Thursday, 26 April 2007

Painting with Fabric

This is the picture which my friend Eileen chose for the challenge, which is like a Monet painting in an impressionistic style, of a group of buildings (farm?) under a heavy fall of snow. My pattern segment was the one to the left. This picture was even more challenging than Pauline’s portrait, for a few reasons. First of all, all the colour is broken, and made up of many other colours – for example, the ‘white’ snow is in fact built up from many different colours. The brush strokes of the painting are quite rough, so there are few solid lines even on window frames or chimneys. And lastly, Eileen scaled up the picture to our agreed size by the old-fashioned method of drawing a grid and sketching the larger size by freehand. This meant that her pattern was not exactly the same as the original painting, which I found surprisingly disconcerting. I am very much a ‘copyist’ and I wanted my picture to look like the original painting, but if I used Eileen’s pattern the proportions were not the same – for example, her chimney on the pattern is considerably longer and in a different place than the chimney on the portrait, she drew the windows on the house at a similar level instead of staggered like in the painting, and she had simplified all the lines to omit shadows etc. On the other hand, if I did not match Eileen’s pattern at key points on the right hand side, then my segment is not going to match up with the next person’s segment. So my version is a bit of a compromise – it matches Eileen’s pattern at the key points, but I tried to put in more of the original painting’s detail on my actual appliqué.

Here you can see Eileen’s pattern on the right, my fabric version in the middle, and the original painting segment to the left. I’ve used three different oranges on the house to try to convey some of the original shadowing, and I chose a mottled yellow batik for the windows and trim to refer to the original jagged brush strokes. The clouds and shadows behind the house are the wrong side of fabric, to match the faded appearance of the painting. The ‘white’ snow on the roof and around the rocks is a great hand-dye I found in my stash, which is dirty white with lots of faint grey smudges.
This is what my segment will look like, approximately,without the seam allowances (although the rotation of the image isn't quite correct which is why the house looks slightly slanted). All the fabrics are batiks or tonal prints, the only solid colour is the lavender shadow under one of the rocks/logs. This piece is entiredly done in hand applique.
This was like painting with fabric to create my interpretation of the original. I'll be giving it back to Eileen at club on Saturday, so I hope she likes it. Again, I think it is going to be fascinating to see what this picture looks like when all four segments are reassembled.

1 comment:

swooze said...

You do gorgeous work! I want to make a portrait quilt one day and will be looking to you to tutor me!

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