Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Julia Cairns

Julia Cairns is one of my favorite artists. Here's a link to Julia's website. Julia Cairns is a watercolor artist who specializes in paintings with African imagery. In 2004 I saw a calendar of her paintings and fell in love with her work. I contacted her and received permission to use her designs in my art quilts.
That year I made an art quilt that I called "Bequia," from the February 2004 calendar illustration. Three different fabrics from old thrift shop clothing were used for the background of the art quilt. For the dress, I folded the skirt fabric into pleats, which enabled me to run a border along the bottom of the dress. The rooster was great fun to make! I do enjoy naming things. My "island girl" is Anya and the rooster is named Red.

Another one of my art quilts was inspired by a painting by Julia called "Waiting for the Bus." During a recent visit to Julia's website, I discovered a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle of this painting. My husband and I lived on a sailboat for many years, and during our time in the Caribbean, I often stood on corners with the island women, waiting for the bus.... The painting certainly brought back a lot of memories!
For this art quilt, I painted the background foliage using Fabric Brush Markers. The flowers in the upper left corner were from the "dress fabric" worn by the woman on the right. They each have an earring, and the middle figure has a beaded necklace. From left to right, I've named them Dora, Evangeline (with her son Evan) and Frances.

I felt that Julia had been very generous in giving me permission to use her images. I made a small art quilt from her painting "Butterfly Boy" and sent it to her as a thank-you gift.

Julia Cairns images are also used on fabric from Cranston. I had been walking past the fabric section in Wal Mart one day when Julia's images, which are so unique, caught my eye. I bought some of the fabric and used some small figures and a dog in my art quilt called Parrot Bay.

"Waiting for the Bus" and "Bequia" now hang in one corner of my studio.

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