Painting: Laura and Amelie

My apologies that I've not been blogging very frequently. My health has been a pain and I've been in a bit of a gloomy place. I decided that no-one really wants to hear someone sounding miserable, so I'm only blogging when I've got something cheerful to say.

I realised that I'd never shown the piece of work that I partly made as a live painting demonstration at Festival of Quilts this summer. So here goes, I'll cover it in a series of posts over the next couple of days.

The back story...

Annabel Rainbow and I were hosting a Through Our Hands exhibition at Festival of Quilts. The theme was Portrait and along with work by nearly 30 international artists who show work with us at TOH, we wanted to have some sort of live element to the show. Annabel and I decided to paint a portrait during the four days of the exhibition, but seeing as it was a quilt show, we thought it would be fun to use a quilt as canvas. We both do this regularly in our work and it provides interesting potential and an equal amount of challenges.

Making a start...

Painting a piece of work in front of the public while stewarding a show, making sales and answering questions might have been a bit of a crazy idea. To get a head start we prepared our paintings at home first.

I used an MDF board cut to size as my painting panel. To this I glued an old quilt I'd made at least 10 years prior. It was a quilt that I'd quite liked at the time, but was doing nothing now, just languishing under the spare bed. 

I had an idea that I wanted a circular element to the composition so I sent Amelie to find a hula hoop from the garden to draw around!

I cut the circle section out and stuck the quilt to the board using acrylic gel medium.

Removing the circular section meant that the quilt formed a border area of texture, with a smooth central area where I could paint the portrait. I much prefer painting on a smooth surface and rarely even use canvas.

Of course a quilted surface, with lots of free machine quilting and hand seeding, provides a load of texture. I primed the board with gesso taking some of it onto the quilt. Just look at how the paint sits on the stitched surface. It's quite lovely isn't it?

So that was it. All good to go for the exhibition demonstration.
I'll show you how that shaped up next time.

Bye for now,


  1. I had been wondering about this quilt and really appreciate you sharing your process. I love the glimpses I saw from photos. I always love how paint changes a quilted surface. I am so sorry you still aren't 100%. I went through a rough patch a while ago and I think we all have experienced or know someone who is in the murky medical black hole. I'm crossing my fingers that you will soon be back to your happy, creative self soon. (I've always envied and admired those that can work through pain/illness with their art. I tend to want a chocolate bar and a pity party. LOL!) Take care of yourself and listen to your body. Hugs.

  2. I love how you bring life back to a quilt that is now as you say "languishing" somewhere. I have quite a few of those! Thanks for sharing your process as in doing so you provide so much inspiration for others. I'm looking forward to seeing how this project progresses. Please know that there is a small army of us all wishing you well and hoping that you will soon be fully recovered.

  3. I am so enjoying seeing what happens as many of us have UFO's hiding somewhere, thank you for your ideas and inspiration. The poppy head I sent you started in my sketchbook, painting against pain, and I agree, one feels good, getting through a storm, then what to do with it?
    Many of us are behind you, get well soon.


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