In keeping with a portrait theme I decided to make another quilt based on a photo of my ginger cat. The first one, Ginger, was made 2 years ago, not long after he died. Of my 3 most recent cats, Ginger was the most photogenic, and co-operative when it comes to picture taking! I wanted to continue what I have recently learned about faces. Fur does make a difference! For me it makes it harder to see colour changes associated with light as they are mixed up with changes in fur colour. This is the photo I selected and my drawing based on it.
I really wanted to concentrate on the face so enlarged it considerably. The finished quilt is still 16 by 20 inches, but has only one face, rather than two or three. I loved working with larger features. Eyes especially were easier to deal with on this scale. I followed the same techniques as in my previous blogs, More from the Brownie camera and Portrait completion. I won’t repeat the technique description, I’ll just highlight some of the things I learned from this project. My two important take-aways are:
- Always study the photograph carefully for shadows. Even if the composition of the art work is different from the photograph. And keep looking – things appear that I didn’t see the first or second time.
- Work bigger. Even if the final quilt isn’t bigger, make the image bigger. It’s easier to fine tune the details with bigger bits of fabric!
I spent a long time looking at Ginger’s eyes in the photo. I think it paid off. I would have started out with a green iris, a pupil and some highlights. But on closer examination there were mutiple shades of green, shadows cast by his brow ridge, many flecks of light. I’m really happy with the eyes.
The next most difficult feature was the tip of the nose and mouth. Unlike humans, the whole face comes forward into a snout and the shadows are much shallower. I think I will need more study on this.
It took me a long time to decide on the dark background. The photo has a light background but I wasn’t happy with any of the light options I tried. Once I chose a darker coloured theme, the piecing was easy. This quilt went through the usual fine tuning for corrections to colours and shadows, and adding a bit of sparkle. Notice the change in chin colour? I just couldn’t live with the blue there. I also change the shape of his muzzle on the left side (second photo) and added more contrast in some areas.
Then came thread selection and a bit of a pause while I thought about how to quilt it. I did something I didn’t do on my last piece. I drew out a quilting design. The shorter pieces of fur I stippled, while for the longer pieces, I used a longer motif in the direction of the fur, similar to what I did for The grizzly bear project – part 2. It took longer and I did wonder if it would make a difference in the end, but I’m glad I did it. You can only really see it in certain lighting. The picture below shows it up well.
This is the third quilt I’ve mounted on canvas, this time using a black fabric to wrap over the canvas. I like this finishing method as it eliminates the hand stitching of a facing and hanging sleeve on the back!