Monday, July 26, 2010

Working on New Piece; Uncle Dave

I've spent the last three days working, almost obsessively, on this portrait of Uncle Dave. I am working on one of my "Personal Places: Portraits in the Landscape" series. This face is the beginning, there is much more to come.

I decided to try a new technique that my friend, Marge Edie taught in a class a year or so ago. She was using this technique for teaching a class in how to achieve the correct color when one fabric overlays another.

I am going to be teaching "Personal Places", at J. C. Campbell in Nov. of 2011 and am trying to develop a technique that will be easier for a beginning student. This has worked quite well and I have learned a lot during the process that will help when I teach this class.

I've also decided to keep track of the hours it takes me to get this project to the quilting stage. This should be interesting, I've never done this before.

I'd like to make a few comments about the portrait. As you can see from the photos I start with the eyes. When you have a light fabric it should be laid down first. I have used gray fabric, although it looks white, for the eyes. They tend to stand out and I may still go back in and change that color. Uncle Dave's eyes were very blue and they were the first thing you noticed when you looked at him, so I may leave it as is. Will decide as I move forward.

You might notice in photo #4, that I have a white/white fabric at the top of his hair as well as on the left side. I decided that it was too white in relation to the grays of his face. His hair was very white but the first fabric I used was too white.

I have a few other small things I want to do to the portrait before I call it finish. Any comments would be appreciated.

Oh, I forgot to mention this whole quilt will be in white, gray and black.


  1. I agree the hair is pretty starkly white. I was thinking of my great uncle George and his hair was a yellowed white, then I read the last sentance. Great for a value study. What I wonder is what will your background be? the photo you're working from has small areas of dark around his head. A medium light background will make his hair seem less starkly white. Value-wise, the side of his face towards the light is the same as his hair. Lights with different textures maybe? Keep us posted - Lisa

  2. Uncle Dave's hair and beard are so white and in such stark contrast to his face that they look like they are unfinished, rather than just very white. The reality of the portrait may need some artistic license to add some darker shading within those parts, maybe even just from skin to hair with a pastel pencil. And, as Lisa said, background will be important to keep him from looking as though he were floating. It's an awesome image and your technique makes me want to try it even though I have never wanted to do a portrait!

  3. Marilyn, I think it is awesome. Have you thought about doing this at QSC retreat?

  4. Thanks Margaret, I am going to propose a class for next year but it won't be this one. This takes too much time. I am teaching it at J C Campbell in Nov. 2011.

  5. Thanks Kathy and Lisa for your comments. You have saved me some time with your comments. I was going to use a dark background. I know I would have figured out that dark wouldn't have worked but because of your comments it saved me that time