Monday, January 25, 2016

50th Anniversary Wall Quilt - Part 4

After I got the backgrounds painted on my portraits, I decided to take my practice portrait and try to put a light wash of black on dad's jacket so the pencil lines would blend in a bit more. That went horribly wrong. I had black ink seep into the bride's veil and into the white collar and in his boutonniere.

I also added tulle to the veil and thread painting to the dress.  After all that, I don't think it really did anything for the picture, which was a bit surprising for me. I also forgot to fix the neckline of the dress. I needed to find the center and flip the left side to the right to make it even. I could only see one side in the picture and forgot to make the other side the same. Again, I'm glad this one is just practice.

I also started to define the tiara on mom's head piece. The picture basically showed a white blob. There was no definition whatsoever and I had a hard time seeing even the basic shape. So I basically made it up using seed beads. This was tedious and didn't really help in my opinion but I needed something because the tulle was already down.

Although not horrible, I don't like it and I certainly won't be adding anything to other portrait.

So after I finished sewing the beads on, I went ahead and added a border fabric in brown/gold. I'll put this on a stretched canvas and call it a day. Maybe my grandmother will want it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

50th Anniversary Wall Quilt - Part 3

I haven't done any portrait work in a really long time and I'm glad some of the things I learned came roaring back to me as I worked on these.

I did this picture using nothing but colored pencil and it turned out well since I had a bit of practice on the first 2. This one is much better looking and is a fairly good likeness. I think it'll get a bit better after I get the white veil/dress/tiara and the background tinted.

Dad doesn't look quite so alien like, which is always a bonus! The streaky look of the color pencils though are really bothering me. Especially in dad's black jacket. I'll continue trying to smooth those out and if that doesn't help then I may put on a light wash of black ink to try to smooth it out.

Unfortunately, dad's mouth/lip area isn't all that good but it looks fairly accurate compared to the picture. I think it was a perfect storm so to speak. He's leaning slightly towards mom, head turned towards the camera, a closed mouth smile and there was a bright flash which pretty much made his lips disappear completely and created deep shadows around the upper lip/nose area.

Not sure I'll go for a third drawing. I might though just to see if I can get dad looking a little better. Its usually much easier to fix something from the beginning other than just to fix something after its been drawn. If this was paper I could erase, but I can't since this is on fabric. 

Here's a few close ups:

I filled in the background with brown inks. Here's the portrait I painted on white fabric. I call this one my practice fabric.

And here's the one I did on cream fabric.

These portraits turned out really similar, but I think the one on cream fabric looks the best. I darkened some areas on both portraits mainly the mouth/hair/eye areas. Focusing on these features can really make all the difference.

TIP: When drawing eyes/eye brows - Even if your picture just looks like some dark lines for the brows and eye lids, that's really hair. So draw hair/lashes. I couldn't see anything like that from the picture I was working on but adding those little wisps of lashes and hair in the brows really made a big difference.

Here's a close up of mom. Its not a whole lot different from the close up above but darkening the hair around the face and the creases at the lips really make a big difference.

I'm fairly sure my portraits are finished. Sometimes I keep "fixing" something until it's ruined and I really don't want to do that.

I did try to make a portrait just using inks and that was a complete disaster. Guess I'll stick with colored pencils.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

50th Anniversary Wall Quilt - Part 2

I cut several squares of 20x20" in cream and white fabrics. I'm going to try a few different ways of doing this portrait of my parents and one will definitely be a "practice" square.

I took the picture I selected and started to draw my parents onto a piece of fabric. It was okay for my practice piece but it wasn't working out so well. So I decided to just make life a little easier and I bought a small projector on Amazon. I loaded the picture and within 10 minutes I had mom and dad projected on the wall onto one of my fabric squares and I was tracing an outline. I got 3 sketches done in 15 minutes and all of the proportions were right. 

My first portrait was done free hand and it seriously went wrong. Sorry, dad but you turned out kinda alien like. I figured I would just use this one to practice on. Painting with coffee turned out to be quite hard. First of all, you can't just make a cup of coffee and start painting. I guess that would've been just too easy to do. In case you're wondering, the tint is barely tan. I even made about 3 cups of coffee and boiled it down to about 1/4 C and it was just a light brown color. It was much darker after the boil but it was clear that to get a really dark color, I was going to have to do multiple applications or try to boil about 6 C down to 1/2C or something. I could do that but I'm not that determined. So I figure I'll go back to the inks.

Anyway, here's my practice attempt. I used coffee on mom and colored pencil. For dad, I just used colored pencil and there's a big difference. If I use inks I'll have to remember to get rid of any hard ink lines and when using colored pencil to make sure to use nice even pressured strokes preferably in one direction. I think the inks will come in handy for the really dark areas (hair and jacket).

Since the veil, dress, tiara and the background are all white, I thought I might try to iron some tulle down and maybe find a nice lace and put that down for the dress. But that white will probably be really bright which I don't really want. It may or may not work or I'll have to tint it a little with inks or soak them in some coffee. But its just an idea I'm playing with.

Mom turned out okay but not great. And you can see some really hard ink dry lines and bleeding (tiara). I think the ink/coffee should stick to general open background areas. Cotton fabric just wicks color all over the place and I really don't want to try to control it. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

50th Anniversary Wall Quilt - Part 1

Welcome to 2016!

I started this blog in April of 2015 and had 68 posts for the year. I wanted to have a record of what I'd had done all year (minus 3 months) and write about it. The good, the bad and the ugly. And I didn't post as much as a I could simply because I'm not in a race with anyone. Most of my posts were about sewing/quilting, my in-laws 50th Anniversary party, some dog activities and some recipes. I assume 2016 will be much of the same. So let's get to it!

This year, is my parents 50th Anniversary in June but they don't want a party. We have a very small family and they don't have a lot of friends so a party with 15 people is fairly pointless.

So I thought I'd try to make them a keepsake wall quilt type thing. Since I just finished painting my endangered animal quilt, I figured I could paint a picture of them from their wedding day or maybe do a fabric portrait of them. Either one would probably work and I might do both to see which one I like better. I think I'll try painting the picture using coffee instead of inks and I might do a version in crayon/colored pencil and see how it turns out. Ink would work but I had a hard time with the browns. They were not really brown. I had to mix a lot of the different brown colors to get a decent brown for the animal quilt and frankly, I'm tired of mixing colors. I just don't know how well the coffee will work on fabric. Most people paint on paper with it like watercolor. So I should be able to come up with something.

I bought some cream colored fabric and I had some white cotton fabric. I thought I'd use both. I'm concerned about the white dress and head veil. White on white just doesn't show up so I thought about getting some tulle and ironing it to the fabric. I might try that in one of the portraits and see if that works. Might be cool to add.

I cut some pieces of fabric roughly 20x20" and I drew a block 18x18" which is for the portraits of the bride/groom will go. They are now ready for painting or crayons.

I also thought I could have some embroidered blocks around the center fabric portrait. I have the Affairs of the Heart applique design by Aie Rossmann to use on my embroidery machine and I thought I'd try a few blocks from there. You're supposed to use black background and brightly colored fabrics and threads but since this is for a 50th WA, I think I'll use creams and tans and golds instead.

I went through my stash of scraps and found some that I thought would work. I don't have enough cream colored background fabric but I got to experiment. I think they turned out really well. I can see these going around a portrait.

I also did just an outline block. Its just one color of thread and I picked a soft gold color.

I also have the Feathered Star pattern by Hoopsisters. The pattern has some pretty background blocks and I think I might try a few of those.

Next up, is to work on sketching an outline of my parents from a photograph onto fabric.