Henri Cartier-Bresson….an inspiration

One cold, dreary, winter day in Detroit, MI my husband and I found ourselves looking for something to do. What else is there to do on a day like this but go to the museum. The Detroit Institute of Art Museum is a can’t miss! It was, however, the year that it was rumored that the city would have to sell some pieces in order to pay the huge bills that the city had accumulated (thanks Quami).

So, with that in mind, we wanted to go to the museum; in case it was our last chance. It truly is an amazing place with great artists’ work exhibited throughout the whole museum. We spent six hours touring the displays, and you still can go and enjoy it too because the museum didn’t end up having to sell a single piece.

While in the photography exhibit I came across a photo of a little boy carrying two huge bottles of wine. His face was full of pride and the little girl in the background is looking at the boy with either joy or amusement. This picture by Henri Cartier-Bresson simply makes me feel happy. There isn’t a print available for purchase so I took a picture of it with my iPhone with the plan to replicate it with quilting.

I took my iPhone picture to Fedex-Kinkos to have the picture blown up to a huge 64×54 inch photocopy. It was printed on architecture paper and cost $11.00. I traced the face onto freezer paper using a light box. I then numbered the different sections based on light value, 1-9. I have my fabric already purchased and I also pre-numbered them according to light value. 1, being very dark to 9, being very light.

Next, I cut out the pieces and started to glue them down onto muslin. The eyes were very hard for me to complete. At first I thought I would just paint them, but, I decided to fussy cut the fabric to make the eyes as perfect as I could get them.

I continued my work to his body and then to the bottles of wine. Once completed, I then had to decide on the background. I wanted to give an impression of a building with a blue sky background. I also decided that the orange/red sweater gave too much contrast so I muted it down with red bridal tulle. I also ended up muting the contrast-y face down with a white bridal tulle.

So, here he is ⬇️. All glued down and ready to quilt. He will be my second portrait I will quilt. I decided to watch a few more YouTube videos on portrait quilting and off I went!

I started out using invisible thread, but that wasn’t working out too well, so I switched to white for his face, dark brown for his hair, red for the sweater and so on.

Completed, “Little Henri” hangs in my living room and measures 64×54 inches.

He makes me smile 😊