Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Working in a Series: "Metamorphosis"

"West Coast Lady Becoming I" 28x22 Kristen Gilje

 Understanding nature as a source of inspiration is important to me. A bush drawn from my own imagination usually lacks the inexplicable beauty and grace of living leaves all searching efficiently and together for their sustenance from the sun. One looks like a cartoon, the other like a dance choreographed by gods.  In this series I search for the construction of the beauty of a butterfly wing. What is beauty? What is harmony and grace? Why is nature such an incredible source that artists return to again and again? Why is human imagination not quite enough?  In the series "Metamorphosis" I am looking for the construction and the underpinnings of beauty and grace.

"West Coast Lady Dissolving" 28x22 Kristen Gillje
 All the butterflies I've used for subjects can be found here in the Pacific Northwest. They are used as inspiration, and not literally represented. Again, I tried to distill in my own way their beauty to understand it better. Sometimes that meant color-coding different design aspects of their wings in my own color language. 

Mostly I am amazed by these beautiful little creatures, their symmetry and brilliant colors and shapes. They surprised me as their designs meshed so harmoniously with the images of Celtic cross and labyrinth.

These pieces are all painted on silk, with silk dye. I like that the material I'm painting on is produced by the butterflies themselves!
"West Coast Lady Becoming" II 28x22 Kristen Gilje

Working in a series has been very helpful. I've explored several ways to express one idea, changing color, changing backgrounds and geometrical elements. Each variation has a different result.You can see this above.

Below you will see the changes color makes in two versions of the same design. Both have their beauty but one expresses my idea most clearly: "Painted Lady II"

"Painted Lady II"28x22 Kristen Gilje

Painted Lady I" 28x22 Kristen Gilje

"Tiger Swallowtail and Friends" 28x22 Kristen Gilje
 I was happy with each of these two of the Tiger Swallowtain the first time around so made only one of each.

"Tiger Swallowtail " 28x22 Kristen Gilje

In the following two, "Life Cycle", my first attempt is closer to my vision than the second attempt. 
"Life Cycle I" 28x22 Kristen Gilje

"Life Cycle II" 28x22 Kristen Gilje

Tiger Swallowtail, Viceroy and California Sister" 28x22 Kristen Gilje

In the last two I played with changing the size and format, by making a larger "banner" painting the second time around. The larger one is nice because it is hung free from a frame and is blown by any little breeze. 
"Anise Swallowtail" 28x22 Kristen Gilje

"Anise Swallowtail Journey" 80x22 Kristen Gilje
I'm not done with the idea of understanding the beauty of nature, of disecting it and putting it into my own shorthand, of playing with the geometry. We'll see where this leads to next...


Zoe said...

Wow. I love your designs. I silk-painted a butterfly from a photograph yesterday. Unfortunately it's no-where near as good as yours. Amazing!

I should have it up here sometime this week:

Kristen Gilje said...

Hi Zoe. I'll watch for your butterfly!