Thursday, January 28, 2010

Going Dottie

Remain calm and don't adjust your sets. This is the picture you are receiving or something like it.

I have had an interest in dots, spots, blobs etc. for about a year. I painted dots on a collection of previously dyed fabrics last year and actually made one large piece with the fabric but haven't been able to follow it up as I've been working on other things.

Last week's textile exploration received a good amount of interest and so I wanted to continue with another study in line with TC #1. The yellow fabric with the black dots was laying around my studio as I had used some in a new large work and I love the fabric. I started by applying dots of soy wax, overpainting in yellow and then applying the black dots with activated dye. The areas that were protected by the wax are a kind of glowing gray/white and some areas of the yellow are more intense than others......So.......

I cut a rectangle of the fabric that has more of the electric yellow and started exploring what would happen if I put small patches of other fabrics on top in reference to TC #1. I tried several things and here is what I have come up with.

I took into consideration the suggestions of Kathy and Judy. Kathy suggested I do handwork on the piece and Judy suggested I include some really large pieces. I am following both of those suggestions in a modified way. As you can see, there are pins all over the piece. Everywhere there is a pin there is a small piece of fabric laying on the surface. I am stitching each of those pieces in embroidery thread to the background and I have included a few larger elements and allowed some elements to begin to 'merge' to create larger elements. I choose not to include a really large element as I did not want to overpower the dots. I will be working on the piece and will post the finished work at the end of next week.

This may be somewhat strange to some people but I certainly didn't invent dots. Two of my first thoughts about dotsweree: aboriginal art and Larry Poons.

Aboriginal artists often use dots painted across the entire surface of a painting. Sometimes in one color and sometimes in a variety of color. These painting often refer to very specific locations or stories that are part of their cultural heritage. You can read about Aboriginal "Dot Paintings" here.

Larry Poons is a well know contemporary painter who gained the attention of the art world with "his paintings of circles and ovals in brilliantly colored backgrounds."* Click here to read an interesting interview with Poons.

Untitled Painting by Larry Poons, 1964

This work was considered Op Art and it celebrated illusion and color and it shares some visual commonality with the so-called primitive work of Aboriginal painters.

I believe my interest in dots put me in some interesting company.

Love to hear from you and check back in on Monday as I have a new Artist Profile on Phil Garrett, painter and printmaker.


  1. You must take a look at some of the images on this site... if you scroll down you will see your beautiful dots on the back of a most extrordinary caterpillar....

  2. I, too, love dots and circles, Terry. It'll be fun to see how these pieces develop for you!

  3. I love the dots too! The only thing that's throwing me off on you pinned piece is the angularity of your fabric pieces compared to the roundness of the dots - especially the very pointed piece in the top rightish area. Where the dots seem to blend into different, larger forms feels right but the points interrupt the flow.

    Terry, you'll be painting soon. I can feel it coming!

  4. Thanks to all. Judi, I looked up the link you suggested and it is fabulous! The color and pattern of "the juvenile form of a lappet moth known to its friends as Kunugia divaricata" was just like my fabric! Nancy, I am painting some on fabric but so far mostly black on white...we'll see. and Connie, I'm always happy to receive your comments as you are such a creative artists and an inspiration to me.

  5. This is a fascinating exploration, it's fun to watch over your shoulder. :D

  6. Don't pin heads make lovely litle dots? I've often wondered if I could submit a piece to a show plus pins!!
    PS did you ever think you'd end up dotty?!

  7. Love it all Terry. I'm a circle girl myself.

  8. There is a collage piece in the MOMA by Picasso that has a "now rusted" straight pin in the composition. I like the pins but I'm not ready to include them....can't afford the insurance ;)

  9. Christine, I'd love to see some of your circle work!

  10. Terry, google Yayoi Kusama, the Japanese artist who has worked with dots all her life. She calls herself the modern Alice in Wonderland.

  11. Thank you Diana. I know her work but could not remember her name. Now there is dedication to a concept!

  12. Dots are wonderful, and are favorite "marks." I love the fabric that inspired you, and also love knowing that you, too, are digging through piles for inspiration. I love that Picasso piece you mentioned, as well.
    To me, and possibly oddly, the piece you made reminds me of Rauschenberg's approach to some of his work. Love it!

  13. Love dots. Love how it became more organic when you added the black patches.