Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Beast Update

A Beast update. I'm a far better artist with color than I am with fabric. After having (I thought) finished the top of Beast, I started quilting it. And I wasn't happy with it. Not happy at all. After all, as many of you know, when it comes to other people's work, there is very little critic in me but when it comes to my work, I'm a perfectionist.

After quilting a great deal of the main house block, the one that had been giving me fits, I decided I needed to take the quilting out. Then I committed what most quilters have nightmares about. I ended up making holes in the top. I ruined it. I was so angry and upset, I couldn't even look at the work anymore. Then I had a revelation. I'd painted the lake and the sky of the quilt and it'd been a very enjoyable experience for me. I'd paint the entire piece that contained the house, lake, scenery and sky. I already have all the materials and I'm really proud I made that decision.

I've been drawing and painting since I was a small child. I even got my first commission when I was in my teens. I had been asked to come work in a store in downtown Portland that sold leather jackets as an artist in residence to paint on the leather whatever customers wanted. That phone call was completely out of the blue as I believe it was the person who'd commissioned me to paint a jacket for him that gave them my number.

Anyway, I learned a long time ago that perfection with paints and drawings is not possible. Stuff happens, and you incorporate it in to the work. So now I'm painting Beast and I hope to finally finish it and send it off to Mike. His attitude has always been "Make it the way you want to, I just want the fish and the house in it. I leave the rest to you, you're the artist." He's the best type of person to have a commission from.

I did some practice painting first. I realized I'll need to use the paint undiluted and probably without wetting the fabric first, like I did for the sky and lake as those both had, pardon the pun, a watercolor look to them. They still will, as will the trees. But not the house. The house is going to have a very controlled flow of color so I can capture the shadows across the roof, the upstairs and downstairs decks, the dock, and the outdoor fireplace. Most artists, when painting something specific, often draw a rough draft that's then painted over. I can't quite do exactly that given my medium, but I can paint a fat quarter's worth of wood planks, of stone to determine how to make the stone foundation I want, etc. It's a good thing I have a lot of fabric that's already prepared for dyeing. For you quilters/painters out there, I got a bolt of Kona's PFD (prepared for dyeing) from Fabric Depot. If they don't show it on their website, call the store and they will either tell you how much they have in stock since it's not all listed on their site and then go ahead and set up the order and payment for you. You can treat many fabrics for dyeing, but I'm very much in to saving my energy for doing what I want and a lot of prep work for a bolt of fabric is a bit more than I wanted to mess with.

No pictures as I really don't like the two fat quarters I painted thus far using up some oooold Jacquard in some squeeze bottles I'd originally used for paint the sky and water, Hence the discovery that the house wouldn't look the way I wanted if I used the watercolor method of painting.

As to getting it done, I've been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and early stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis. That makes it a lot more understandable as to why I've been trying to get this thing done since 2006. I and some family members are strongly speculating I have Ankylosing Spondylitis, and like them, are in the 5% category of people who have it whose bloodwork shows no evidence, as they all fit in that category. Thus, the remaining way to diagnose it is to either watch my symptomology over time, or to do an MRI. I pushed for the MRI 'cause I want to know. That means that we can get more aggressive arthritis treatment going that has the possibility of even with Fibromyalgia, maybe I can get some of my life back and have more energy again. And I can get back to quilting, after I finish painting :D