Susie Monday

Artist, maker, teacher, author, head cook and bottlewasher.

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The art I make is the result of a life-long love of pattern, texture and color. How I teach is a skill honed by experience (I started teaching creative arts to younger kids when I was 12). After earning a B.A. in Studio Arts from Trinity University, I helped lead an internationally recognized educational foundation, designed curriculum exhibits for schools and other institutions, wrote and edited for a major daily newspaper, opened the San Antonio Children's Museum and then, a dozen years ago, took the scary but essential (for me) leap to become a fulltime artist and art teacher.

About This Blog

This weblog is about the maker's life. The teacher's path. The stitching and dyeing and printing of the craft of art cloth and art quilt. The stumbling around and the soaring, the way the words and the pictures come together. Poetry on the page and in the piecing of bright scraps together. The inner work and the outer journeys to and from. Practicalities and flights of fancy and fearful grandeur, trivial pursuits and tactile amusements. Expect new postings two or three times a week, unless you hear otherwise. 

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    Shape, Shapely and Shaped

    Today at my Southwest School of Art class on Finding Your Artist Path, we will be looking at and thinking about and working with SHAPE and CONTRAST. Here are a few of the notes, some things to think about as you go about your creative work today!

    A shape is a self contained defined area of geometric or organic form. A positive shape in a painting automatically creates a negative shape.


    Contrast is the juxtaposition of opposing elements eg. opposite colours on the colour wheel - red / green, blue / orange etc. Contrast in tone or value - light / dark. Contrast in direction - horizontal / vertical.
    The major contrast in a painting should be located at the center of interest. Too much contrast scattered throughout a painting can destroy unity and make a work difficult to look at. Unless a feeling of chaos and confusion are what you are seeking, it is a good idea to carefully consider where to place your areas of maximum contrast.

    These design elements and principles work together (as they all do!) But I think that working with shape gives the artist the perfect laboratory for investigating contrast in a very concrete direct way.

    What kinds of shapes do you doodle on napkins, notecards and the item formerly known as a phone pad? What shapes show up at the tip of your pen or pencil.

    Do you like clear, well defined shapes that are simple and concrete, easy-to-describe? Or amorphous, vague, or organic shapes?

    Do you work with shape in a “flat” 2-D world? Graphically, all one plane? Or as three- dimensional shapes, whether you paint or sculpt them?

    Where is the strongest shape contrast in your work? Do you have big shapes, little shapes and medium shapes (remember the “rule of three”)?

    Do you layer shapes in your work? Are the layers close together or far apart? Can you see through them or around them? DO you show space through layering? Or light? Or size? Or all of the above?

    What shapes your art practice? The time available, what’s left over after everything else, what you think you SHOULD do? What if you gave it another shape?

    Try cutting NOTAN shapes as a studio shape practice for a week to develop your shape muscle. What happens?


    From Jane Dunnewold 

    From my blog.


    Some “SHAPE” artists and their work (please add other suggestions to the comments section!):

    M.C. Escher --especially his mathematical tesselation art

    Lee Shiney’s CIRCLES 

    Robert Motherwell 

    Henry Moore -- Sculptor 

    Ilsa Iviks Textile artist 

    Paul Klee  

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