Monday, June 17, 2013

Plein Air Painting Indoors with Fabric: a journal quilt

    If summer officially begins June 21 and ends September 22, it is time to prepare the portable paints for some plein air painting. I have made pochade boxes so I can walk out the front door to paint...but now with all the rain, I made a landscape in fabric. I sewed my landscape indoors.

    While studying Gustav Klimt's portraits and landscapes I thought I would create one in fabric. I have lots of birch fabrics and love Maine and NH. If you want to look at Klimt's landscapes, Google Klimt landscapes and click on Images. Scroll down to view his Birch Forest.

Click on photo to see supplies.

    I have plenty of birches in my novelty fabric stash! I cut a 12" x 12" square of sky or water and sprayed some 505 (a temporary spray glue) red and orange "leaves" to the bottom three fourths of the square. Next, I cut out strip after strip of birch trees. A little late in the game I cut skinny strips of fusible webbing (Wonder Under) and ironed the trees loosely down. I must look into Steam A Seam which is not permanent but holds until ironed. (see Susan's Comments below)

   Next, I got out my Jacquard fabric paints which leave the fabric soft, not stiff as you would get with straight acrylics. I thinned the blue paint with water and dragged a glaze over all the birch trees, leaving the paint thicker to darken the tree bases as one must do to ground them. I painted more orange and red leaves on the field.

   I got out Angelina fibers and a Teflon pressing sheet to hint at branches in the sky and darken the field at the bottom. I spread it thin. Then to the sewing machine to wildly quilt my block to 12" x 12" batting with invisible thread, up the sides of the trees. I found a blue painter's cloth print to back the piece and pull over the sides to bind the edges with blue since the sky was a bit shallow.
      This accidental journal quilt will remind me of my Klimt quest, the taking up of painting again to do the grandchildren's portraits, and some important lessons I learned this week.


  1. This is a beautiful quilt! I am impressed with how many different products and techniques you have used in this little piece. I've long wanted myself to try using Angelina in my quilts, and I think I need to add to my paint stash with some of those Jacquard fabric paints! Certainly the straight acrylics I've used recently make fabric quit stiff and interferes with their soft hand. I learn so much from you, dear friend!

  2. Susan wrote that what I want to look into is Steam a Seam 2, which is sticky on both sides. It comes in regular and lightweight -- She likes to use both, depending on how substantial the fabric is. But even the lightweight is a good bit heavier than Mistyfuse. Some jobs will look right only with Mistyfuse.
    I used Wonder Under.

  3. Hi Linda,
    I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)

  4. I love your Klimt trees. They are perfect. Is the photo one of Klimt's paintings or a photo? In any case your trees are better. I love Klimt...went through my Klimt period a few years ago. Rita

  5. Linda, I think the Klimt trees piece is gorgeous! What rich and luscious colors. A

  6. Absolutely beautiful. Thanks for teaching us all what an artist's mind is like -- and what an artist can accomplish . ss

  7. Linda, This is gorgeous! It's telepathic, as I just selected the theme for our next quilt project, when I saw some fabrics depicting the 4 seasons at Fabric Corner today. I look forward to showing them to you. Love, Katie

  8. This is special, Linda. I don't know how you get all these ideas like pressing sheets and Angelina fibers. I love the birches and perceptive of the woods. Must check out the Klimt landscapes.