Sunday, June 13, 2021

How Life and Art Mesh

Lupines grow in the road ditches in the Kootenays at this time of year. A trip to the west arm of Kootenay lake last week, where they are prolific, had me thinking about the purplish-blue colour throughout the week. Today I got to create something based on that interest. Sometimes it takes a little while for the creative ideas to percolate. 

Completed lined textile bag. A piece of my hand painted fabric was selected for the front.

A sketch done on location really helps me to focus on the shapes within the plant.

An early morning photo when the light was just right.

A box of scraps of hand-dyed and hand dye-painted fabrics get saved in this box. Can I find a piece of lupine painted fabric?

Yes, here it is. Painting on textiles is something I do often and I had this scrap of lupines and other flowers painted on canvas. Fibre reactive dyes paint very well on the natural fibre of the canvas.

This painted fabric could be made into a multitude of things but how does an artist decide in which direction to go? Well for me, it is often influenced by what is going on in my life at the moment and recently I was sewing fabric gift bags. After sewing over 10 of them, using different sizes and techniques, I felt ready to try this special one. 


The four pieces cut for the outside of the bag and for the lining. An hour or so of sewing has it completed.  A couple more samples follow.

A hand-painted hummingbird on cotton, paired with a lining made a great little drawstring bag. 

I had the pieced quilt square from a colour theory course I taught and with the addition of fabric on the top and bottom, it gave an added interest to the back of the bag. 

You may not have hand-painted fabric in your 'stash' but perhaps you have some hand-dyed fabrics. This indigo dyed shibori piece was done years ago but isn't it great paired with a little bit of commercial fabric. 

Let me know if you have some other ideas for your dye painted fabric scraps. 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Painting Local Scenery onto Fabric

Five Commissioned Textile Art Bags

Kootenay Lake Scene Hand Painted on Textile

Do you have a favourite scene you wish was on fabric so that you could sew with it?  One lady did. She commissioned me to create these 'Textile Art Bags' for her. Each one is hand painted so it becomes it's own unique art piece.

Creating a Sketch the Desired Size

After creating a sketch based on the customer's photo, I used artist carbon paper to transfer the main lines of the sketch. The sketch and photo were referred to for colour mixing of the dyes and for painting. 

After curing the dye painted fabric it is rinsed and becomes colourfast for using in sewing projects or for framing. 

Textile Art Cards

With this piece, the scene is loosely painted focusing on the mingling of the colours and the fading of the blue for the mountains as they recede. Details are free-motion stitched. Customer's were asking for artwork with the location written on it, so I included that with stitching. 

So many people canoe, kayak, and boat on our mountain lakes in the Kootenays and the serenity of that is what I was thinking of with this piece.

When you come through the mountains into the valley where I live, it opens up into this wide flat valley bottom.

Wildflowers, mountain lakes and log cabins speak to me!

Kootenay Lake has it's own little lighthouse at Pilot Bay. This piece is painted on rayon. I like to use it when want to paint watercolour like backgrounds. This piece was cured and painted twice. The darker colours were added the second time to create the mountains, foreground, lake and lighthouse shadows. 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Art on the iPad

Technology and art. Delving into this genre, has not been easy, however, it has been a lot of fun. 

Piedmont Sewing Machine

Art on the iPad with Susie Monday  is a course that is helping me delve into this technical area of art. Photo editing and drawing on the iPad are two things we've been exploring. There have been frustrations due to my limited knowledge in this area but with repeated video watching and repeat tutorial reading, overall, it has been very inspiring. I don't intend to throw away my paint brushes, but for me exploration results in many more ideas and we creative sorts like that.  

A Plant for Spring

The 'bluish' image was drawn on the iPad over a photo. The other was drawn on the iPad freehand.


Last week we've been exploring pattern making. 

The 3 photos below were created by manipulating photos in several 'art apps', sometimes several within one photo! Who knew?

The Clydesdales 

My friend snapped this photo for me one day while I was painting the horses, on location, last summer. No, they did not pose there long.

Stepping into Spring

This one involved combining a photo of my textile art with a photo of my friend's dog. Can you imagine the combinations! If I didn't have other homework, I would probably still be doing this technique.

Starting Young with Life on the Farm

Thankfully a friend gave me permission to use this photo of hers. A grandson being pulled on a sled with the cows looking with interest in the background. So sweet.  Along with using an art app, I added a little drawing.

If you've ever wondered about trying art on the iPad, I encourage you. Happy creating.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Finishing Plein Air Paintings in the Studio

We are having cold weather for about a week and it seemed a good time to finish some paintings that were about 80 % completed on location. I have photos somewhere but decided to work from the paintings only and rely on my memory of the day. 

'The Three Clydesdales'

Watercolour by Eileen Gidman

Of course the Clydesdales captured my interest at Kootenay Meadows Dairy that day I was painting on location. But also the distant fall colours in contrast with the blue spruce trees were stunning. This was my second attempt to try and capture those colours. The other painting I've decided not to finish. Not all paintings turn out and that is to be expected. Purposefully, I left the Skimmerhorns less detailed even though their vertical height is impressive in itself.

'Pleach Plum in Bloom'

Watercolour by Eileen Gidman

This painting was done on a spring day at a paint out session with 3 other artists. My friend invited us to her yard to enjoy the almost wild, peach-plum tree in bloom. Where the figures are, there was another artist painting but I decided to change it to two figures walking their dog, heading right passed that stunning tree. Gosh we live in a beautiful valley.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Card Fits in Weathered Wood Frame

Framed Textile Card

Today I was so surprised to see how a friend had framed one of my textile cards in a weathered wood frame. I love it! It fits in their bathroom along with a weathered wood shelf. Such a great idea. 

The textile cards I make fit in a 5 X 7" frame opening. Along with being placed in a frame, the textile can also be used in sewing projects such as in the last post about small tote bags. 

Thread Sketching on Saturday

Today I am free motion stitching the hand painted 'colourful' dogs that were created this summer. The 'pooches' were painted onto rayon. Can you see the sketches of legs, eyes, and ears that I look, at to guide, me as I stitch.  

Samples of a New Series in the Making





Saturday, January 16, 2021

Textile Art of Small Tote Bags

 Textile Art on Small Tote Bags

Light small tote bags with a little art on them make a nice gift and are easy to send in the mail. The art work is painted with dyes and highlighted with free motion thread sketching,  Purchased batik fabrics which have a high thread count are used to make the body of the bag for sturdiness. The bags are washable.

'The Hikers' 
by Eileen Gidman
Approximately 9 X 11"

'Girl Walking Dog'

'Mountain Lake'


I found this batik at Creston Card and Stationery Store It's not in colours I'd seen before and I think it will look great with some of my hand painted textiles. 

There is a new selection of small tote bags for sale at the 1022 Canyon Street Gift Store in Creston, BC. There is a wide selection of local artisan's work at the store and it is definitely worth checking out especially when you are looking for a gift. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Sketching at the Dog Park Leads to ....

How does the practice of sketching at the dog park end up as finished art work? 

When I am sketching the dogs from life, I try to capture a bit of each dog's personality. In the top right I tried to convey the prancing nature of a Sheltie.  The Border Collie below him always seem to be flying through the air so that is what I focused on with him.

Dogs Stitched on Painted Fabric:

In my handpainted textiles I sometimes like to add a little dog. These images are so tiny and challenging to do on a sewing machine that only the essential elements are included. Those quick sketches at the dog park are perfect for that. 

I am still stitching this piece and although I've painted the two dogs with the dyes a little stitching will enhance the details of the dogs. 

Dogs Painted onto Fabric:

A New Series Begins

This summer I started envisioning a colourful dog series to try and express all those different personalities. Here I are my first attempts of painting them onto cotton fabric with dyes. After a curing and rinsing process the pieces are ready for some stitched details. 

The dog in the middle was inspired by my friend Jill's poodle. In a whole panel of dogs, this is the one that is most commented on. Is it the curly fur or that cute face? 

Free Motion Sketching of Details

Textile Card by Eileen Gidman 
frameable original art

Dogs Painted in Watercolour:

In my watercolour dog series, I do work from photos but in trying to capture each dog's personality I still find it is still beneficial to practice drawing from life. You can see that series here on my website:  'Life With My Human' 

So keep on sketching!