Sunday, March 22, 2009

Red Legged Bird with a Tale to Tell

Red Legged Bird with a Tale to Tell
43" x 35"
The symbolism is marvelous! A mockingbird is the main character, mocking us as he steals the money. He has red legs, as in "CAUGHT! Red handed!" And his legs are really long, as in, He can walk all over us, and in broad daylight. Surely, he has a tale to tell us? Perhaps you can make up your own? Will your story include the letters AIG?

This is number 2 in my economic series. Maybe it is the last in a short series, it remains to be seen. I made the money by scanning a $20. Did you know that photoshop has issues with scanning US currency? I guess that's a good thing, though it slowed my art down a bit. After manipulating the image, it let me print the tiny bills. I trimmed them with copper, to both help them show up better against the brightly colored landscape and as a reference to the devaluing of the American dollar, as in the $20's are like pennies now. The legs are made from African trade I am sure there is a story behind those!

And the fabrics, oh lovely fabrics, are made from a number of my batiks.  Some of them have been altered with more layers of batik, and others have been transformed by the miracle of fusible webbing (LOVE that stuff!). The foreground and the sky are also hand dyes. I learned that I suffer from not enough value difference in this pallette. It was difficult to achieve the 3D effect of the buildings that I was going for. I tried to correct that with dense quilting in dark threads, it helped a bit, but is not quite there. Still learning as I go, I love this work!


Dawn said...

Love this too. Don't stop now. I look at your bird and he seems to fade into the background and step forward like those old pieces of art that looked like one thing but if you stared in just the right way you could see something else in their depths. A 70s-80s thing, I think. :)

Your mention of scanning the money reminded me of working in a college development office and our student helper tried it on our first ever color copier. I could see the dollar signs in his eyes when he saw what an excellent reproduction we could get! :) I was totally stunned at the replica and saw the potential for crime myself. :)

Thanks for pointing out the symbolism.


Sue Walen said...


Nellie's Needles said...

Well now, you are having fun! It's good to see humor applied to this mess we're in.

As for the values (color that is) of this piece, I think you've got it right (on 2nd thought you've got the rest of it right, too). The buildings being pretty much the same palette makes them fall into the background which showcases those long red legs.

Anonymous said...

Well that is THE most perfect illustration I've seen yet on the economy! I love everything about it - the colors, the symbolism, the quilting. When I grow up I want to quilt like you. *g*
Allie in MI

Norma Schlager said...


Martha Ginn said...

Kathy, I love your play on words and symbolism that are so RIGHT ON! I think about you and your little birds every time I see an orange construction zone fence now. It also makes me look at all sorts of other objects to see the possibilities.
Martha Ginn

BonnieMcCaffery said...

I LOVE this piece. The symbolism is great. Keep up the great work.