It all started with this painting. This mysterious painting that captured my imagination throughout my childhood. She hung in my mother’s childhood home. Me and all of my cousins were both spooked and mesmerized by her haunting eyes. No matter where you are standing in a room, her eyes follow and are staring straight at you. Each on of us have such strong memories of her. She was purchased at an estate sale and no one knows her identity.
I hadn’t seen or thought about her in a while. Recently, I went to the Stanley Hotel which reminded me so much of my grandparent’s house. It is old and creaky with oriental rugs and and it got me thinking of the all the magical things about my grandparent’s house and particularly, this painting. I called my Mom to reminisce and she told me the painting was in her basement (WHAT???????????????). I had to unveil her to see if she looked like my vivid memories of her. Most prominent in my memories are her eyes but I did remember that she had her hair pulled back with curls dangling down and the palest pink ruffles around her bare shoulders. She was just like I remembered!
When my mother removed her from the wall she had been hanging on, the painting fell apart. It had been hanging on a wall that had been a fireplace and the heat damaged it but my mother had the painting restored to the one you see above. The entire left side of her cheek had to be replaced. I don’t remember the red curtain on the right. Both my sister and I ‘remember’ a necklace of some kind. We reasoned it would be strange for a pretty young girl to sit for a portrait and not wear her jewelry, right? It got me thinking I’d like to do a re-imagining of my own and re-do the portrait as an embroidery.
I photographed the painting, scanned it into my computer, sized it to fit in an 8 inch hoop, and printed it on an unbleached muslin fabric. The colors were way off but I used the real painting and a photo reference of the printed picture as a helpful guide. I always like to add some interfacing the the back of my fabric for a little extra stability.
If you would like to learn a little more about printing on fabric from your home computer, you can see my post HERE.
I began by adding some skin toned thread to her face. I used small straight stitches. Direction of the stitches adds dimension.
I started with some small straight stitches around the hairline in a vertical direction.
Once I sewed the entire portrait I attended to all the detailed highlights. I added some color to her skin. I had to go back multiple times to play with the shape of her eyes.
Thanks for stopping by!