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September 2016

How my Blouse Inspired a Painting

There's a first time for everything, and this first-time project was fun. 


Here's my blouse and this is how this project got started: I wore this to go visit my sister-in-law at her new home in Fircrest, WA. She loved my blouse, and said so! The reason for our visit was to help select light fixtures for her new place. While we were all pondering the possibilities, she offhandedly said that for one big white wall in her kitchen she thought she would buy a large, bright fabric panel. Remember Marimekko panels that we baby boomers bought for our rental apartments, back when? (Think bold colors and Scandinavian design). I tucked this wish of hers away in my mind. From her house we went to the lighting fixture store where my sister-in-law was drawn to the blown glass pendant lights that were mixed primary colors, just like in my blouse. I took that image away with me that day, too.


Then, the following week I was thinking about my sweet sister-in-law, the blouse, the Marimekko idea, and the glass fixture she loved. That's when the idea popped into my head: make a painting on canvas with acrylic that would perk up that wall, the kitchen, and serve as something to enhance that pendant shade should she decide to buy it. Voilà! A great idea! I texted her to see if she liked the it, too. YES. So, I bought a 30" x 30" canvas the next day. Mind you, I'm no real painter in acrylic, but I have some big tubes of acrylic sitting around needing to be used. I got right to it. Above is my scale drawing based on the flowers in my blouse. The color guide is pencilled to the right. 


Originally I was going to enlarge the design via a proportional grid process. I soon bagged the grid approach of enlarging because it was taking a tediously long time. The "work smarter not harder" motto kicked in. Time to enlarge my sketch with my trusty old copy machine onto tracing paper. I traced over these with graphite transfer paper. I was then ready to mix paint colors to match the blouse colors.


Here's my first pass with ultramarine blue applied to the background. The white was then added. It was paint-by-number time. 


Then came the yellow, then the red.


I proceeded to mixing and painting each color systematically. The day we were to deliver the painting, I worked nonstop. After getting all the painting done I turned a wall heater on and parked the canvas nearby to dry before it was put in the back seat for the ride to Fircrest. Gotta love acrylic paint. A photo finish. Here is a rather blurry, partial picture of the painting hastily taken from the front seat where I was sitting!

And here is the, well, unoriginal original in its intended place. It's looking pretty good as blouse-inspired paintings go! My sis-in-law is happy.