I decided to try another Inktense experiment. I had this awesome photo of a Rooster which I took a few years ago at the Austin Zoo (a rescue zoo!). I thought he might make for an interesting piece of art… that is IF I could pull it off. I mean, seriously, using faint ink pencils on the fabric which you wet with water (or fabric medium) to ‘activate’…what could go wrong??? Well, the inks could activate their little hearts out and bleed outside the lines and ruin everything. That’s all! No biggie. Nothing scary to see here, move along. Right. Lots of anxiety, but all I had to lose was a couple hours of work (and we won’t even discuss the hit my ego would take if I screwed this up, because for some reason when I am confronted with a blank piece of paper, canvas, or fabric and have expectations for myself, it always causes anxiety. In fact, I drew this thing then procrastinated for two months before I painted with the pencils!! Is that not crazy? Don’t answer that. If not crazy then it’s something silly I’ve been struggling with for as long as I can remember. Oh well. Somehow I always get past it and manage to turn out something… eventually! Oh wait, I said “we won’t even discuss ” all this. Never mind!)

So, using the 8×10″ photo I did a sketch on tracing paper a bit larger, then using my lightbox I traced my drawing to my fabric using a mechanical pencil. I wasn’t worried about the marks showing up since everything I’d paint would be dark anyway, plus quilted over.


Two months later, MARCH 2017, here I was again. ha. Finally. Got started on the painting using several different pencils, activating very carefully with water and a small brush. I’m here to tell you, it is easy to hold your breath and paint at the same time, even while biting your lip, too! Scary, but so far it was looking pretty good. Whew!


And here’s the guy almost finished with the painting.


About to start quilting. OMG, another nail-biting moment. Here’s where I can really ruin this thing in a hurry, like 11 stitches per inch super fast. You will notice he now has a pupil in his eye! I used a permanent fabric marker in black and drew it in there. Was too tiny to quilt it in there. I even deepened some of the shadows with a few strokes of the fine point marker, too. (Not a Sharpie, this was one of those fancy, expensive pens that come in sizes like .001 and .03, etc.) I am about to outline him with black thread. Here goes…


Boy was that scary, but no guts no glory! I am so glad I have had enough practice with free motion, hand guiding, following lines and stuff or I’d have been all over the place with this and crying all over it (talk about water activating it, wow). Instead, I managed to do a decent enough job. This is what one layer of Hobbs wool batting on top of one layer of Hobbs cotton batting looks like.


Here’s the back view, in case you were wondering!



Detail view of the feathers.



Detail view of the comb, face, and wattle (I think that’s what you call it; too lazy, er busy, to google it, but you can). For this, I wanted texture but not have the thread show up. I used 100wt Wonderfil thread in a red and did tiny circles all over. The thread is so fine I’m always afraid it will break at any moment, so you see, every step of this project was intense! (Which is probably why the inks, Inktense, is a play on words for intense! My expert opinion there.)


And here is where I took a photo of the quilted art and took it into photoshop, removed the background and drew a proposed background sketch using my graphics tablet and pen (I don’t use a mouse anymore. A mouse is so counter-intuitive, think about it.)


Once I was satisfied with what I thought I’d do for the background I just went for it. This is quilted with one layer of Hobbs Wool over one layer of Hobbs cotton batting. I did not spray baste this, so I pinned it. I use flathead pins and foam earplugs over the pointy tips of the needs because I do not like getting stabbed. See, more scary stuff involved in this project! Who knew?!


And here it is almost finished. I’m liking the background. This is a step up from my second best opinion of “I don’t hate it.” So this is a huge improvement for me, a reforming perfectionist!


And here is the end result of this scary, anxiety-ridden project where I risked bleeding inks, ego damage, and being stabbed by giant pins. It was worth it! (I can only say that now that I survived.) The finished size is 9×12″. I mounted it on canvas so it can hang on a wall, Which wall, I have no idea yet. (Soon, we’ll discuss my dilemma of how you can create more stuff than you will have room to store!)  I hope this inspires you to push through your fears and attempt whatever you think is impossible because you never know till you try, and egos are rubbery little things, much tougher than we think.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

© Beverly Guhl 2018