Monday, August 20, 2012

A cat portrait

“Friso” (2012) by Susan Brubaker Knapp

“Friso,” a portrait  of my friend Lya’s cat, is done! This is a 10-3/4" x 13-1/4" wholecloth painted piece that is heavily thread sketched. You can read about the painting process in this blog post and this one. The thread really gives him texture and you can almost feel the fur looking at it.

“Friso” detail (2012) by Susan Brubaker Knapp
When I was thread sketching him, the piece started to go a bit wonky on me, because I was doing so much heavy thread work on the fur. When I teach, I often get questions about how much wonkyness to expect. With my technique, I don't put my work in a hoop. I rely on a fairly stiff but lightweight interfacing underneath the painted surface to keep it from drawing up and puckering. Even then, I still get some wave in the piece. Usually when I distribute the threadwork evenly over the surface, it helps reduce this. I thought I’d show you how much this piece was waving early on in the process:

Of course, my cat Wicked had to  take a closer look. With her black and white markings, she looks a lot like Friso, but has half a mustache and half a goatee.

“Friso” is already on its way to Lya in the Netherlands.


  1. Hi Susan...the piece looks great (and Wicked is pretty darn nice too...). Did the residual wonkyness get ironed out or was there enough background quilting flatten the piece?


  2. Thanks, Debbie! The wonkyness decreased after all the thread sketching was done, but some of it just got quilted out.