Sunday, November 9, 2014

Pumpkin Art Quilt Demo

© 2014 Loreen Leedy
While browsing for produce in my favorite store in early October, I rounded a corner and found heaps of bright orange pumpkins. It was a striking display and later I couldn't resist making one with fabric. In addition to using paint, the idea was to render the pumpkin without laboriously cutting fabric shapes to create the image...but how?

A orangy yellowy batik with leaves seemed like a good starting point. This is actually the reverse with some of the paint showing through but it gives the general idea. Some reference photos helped with making a same-size sketch on tracing paper. I lightly drew it on the fabric with a white chalk pencil (or possibly regular school chalk, can't recall.)

The scribbly pencil lines on the the right side of the sketch are where the darker values will go. 

Rectangular chunks of fabric were arranged either randomly or with some values placed with the light source from the upper left. The rectangles were glue-basted in place. Then the lines were painted with black acrylic using a pointed round brush. The acrylic bled a bit on some of the fabrics but it was in keeping with the casual look. 

In order to separate the pumpkin from the background, acrylic paint was applied. First the black lines were masked off with torn-edged paper tape. It's a low-tack white paper tape, no idea if it's still being sold (this stuff has been rattling around in my studio for YEARS.) In any case, it worked well to protect the line work. The paint was applied with a scrunched up piece of waxed paper, which gives a nice random texture. The pumpkin gained a cream-colored "glow" and a plum shadow. It looks good but another time I may skip that step.

With the mask removed, the emerging pumpkin requested a few more chunks of fabric. The edge of striped fabric at the bottom was tinted orange and the stem got some brown lines. Love the stripes. Stripes make me happy!

It's always helpful to desaturate a photo to look at the art in grayscale to determine if there is enough contrast. Looked good to me.

Batting and a backing were pinned to the top for the quilting stage. In order to preserve the irregular blocky edges, the stitches stop about a half inch from the edges. The stitching consists of free-motion straight and zigzag stitches, mostly. I haven't decided how to mount this yet...on a stretched canvas? On a plain quilted support?

The balance of realism and abstraction works as I had hoped in this piece, which is nice. One minor complaint is that the style of the line work is somewhat old-fashioned...perhaps "retro" is a more positive way to look at it. Being hypercritical of lines is an occupational hazard of being an illustrator, alas. Also, the bluish chunks look a little out of place. There are some blue tones in the thread but from a distance that doesn't show. Then again, maybe it would be boring without the blue. If I really wanted to it would be fairly easy to cover up the blue with different fabric, but it's not bothering me enough at this point.
© 2014 Loreen Leedy
So that's the story of this pumpkin, hope you enjoyed it!



Diane J. Evans said...

SO glad you're back!! I've missed you and your blog. You're such a creative person, and you write terrific posts. Your computer tutorials helped me so much in the past.

This new work is wonderful -- can't wait to see more.


Loreen Leedy said...

Hi Diane, thanks for stopping's nice to hear from you. Hope things are good in your neck of the woods.

Susan Miller said...

Its great. I love what you do with fabric. And also your art

Loreen Leedy said...

Thank you Sue, love your art, too!