remembering myself brings progress on children's project

Perhaps you thought I wasn't focused on this 2015 challenge to myself?

You would be right.

I totally froze when I realized that I was illustrating someone else's ideas instead of generating a new way of focusing on my art.

So I studied a bit. And let it simmer. And focused on other projects instead (see blog posts on my journal pages.) Time passed, and suns set.

How to take the next step? Instead of stitching and mimicking I might be able to use the look of the drawings to create pattern instead. Of the images that were sent to me by my intrepid followers I received many drawings that included an image of the sun. It intrigued me that many of the suns were similar, whether from Poland or Minnesota, children tend to draw suns in the upper corner of their drawings with rays that extend into the middle of a rough circle.

The pattern exercise made me a little more familiar with that primary building block.

Sun image, Paula Kovarik

Lesson learned:
Lines are bold, imperfect and lively. And multiple suns in patterns look like yellow spiders

Working on patterns is an escape hatch for me. It takes me away from the fabric and let's me focus on style rather than construction. I rarely get one that makes me completely satisfied yet I learn at each step. A good thing.

But how do I translate that lesson to my own work? How does that spontaneity get translated into thread? Where does texture come in? If I use a child's drawing in a composition should it be the focus or the inspiration? Can I do both?

Combining the ideas I have pursued by piecing and stitching in a more spontaneous, less studied way I decided to use some scraps of pieced strips I had left over from my flag project to create an environment for the drawings. Sorry to say I did not take an in progress shot of this composition. Everything was moving too fast. Here are some shots of earlier projects to give you an idea of the piecing and stitching technique I am talking about. The stitching follows the seams of each randomly piece composition. It was cold that day I was working on the triangles.

Once an environment was created with the  pieced strips I went back to MY drawing board. The detail below is from Do the Doodle. The drawings  are in my DNA. They are unplanned and mysterious to me. They are of their own. Perhaps I could combine these drawings with the child drawings?

And this is what I ended up with after a few hours. Notice the fish at the lower right corner. It was given to me by Amelia. Her talent and creativity now shares some space in my head.

Think like a child, Paula Kovarik

Thanks Amelia.

robots and monsters and beasts … oh my!

Asher's drawing

a new year and a new focus

I'd like to channel my inner four-year old. Trouble is, over the years, that spontaneity, confidence and whimsy has been burnished away by erasers, photoshop, and over-thinking. Inspired by my grandson's drawings I want to simplify the lines I use, explore the relationship that drawings have to emotions and plumb the depths of mystery. I can't do that without some help.

Do you have a stash of children's drawings somewhere in your file cabinets? Is there a masterpiece hanging on your refrigerator door? Do the young ones in your lives tell stories through their drawings? Can I borrow and interpret them?

how to begin

I'm looking for robots and monsters and beasts. Robots to explore the future. Monsters to plumb the depths of imagination. And beasts? They can be that soft stuffed puppy we bring to bed each night or the big bad wolf in the woods we dream about.

The drawings need to be fairly simple, best is black and white but color pieces could also spur the muse. I will interpret and stitch the drawings to cloth and add my own interpretation of the subject through background stitching and added elements (see a sample piece here). My goal is to create at least one composition per month, ending with 12 pieces by the end of this year.

Your artist will get credit

Each composition will include the child's name on the label and, if you grant permission, mention of their name in my online journal when I post work-in-progress shots and final results. If you prefer not to include your child's name please let me know. Either way I will be publishing images to my website and to this newsletter as the project moves along.

how to participate

Scan the image (no larger than 1800 pixels on the longest side) or take a photo of it and send it to me as an attachment via email
Or contact me via email and I will send you my mailing address if you want to send me the actual drawings. Please let me know if you want the drawing back. I will be happy to return the original.
Or, if you are near, stop by with your children and visit the studio. I would love to meet the artists.

Greeting cards, Paula Kovarik
Each participant will receive a set of greeting cards I designed as a thank you.