My daughter, Katy, is a breast cancer survivor. As her primary caretaker during her surgeries and some of her chemo, I had a difficult time dealing with the guilt and anger a mother has when there is nothing she can do to “right the wrong,” believing that it should be the mother dealing with cancer, not the 36-year-old daughter. While sifting through hundreds and hundreds of pictures as I work through these exercises, one haunting image just wouldn’t leave me alone… So I have been working on this composition for the past week, and through it I think I’m releasing some bottled up emotions while learning about Contrast and Relationship.
As I watched Jane’s videos, I remembered that I had a perfect piece of cloth that I painted many years ago. It’s a scrunched watercolor done in gray – that was my launching pad. The next technique was taking the image of Katy in the chemo lounge and creating a “sketch” effect in Photoshop. I also found an image of the gloved hands pumping Cytoxan, the “Red Devil” that causes hair to fall out. I printed out the pics on photo paper, then transferred the images to clear contac paper, burnished them and then soaked them in water, removed the paper, and created a rather transparent image. I carefully fused those two images with misty fuse and zig-zagged the edges. Then I started studying the composition. I decided to use some wool felt and machine quilt the obvious pattern in the fabric, and then added red beads to simulate the drugs coming out of the background going through the syringe and then into the dispenser that goes to the port (which is also red) located on the far left side of Katy. The composition was not well balanced, so I added a red border, but felt that it still needed something more. The label was the final element. I used a scrap of the gray fabric and stamped “Red Devil” onto it, quilted it and attached it, again following one of the lines in the fabric. The picture is all about Katy’s eyes / her expression… What more could these drugs do to her?
Since this is my first true “art” quilt, I hope that it demonstrates these elements:
Contrast – Value and Texture (implied with the dimensionality of the painted fabric plus the beads, the pictures, the quilting, and the label).
Relationship – Color/Gray contrasting with the bright red; Value / the scrunching and sun fading gives the background fabric a sense of depth.
Thematic Relationship – I think the elements come together to tell a story.