Friday, August 20, 2010

Caribbean Sketch

I'm back from a wonderful vacation and getting back into the swing of things here at home, but as you can see, I still have that mystical Caribbean undersea world on my mind! As I mentioned in my last post, I brought along a little art kit with me and started this piece while we were away. I had already painted the background with some watercolor paints before I left, but touched it up with neocolor crayons in that lovely turquoise on a quiet morning last week. I then added the corals, sea fan, and fish which I cut out of some pre-fused fabric scraps I brought along. When I got home I added the hand and machine stitching and the beads for the eyes.
My original plan for this piece was to include it in my sketchbook project because it is my fabric version of a sketch, meaning it was quick and stitched, but not quilted (no layers). I think I want to remove the original paper in the book, and stitch in several pieces about this size (maybe I could complete ten or fifteen by January). Each piece would have to be folded down the middle to fit into the book, and when people pick it up to read it they would have to unfold each page to see it in full.
But now I'm liking this so much, I think it could actually be framed as is! Do I want to send it off where it will be folded and unfolded by many (potentially dirty) hands? I'm not sure... For a long time, I've admired the work of a children's book illustrator named Clare Beaton who works mostly with felt, but also with other fabrics. She cleverly simplifys a scene and recreates it with her chosen materials, adding stitching, beads, and lace in all the right places. She has illustrated several books this way, and I'm always impressed, not just with her work, but with the fact that each book contains upwards of 15 of these lovely, cleverly simple illustrations. How does she do it so quickly? With the piece above, I feel like I'm on the right track for creating something simple and quick, that contains enough texture and variety to make it visually interesting. Now I want to do more!

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