Tag Archives: art

What’s in a Face? An Introduction to my Journey Through The Aggravation of Creating Portraits

Everyone’s doing it – painting, drawing, embroidering portraits. Cute little stylized faces, hyper realistic portraits, something in between. What is so fascinating about faces? And faces can take a really long time, what makes someone want to spend all that time with a stranger’s face? And, when you try to draw someone you know or love, likeness becomes really important – and oh! the disappointment when you totally f- them up! Why put yourself through that anxiety?

I’ve tried many styles of portraiture – mostly as a bandwagon thing – but I also find it a challenge, like a really complex puzzle – putting it together can be very frustrating, but when you get it right, and the puzzle is done – it’s really really satisfying. Of course, when there’s a piece missing, and it’s a total fail, that’s not so satisfying, and that’s the case more often, for me anyway, with my portraits. But, I plug away, stubbornly.

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New Tool in the ol’ Tool Box – Procreate!

Recently, Joe and I switched our Internet/Phone provider from AT&T to Verizon. Not only do we have true 5G service on the phones, better phone service in general, and a smaller monthly bill, Verizon gave us rebate/gift cards for the iPhones we already owned (3), which added up to enough for a new iPad Air 4. Joe arranged the whole transfer, and the phone bill is one of his bills, so I thought he was going to keep the iPad for himself, which I was all for, by the way. I was perfectly satisfied with my old iPad Air 2. But, when the new iPad Air arrived, Joe decided to gift it to me, and he took my old iPad, because he uses his Surface Pro for everything I use an iPad for. I was surprised, and so happy – because now I could invest in an Apple Pencil, and go down that digital dark hole called Procreate.

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More Vintage Photo Fabric Creations

After posting about my last failed attempt at altering a fabric vintage photo, of course, I stewed about how to fix it, how to start again, what to do differently – that’s what I do sometimes when I’m staring at my computer at work.  Some people day dream about exotic vacations, or what they’re reading, or what to make for dinner, or what to wear tomorrow, I fixate on how to fix my projects, or starting a new project, or what kind of a mess am I going to make this weekend.  I may have resting bitch face, but underneath, I’m all about paints, and stitches, and pretty things.

So, here’s how I tried to pretty my failure up:

Again, here’s the big fail:

Time to start over!

Back to the original.  What first attracted me to this photo is the window, and the cuffs on her clothes.  I envisioned hanging flower baskets and french knots on the cuffs.  Why I strayed from my original idea I don’t know, but above is what you get when you don’t trust your instincts.

So, the french knots on the cuffs:

And, kind of weird sort of turkey work on the belt –

And, finally, the daydreamed about plants in the window:

And here she is, in a broken Ikea frame (have to do something about that!) –

 

I’m so much happier with how she turned out.  If I were to do it over again, I probably wouldn’t curve the stitching on the bottom of her dress – I was going for a look that suggested movement, but instead she just looks bloated, and strangely shaped.  Instead of using a bright paint in the windows, I used a subtle, chalk pastel.  The pink chalk pastel on her dress completely rubbed off, but that’s ok.  I thought out doing some bullion stitches on the back of the chair, to add some texture, but I decided that would be too much.  So, I’m basically good with it.  I love how the plants turned out, and I was right about the french knots.  Inspired, I whipped up another one:

Some embroidered silk roses, and a few fabric embellishments, and voila!

On Instagram, someone asked me why the hat?  And I think the better question is really why the wings?  Whenever you download collage sheets, or look at others’ vintage photo alterations, typical embellishments are wings, hats, stripes on socks, lollipops, balloons, etc.  I added the wings, because well, everyone adds wings.  Not such a good reason.  I added the hat, however, because after I embroidered the silk flowers, she really looked like she was wearing one of those oldtime plastic flowered bathing caps.  It wasn’t a good look for her.  The hat changed that look, and also, kind of goes with the rebel theme – that the rebel would wear a crooked hat.  Anyway, in the future, I’m going to try to tell my own story with my altered photos, instead of copying trends, like wings and such.  Of course the hat is from a collage sheet download, and a staple of vintage photo alts, but to me, it works with this photo more than the wings, which really don’t say much at all to me, other than to give it some whimsy.  So, that’s my thought process.

And the polka dots, by the way – to cover up some sloppy slops on the white border – oopsy!