If you’ve been following along with me, you’ll have seen that Belle’s portrait finally came together. The next step is to find a good background for her, something that will really make her personality shine. I started by auditioning fabrics from my stash. Auditioning is simply placing the fabric on the vertical design wall and laying the portrait on it, then standing back to view it. It’s really important to audition on a vertical surface so you’re addressing the piece face-on and can absorb the full effect. What I was looking for is simple: do I get an ‘ah-hah’ feeling to tell me it’s the right one or does it feel flat or just wrong? Of course there are no rights or wrongs and you just have to follow what your head and your heart tell you is best. Here are a three worthy candidates I selected.
And here are my thoughts on each one:
- I really like the movement in the pinky orange batik with the grey maple leaves stamped all over it but I struggle with the fact that Belle’s face is bathed in light and nothing in this background supports that. Or does it? Perhaps it’s the warmth that seemed to oppose the coolness of the greys and blacks.
- The blue background worked well for my previous portrait, Jackeroo, but it’s a flop in this case. It simply feels flat and motionless and there’s no light emanating from it.
- The green batik has movement and depth because of the blue/green shading. The lighter areas almost look like sunlight shining through a dense leafy foliage. It also has a subtle leaf pattern on it and while it doesn’t look so great in this photo, it ended up being my favourite. Now it’s time to prepare it for quilting so I can stitch the portrait down.
For you quilters out there, what tricks or guidelines do you use to select fabrics that play well together? And how do you know when they’re playing together well?
Thanks for reading my blog. Next time, I’ll describe how I prepare the background and what I do with the portrait.