Ringo

image  Ringo is an English Springer Spaniel.  He has such an incredibly expressive face.  He was born with a cleft palate and required 24 hour care from his loving family for the first few weeks of his life.  He is now a healthy and happy 2 year old dog who is the light of his family’s life.

His expression, particularly in the eyes, was quite challenging to recreate.  I take photos as I’m trialing various placements of the white accent in the eyes to be sure they are looking where they should be looking.  The background is a beautiful hand-dyed gradient fabric made by Vicki Welsh – colorwaysbyvicki.com.

This is a small piece – just 12 x12 inches.

More on cats . . .

And so the cat portrait progresses.

Choosing the background color is critical to the success of the portrait.  Here are some fabrics I trialed with the portrait.  As you can see, the different background colors have different effects on the portrait.

I came close to selecting the pink, but in the end, decided to go with the green background since I thought it did the best job of bringing the portrait to life.

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Here is the final portrait.  I used one of the blacks I used in the portrait to bind the edges of the quilt.

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I free motion quilted hearts into the background.  The design is based on a Leah Day design (Heart Paisley) from her Free Motion Quilting Project.  A perfect choice for a beloved pet.  This cat has rather striking white whiskers, so I will probably add them as a finishing touch.

Obsessed with cats

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This is Tess, my friend’s cat – and the current subject of my latest portrait.  Her coloring – black and white – presents an interesting challenge.  Creating depth with these colors can be difficult.

However, once I got the template set up, I was off and running with the creative flow of choosing fabrics to reflect her coloring.  She has an interesting face, with large expressive eyes, and I love the several delicate shades of pink of her nose.

I am now at this point with the project:

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It will be exciting to see her features and coloring emerge from beneath the freezer paper templates.  It always is exciting to see the portrait come together and the personality of the subject emerge.

New Beginnings

2014 flew by almost before I knew it. Time. So precious and so relentless. It seems to slip by ever faster as the years go by. My time, caught up in the workaday world, left little energy for art in 2014.

My commitment this year: balance

So, I start again with this blog and my art. I have a portrait nearing completion and will be sharing it soon. Creating it has involved new learning – how to create pieced diamonds and much thought about how to quilt this background to enhance the portrait. Always so important.  I have taken Craftsy classes to aid technique and find I enoy this learning, done on my timetable. The classes have been great.

I have fallen in love with hand-dyed fabric for my backgrounds.  I love the way the colors flow and the uniqueness of each piece.  So this portrait has hand-dyed fabric cut and and pieced to emphasize the portrait. I discovered things get a little dicey when you should have had more than one yard of the fabric. I’ll know better next time.

But now, it’s time to take Chloe and Monique for their walk.  There’s nothing like a pair of dark brown eyes and a pair of golden eyes to motivate one to the appropriate action.

 

The Elusive Muse

December 11, 2013
Sometimes it’s easy to select my next project. A photo just begging to be turned into a quilted pet portrait. Other times, the muse proves elusive, like now.
I have several great subjects for a new portrait – Panda, maybe a Havanese – though her actual ancestry is shrouded in mystery. A bright, engaging spirit. My own beloved Monique – a brown standard poodle with multiple shades of frizzy brown hair and melting golden eyes. The poodle hair has presented challenges as I’ve pondered doing a portrait of her or Chloe, my other standard with even more difficult coloration – called blue in the poodle world. How to capture these shades and that texture in fabric? Or there is Gracie, a smallish, smooth-coated mixed breed with a very shiny black coat. Might be hard to capture that in cloth. Perhaps another cat – maybe Rootie-Kazootie, sleeping in a half circle and comfortable the way only a cat can be, relaxing in his domain. I ponder the photos in search of my muse.
I want to do something, and yet have avoided being in my studio until tonight. My design wall has traditional blocks of southwest turquoise and desert pink in a staggered chevron pattern. I designed it with my EQ7 software before cutting into the hand-dyed cloth. I simply couldn’t stand the traditional chevron block arrangement – much too uniform and boring. The staggered pattern, which I like much better, is marinating. If it stands the test of time, it will eventually be a queen-sized bed quilt, something I rarely do. However, having discovered the benefits of using a longarm quilter to do the quilting, I am again venturing into these waters.
When I am working on a pet portrait, I have found that having something easier and more traditional to do when I need a break is a very effective way to avoid becoming blocked in my creativity. Normally, I do Pet Cuddles for either cats or dogs. These are mostly small simply quilted pads that are given to local cat and pet shelters by my guild, Moonlight Quilters of Sonoma County. The quilted pads are then given to a particular cat or dog, and go home with them to their new homes. I like to think this makes their transition into a new and loving home easier.
Well, back to the photos . . .

 

SAQA’s Color Wheel of Emotions exhibit at Pacific International Quilt Festival

November 8, 2013
I have been researching different techniques and styles of fiber portraiture of late. There is wide variation among artists when it comes to portraits, whether they be of humans or animals. This is one of the things I appreciate about art – artists see things through their own eyes, filtered by their experience, training and education (formal and informal), colors they are drawn to, techniques they enjoy using in their work, and a myriad of other things that make up the mystery of their art. It is enough to appreciate the differences and come away with some inspiration for taking up my own work.
On the recommendation of the woman who appraised one of my quilted pet portraits, I joined SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) this past summer. There is huge variation in style among its members, ranging from very abstract to very realistic fiber art. I especially enjoyed seeing SAQA’s Color Wheel of Emotions exhibit at Pacific International Quilt Festival this year.
There was the amazing infusion of light in the landscape “Into the Light” by Judy A. Momenzadeh. The rich textures and almost a sense of one picture overlying another. Then, there was “Lost Moon #4: Remembering Winter” by Elizabeth I. Sylvan. A predominantly blue study of a nude sitting under moonlit winter bare trees. It appears that dawn is chasing the night away, but the stars still hold sway overhead. Flowers and vines twine in the foreground. As dawn dims night, spring erases winter. And finally, there is “Chavela” by Cecilia Gonzalez Desedamas. Shades of intense red, a color I rarely use in my work, but intriguing in the work of this artist as are the textures and threadwork. These pieces are very different from one another to my eye, but fascinating just the same.  Click here if you’re interested in seeing the quilts from this exhibit.

Exciting news!

September 17, 2013

Exciting news!  My quilt “Relaxing Under the Weeping Willow” has been juried into the Pacific International Quilt Festival.  I’ll be attending the show and am really looking forward to seeing it hanging with all the other beautiful quilts from all over the world.

Eddie