This is the latest image from my grad school class. The substrate is some muslin fabric that I rust dyed. I began the image by doing solvent transfers of the crow and a photo of some bare tree tops. This phase of the image stood in my dining room for a couple of weeks trying to decide what it wanted to become. I downloaded a 1920 census document from my Ancestry.com account (the family featured are my husband's great grandparents; his grandmother is 11 months old at this time) and flipped it horizontally so it would read correctly when transferred. After printing I went to the photocopier and fiddled with the sizing and then did a solvent transfer of the copy. I love the name of the township--Tally Ho.
The house image is from a photo of one of the tenant farms (also in Granville Co) that my mother-in-law, daughter of the Annie in the census record, lived on when she was a child. At the time the photo was taken the house had been vacant for many years. The old oak tree was cropped in the original photo, so I reconstructed a top for it in Photoshop. I also eliminated some of the extraneous farm stuff around the house to simplify the image. This image was printed on my inkjet and transferred using the water method. After the transfers were done I again "lived with" the image for a couple of days mulling over where it wanted to go. I began to think about the similarities between roots and branches, both in real trees and in family trees (also explored in the Roots Cellar piece), and decided to manipulate the image to emphasize that connection. Acrylic paints, Pitt Pens, and gel pens were used to draw/paint into the trees, entwining the roots of the oak with the branches of the trees at the bottom and side of the piece and with the text of the document. The house at the top seemed too dominant making the piece feel out of balance so I used some transparency sheets to play around with drawn text on the right side of the image to give it better balance. Once I decided on the size, I drew the lettering on a sheet of paper and used the lightbox to transfer it onto the fabric, adding color with my Pitt Pens. Below are details of the house and the bottom right corner of the image.
The finished piece is 11 x 14 in. I stretched the fabric over a canvas panel and taped it to the back so I could move it around and have a stable surface to work on.
The siennas of the rust are complemented nicely by the touches of blue. While the piece is pretty complex I don't think it is too busy. I really like the linear qualities added by the branches, roots, and document. I am pretty well satisfied with this piece.