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The Sustainable Souls Project Extreme Weather and Art
The Sustainable Souls Project Extreme Weather and Art- Drought by Christy Strickler

In this month’s challenge for the Sustainable Souls Project, we chose to take on the concept of extreme weather. Bringing weather into art form seemed a bit challenging for me at first. Weather, rather extreme or mild, is something that is experienced by multiple senses. As I explored inspiration photos online, I knew that I wanted texture to play an important role in my piece. I played with the idea of creating multiple projects, so much so, that in the end, I was able to have time to create just one. I chose to focus on drought.

Stitching the cracks in the mud-The Sustainable Souls Project Extreme Weather and Art

I decided once again to play with watercolors. The image of a vast field of cracked dry earth played in my mind over and over again. However, I didn’t want this field to be completely barren. I chose to add a small cluster of flowers as a symbol of hope. I painted the flowers first knowing that I would add the cracked earth around them.

I recently got a new to me sewing machine ( bought used from a friend), and decided this was the perfect opportunity to practice some free hand stitching with it. Starting from the flowers, I stitched random, sometimes curving, lines. At times, the lines intersected, creating the beginning of the cracks in the dry mud.

Using watercolor to create the mud-The Sustainable Souls Project Extreme Weather and Art
I chose to use white thread for the stitching. I knew that the water color would seep into the thread, helping me to create the illusion of deep cracks in the mud.
Let the watercolor seep into the thread-The Sustainable Souls Project Extreme Weather and Art
I chose three shades of brown: a dark rich tint, a reddish brown and a yellowish brown. I started by applying watercolor to the stitched thread, then pulled it outwards into the watercolor paper with my brush.
Christy Strickler for the Sustainable Souls Project- Extreme weather- Drought

The result is a blending of color, not necessarily harsh but also not altogether pleasing to the eye. The stitching adds the desired texture, making me feel as though I can reach out to touch dry, cracked earth.

Representing extreme weather within art isn’t necessarily easy, but it is a topic I find that I want to revisit. This project was a relatively simple one that has sparked ideas for a dozen different other, more complex pieces. I am looking forward to fitting these ideas into my list of creative projects.

Be sure to check out how extreme weather has influenced the other artists who are part of the Sustainable Souls Project. Visit the Sustainable Souls blog for a roundup post featuring all of their work as well as links to check out each piece in more detail.
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