Leveling Up

up close sailorA few weeks ago I was once again scanning through various Calls For Artists  in an attempt to see where some of my works could be placed.  I came across a show called “Au Naturel: The Nude in the 21st Century” and something just clicked for me.  I loved the challenge of conveying the nude form and thought this would be a wonderful way to fully embrace the artist in me.  I set about finding “public domain” images that I could recreate.  It was a bit tricky making sure I stayed in the nude, and not the lewd, genre.  Eventually I found a naked sailor and thought he’d be perfect on the deck of ship with a fleet in the background.  So that’s what I did.

Initially I hid the work when kids came in the room.  They are older, but I still felt a bit uncomfortable. Then one day Elizabeth and I were watching an episode of Poirot that took place in an artist’s studio.  She asked me if I thought it was “inappropriate” (I love her choice of words) to have naked pictures of ladies on the walls like that.  I explained how important it was for an artist to understand the human form.  I reminded her how on “FaceOff” (another favorite show) artists were always singled out if they got the basics of form wrong.  I then explained the difference between “nude” and ” lewd”.  She understood, which made me reconsider my initial hesitance.

Upon completion I showVictorian Nude copyed my oldest the sailor (christened “On Ship”, it measures 36″X45″) and he asked the same questions the 10 year old did.  When I explained the reasoning behind the nude, he said “So – you’re leveling up.”  Apparently that’s a gaming term for when you get so good at a certain level, you have to take on a higher challenge.  So yes, I am leveling up.

Now you may have noticed that I have two nudes on this blog.  Here’s why….On completion of the sailor I logged on to the website to submit it and found that the deadline had been extended.  I was initially a bit put out;  that week I had tests in both my classes and had struggled to finish him on time while not neglecting my other work.  Then I realized the extra few days would give me time to submit another one (up to three images for the submission price of one).  So that’s what I did.

For this piece I chose a Victorian Era lady.  The original was in sepia tones, but I liked the challenge of adding color to her couch and blankets. This final piece was much smaller than my sailor and was easier to finish in that shortened period of time (it measures 20″x15″)

Since I am post my blog on social media outlets, I have taken the time to cover up the private bits on each piece.  My final works are not offensive, but I wouldn’t want anyone to stumble across them and be surprised. 🙂


I have always loved the process of transforming pieces of fabric into quilts. For years I collected scraps, just to be sure I'd have the right piece for the project at hand. Eventually, as my skills progressed, my hobby grew into art. I moved from simple quits, to 'landscape quilting' and then eventually onto portrait work. I am new to the art field and am self-taught, learning from my mistakes as well as from my successes. I create my images using only fabric and thread. I remain true to this limitation for two reasons; first, I love the challenge of finding new ways to depict ever more challenging subjects. Second, fabric work remains my true love. I enjoy the hunt for fabrics; where other artists might blend oil paints, I love finding that perfect shade or pattern for a specific need. I refer to my style as "gestalt impressionism" for one needs to take a step back from my pieces to get the whole picture. My view point changes by what is influencing me at the time. Recently I've begun to focus on the journey of the individual. I enjoy working on portraits of people whom I feel have lead interesting lives.

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Posted in Art Quilts
4 comments on “Leveling Up
  1. Mom says:

    Mary, I remember when you couldn’t do a person in your art. You’ve come a long way baby! Love Mom

  2. […] here’s the other good news… Both of my pieces were accepted at the Au Natural show in Oregon.  They had over 800 entries, chose 61 pieces and 2 […]

  3. Colette says:

    Congratulations Mary…………. Incredible news and I’m so happy for you… Your work is amazing………….

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