My quilts are done in 3 stages, and I enjoy each one, but I do like the painting bit! I think this is because it makes the piece finished and looks the best I can make it.
I thought you might like a look at a few before and after photos so you can see how much difference this final stage makes to the quilts.
Lets start with sunflowers. The first image shows a very free style painting in acrylics. I’ve traced the image onto a large piece of paper from a drawing. At this stage I just want to play with colour and size to see if it will work and absorb how the flowers are constructed.
This is as far as I want to go with this painting/sketch. It’s not supposed to be a finished piece!
Now I switch to fabric and get started. For the sunflowers, I cut out pieces from fabric and bondaweb them into place on the background. You can see that the image above has been used to make the sunflowers below. At this stage the colours aren’t right as the background is fighting with the objects, but I leave that until last to sort out.
The first stage in the collage/applique – pinning into place before fixing with an iron.
Above – Having built the applique sunflowers, I now have to sew them and the rest of the collage , stitching to hold in place but also to add texture and definition.
You’ll see that I’ve put a photo of me in the frame just to see what it would look like but it didn’t make the final cut – couldn’t bear to have my face in the piece, so swapped it to one of my heroes – David Bowie. I don’t use photos in my work, but obviously I did have to work from photos for his and Grayson Perry’s portraits, but I still enjoyed drawing, stitching and painting them. When you paint a portrait, the intense study and reproduction of the features is great fun and allows for some really close peering!
As you can see this quilt isn’t only about the image, but also the thoughts and feeling of why it was made. This is a self portrait so you can imagine there’s one or two little bits of information I want to add! You can just see some in the image below, but the whole quilt is covered with information.
The final stage is to paint the cloth (below) In this case, I wanted to stop the flowers looking flat; I needed to add vibrancy and depth, which I did with cadmium orange, cadmium yellow, hansa yellow, and cadmium primrose. I didn’t mind overpainting heavily as the cloth I’d used in the applique was too boring. If it had been really gorgeous, I would have let it shine through.
I can’t say they’re finished yet as they may need more work as the rest of the quilt is painted – it’s all about balance!
Before and after.