"Facets, Detail", 8" by 10", painted with a combination of gouache and acrylic, on pre-gessoed artist board
Last week's focus of the Get Your Paint On class was color. Using what we discussed in class, and the idea that I'm still very interested in painting parts of quilts I've made, I decided to try and paint a detail of the Facets quilt I designed for Stitch Magazine's Fall 2010 issue.
The original quilt was made from repurposed denim jeans, all in various shades and washes (blues, greenish blues, bleached blues, gray blues). I separated the shades based on three main color values (dark, medium, and light), then played with the different shades within each grouping, sometimes turning them over on their wrong side for subtle color variations, that's how the idea of the facets came to be.
I thought it would be a good challenge to play with these variations of blues and grays in paint and boy was it! I added many many layers to this piece, and at times was so frustrated when I wasn't getting the effect I was going for. The final piece has less contrast within the blue tones than the original quilt because when I tried to mimick the contrast of the quilt, it felt so choppy to me, not what I felt I was going for. The colors needed to blend a bit more. Lisa told us that this frustrating stage would happen, to go with it and work through it, so I did, but I really thought this one would be a throw-away. I thought about sanding the entire surface, hoping to mute the denim shades together but I was afraid of ruining the whole thing. The green was also feeling too bright, too neon, too straight from the bottle. So, I tried a light light very watery wash of a gray blue over the entire piece, even the green border. Suddenly, the denims blended together much better, and the green toned down.
What an example of working on something even thought you hate it. When I did that last painted wash, I really was thinking "OK, if I ruin it, who cares, I hate it anyway." But now, I actually like this piece. I'm glad I didn't give up earlier.
I think there are several reasons I'm enjoying painting the quilts I've made:
- So much of the process of making a quilt involves selecting colors and fabrics that blend just so, which is so interesting to translate into paint colors for me. The subtle differences and nuances are the most interesting in my eyes.
- Its so fun to study these through a different medium like paint on wood, interpret them in different ways.
- You don't want to see my interpretation of anything else, trust me. This is fairly safe territory.
- These paintings make me so happy. Some of these quilts have moved on to other homes, and now I have another way to remember them.
One unexpected challenge of this class is that I clearly need a class just to learn to photograph and scan artwork, you would laugh at the number of photos I took of this piece just to get these few, which are just eh.