I need to have at least two new pieces ready soon. 399.1 is number one, this will be number two. No time to waste so sticking with my chosen subject matter of wildlife, Mr. Raccoon is next in line. Dave Allen at Allen Wildlife gave me permission to use his photo of a raccoon lapping up some water in Naples, Florida. He has some fantastic photos on his website, please go take a look!! And! stay tuned to follow along on another little fiber art journey!
I don’t have much to post about the quilt except that she is finished. I have trimmed her to 16×20, added a facing and sleeve, signed it, and now just need to cut, clean, and sand a slat to hang her by. I am very pleased with the final look now that she is trimmed up and I think I will name this one 399.1 because I definitely will be making another rendition. Thank you for following along on this little journey!
This whole week was dedicated to getting her eyes done, finishing the ears, and adding a few details. I am pretty happy with this quilt because it does look like a grizzly bear, but it is NOT 399! I will need to do this again in order to get a likeness. I can see right away where I went wrong in the likeness, but as far as it looking like a grizzly portrait (which will work in my series), I am happy with it. Here are some details of the work this week:
First, I removed the eye place holders. These were placed in the beginning so that I wouldn’t lose my perspective of where the eyes, nose, ears, etc fit with each other in the face. It is very easy to get features lopsided when you are working up close. I had to step away many times to get a look from afar. When I started mapping out the eyes, I was surprised at how small a grizzly bear’s eyes are compared to the head and other features.
Nervously, I began stitching the left eye socket shadows, then the eye, then some blending so that the eye would merge into the fur around the eye. Here is the completed left eye. The first eye is always the easiest! The second eye has to line up with the first one and match in color, etc.
The right eye was slightly different in shape since the head was turned to the right a little bit. Once that was lightly penned in, I began stitching. Even though I fretted and worried and even shed a tear or two, I managed to get the whole head finished. I do think I need to go back in to blend a few places…
Moving along on this lovely piece. I have mixed emotions on the way this is progressing:
The face is really looking pretty good. If you were following this post about constructing this quilt, you know that this is a very famous Grizzly Bear. I did not know this when I chose this picture. Richard Spratley generously gave me permission to turn his gorgeous photograph of this mama grizzly into an art quilt. After I started the quilt, he told me that she is probably the most famous Grizzly on the planet! She is known as 399. Well!! That means that this quilt cannot just look like the specimen of a grizzly bear, but should look like 399. She is an old matriarch, 20+ years, producing many generations. I truly hope that I can do her justice. If not… well, I will make this quilt again! This week, I will get her eyes painted in with thread.
This is a pic I took just before writing this post:
Her story is complicated as well as heart-wrenching. Here are some links to articles about her:
After listening to the SAQA webinar “Working in a Series”, I have made the decision to do just that! The talk was very inspiring but more importantly made me think about the direction my art is moving… which was basically nowhere! I am hopeful that working on this series will help me grow as an artist as well as elevating my artwork to a new level. I plan to blog at the end of each week on my progress, my successes, my failures, and my Ah-Ha moments. Since this past week was my decision to begin the series, I am going to share with you what has transpired since:
“Wild Life” is the name I have temporarily chosen. It describes the subject matter but breaking it into two words gives the title a hint of mystery. Here’s the parameters I am giving myself: 1) The series will be portraits of animals found in the wild, 2) 16×20 portrait orientation, 3) Commercial fabric, 4) Freehand threadwork, 5) No photo transfers, 6) Ink staining and paint allowed.
This first animal portrait is taken from a photo by Richard Spratley, a wildlife and nature photographer (Mountain Meadow Photography). Richard graciously gave me permission to use this photo of a Grizzly Bear taken in Yellowstone for this first quilt.
Since I am working on a portrait series, I cropped the photo:
This quilt was started by a simple line drawing over a 1-inch grid and it is developing from there. I don’t think it will be finished for a few more weeks, but so far, here is my progress: