Sunday, July 6, 2008


It's been a hot and stormy few days off and on. I love stormy weather -- the thunder, the lightning, the wind -- very inspiring. When it's not raining, it's too hot to be outside, so I've been inside working on two projects this week: 1) some hand stitching on Starry Night... (note to self: do NOT use medium when painting on needlepoint canvas which will later be stitched. It makes for a very painful %(%)$(#**! experience for my fingers -- pushing the needle through the stiffened canvas); and 2) I also began working on a new art slice quilt last week.

This is my "slice" of the still life picture that one of our cyberbee members selected as her art quilt:

I apologize for not knowing the artists name who painted this still life.

Step 1 - I selected a nice textural piece of burlap for the foundation. With a wash of medium, it takes acrylic paint well. I laid on the first round of color on the burlap, as well as painted some detail on the hand dyed orange circles I cut out.

I satin stitched (with orange rayon thread) 3/4 of each orange down (after careful positioning), and then stuffed the oranges with batting for dimension. I didn't like how the batting looked (too lumpy) so I got out some of my loose wool and used that. The wool is able to be pulled into fine tufts so it contoured very nicely. I then finished stitching the oranges. This was harder than it sounds. I did think to cut the oranges a little larger to make up for the mounding, however I had a few distortion problems because the fabric was painted -- but I think I worked those out.

The nature of this still life is a bowl of oranges with some loose oranges setting on a white tablecloth - with LOTS of shadows. I painted the tablecloth and shadows on the right side, but wanted to add a bit more texture and dimension by actually adding some fabric that I dipped in uva and water with a little starch, shaped it into the folds, gently stuck pins straight down to maintain it's shape while it air dried. Now I'm going to go back in and paint in the shadows, add more detail to the oranges and background and I'll be done. (click on this one to enlarge)

This slice quilt is particularly challenging for me I think in part because of it's simplicity, and in part because I'm just not crazy about working "still life" art. I feel I need to be too precise - and there really isn't much room for error, or to fudge with embellishment or thread-painting. In my opinion, in order for this particularly slice quilt to be successful -- the colors will needed to be matched right on to do it justice.

I should finish this today or tomorrow and will post a side by side comparison when done. We will be presenting Jean with her slices this Saturday at our quarterly meeting. After that -- there's one left to go - a poster of a "woody" car and surfboard which should be a fun challenge, as well.

As I mentioned, I've also been doing some stitching on my Van Gogh, Starry Night.

I haven't really experimented much with embroidery or hand stitching -- so I didn't really have many supplies. Sabrina has a nice collection of embroidery floss -- and I sorted through that and then stopped up at a local shop The Lazy Daisy which has an incredible selection of cotton, silk, rayon, organic, hand dyed, and every color you can imagine of flosses and threads -- and picked up a few additional colors and needles. So far so good with this and I can see where this project can take on a life of its own! I'll keep you posted.

I've been around the last week to visit a few of you and will continue to make my rounds as I have a lot of catching up to do. I am enjoying all the eye candy out there and reading about what's been going on. I've been trying to post my vacation "slide show" but the third party that "hosts" this engine is not working properly -- so hopefully it will be up later in the week.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.


Jeanne Turner McBrayer said...

Both painted projects are looking great!

Phyl said...

...waaahhh!None of your pix will enlarge except for "Starry Night"!But your 3-D oranges are gonna look fabulous!What are you calling the "medium" you painted the canvas and burlap with?Gesso?Gel medium? Sounds intriguing!
Welcome back;I missed you!

girl_gone_thread_wild said...

I'm dying to SEE this pic you tease me with!!!!

And HOTT diggity dog, you are on a rolllllll here girlll.

Gosh, I REALLY needed that boost of creativity too. The lazy-ing in the sun days needed to come to an end at some point right???


Off to play, Monica :)

ACey said...

we've had lots of thunder and lightning here, too. Dropped by to thank you for the visit to my blog (via Jude) and take a look at what you're doing. Have decided Van Gogh's brush strokes really lend themselves quite well to stitches and fiber manipulation ...

3rdEyeMuse said...

wow - these are amazing & thank you for sharing some of the process ... I love hearing & seeing how projects happen. Can't wait for more! :)

PikachuHater said...

whoaaaaa thats sooo good ^^
i like the "starry night" you're stitching it? hmmm that's really good. ^^
I really like how you tell us the process of your quilt. really artistic... :D

katie jane said...

Well, I think the still life looks great so far. I'm with you, though, I'm not too into sitll lifes either.

I see Google has a tribute to Marc Chagall today. He's one of my favorite painters.

Pursuing Art... said...

Both of your projects look great! I bet the still life turns out better than you think...and I love the stitching so far on Starry Night! It is going to be beautiful!!! ;-)

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