Category Archives: Portraits

She’s a Cutie! My Latest Portrait Quilt Completed.

A little girl hoding a colourful sand pail stands on a beach.

Summer Fun Quilted

I have finished my latest portrait quilt, the little girl at the beach, and decided to call the quilt “Summer Fun”. She has turned out to be quite cute! I love her sparkly blue eyes and her sweet smile.

Close-up of girl's face

Detail of Summer Fun

Now I have to decide what the next one will be. I have two pictures that I am considering. One is a little girl sitting on a porch, and another is one of three boys in hockey uniforms, circa 1934. Subscribe to my blog, and find out what is next!

 

Gallery News

“Summer Fun” and a number of my other quilts are currently hanging in the Blankstein Gallery, on the second floor of the Millennium Library in downtown Winnipeg, MB. Here are a couple of photos of the preparations for hanging the show and a few of the quilts.

Laying out the quilts

Laying out the quilts

First we laid out the quilts on the floor, to decide the order in which they would hang. My husband was wonderful as a helper. Here he is putting a hanging rod in one of the quilts:

Getting the hangers ready

Getting the hangers ready

The next step was to actually get the quilts hung. It took us 2 1/2 hours to get it all done! It went faster after the first two, when we had figured out the easiest way to hang them. Here are some of the quilts on exhibit:

Vintage Portraits

Vintage Portraits

Nature's Glory

Nature’s Glory

And here is the view in to the gallery from the library:

 

View from the entrance of the Gallery

View from the entrance of the Gallery

It was wonderful to see them all hung. I hope that if you are in the area you can check it out! The gallery is open during library hours . The exhibit runs from August 3 – 30, 2015.

From Ugly Duckling to Swan

I decided, after I posted my progress on the little girl, that she was in fact rather an “ugly duckling”. I spent a couple of days, filled with angst, before I figured out what was wrong. I made a number of changes to her face, and hair (and straightened her eyes), and am much happier with the result. Part of the problem, with the look of the little girl, was the lack of eyebrows (see previous post). Also, I felt that her hair looked too orange, so out came the Tsukineko inks. I figured that if I hated the changes, I could always give her new hair. I am pleased to say that all worked out well! The new colour looks much nicer, and the highlights and shadows are in place. She also now has feet and shoes which helps. Don’t you just love her strappy sandals?!

A little standing on a beach, holding a sand pail.

Girl in sunsuit revisited

I am now creating a beach scene in the background, complete with sand castle! So far, I only have a piece of paper standing in for the sand castle, as a prop, to see how it will fit in to the scene. I didn’t have a fabric that I liked for the water, so I painted some white fabric with Setacolor transparent paint. I love the look of the rolling waves.  A small island in the distance helps with perspective and a piece of multicolour fabric is pinned in place, as a test, to see if I like it for the sand pail. If this piece is like any of my other works in progress, it will undergo several more changes before its final look. Do you go with the flow when you are working on a piece, or do you have a plan and stick to it? I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Exhibition Update

Well, I didn’t get them all sewn down, before I left for Quilt Canada, but I was happy with what I had done. I knew, that I only had a few more pieces of fabric to sew down, once I got back home. The plan is to get these guy done by mid- June, for my solo exhibition, so I have to concentrate and work hard!

4-Kids-done---no-background

The kids were cut out of the backing that I had used – in this case stabilizer. I will never use this again as it is too stiff, and wrinkles badly. Lesson learned! I was able to cut some of it away, but left the rest in place.

The kids were then placed on the background that I had started.

Kids-with-sleigh-and-trees-

I found a lovely fabric, at a local quilt shop, that looked to me a lot like falling snow. Wonderful for the sky! The trees were painted and appliqued on. Some time was spent determining their final positions. I wanted them to frame the kids on the sleigh.

Then on to sewing everything down. It always surprises me how long it takes. Why I don’t know, as I have done this many times. Maybe wishful thinking that it will be faster this time!

Here they are with more snow added and additional detail on the faces.

Kids-with-sleigh-and-snow

The next step is the quilting. First, detail quilting the boys, and then on to the background.

I always have a hard time coming up with names for my art. Is this a problem for you too?

I am trying to think of a name for this quilt. Perhaps the Four Musketeers. What do you think? What name would you give this piece? Can you help me out? I would love it if you would!

Last minute changes

Based on a comment by a reader – Thanks Marg – I added further detail to the eyes of the boy at the front of the sleigh. My husband says “he is now looking at you, rather than staring”. Check it out below:

Eyes on boy at front of sleigh have added detail.

Eyes on boy at front of sleigh have added detail.

I like the change!

Portraits Class

A recent class on Portraits was a lot of fun, and the students did some really great work!

Class members at work.

They were a quiet group, as they were concentrating hard!

They started by making a tracing of their enlarged photos. The tracing is shown here used as the overlay, for help in positioning the pieces of the portrait.

Adeline's tracing

Adeline adding small pieces of fabric for the face.They then progressed to adding small pieces of fabric, like a jigsaw puzzle, to a base fabric. Adeline was doing a portrait of her grandfather.

Adeline's grandfather finished

Adeline found some great fabric, that mimicked the 70`s print, that was in her grandfather’s shirt in the original photo. Her portrait looks great now, but will look even better, when the final details are added with the stitching!

Ricky had some initial problems with values in her fabrics:

Ricky working on portrait

But was able to overcome these early problems to create a good likeness of her husband:

Rickys portrait of her husband

Of course, this portrait is still in progress. Here Ricky was auditioning fabric for his hair.

Helen chose a photo of a friend, who had been in a Passion play with her. Although, the fabrics that she had brought to work with were a little on the green side, they made for a dramatic portrait.

Helen's start

Here is Helen hard at work:

Helen at work

The face done:

Helen's man

Adeline said that she had had a lot of fun and learned a lot. I can hardly wait to see the completed portraits!

 

Flowers, leaves and ribbons in free motion quilting.

Portrait of a Grand Lady

This woman is the subject of  my latest portrait, painted in fabric. I loved the photo of this woman as she looked so regal, and had just a hint of a smile.A lady wearing a lacy gown.

I decided that she needed a rich colour for her dress; and chose a deep burgundy fabric that I had hand-dyed.

It took a lot of searching to get the lace for her dress. I wanted a good quality lace in white, and  a large enough size to fill the bodice area. I  ended up using two pieces of lace for the front of her dress, to get the look that I wanted.

I glued the lace on using tiny drops of fabric glue to get it to stay in place, until I could sew the edges.

Detail shot of a ladies portrait in fabric.

Close-up of Milady

I debated what motif to use for the background as I wanted a vintage look. A friend Julia, from New Zealand, suggested trying to use the motifs from the lace.

It worked out really well, with a few ideas from a fabulous book called Doodle Quilting by Cheryl Malkowski. This is a great book for learning how to start free motion quilting and then how to combine different motifs. You can find the book here.

 

Flowers, leaves and ribbons in free motion quilting.

Floral free motion quilted background

I stitched this lady’s hair extensively as I wanted the upswept look and the little wisps sticking out.

This is the final result:

Portrait of a lady circa 1900 in a lacy ball gown.

Milady finished!

 

I am now on to my next portrait. Another portrait of a lady. This one in a white debutante gown. I’m not sure about doing a white dress, but I will give it my best shot!

 

 

 

 

Stepping Out – my latest portrait

My latest portrait is done! This little girl looks as though she has just started walking, and is delighted to be able to get around on her own.

I was thrilled to have it finished! The next thing then was to decide on a title for this portrait. I have a difficult time naming quilts. Do you? My husband suggested “Spokesperson”.  Funny, but no.  After some deliberation, I finally decided on “Stepping Out”.

Wilson_Valerie_Stepping-_Ou

 

I did some research on the car, to try and date the photo. I love researching the details! It helps to bring the person, and the piece, to life. I found out that this car was probably a 1920 – 30’s car.

Then at a recent vintage car show in Selkirk, MB I found a 1925 model, beautifully restored! I was thrilled! I took several photos and used these to help with some of the details that were “flashed out” in the original photo.

 

Vintage 1925 car

Vintage 1925 car

 

One major part of this quilt was done twice, to get the look that I wanted. I redid the entire car as I decided that, although looking great, it was too bright in relationship to the little girl. I wanted the girl to be the focus, not the car.

Little girl with vintage car

Stepping Out – first attempt

I find that I always resist changing anything, as I see all the work that needs to be done again. I try to talk myself out of changing anything. So I go away for a break, and as soon as I get back, I look at the portrait. If something is still bugging me, I resolve to change it. I am always happier with the result in the end. I then take a deep breath, and just start.

Have you ever had to redo part of your quilt? How did you meet the challenge? Do you have any advice for people facing the same situation?

A Sneak Preview of my Latest Portrait Work

This is my latest portrait in progress. I have done more work on it since I took this photo, so this is only a teaser.

This little girl intrigued me from the first moment that I saw the photograph. She is just starting to walk, dressed in her rompers (puffy looking, probably from her diaper underneath), her hair sticking out in all directions and holding on to the spokes of this 1930’s car. She is just so cute! It brought back memories of photos that my parents had taken of me and my family.  I always wonder what the story is behind the photo.

Little girl with 1930's car

Portrait of girl with 1930’s car

The original photo was quite small – only 2″ x 3″, so I enlarged it, so that the child would be closer to life size. The larger size also makes it a lot easier to recreate the details. This piece will finish at 25 1/2″ x 35 1/2″.

When I start on a new piece, I choose the details that I think are most relevant to the picture, and then decide on the values (e.g. light, medium and dark), and finally the colours that I feel best fit the scene. I wanted the little girl to stand out and be the focal point, so I chose a bright red for her T-shirt. The car will be a blue-green, to complement the red. You can see some of the fabrics, that I am thinking of using for the car, on the right side of the photo.

The method that I use to create my art is fusible applique, where a sticky film is adhered to the back of each piece of fabric, and then the pieces are assembled like a puzzle to create the picture. Once the picture is complete, it is ironed to fuse it and to keep everything firmly in place. Then, I add stitching to add further detail, and finally quilt the piece to add dimension. I am looking forward to getting the car started!

Let me know what you think!