Family Tree

Title: The Family Tree
Canvas: 20“x 20”
Media: Oil on Canvas, Palette Knife/Brush
Price: NFS
Date Completed: 12/19/2016

A labor of love? A labor for love?  This painting was a lot of work! My mother (Jackie Watkins) is an art quilter and I had been thinking about doing a painting of one of her quilts. She is known for her creativity in quilts featuring trees so it made sense to paint my favorite of those.  I had no experience with palette knife except for one 3 hour class and whatever I soaked in from watching Bob Ross.

The quilt took my mom three days and took me approximately four months.  I believe most of my time was spent mixing paint. My teacher, Gail Pean, constantly encouraged me to stray from strict adherence to the original quilt. I was working off of a picture of the quilt and I felt like each week the colors looked slightly different (Gail also encouraged me to print the darn thing out. I didn’t).  When my mom brought the original quilt to Virginia over Christmas I felt like I was looking at a pattern I knew by heart in a color scheme I had never seen before.

Maintaining the proportions was the other struggle. I used an open source image manipulation program (GIMP) to display the picture with a grid of about 1″ squares. I then blocked off the same grid on the canvas. I’d spend hours during the week sketching the quilt blocks and then painted them at class on the weekends and then also at night as my Christmas deadline approached.

I was in love with this painting when I first sketched the tree on the canvas. I fell out of love with it when I felt that the difficulty greatly exceeded my skills and experience. I fell back in love with it anytime I thought about finally being able to give it to my mom and I love the end result. I also love how my mom has them displayed in her home.

I learned so much with this painting. Indian Red and Pinkish Reds are my least favorite colors to mix. Blues and teals are harder to mix but more fun (all the shades are cool instead of just the end result).  There is much more variation in yellows than I previously realized.  Buy palette knifes that are a little bendy.  Don’t try to make small squares with a palette knife for four months.  Quilts have many repeating fabrics. I should have painted each fabric at once instead of square by connecting square.

The side by side picture has awesome detail if you want to zoom and see amateur palette knife painting at it’s finest 😉