"Water Glass"

"Water Glass", 11" x 20", 2020

"Water Glass", 11" x 20", painted wholecloth, 2020

"Water Glass"

March 30, 2020

While waiting in a restaurant for the food to arrive, doesn't everyone take a picture of their almost empty water glass?!

That image was just waiting for the right project to come along.

A workshop dealing with painting on fabric was the winner. (Mainly, I wanted to meet the instructor, but I digress.)  

I have painted with acrylics, watercolors, done coloring on fabric, all kinds of painty things. Generally they are not realistic because I don't have the patience for all the layering necessary to attain depth and mystery. (I have much more interest, control and patience layering with colored pencils.)

The challenge of doing a realistic painting catching all the reflections and highlights of the glass and water meant really studying the reference photo and drawing/painting what I saw.    Note: an 8" x 10" glossy actual photograph shows much more detail than an 11" x 14" printer copy.

Untitled photo

The process:

(picture to the left)   Use the copy machine to enlarge the image to the desired size, tape the multiple pieces of paper together, then trace the outline onto tracing paper.

Trace the line drawing of the enlarged image onto the smooth white fabric and securely tape all the edges to a piece of foam board. Now it's ready to begin painting.

(picture to the right) Here's my setup. One of the tricks I learned from my decorative painting days was to use tape to mark off checkerboards.

Untitled photo

Below you can see the stages of painting and quilting. I always had the 8x10 glossy reference photo nearby.

"Water Glass" in process

It may sound bad, but I was quite pleased with the painting; it's probably the best painting I've ever done. I didn't want to risk ruining it by converting it into an art quilt.

However, it was meant to be an art quilt and to be part of the "Abstract, Traditional and all In-between" show.

After having it hang in my studio several months, I finally figured out how I wanted to quilt it and how to construct the second layer of batting under the front face of the glass and up the straw. Remember, this is now fabric covered with an acrylic paint.  Once a needle pokes a hole in it, there is a hole that isn't going to go away - so no second chances.

I used a piece of clear plastic to figure out stitching order - what stitching went on the top layer (to hold the second layer of batting) and what the quilting pattern for the rest of it would be. The plastic shows the first stitching drawn with solid lines, second stitching was dotted lines.

Once the machine quilting was finished, I was dismayed to discover the painting I was so pleased with had a divided focus. That meant more painting was needed. I thought I had finished the painting five months earlier!   

Fortunately, the paint was still viable. (Doesn't everyone keep a covered tray in a plastic bag in the fridge for several months? My husband doesn't even ask anymore - once he accepted it really wasn't takeout leftovers.)

More painting. Still the focus left the glass. Yet more painting. Even more painting because the far edge of the tablecloth was catching my eye. Growl. Ultimately it was worth it. Do it right.

The artist statement on the home page declares "I want my work to always be the very best I can make it." That means there really are no shortcuts and no quitting early.

Untitled photo

Once last photo:

The morning sun cast some interesting shadows that makes this almost more photograph than picture.

I just really liked this and had to share it with you.

While I am quite proud of the work I did with "Water Glass", I prefer stitching first then coloring with water soluble crayons and watercolor pencils. I'll save painting for floorcloths or stretched canvases - both of which are...painted fabric!

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