Sunday, February 15, 2009

Quilts, Chickens and Susan Seddon Boulet

This is my latest cockerel (rooster) drawing. This is the simplified version with a white background. Quite uncluttered compared to the one below.
This is the full version. I am not too sure about this one though...it seems a bit busy to me.
This is a digital drawing with a slightly different palette to the one I use normally. A change is as good as a rest though.
This is a pen and ink drawing with a touch of digital colour. It is called "Conversation With A Black Bird".
This is one of a series of tree guardians that I created some time ago. It is pen and ink and watercolour.
I came across a book recently about the work of a wonderful American quilter called Ruth McDowell. Her quilts are amazingly complex and she does wonderful things with patterns...lots of them. I love her chickens quilt below. You can find here website here where she has a large display of quilts.
Part of another Ruth McDowell quilt
A local hen
I know how this woman feels. There are days when your hair just won't go right.
Nice beads and stripes. I think I bought this gift bag just so that I could take a photo of it.
This is the Michael Babcock book which has been written about the beautiful artwork of Susan Seddon Boulet. I discovered this book whilst on holiday with a friend in Cumbria in the 90s. I didn't get my nose out of it for the rest of the holiday...lol. The following images are the artwork of the late Susan Seddon Boulet. There are lots of links to Susan's work on the Internet but this site has an excellent display of her work. Just click on the images to get a larger version.

Pele
Athene
Changing Woman
Bird Woman

Ix Chel
Kaltes
Selene
Psyche
Titania and Oberon
Tlazolteotl
Triple Goddess
White Shell Woman
There is something very endearing about poultry....hens and cockerels that is. I love the little muttering noises they make when they are rooting around on the ground. It is a very comforting sound. My mother tells me that she used to keep hens and cockerels at one time but they had to stop because of the problem of rats with small children. Such a pity as I would have liked to have grown up surrounded by these quirky little birds.

As an adult I am still enthralled by them and I photograph them whenever I can. We have a rare breeds farm in the vicinity and they have some beautiful old English varieties. The plumes and tail pieces and feathery feet are probably not the best accountrements to have in English wet and muddy weather but they make great photography. My favourites are the huge, proud, strutting cockerels keepiing a close check on the female contingent. I like to draw the tail feathers particularly....the more outrageously bouffant, the better.

My cockerels this week are not too outrageous but I enjoyed drawing them. I decided to put them in with some totally surreal and colourful trees. The wonderful thing about colouring drawings digitally, is that you can save the original and then try different looks on a copy and delete it if you are not happy. You have to be much more careful with watercolour. No changing your mind with that medium...lol.

My featured artist is the late, great, Susan Seddon Boulet. She was a San Francisco Bay artist who died of cancer in 1997 aged 55. She was a huge loss to the art world in my opinion. Susan was English by descent but born in Brazil when her parents emigrated there from South Africa. She was always enthralled as a child by the world of fantasy and nature. After marrying she used to sell her early work in her local park...I wish I had been there then...lol.

Her work is primarily heavily layered oil pastels with ink. It is this layering which gives her art that beautiful, shadowy, mysterious feel. Her favoured subjects were anthropomorphic images of mythological and legendary figures such as Merlin, Athene etc. The images I have posted are from the book of her art by Michael Babcock which I bought years ago.

20 comments:

~ Phyllis ~ said...

Hi Cathy,
I have to say that I like the full version of the roosters and trees. I like all the color. You'll get a chuckle out of this. I grew up around hens and chickens. My Memaw and Great Aunt Carrie raised them and I was afraid of them. lol. I don't know why but they terrified me. I didn't like the way the roosters crowed. I'm no longer afraid of chickens but I still don't like to hear a rooster crow.
Your lady on the branch talking to the black bird is very interesting. Thanks so much for the link to the art quilter. Her quilts are awesome. It's amazing what people can do with fabric and thread. Have a good week

Caroline said...

Hello Cathy! I love your drawing of cockerels and the photo - and that wonderful quilt! I just love chickens and have quite a big collection (not live!)- paintings, prints, silver, pottery etc etc!! I used to scour antiques markets for them at one time and even now can't resist buying if I spot something really different!

Sandy Mastroni said...

I really like your " Conversation "
illustration Cathy !
Have a good week !

Cathy said...

Hi Phyllis. I did laugh about your chickens. I can understand that in a child though. Glad you are no longer afraid of them. I would like to have enough land to buy those hens which are forced into tiny cages. It would be lovely for them to roam freely. I love to hear cockerels crowing. Makes me think of the countryside.

Glad you like the quilts. She is phenomenally talented. It is like painting with fabric. I wonder how much time it takes her to create one.

Cathy said...

Hi Caroline. Your chicken collection sounds great. I have a very few pieces but the house is not big enough for large collections of anything..lol. I do buy books with lots of lovely photos of chickens if I see one. I also check out the poultry magazines each month because sometimes they interview artists who paint chickens.

Cathy said...

Thanks Sandy. I love drawing illustrations of people interacting with birds. Happy painting this week. I will be over soon to see what wonders you have created.

Gillian said...

Hi Cathy - you're right there is something so lovely about poultry -my dad had some bantam hens for a while and they were sweet. I really like your "Conversation" drawing - beautiful.

Cathy said...

Thank you Gillian. I think hens and cockerels are my favourites, apart from birds of course...lol.

Holly Zemak said...

Hi Cathy,
Chickens are a favorite subject here. My sister inlaw keeps about 20 and in the summer she lets them poke about in her gardens. There is something comforting about seeing the girls scratching, clucking and sometimes squabbling.

I like the full version of the roosters. Does not seem too busy to me. Nice background color.

Cathy said...

Thanks Holly. I really like that background colour too. I will probably use it again for another picture.

Your sister-in-law is someone after my own heart. I would love to be surrounded by all those chickens...lol.

Old World Primitives said...

Hi Cathy,
I agree that change can be good - I really like the color palette that you used for your digital drawing of the flowers this week! It is beautiful, you always have a great eye for color. I don't find the full version of your cockerel drawing to be too busy, I actually prefer it to the simplified version. It is my other favorite this week. And I also happen to be a fan on the noises that chickens make while pecking around. :)

Stephanie

Cathy said...

Thanks Stephanie. I love putting colours together and seeing what results and with digital art you have every colour and shade under the sun at your fingertips.

Robyn said...

Wonderful images again! My favourite is Conversation with a Black Bird.

Amazing quilts and I love Susan Seddon Boulet's work especially White Shell Woman.

Cathy said...

I love that one too Robyn. She had such amazing talent.

bunnits said...

Thank you for such a visually pleasing and informative site. Keep up the great work.

Cathy said...

Thanks very much Melissa.

BeadBag said...

Hi Cathy - I checked out Ruth McDowell (rooster quilt) after seeing the pic. on your blogpost - her work is super. I particularly love her chicken quilts. They make me want to do some stitching!
Shirley I.

Cathy said...

Hi Shirley. Yes she is a very talented quilter. I would love one of her chicken quilts as a wall hanging.

Lynne said...

I am crazy for your rooster quilts. Simple and lovely.

Cathy said...

Hi Lynne. Thanks for your comment. Mine are the drawings though not the quilts. I am not a quilter myself although I would love to be..lol.