Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pieced Square with Handpainted Squares

Gill Watson from Gloucester, UK received her hand painted fat quarter from the recent free draw I had in February. It took less than a week to get all the way across the ocean! She let me know she thought it was "stunning" and is looking forward to showing it at her stitching group. Watch for another draw this spring. If you like, on the upper left corner of this blog, you can sign up for email notifications of new blog posts.

Here is what another quilter has done with some of my hand painted fabric.
Wall Hanging by Joan C.
Painted fabric by Eileen Gidman

Quilter Joan C. from Surrey, BC created this original wall hanging using two of my hand (dye) painted 6 1/2"squares. Doesn't the pieced work look fantastic with the more organic shapes of the hand painted pieces. Those hand painted squares came in a package of two for $19.95 and were painted on premium cotton with procion dyes which are colourfast. Joan added her own ideas to the flowers by adding some details with free motion stitching. This shape of wall hanging is so versatile for fitting in those long narrow spaces. Thank you Joan so much for sharing the photo of this wall hanging. What a work of art you have created.
Quilters, I am happy to create a special motif for you in this 6 1/2" size or and 8 1/2" size. Just email me at

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Flowers in Watercolour

watercolour by Eileen Gidman
As February contains Valentine's Day, I couldn't resist painting flowers and I seemed to be drawn to painting them in pinks. Although the Shasta Daisy is white, surrounding it with pink gives it a soft and romantic feel. With the Bougainvillea flowers, I did both a detailed study as well as a grouping of them. By keeping the upper flowers light, the focus remains on the lower more detailed image.
Although Bougainvillea are beautiful, the vines contain a lot of thorns. The flowers are actually the 3 little white clusters that are surrounded by the pink bracts as shown in the image in the lower left corner. Other plant colours include magenta, purple, red, orange, white or yellow.
watercolour by Eileen Gidman
While the Oxeye Daisy is the native plant, the above is a cultivated Shasta Daisy which has larger flower heads. It was lots of fun to draw with the many varied shapes to the petals.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Winner of the Handpainted Fat Quarter

'The Tulips Are Coming'
hand dye painted cotton
by Eileen Gidman
The winner of the Feb 15th draw for one of my hand dye painted fat quarters is Gill Watson from Glucester, UK. Congratulations Gill. As spring is around the corner, I thought a tulip image would be appropriate. Enjoy your new panel Gill and we would love to see a photo of what you make with it.
Thank you to everyone that participated. Click here to see what other quilters have done with their panels NEWSLETTER . Be sure to watch for future free giveaways. One of the easiest ways is to sign up for automatic updates of my blog on the upper left corner of this page or some people choose to follow me through Facebook by liking  my Watercolour and Textile Page.
For those of you that are looking for something special, I can create a panel based on a photo you provide or as in the case below by a description. Kim who commissioned the piece, talked of missing hearing the sounds of rushing water and the crunch of leaves as she walked along the river bank where she lived before. She also wanted the image to include a covered bridge and fall colours. I believe Kim will be completing this panel by adding pieced borders which I am looking forward to seeing.

To have a work of art just for you, email me at . 
Commissioned Covered Bridge with Fall Colours
hand dye painted cotton panel
18 X 24"
by Eileen Gidman

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Betty Lee Mine Minerals

The winner of the free draw for a fat quarter was drawn yesterday and all will be revealed in Wednesday's post.

'Betty Lee Mine Impressions'
fat quarter of dye painted cotton
by Eileen Gidman

Chrysocolla is the aqua coloured mineral shown here at the Betty Lee Mine in AZ

Gravel like pebbles of the turquoise coloured rocks.
When I was in AZ,  I had the pleasure of hiking into the Betty Lee mine. The mountains surrounding the draw were a rich chocolate brown. The pebble like gravel filled with turquoise colour was so attractive.  Back in the studio I was compelled to create some fabric pieces based on my impressions of the day.
The first two pieces were created using a wet into wet technique of painting with dyes onto cotton fabric. The last two pieces were created layer upon layer with some additional line detailing. I have more ideas!!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Watercolour - Pet Portraits

Watercolour: Pet Portrait
When painting something specific such as an owner's pet, I find it best to begin with an accurate sketch. You don't want to lose the spontaneous nature of watercolour but you also need to  have an accurate likeness.  I have sketched and painted my own dog from life but she seemed to be constantly moving so I find for pet portraits, photographs are very helpful.
My Border Collie will be my next challenge. To capture her nature I need a facial expression that eludes to her high  intelligence and an action shot that shows her energetic side. Although the photos below are cute, they are not quite what I am looking for. This means more time behind the camera before even starting painting.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Hummingbirds on Textile

Do you remember me mentioning I wondered how vibrant the colours of the hummingbirds would be after rinsing the fabric I painted them on. Well the colours stayed very true.
The birds were painted with thickened fibre reactive dyes. The fine black line was completed first by squeezing thickened dye from a bottle with a narrow nib. The green and red hummingbirds are Calliopes and the purple throated hummingbirds are Costa's. Both of which I have admired at my hummingbird feeders. Wouldn't these look good together with the addition of some pieced commercial fabric borders.
If you haven't already gotten your name in for the free draw of a fat quarter with a hand painted design, you still have time. Simply email me at before the draw on Feb 15th.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chinese Painting and Plein Air Painting

What a great few days it has been of painting. On Friday, our painting club had lesson two from Linda Lashbrook, on Oriental Painting. It might not be something I pursue full time, but to stay fresh in my own work I find it important to challenge myself with different painting styles and techniques. That is just how I work but you may tackle your own art work differently. I guess that is what makes art work so personal.
In the workshop we practiced our fish and bamboo from lesson one. Let me tell you it was definitely necessary to refresh ourselves with the specific strokes. Later in the morning we learnt some techniques for flowers and we focused on the chrysanthemum. I am looking forward to practicing  flowers more.
Who doesn't like panda's and someday I hope to have the pleasure of painting them plein air but for this workshop we relied on photos our instructor provided. Too much fun!!! I only wish I had a photo of the cardinal birds Joyce painted to show you. She captured them in a few strokes so they had so much movement.

San Diego Zoo Pandas
I also had an afternoon to plein air sketch and paint. The drawing was done in ink without pencil drawing first, so it was a challenge. Sometimes if leaves or blossoms were missed, you just had to keep going and make it up a little.
Plein air Journal Sketching
'Pot of Petunias'

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Dye Painted Fabric for Quilters

The following images are on premium mercerized cotton that I have hand painted with dyes. After curing and washing, the fabric is ready for quilting, sewing or framing. I was so happy to see the rich colours after rinsing. Freshly mixed dyes and a warm studio help to achieve the vibrant colours.
Today I painted eight 6" blocks with hummingbirds. Let's hope the ruby throats are as saturated as possible. I will let you know.

6" Square - 'Beavertail Cactus with Fruit'
Dye Painted on Cotton Fabric by Eileen Gidman

6" Square - 'Barrel Cactus in Bloom'
Dye painted on Cotton Fabric by Eileen Gidman
The following series of designed fabrics are popular with quilters. They work well pieced with commercial fabrics.
Dye Painted Design on Cotton Fabric - 18" X 22"
by Eileen Gidman
Dye Painted Design on Cotton Fabric - 18" X 22"
by Eileen Gidman
Dye Painted Design on Cotton Fabric - 18" X 22"
by Eileen Gidman