This is a recent commission I completed for a lady in the USA. It’s an American Goldfinch with some thistles – not quite cardoons but that kind of shape. The background is handpainted silk habutai, painted with liquid acrylic inks. I use Liquitex because they are really good quality and bond to the fabric without any fixative. The body of the goldfinch is made from vintage fabric and embellished with hand stitching and sequins. The thistles took a lot of hand-stitching to complete mainly with fly stitch. The thistle leaves are hand painted silk dupion stitched over by machine.
For reference photos I used some images I’d taken on a visit to Canada where there were thistle growing on some waste land near Fish Creek Park in Calgary. There were lots of lovely birds there including American Goldfinches. I remember taking the photos of the thistles and then running for cover as a big thunderstorm hit! I like to use images that I’ve taken as reference if possible and of course my own drawings as they make the work much more meaningful and real somehow.