This portrait was inked in a class at Empty Spools in Asilomar, California, with Lura Schwarz-Smith. I did several in the four days, but this was the best. I also discovered that inking wasn't the way I wanted to go about doing portraits. But here I was with this little sample that Lura referred to as "Mr. Love".
This is the photograph I worked from. It was taken by his sister at a family gathering in evening light. I liked the way his hair looks blue! But, I feel I failed to capture him perfectly.....his chin isn't just right, but I decided I would finish it by stitching all over it in the style of Hollis Chatelain and many others.
This turned out to be a great experiment for a larger project (the one I started in a class with Esterita Austin but have yet to finish).
This is starting to look like an exercise in name-dropping, but it's not meant that way....I have a lot of unfinished projects and have decided 2014 is the year to not take classes and to finish a lot of what I've started and use what I've learned! Wish me luck!
But back to the decision to thread-paint my portrait of Mr. Love, who is indeed my husband.
I asked Karrie, who has taken a class with Hollis Chatelain, whether she quilts the faces she does with the backing on or if she puts a backing on afterwards and re-outlines. Karrie said she does it with the backing on. This was my first try at this kind of thing and I thought the back would be a mess since I was new at it. So rather than putting a backing on it, I layered it with batting and a stabilizer to stitch on, planning to put backing on when it was ready to finish.
I LOVED doing the stitching. It is absolutely amazing how much difference the color of the thread and one little thread line in the wrong place can make. I learned a lot with this exercise. Mostly that it looks pretty neat on the back and I should have had backing fabric on there. I didn't, and when I pressed it, one part of the stabilizer melted and messed up my iron. So it's a little messy on the back. But I liked how it looked enough that I put borders on it to make it 12 x 12 and left the back showing. Not an entry for any competition, but a great learning project and teaching tool! Here is what the back stitching looks like.
The red border is a scrap of work shirt fabric and the buttons are from old work shirts. I could only find three but would have liked five on there!
Now, to focus on the next challenge with a shortened time frame (for me).