Friday, February 27, 2015

Holi Joe

Thanks Diane Wright for the "Play Time" challenge! What a nice way to wrap up our Viewpoints 9 cycle. My inspiration for this challenge is the colorful Indian festival of Holi, which is coming up on March 6th.

Photo Feb 26, 1 39 32 PM

I have been "working on" a portrait of my Dad for over a decade. I have many times started and stopped and put various sketches on the back burner.  My previous attempts at a portrait revolved around this one black and white photo that was used on my Dad's funeral mass book (ask your Catholic friends what that is).
As I considered the Holi festival, I thought about playing, laughing and repairing relationships. So in in that spirit, I decided to "repair the relationship" between my memories of my Dad during his life and the associations I had with this one black and white photo. I lifted the pressure off myself to create a serious portrait and just had fun with it. This one uses every color EXCEPT black and white.
I loved the freedom I felt in creating this piece. Every time I added a new tie dyed piece of fabric to this portrait, the results were surprising and it made me smile. It still does. I look at my dad's face and it makes me happy. And it seems like a truer version of "Joe" as I remember him.
Photo Feb 26, 1 39 39 PM
Technical details:
Finished size 18"x20"
Tie-dyed cotton fabrics, cut and layered then quilted using hand-guided machine stitching


  1. It sounds like some peace was found through the process of making this lovely piece. Your portraits are AMAZING!

  2. Thank you Jeanne! You're right, I found a way to disassociate my happy memories of my Dad from the unhappy memories the black & white photo conjured. AND I finally made peace with this portrait, which had been "haunting" my studio for years. The first few cuts of fabric were a big step for me, just getting the courage to put some shapes together without worrying about it being perfect. The more colors I added, the more fun it became. :-)

  3. This is wonderful, Kate. It sounds like it was a liberating project. I think I remember the black and white in your studio, but this is so much more vivid - - alive. Must have been a colorful guy. (sorry, had to say that…)

  4. Amazing colours! And love the different associations, to your Dad, the black and white photo, and Holi….

  5. Your wild selection of colors shouldn't have worked on a portrait, but it DID! And his face really comes alive. Inspiring!

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks Diane! You've seen how many times I've attempted this portrait. I'm happy to have it done and thanks to your challenge, I got to play and have fun with it. :-)