Friday, 14 November 2014

There are many types of portrait

Back in the day, it was about getting a likeness down in paint or pastels etc.  The closer it looked to the sitter or the better the technique was all that mattered.  Making someone look good, perhaps being honest about what you saw, making religious illustrations for those who couldn't read were some of the reasons.

Today we have photographs for exact likenessess, and  although we still, of course, appreciate the skill involved in accurately portraying someone, and there's nothing to me as gorgeous as a clever bit of paintwork, we are free to play with the idea of a portrait. We can bring in different ways of painting, or extend the meaning behind a piece.

What I love most is juxtaposition.  In my quilt work, I enjoy making something which has many layers of meaning.  You look once and see one thing, but you can look again and again and see different things.  It's enormous fun to do and something I shall be exploring a bit more in the future.

I don't especially like the pre-raphaelites, but they have sparked off some thoughts about painting and quilting and how one can make a painting better by adding to it with stitch.  It's something I'll be thinking about over the coming months.

The two images you see here were painted by me a few years ago and they were the only ones I've ever done using oils, but I found them easier and more effective than acrylics, for tthis type of painting.  You can't really use oils on fabric because over time they will rot the fibres, but we now have a way around this, by painting first and printing onto fabric. Something I shall also explore.  The point to me of doing this would be to then add to the portrait, or indeed take away from it, adding layers of stitch etc to make the quilt more than the painting.

Quilting/textiles can be so much more than a painting!

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