Sunday, June 30, 2013

WINNER of the Hand Painted Sunflower Panel

The WINNER of the June 30th draw for this hand (dye) painted Sunflower Panel was M. M. Congratulations on winning a one of a kind piece of textile art. This panel is cotton and ready for quilting. M. M. has been notified by email.

There has been such a good response to the draw and it was so wonderful to hear from those of you who participated. I enjoyed hearing from those of you who commented on Facebook and on my blog. Some of you preferred to receive a newsletter and I really liked reconnecting with you by email. Thank you to all who participated!

Look forward to seeing some brand new painted fabrics here on my blog and on my website as I was painting with dyes all last week. I am very pleased with the results especially the yellow and red columbine flowers which I painted for cards, 6 1/2" squares and for the new artisan pillow series. Check back soon.

For those who didn't get to enter the draw, you can still:

·        LIKE my Watercolour-and-Textile-Artist Facebook Page at!/pages/Eileen-Gidman-Watercolour-and-Textile-Artist/310557619037972

·        join my blog here by  subscribing to follow by email (note upper left on this page)

·        or email at, identifying that you want to receive my quarterly newsletter.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Artisan Pillow Series - 'Three Roses'

Artisan Pillow - 'Three Roses'
using my hand (dye) painted fabric
Using a hand painted panel, I sewed 1/4" tucks vertically every 1 1/4". Then starting in the middle, I pressed the tucks all one way and sewed them down with invisible thread. I measured over 1 1/2" and pressed the tucks the other way and sewed them down. I repeated this process on one side and then came back to the middle and repeated the other way being sure to alternate which way the tucks were laying.
This hand (dye) painted panel has a complementary colour scheme. The reds range from cool to warm and are shaded from white to dark red. Remember the whites are the light of the fabric itself and so must be planned from the beginning. Note the green leaves were created by painting a dark green around an already painted light green. This means this piece was dyed twice.
For the back, I placed in a zipper. I then squared up both front and back evenly and with right sides together stitched around the perimeter. I trimmed the corners and turned it right side out. So for those of you who have purchased my hand painted fabrics or have one of your own, you may want to try this technique to create one of your own original works of art in a pillow.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Artisan Pillow Series: using hand (dye) painted fabric

In my line of hand (dye) painted fabrics, I paint 8 1/2" squares along with  a 8 1/2" X 17" rectangle of hand painted coordinating fabric. In this case the dye painted panel is of blue grapes and the coordinating fabric is dots of matching colours. I thought I would try using this set to make a pillow.

For inspiration, I had been looking at 'Modern Quilts'. I don't totally understand this category but I am  fascinated with the use of negative space in these quilts. To emulate that, I added even strips of white between random sized blocks of coloured fabric. Using the colour scheme, I had selected for the painted grape panel, which was a triad of yellow-green, blue, and orange, I auditioned fabrics.
Although it is difficult to see in the picture, I free-motion stitched the painted panel after first ironing on a lightweight interfacing. The stitches give extra dimension and detail at the focal point.
I cut 1 3/4" strips of white and a variety of sizes of squares and rectangles of the coordinating fabrics. I found it best to complete one side, then lay out possible fabrics for the next side before cutting them. I included one large piece and one small piece of the coordinating hand dotted fabric. 
For the back, I inserted a zipper. Basting it into place first gave me good results. For a 16" square pillow form, I trimmed the cover to 17 inches, allowing for 1/2" seam allowances. I opened the zipper slightly and sewed the front and back together with right sides facing each other. I stitched across the corners and trimmed them before turning the pillow cover right side out.

 I think the square would look equally good as part of a quilt. Maybe a quilt and pillows, oh my.....

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lupine Flowers on Location

Pen and Ink Sketching on Location

So what if it is 4:15 and you have to cook supper. There still is time to drive to locations close by and get a few photos and a sketch done before dinner. At least that is what I did recently. Yes, it would have been great to get some watercolour paint onto the paper, out on location, but I can go back the next day or finish the piece in the studio from the reference photos taken. The point is get out there.

When completing plein air paintings in the studio, I find it easiest when the reference photo is small. Somehow it is easier to identify values and tell if adjustments need to be made.

Watercolour Painting
'Forest Lupines'
7 1/2" x 11"   $179 plus shipping

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Quilted and (dye) Painted Portrait - Part 2

Fabric Arts - The Portraits Project
Submissions - Textile Self Portraits
Langham Gallery, Kaslo, BC
July 5 - Aug 18, 2013

29" X 34"
Quilt (Dye) Painted Textile
'Eileen Gidman Alpine Hiking'

Early on in the process, I knew I wanted to add textural interest to the trees and also introduce some subtle pink colour. There were several ideas from people in my Quilt Group, such as adding wool, embroidery cotton, lacy threads made by free motion stitching on wash away stabilizer but I envisioned the trees with pieces of cotton fabrics sewn on and that is what I ended up doing after auditioning all the others. My friend Charlsie suggested I add points to the little strips and I did that. Thanks for the suggestion!

To add texture to the stump, it was free motion stitched with black, brown and grey thread. Pink and teal threads depicted reflected light in the stump. I loved this coloured stitching so much, it was all I could do not to stitch the whole stump in pink. I was reined in by reminding myself of the overall composition plan.  The colours within the piece are primarily blue and green with a bit of complementary pink.
The stump contains the greatest amount of free motion stitching. It is amazing how fast you can run through a bobbin. From experience, I learnt it is important to spread a lot of free motion stitching over a period of days. I didn't and ended up jumping up with leg cramps one night after a full afternoon of sewing! 
To the emulate granite boulders, I added layers of netting to create a gradation of grey shades. As well I added some folds for different facets of the rocks. For this I had to switch to a regular machine foot as the darning foot would get caught in the netting and at one point I had it so balled up it had to be cut out! Small beads were added in pink and clear to represent the mica flecks in granite.
The center of interest is the person of course. Specifically, the pink kerchief is bright and bold with saturated colour to draw attention to that area but  I wanted that colour to remain limited. Only small bits of pink was added to the trees, stump and rock to provide unity within the piece.
This piece along with 11 others will be hanging at the Langham Gallery in Kaslo, BC, July 5 - Aug 18, 2013. What for following posts for pictures of the other entries. I can't wait to see them!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Quilted and (dye) Painted Portrait - Part 1

A portion of the Quilted and Painted Portrait
'Eileen Gidman Alpine Hiking'
Reference Photo
Okay, you have a reference photo you want to recreate in a wall hanging. Now what? I chose this hiking photo for a textile 'Self Portrait Show' I was invited to participate in. First I made adjustments to the composition prior to drawing it out by cutting a bit off of the left side as well as simplifying the trees.

 Note how I place the reference photo in the corner of the paper and drew a diagonal through the photo and the paper. By drawing lines vertically and horizontally anywhere along that diagonal line, results in a drawing proportional to the photo. 

  Then I folded the paper in half both ways to find the center point. I created a grid on the photograph with even squares and proportionally drew larger squares on paper and sketched in the main lines of the photo within each square. This allows for fine tuning the drawing prior to sketching it onto fabric.  
Using a light box, I traced the drawing onto a piece of soda soaked cotton fabric. I outlined the main lines in a thin line of black dye. Once this had cured over night, I added the colour by painting it with thickened dye. 
The colour palette I choose was harmonious from green to blue-green which is a slight variation from the actual photo. The pink kerchief becomes a center of interest being complementary to the green. Bits of pink were introduced throughout the piece later in the finishing details also providing harmony.
After layering backing, a batting layer of flannelet and the top layer the piece was ready for pinning and then the fun began with the free motion stitching.  

To punch up the weathered wood what seemed like miles of stitching was added. The white of the wood was actually dyed slightly grey so thread was chosen to match.
The next post will show the details and the finished piece.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Border Collie and Plein Air Painting

Watercolour Painting on Location
What to take location painting?
I've never had an encounter with wildlife while painting but I get so engrossed, it is good to have my trusty Border Collie keeping an eye on things when I am out in the forest.
My favorite things for plein air painting other than the regular watercolour supplies is a hard body carrying case that is easy to tote a ways, sun screen, sun hat, bug repellent, water (easy to forget), camera and a comfortable chair. This chair has a side table attached, otherwise, I remove everything I need from my case and set it beside me as a table. Some people take an easel but prefer to prop my board on my knee.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Make your hubby happy by giving him some free-motion stitching!

Practicing free motion stitching really does take practice. When I was complaining once, at a quilting group, about my challenges with learning free motion stitching, my colleague gave me a good hint, which was to find a print fabric with medium to large motifs and practice going around the shapes. I actually never did that but I did practice on several padded white rectangles of cloth that were required for a course in free motion stitching. Not all were used in class but they were there ready to go and therefore before I started any free motion on a project, I would practice on those white squares.
Last month, I was cleaning out some drawers and there were 3 of them totally filled with stitching. They had been sitting there for years so I decided to finally get rid of them. As they were all cotton I threw them in my husband's rag bag. He absolutely loves them and I have seen them in use on his bench in his shop and last week when he was doing a tiling project, this is what I saw in the bathroom.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Artists that Paint their Lives

'Sweet Pea Scent'
16 X 20" $249. plus shipping
Dye Painted Textile
(wrapped around a frame for a modern look)
When thinking of sweet peas, don't you immediately imagine the scent. In the garden, we try to include a few plants especially for their smell. My absolute favorite for the earliest colour and scent in my garden is the beautiful Daphne. I treasure it over all the other plants. Surprisingly, in the over 20 years I've had this perennial, I have never painted a watercolour painting of it. Perhaps that is because it is usually still cold when it blooms and it wouldn't be much fun sitting out to paint it!
Don't you think it is best if when we create, it is about the things we know about? The artists I admire seem to express their lives and their interests, through their art. For me, this honesty shines through their work. These following three people immediately come to mind in this regard: