Friday, April 4, 2014

It's finished: The Water Boy

It's Finished

The Water Boy        36" X 38"

 I began working on this piece almost two years ago. Often my large pieces take a while to mature. I start with an idea, work, look, wait, work some more and, if all is going well I finish within a reasonable time. All did not go well with this piece.

If I run into a snag I might put the piece up for a while. Sometimes, that is a matter of weeks and sometimes it's months. This one took many months.

I decided to share my thoughts and photos of this piece as it progressed, from an idea, to the finished piece.

Our son, Michael and his family have always lived a good distance from us. When they come home for a visit, my camera and I work overtime. On one of those occasions, I took this photo. It really spoke to me. I've kept it in my files, waiting until I came up with just the right way to interpret the image. 

A few years ago I became interested in using Photo Shop Elements as a means to manipulate photos as inspiration for my work.  One of my favorite techniques is to blend or overlay photos that share something in common. A few of the pieces that I've used this technique in is, Spirit of the Kive and Ohm.

While the photo of Connor was cute the background held little appeal, so I used PSE 11, to dropout the background. One of my favorite tools to erase images in a photo, is found under Image in the upper tool bar. I click on image, and a drop down bar appears. Magic Extractor is at the bottom of the list.  I usually have to use the eraser to do a little clean up around the edges, but this technique works well for me.

Then I began looking, in my flower file, for a photo that I felt would be a good companion for Connor. I actually found three or four images that I liked, but after superimposing Connor's image over them, none really spoke to me. As I continued to search my photo files I cam across a photo of a quilt I made several years ago. The title of the quilt is Through My Window. This is actually an image of my great-room looking through a window.

While I'm not able to grown geraniums in my window boxes, not enough sun, I do grown flowers there each year. I adapted a fabric origami pattern to to fit my rendition of geraniums and filled the pots.

My poor husband ends up watering these boxes all Summer. Even though it's only in a piece of art, I decided to give him a water boy, to do that for him.

After I was satisfied with the manipulated images. I sent a copy to Spoonflower. to have it printed on fabric. I had had 5 " samples made, with this image, on different fabrics and chose the cotton-linen. I felt it gave a truer color.

This was by far the largest piece I had ever thread painting. I knew I wanted to thread paint Connor very closely. My plan then was to quilt the rest of the piece, just not as densely. I often start a project not knowing what I'm doing. It often gets me in trouble as it did here. This is the time to stop, think, look, plan, read, and mull it over.

Notice the puckering near the dark blue at the pocket. It's quite heavy, though hard to see here. My choices, as I saw them, were (1) to plunge ahead and hope that after the thread painting was finished, I could make corrections in the background. or (2) decide now, that I would cut Connor off and threat it as two separate pieces. I chose two. It actually became easier, to thread paint, as I had less material to guide through the machine. I decided to send the image of Through my Window to Spoonflower to have it printed separately. This would solve my problems, or at least I hoped so.

 If you have ever thread painted, you know that distortion is inevitable. You can get a bulge or volcano as it is sometimes called in quilting. This happened to the water can. Thanks goodness for artist like Carol Shinn. She wrote Freestyle Machine Embroidery, and that book has saved my butt several time in this process. She recommends cutting through the thread painting, yes it is heart stopping, overlapping the image and trim out the overlap. You can then place a piece of fabric on the back and thread paint over the trimmed image.

The repaired image. Can you see where I cut? I bet not.  Okay I'm on my way to the finish.

Last year my friend and fellow fiber artist, Gail Sexton and I collaborated on Spirit of the Kiva. Gail is a wonderful machine quilter. I asked her if she would once again collaborate with me on this piece. She finished the quilting, beautifully, I might add, several weeks ago.

I have since been facing the background and attaching the thread painting. This was also no little matter in it's self.  The thread painting had to have the backing fabric attached.  Woe, enough already. I think you get the idea. It's finished and I'm happy, happy, happy.
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  1. Omg truly omg!! No wonder it took two years to mature.grin. thanks for sharing the process. I'm totally in love with it.

  2. This is such a powerful image to me and I've been eagerly awaiting your finish. It came out so well--totally worth all that you went through to get there. You should be so proud! Wonderful work.

  3. So well put together. I love the composition. You have good reason to be happy with it!

  4. Gorgeous! New visitor from the linkup!

  5. the workmanship and thread work are wonderful I also like the composition, with the reflection in the window. It's very good... congrats!
    LeeAnna Paylor

  6. Thanks al for your comments. I've been away from my computer for a week. Five different beds in seven days. Hope to be back on the blog soon.

  7. So it's hard to tell the photo from the quilt. This piece is so beautifully done...You are AMAZING !