Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fall Farm Stand, Part I

I have started to paint the big gray pumpkin in the commission piece I am working on. It is coming along nicely. I am thinking about calling it Fall Farm Stand. Here is that section of the photo, so you can see what I am trying to achieve:

I will probably do a little more blending, and adjust some of the highlights and shadows, before I am finished painting. After that, I will do the rest when I thread sketch. I am planning to do each pumpkin separately, then applique them to the background. This is partly because I want to add some extra batting behind some of the pumpkins to make them come forward. And I want to add bumps to some of the pumpkins with pieces of melted Tyvek. This material is stiff, and I can’t bend a big quilt too much to get it under my home sewing machine to thread sketch. The finished piece will be about 24 x 36".

In case you were wondering, here is my workspace – my kitchen counter island (or peninsula, more properly). That's my microwave at the back, and my oven to the right.

I am showing this because I’ve discovered that a lot of people think I have a big fancy studio, with space for “wet work” like painting and dyeing. 


I do have a studio, which holds my fabric and sewing machine and a cutting table. It is my former guest room, and it is about 14 x 14 feet. And I feel very fortunate to have that space, but it is not big enough to handle a painting surface. So when I paint, it is most often on my kitchen counter, in the middle of the hub-bub of family life and meal preparations. My old laminate countertops in pale yellow (probably installed in the 1970s) hold up very well to acrylic paint, and can be cleaned with SoftScrub. 

I really hate my countertops, but since I can’t afford to replace them right now, and since the laminate works great for my process, they are probably here to stay for a while.


  1. Beautiful painting Susan! I like the idea of quilting first, then putting it all together. A blogging friend named Nina Paley does something similar and calls it Trapplique because it's a mix of trapunto and applique!

    I feel your pain on studio limitations. As I warn anyone that comes into my basement studio - it's functional, not pretty. I have plenty of space, but the low ceilings and ugly 1980's paneling will NEVER find their way into a pretty magazine of inspiring studios.

    Oh well, being in the middle of the kitchen just means your whole family gets to enjoy the process with you!



  2. It works!! I started out with a room for my sewing and doing the messy stuff in the kitchen or on the back porch or garage. I am blessed to have a large space now. I love seeing how you work.

  3. All in the middle of everything! We do what we have to do! I have even worse counter tops (also vintage 1970s but white and a countertop stove in the way!) Your painting is gorgeous!!!!

  4. I enjoy seeing your progress when you make a new piece. I have an old table in the basement for painting and woodwork, but need a cleaner area for fabric painting. My cutting table is a large dining table that I can clear and use to paint when I need to.


  5. Its inspiring to see what gorgeous art can come from a humble kitchen countertop surrounded by family and dinner preparations. Most of us dream of having a beautiful, spacious studio with floor to ceiling windows and a lovely view.....just goes to show that the studio doesn't make the artist!

  6. I really appreciate having you show us that your workspace is so much like what we have at home. My grandma always said "Where there's a will, there's a way!", and the fact that you create such marvelous pieces just proves that is true.

    This new piece is great so far, and I love seeing it progress. I'm trying to learn shadows right now, so watching you do this may help me. I'm also looking forward to seeing how the tyvek gets melted and added to the piece.

    Hey, if you ever replace that countertop, perhaps there's a way to make a portable "wet station" by putting a piece of it atop a rolling kitchen cart.

  7. I've thought about trying to build a surface that is portable and lightweight that is covered with laminate... It really works great for painting.

  8. I use my dining table to paint. It's good light and a big surface at least :)


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