Thursday, September 19, 2013

Da Vinci Challenge Begun

This years International Quilt Challenge, that I belong to, has chosen International Painters as their theme. I was assigned Leonardo Da Vinci, as my artist to interpret into an art quilt. An artist from France and one from Japan will each also do Da Vinci. There are 30 artists each from the US, France and Japan, there will be an artist from each country do each painter, so there will be 3 different interpretations. The first show they will be in, is Quilt Week Yokohama, then the even BIGGER International show in Tokyo. From there they will go to France, then the USA for several years. I have participated twice before, in "Currency Exchange" and "International Festivals", both toured Japan, the USA, and one show went to New Zealand, the other to France. I'd like to thank the curators for giving me this chance to participate.
I began by selecting several images from his sketches, of a pair of hands, the statue of David, a Madonna, Vitruvian Man and sketches from the Last Supper, also his self portrait, which would be the main image in my composition. I arranged them onto a hand painted piece of muslin, that I did in acrylic paint, with splatters, and salt, in a light terra cotta color wash. Seeing them laid out, my brain storm was to shadow paint the torn images, creating a raised relief effect. I used two shades of reddish brown, and dry brushed around each piece of paper, leaving a crisp edge and a shading shadow. See first two photos.
Next photos, as I began to paint around the bottom two pictures, and the paper templates, completely painted around. It gave the contrast in color that I needed to highlight the pictures, so it wasn't too blah.
You can see the softly mottled background fabric, and the crisp shaded outline of each paper template.
The next part of the project was to print my images onto tissue paper for image transfer to the fabric. I used plain white tissue paper for stuffing gift bags, I ironed it on low, and taped it to a piece of paper from the computer printer. I used Adobe Photoshop to crop the images, and give them a little more contrast. Then I ran each sheet individually through the printer, they went pretty well with just a little extra ink at the top edge. I tore each image to fit into the painted template area, and spread mat medium with an index card, in a thin layer onto the fabric, placed the image and burnished it down with the edge of a clean piece of card. Then added more drops of mat medium, and spread it evenly over the image, being gentle not to tear the paper or smear too much ink. Some of the reddishness of the ink bled off, but did not disfigure the image. Some small wrinkles developed, but I left most of that in to give it an "Old" texture.
The images transfered beautifully, it looks like burnished leather on an old stucco wall. They have a slight satin finish, but it is smooth and flexible, and should be easy to stitch through. The game plan is to finish applying all the images, and then applique a sketchbook, ink jar, and feather pen on the bottom blank area. I will then thread paint/quilt, over the lines of the images, especially the self portrait, to try to highlight his lines and the sketchy quality of his work. I am very happy with my progress, it is coming out even better than I had hoped. I have never had a piece where the quilting did not add a wonderful quality to the finished piece, but I am worried about this one. I don't want to ruin the lines of his drawings, and I'm not sure how the texture will change the look of it. We can only wait and see. Stay tuned.

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