Portrait Quilt

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on 30 Apr 2009 8:49 PM

I love to get feedback on my portrait quilt of my husband and his mother.  I'm currently working on my second portait quilt and looking for ways to improve.  Thank you for your time and thoughts.  Blessings,  Jennifer Morlock


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Posts 78
on 1 May 2009 5:19 AM

I wish I could see a larger image. It looks like there is lots of wonderful quilting and texture in it--especially the background. The framing is wonderful--I love how they are tilted into each other.The contrast between the people and the background is great because it allows you to have a wide range of intensities within the faces and bodies without losing them in the background.

You've used an immense amount of shading for all the skin tones and it looks great. Very photo-esque. Your work is really lovely Jennifer! Can't wait to see your next one.

From this perspective (not sure how large this piece is), your Mother looks a little washed out because of her dark eyes. Perhaps a little more intensity somewhere else around them would soften their effect? That is my only critique. They must be honored to be cherished enough to elicit a quilt!

Art. Just Do It.

Blog: ephemeralalchemy.blogspot.com

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janok wrote
on 1 May 2009 6:02 PM

Jennifer, thanks for sharing your beautiful portrait quilt. I also wish I could see a larger image.  The perspective you used is really nice...the way their heads are tilted towards each other really captures the feeling between them.  I also think you captured their expressions perfectly. 

The only thing I find slightly distracting to the eye is the patch of lighter tan colored fabric on the lower left side of the man's face (jaw).  It almost seems too much of a contrast to the darker fabric used in his face.  This could be just my impression.  It is just different enough that my eye follows the outline of that peice of fabric rather than of his face. 

Thanks again for sharing.  I really love the quilt so it is hard to critique it too much!  Nice work.

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Jody Johnson wrote
on 2 May 2009 8:35 AM

This is a beautiful quilt. I love the composition and your husband and his mother really stand out on the background you chose. I wish I could see the stiching you used. 

The only critique I would have is that I think your mother-in-law need a little more contrast in her face and some darkening around the eyes to balance with your husband a little better.

I was listening to a science podcast (I am a huge science geek) and they were talking about face recognition and why it is so easy to recognize people when just shown their eyes but a lot harder when shown other features such as mouths and noses. It is because the area surrounding the eyes tends to be darker than the rest of the face in humans and tends draws our attention first. It is almost as if there needs to be more visual weight to your mother-in-laws eyes to draw you in.

Can't wait to see the next one.



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TheNeedler wrote
on 2 May 2009 12:08 PM

This is a lovely tribute quilt.  It is immediately clear how dear each individual is to you.  My artist's eye immediately went to the light falling on both individuals at the same time.  Your husband's head and Mother-in-law's head are not showing the same lightsource, from the upper right.  You modeled her face very well with the exception for the area around the eyes.  She is wearing spectacles, and that is part of the problem.  It is difficult to sculpt two surfaces at the same time.  I would let the eye shape win.  The spectacles are basiclly clear so only need an edge distinction.  Remember, as a rounded surface falls  away from the lighttsource, it grows steadily darker until reflected light from a lower surface strikes it.  On your husband's face, when you get to the light colored fabric under his eye closest to his mother's head, you continued darkening the fleshtones just fine.  You could have gone a little darker on his lower left chin because his mother's hair is blocking the lightsource.  The opposite side, (Your husband's lower rt. chin side) is as bright as the top of his head.  This causes much imbalance,   The lower surface reflecting light is his striped shirt, which would reflect a slightly different color that that on his head, and also would model that part of his face more darkly.  I hope I did'nt confuse you too much, but light modeling is difficult to understand and accomplish sometimes.  Try a little exercise.  Take two pieces of the same fruit, set them on two different colored napkins or pieces of fabric side by side, then shine a light source from the upper rt. down on the fruit.  I think if you take a minute to look only at the colors, you will be able to see that the light actually models the shape of the fruit and the reflected light helps model the color and shape.  Good luck with your next project.  This is a wonderful attempt.....Sincerely Jim D 

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Linnet wrote
on 2 May 2009 8:34 PM

Your portrait quilt, depicting your husband and his mother, is a treasure and I think you received some very helpful critiques.  I also wish I could see it up close to see the work better, it is so intriguing.  I am curious if you have had training, took a class or read a book to learn this art?  Thank you for sharing it and I hope to see lots more of your work.  (I especially love the background and wonder if it is hand painted or pieced?  It is perfect and very beautiful.)  Thanks, Linnet.

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Maria Elkins wrote
on 3 May 2009 3:10 AM

Hi Jenna Louise. Nice to meet someone from my neck of the woods. I'm in Dayton.

You've made a very nice double portrait. I bet your husband is so proud of you!!! I'm like all the others - I want to see a closer or bigger view! I'm greedy and I love to examine quilts closely.

I paged through your blog until I found the entry about you taking Marilyn Bedford's class. She's wonderful at portraits! I bet that was a terrific class. It was nice to see that you posted the original photo that you were working from. I'd love to hear about the process you used to develop your pattern and assemble the quilt top.

Did you find it hard to just the right color fabrics to use? I always do. Seems like the fabrics are usually too pink or too yellow, but never just perfect. Your portraits lean more towards the pink range, which works well except that your background is also warm reds.  I wonder if that makes the faces seem even redder?

There are a few areas that I might quibble with you about (lighter here, darker there), but I think you're on the right track. And, the more portraits you do, the better you'll get! Keep up the good work :)

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Posts 41
on 3 May 2009 11:42 AM

Thank you everyone so very much for the wonderful advise on my first portrait quilt.  I'm working on my second...a little nervous but having fun.  You can see a larger view on my blog posting last August... I learned this technique from Marilyn Bedford class.  The background is fabric I found at a local quilt shop, and I collect fabric after fabric to get the right tones.  It is a difficult task to say the least, but I have learned to look at fabrics and portraits in a different aspect.  Thank you again everyone, I have learned so much.  Jennifer Morlock


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Rhoda@3 wrote
on 4 May 2009 10:04 AM

This is a beautiful portrait. I too would like to see it larger, checked your blog but couldn't find it.

The coloring on the faces is great.


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MellyT wrote
on 10 May 2009 4:33 PM

I too wish I could see it larger. You seemed to have captured a great emotional tone and I think you should be quite proud of your work.

Author: Inspired to Quilt
Melanie Testa<--my art
Go play in your studio!!!

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Rhoda@3 wrote
on 10 May 2009 6:35 PM

Thanks for you comments. I am proud of it :)

It is the second post on my blog http://artbyrhodaforbes.blogspot.com/

you can click on the picture to see it larger.


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Posts 227
caren12 wrote
on 16 Jun 2009 12:19 PM

I love it!!!  I have a picture of each of my girls and want to do a portrait of them....but I'm not there yet!  I would like to see more detail.  The variation of colors on the faces is great, especially the eyes.  I like the darker background esp. against the mothers hair.  It's beautiful!!


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Posts 38
mary j3 wrote
on 17 Jun 2009 2:21 PM

Jennalouise - home done photos aren't true with the colors - my avatar looks whitish on one side - but it isn't . Knowing that your portrait snapshot is probably also done at home, I am betting the colors are just perfectly OK...right?.  Did you use plain colors or small prints?  I found a spot on the Internet where the quilt artist used small prints and ginghams in her portraits- from 10 feet away they blend in and can't even be recognized.  I want to try some mono-colored protraits - what do you think? an all green face? different tiny prints?   I think your work is great.

mary j 

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Posts 53
Maria Elkins wrote
on 17 Jun 2009 7:14 PM

One of my favorite portraits is a green face. Go to this webpage (http://www.mariaelkins.com/JournalQuilts2003.asp) and scroll down to QuiltPage 9.

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on 18 Jun 2009 5:26 AM

Thank you for sharing your beautiful quilt with us.! You have captured the feelings of love these two have for each other, and also the love you have for them to have you bestow than with this work of art. Congratulations on a job well done!    I wish I could see the quilting more. What are the measurements on this piece?

I have read the critiques before this post and have to agree with them about the face shadings as ways you can improve for your next portrait quilt, which I am looking forward to seeing.


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