Monday, November 1, 2010

Autumn Patina

I was so inspired by this color challenge that I got started right away and had it finished more than a month ago. These are truly my colors.

I love Autumn and with the season and all the inspiration around me it became the theme I decided to work with. I decided recently that I need to challenge myself to try some different techniques and this presented a good opportunity to paint fabric; add hand-stitching; include a found object; and let the process create the form the piece took, creating its irregular outline.

The leaf is a real leaf that I had picked up last fall and pressed in a book. I came across it the very day the color challenge was announced and I knew that I wanted to use it. The rich, rusty color seemed just right. The challenge was how to stabilize it well enough to attach it. In its pressed form it was very delicate and brittle. I started by fusing fabric to the back side, which strengthened it considerably, but I could still see that if it bent, even a little, the leaf would crack. I ended up gluing it to a piece of illustration board and carefully cutting it around the outline of the leaf, with a craft knife, after the glue was dry.

I really enjoyed painting the two fabrics, using a small sea sponge to do most of the mottling of acrylic fabric paints, including a bronze metallic paint. Since I can hardly bear to not have any patterned fabric in my work, I used one of my hand-carved stamps to add some very subtle pattern to the patina fabric. I liked the way the fabrics looked as I stacked them up and so I worked out a composition using that idea. I had found some hand-dyed floss in the patina colors, so I added a scattering of little stitches across the background, then glued my stabilized leaf in place.

This detail, taken at an angle, reveals that the "stacked" background fabrics are actually quite flat. The trompe l'oeil effect of shadow and raised surface was done with paint. The leaf, on the other hand, does actually protrude about 1/8th inch because of its illustration board backing.

This really is one of my very favorite 12 x 12 pieces at this point. It was an exercise in problem solving and the colors were a joy to use.

Both photos should be clickable for a closer view.

15 comments:

Karen said...

Wow Terry, when I saw this piece I knew it was yours, but with a definite twist. It has a lot of depth and the irregular outline is perfect. The leaf seems to have maintained it's veins, and I'm amazed you were able to use a real leaf here

Sue Bleiweiss said...

Terry this is fantastic! Love the illusion of depth you've created by use of layering. Nicely done!

JB said...

OOooo. The printing on the fabric works so well with the entire piece and the colors are so in keeping with the challenge. Thanks for describing the technique you used for maintaining the leaf. Last year I did some leaf prints with acrylic paint and then attached the leaves to the work and they are still in tact. However they were not brittle, but fairly fresh.

Rabid Quilter said...

What a wonderful block! Fall is my favorite time of year too and this leaf block really resonated with me. Thank you for the 'tutorial' on how you made it too! VERY helpful for a expert quilter but a novice painter.

BTW: if you carve your own stamps, have you ever heard of 'Letterboxing'? It's like geocaching but better. Take a look at www.atlasquest.com.

Diane in California

Gerrie said...

This is the difference between us. I got so bored with these colors by the time I finished mine. But, you have made them sing! I can't wait to give you my color theme. Bwa ha ha!!

I love the stark simplicity of this.

Diane said...

Oh Terry, the elegance and simplicity in this are so striking -- it is just beautiful. You've used the colors so effectively -- I'm still amazed that it is a real leaf! Your texture work -- both with the fabrics you did, and the stitching you added, make for a wonderful subtle interest. I just love it.

Diana Angus said...

Terry:

You have done an excellent job, and this piece just glows!

Terri Stegmiller said...

This is simply gorgeous Terry!!! The hand stitched details are like the sprinkles on the icing on the cake.

Kristin L said...

Oh now I see why this is your favorite! Fantastic!

Natalya Aikens said...

lovely.... you ladies have inspired me! i just might brag out that piece of rusted organza and start stitching it....

kirsty said...

Wow!! Hard to believe this is flat!
My favourite parts are the tiny stitches and the GENIUS solution for the leaf.

Barb said...

This piece is exquisite. Absolutely beautiful.

Glynis said...

Truly a wonderful piece - inspiring

Helen Conway said...

The shape!! Oh the shape! And that scattering of seed stitching. I am in love.

Barbara Strobel Lardon said...

Thank you for sharing all these great techniques especially how to use a real leaf in a piece. Just lovely.