Pagoda and Nightbird featured image

Daily Artwork Challenge

I decided to join with the members and Friends of Art Plus Gallery in West Reading for a Daily Artwork Challenge.  

My theme is Pagodas in imaginary surroundings. Remember the movie Amelie (2001).  In my memory she takes her father’s garden gnome and puts him in different surroundings around the world. I confess I didn’t re-watch the film, so I might have mis-remembered. But the idea stuck with me.

I have been making small Pagoda (the Reading PA Pagoda that is) collages using vintage postcards. Here is an example.

They sell abou as fast as I make them.  That is great, but I wanted to let my imagination fly and play with the theme a bit.

For the series in the challenge I’l working a little larger (11 x 14 instead of 5 x 7″), and using scanned copies of the postcards, printed on fabric.  That makes each image less “precious” to work with. I’m not ruining a rare vintage postcard if one turns out to be a stinker.

Here was Day 1, Pagoda and Blue Butterfly, 11 x 14″. I also wanted to include some piecework (inspired by my recent class with Improv Piecer par excellence, Maria Shell.) For this one I included a vintage car from Cuba and a lovely lady from a vintage Cuban postcard. And a blue butterfly, hence the name.  Why not?  It’s the world I am creating.

Talk about stinkers, Day 2 was one, unfortunately.

I really wanted to use the flowered background, and despite setting the images off with a bit of text background, I just couldn’t make it less busy.  I tried to “calm it down” with straight row quilting, but even that didn’t help much. Pagoda and Seagull, 11 x 14″. The one thing I do like is extending the lines from those white on black sketchy fabrics with hand stitching.  I must remember to use that again.

Day #3 was a commission I needed to finish, so it was another 5 x 7 piece, using the actual vintage postcard.  The customer bought the postcard of the Pagoda at night online, and I was thrilled to get it.  I had run across one previously, but collaged it before thinking to scan it for future use.  Now I have the image so I can reproduce it.

Day number 4 came out better. Pagoda with Little Boy 11 x 14″

That little boy was scanned from my stash of Cuban postcards, gifted to me by Julio César Cepeda Duque, Cuban artist friend. I love going through them. The background is a wonderland of gauzy, dreamy watercolor-y fabric. And that striking hummingbird is from a brilliant silk scarf.  I’ll be using more of it in this series.

I’ve already finished my piece for Day 5, so I’ll give you an advance view.

Pagoda and Nightbird, 11 x 14″

I had the material on the right hand side for years. I used it in another night time quilt, and had a little piece left.  I paired it with a printed-on-fabric scan of the Pagoda and Night postcard, and voila.

I had to touch up the windows of the pagoda with a bit of paint, because they came out too faint. And I did some hand stitching on the bird to make him stand out a bit more.  I even was able to include some pieced work at the bottom. That background orangy fabric came from a Facebook friend in Indiana who was de-aquisitioning fabric she had used to make jockey uniforms. When I bought it I thought I would be using it a lot, but in reality it was too hard to work with.  This is one of the few pieces I have left. It’s slippery and it frays.

So, on to the rest of the month.  Be sure to follow all of the artists on Facebook, Daily Artwork Challenge.