinking about when I made the piece. I realize that a vague concept won't come through in the finished product so I feel more like the actual act of making the piece was the artistic expression for me in this case.

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  8. Libby, I could so relate to your story of driving at 16! That is truly a golden moment in a person's life. I enjoy seeing your style of simple outlined forms, it is your special voice. Your expression is lovely and meaningful.

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  9. I have no problems with abstractions, either those of which are artistic, or of the abstractions of mind and thought. The guidelines (to me) for these projects were pretty clear that they did not have to be an actual representation of the photo, but only to bear some kind of likeness.

    Now you CAN NOT tell me that the likeness of Libby's photo has not appeared in her quilt. And it is HER quilt. That it represents something personal to her, and it reflects who she was, and what mattered to her when the photo was taken should not be a matter of dispute here.

    This project involved each of us using our own photos. But the next project does not. I will be very disappointed if the next month's reveal rolls around and everyone has tried to capture an exact likeness of the photo, and all the quilts look the same. I would hope we are all a little more open to abstractions and interpretations, since that is what this very blog name would imply.

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  10. Being a numbers-challenged person I have been trying to figure out how you had a 2002 car when you were 16. But then I realized 2002 was the model, not the year. Doh!

    By the way, just for the record, I appreciate your sense of abstraction. I envy that you can do that.

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  11. Your approach to this first interpretive work was well stated and so easy to relate to.

    I like the way you framed the piece with the fused fabric bits and how the colors reflect the 'fall' of your youth as you are about to spring into adulthood. Good job on the car... would have liked to see it a little bigger.

    (I only see two pictures - is there suppose to be a third?)

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  12. Because I am me! The model of the car was a 2002 BMW but the year for the car itself was actually 1972-nearly as old as me!

    Kim-I did delete one photo because it was a repeat. Thanks for the comments-I hadn't looked at the colors in that way so that was helpful to see how you saw it.

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  13. I too would have liked to see a little bit of a person in the picture. I really do think that was an essential element of the challenge. I don't care whether it was a curl of hair or a shadow in the window or a smile on the front bumper and eyes as headlights or Libby naked as the ...what is the name of the little figurine on the front of the car? All/any of those would have left the car as the center of the piece but had some reflection of the personal connection to the car.

    That said, I would like to learn more about the technique used. Painted canvas? Did you use gesso? What kind of paint? How stiff is it? Difficulty in quilting it? Enquiring minds want to know so they can make their attempts to copy your genius. LOL

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  14. This is a Libby quilt for sure! I Like the border of leaves. And boy, do I remember my first car!

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  15. This is terrific, Libby - a memory captured in a golden light. What a great piece to immortalize an important moment in your youth! Love it!

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  16. Your piece made me go and find some old pictures of my first car, a '68 red Beetle. I can really relate to the theme of this car love. I have great difficulty doing abstract so I'm incredibly impressed with any use of that technique. Great job and lovely colors in the leaves.

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Thanks for stopping by and commenting!