Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Paint and Quilt What You Know

My step-father was a fine artist. He always told me to "paint what you know". I never got terribly interest in painting - at least until I started quilting - but I always remembered the advice .

One thing I know really well is cats. They have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember....sometimes too much a part of my life ! The Journal Quilt Project - compliments of International Quilt Festival and the inspiration of Karey Breshenhan - was a wonderful opportunity to depict what I know - some of our cats. I had an opportunity to discover the pleasure of painting - both with acrylic paint, thickened Procion dyes , inks and - best of all thread ! What a wonderful combination these mediums can be ! Above you can see Bart and Odie relaxing in front of the fire. No stress for these models !

Odie, pictured at the top of this page, is now 19 years old. He is still a kitten at heart though and demands vitiman E and catnip daily. I made this portrait of him from a photo I had taken. I learned to appreciate the flow of the paint over the fabric -it was a rewarding experience. I relished learning how thread works on painted fabric as it is slowly layed down layer over layer. I learned how my sewing machine speaks to me through its little pops and dips as it found fresh base for thread. I learned, finally to love to paint.

Chellie, a/k/a the beast, is pictured below. She was my special girl. Not always the best behaved - but I adored her and pardoned all of her shortcomings for the sheer joy she brought into my life! When she died unexpectedly at only 12 years old I wailed like a lost soul. I was so embarrased - wondering what the neighbors might think if they heard me. I felt so lost without her. I painted her more is simply - using more thickened dye paint than thread. Her impact on my life is large . Painting her taught me more about her -and about my missing her. Now I feel like a part of her spirit will always be with me in this little painting.
Cleo is below on the right She was my husband's cat before I was his wife. She is (some might say) a typical 'red-head'. She is determined, sometimes strident and sometimes very loving. She finally decided that I was a good family addition - after almost 11 years ! I am most pleased with her painting - mostly done using thickened Procion Dyes - augmented by a considerable amount of thread painting. This painting reflects what I feel about her - she is a little minx at times - but she can melt your heart too by a wink of her beautiful green/gold eyes.

Then there is my "Mystery Boy" Bart - shown
on the right below Cleo. He decided that this was to be his home about

eight years ago. I DID NOT want another cat. I
threatened to take him to the shelter. I held out for about two hours - when he claimed my lap as his own. Needless to say I fell in love with him. He is my quilting buddy and follows me around more like a puppy than a cat. He is painted with thick dyes and thread painted with blacks and grays. His early years are a mystery - but I am glad that he found his home with us.

I will continue to try to paint and quilt what I know - after all I have a bevy of cats to choose from !

1 comment:

sandra wyman said...

As a cat person myself I love these - I know how difficult it is to convey the character of a cat and you've done this really well.

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