The Eyes Have It!


This is Koko. We rescued each other years ago. She was my buddy for about 7 years. She was almost 16 when I had to put her down. I was so sad for a long time. She’s been gone about a year now and I still miss her every day. I use her photo quite a bit in my art work. I loved her eyes and ears and her companionship! She was pretty young in this photo and did not like to have her picture taken!

I made this small quilt of Koko back in 2015. It definitely didn’t do any justice to her beautiful expressive eyes in this quilt and I’ve always wanted to repair that. I just didn’t have any experience in facial features so I kept putting it off.  I want to change the value of her fur, too.

This winter I decided I needed to take some drawing classes so I could someday fix the eyes in this piece. The internet has so many wonderful classes available. I joined up with Matt who teaches via The Virtual Instructor. and took his class, Portrait Drawing the Smart Way. Wow! Did I learn a lot! The course was very interesting as we just used a graphite pencil and white charcoal pencil on grey toned paper. I learned a lot about value and shading and I also learned that smoother paper works much better when using graphite pencils. I still have much to learn!

Here are some of my attempts at facial features…definitely need more practice!

I am also learning from an internet site called Willowing Arts with Tamara Laporte. I joined her Life Book 2020 course. I was really attracted to how Tamara paints eyes on her lovely whimsical drawings.

This is my eye work from some of her lessons.

Another instructor on Life Book 2020 was Effy Wild. I did her lesson using Koko’s face.

This was a collage I made of Koko while I was taking Gail Harker’s Level 3 Art and Design course. Easy eyes for this one!

So I think I’m about ready to try my hand at repairing her eyes on the small quilt I made of her so many years ago. I may try fabric eyes or I may try painting onto fabric which I would then fuse onto the quilt. If I get it done by my next blog, I’ll post it for you to see.

I don’t know about all of you, but I am very grateful to be able to lose myself in creativity during these crazy times we are living through right now.

Stay safe!

Tesi Vaara

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to The Eyes Have It!

  1. koffipot says:

    Wow! Such progress! The eyes certainly have it! <3

  2. amanqueen says:

    Black eye is good .this are beautiful eyes

    • tesivaara says:

      Thank you! As artists we can make them whatever color we want. What freedom!

  3. annielynrosie says:

    You have made such progress and it’s interesting to see your documentation of it.

    Koko’s photo tugs at the heart strings – a dog is such good company and we love them as much as any other family member.

    Would love to see your quilt after you’ve altered the eyes.

  4. I really loved your creations, you inspired me. Thanks for sharing!!

    • tesivaara says:

      You’re welcome. A bit off track from felting, but still a bit of fiber. Fiber is my medium of choice but I also enjoy paper.

  5. ruthlane says:

    Wow Tesi, your charcoal drawings are amazing. Learning new things is always such fun 😊. Koko is such a good subject for artwork and I look forward to seeing how you fix the quilt.

    • tesivaara says:

      Thanks Ruth! Koko is a good subject. I got tired of using my photo for some of my lessons, so I decided I would try a couple with her mug in there.

  6. Sydney says:

    You always give me inspiration! I can see why you would miss such a sweet dog. Thanks for sharing.

    • tesivaara says:

      Oh I’m so happy that I can be inspirational! So much to learn and do, not enough time.

  7. Great work and a wonderful post! So many yummy opportunities to learn, and all the links! I am so amazed by your quilt, you are incredibly talented! Just lovely and so inspiring!

  8. Thanks for sharing! On, am currently doing a project on eyes, by Emily Tull. She’s wonderful, it ends today, it’s been a bit heartbreaking to visit his eyes, but lots of learning!

    • Forgot to mention, am doing my cat, Yoda, a himilayan, he passed a year ago

    • tesivaara says:

      I have been following Textile Artist on facebook and really enjoying the eyes that have been posted. Have you posted yours yet? Would love to see your eyes. The eyes have been super intriguing to me!

  9. Beautiful dog! And great sketching! Eyes are always intriguing to replicate. Good luck finishing your quilt. I look forward to seeing it completed.

    • tesivaara says:

      Thank you for your comments! The pressure is on now to get that quilt finished!

  10. Robin says:

    Very nice Tesi. She was a wonderful friend and companion for you.

  11. I like all your pictures of Koko. I find them all very expressive. My favourite is the one from the Effy Wild class. I also like the way the ears and mouth give the expression in the collage.

  12. Antje says:

    I can see why Koko inspired you to use her image. Dogs are certainly great companions and a valued member of a family.
    Love seeing your learning process & the variety of great results – all so very different.
    I’m looking forward to seeing your quilt amendment….I’m sure you will bring real life to Koko’s image.

  13. tesivaara says:

    Thanks for your comments! It will be fun to work on the quilt again.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.