PBN Totoro 2

I’ve made slow progress on my totoro paint-by-numbers project but here is the latest report (see where I began here).

Session 4:

More layers of white, orange, red, and yellow green, plus the darker yellow-green.

Session 5:

Still more layers of the all the colors and the flower stem green. Not very exciting, but it needs to be done. I find it easier to add colors until they cover their printed numbers before moving on to too many colors. This is because you are inevitably going to paint across a line as a mistake. Better to only need to touch up here and there, than to try to constantly cover the canvas over and over to hide the printed numbers while remaining within the lines!

Session 6:

This is under different lighting, hence the lessened contrast, but still more layers, plus the addition of a lighter blue.

Session 7:

This is where it stands now. Ive added many more layers over previous colors. Sometimes, the work is slow enough (especially when using the tiny brush to fill in tiny spaces) that you can cover the same color a few times within a single session as it dries well enough between coats. I lost count how many layers are here, but those light colors are almost ready to call them finished, phew! I also added the dark blue. I just needed a change. It has a few coats already as well. It helps that the weather changed and the window I sit by is open with a gentle breeze sometimes!

If you are trying out a paint-by-numbers, remember: though the work is tedious and seems impossible at times, if you simply continue, then little by little, you can paint something to be proud of! :D


TA Stitch Challenge #2

I am so grateful that TextileArtist.org will be hosting the Stitch Challenge on their website – part two is up now for those following along! Cas Holmes presented her art style with the challenge, and this gave me the ability to try adding paper to something as my first foray into “mixed media”. I admit I didn’t do a lot of process here as I relied on my old habit of just going for it. Grr. But I love the outcome, regardless!

The first task is to find something in your house. When I think of “home”, of course my darling cats spring to mind. And I am nearly always found in the craft room with them. Therefore, I decided that the background would represent their little nook, on the window seat. I only put one cat there, but she is a stand-in for both.

To begin, a scrappy background was put together using variations of straight stitches. The wall has vertical lines; the window has swirls; the curtain is tacked down with running stitch in a 3D effect; the window seat has diagonal quilting; and the cat bed has overlapping running stitches that form Xs. I outlined a few elements in backstitch as well. 

For the cat, I took Cas’s advice to crumple some parchment paper I had. I also painted it afterward with watered-down acryllic paint. I found it interesting the the paint absorbed differently depending on how soft an area had become – it appeared to repel color in it’s natural uncrumpled state. I based the kitty design on Cofeee’s cute cat with floral bow, but changed it up to better represent my fluffy javanese lumps. Since I didn’t practice process well, the cat sort of blends in to the wall. I already had chosen to stitch it the way I had before realizing that a bold outline would have helped. If it wasn’t paper, which leaves permanent holes, I might have reworked it. Lesson learned!

TA Stitch Challenge #1

My friend pointed me over to TextileArtist.org who is running a free stitch challenge right now. For me, this is perfect timing! The article about Sue Stone, who lead this stitch challenge, really seemed to reflect me in parts. I have collected a lot of technical skills, but little by way of process. I’m still learning about “process” but I think it is the key I’ve been searching for. Time will tell. 

Anyway, I approached this challenge, by Sue herself, quite casually as I focused on process rather than result. My fabric is an old scrap that is marred by a stain caused by a marking pen (I ironed it before spraying it with water so it never disappeared). I chose to stitch free rather than in a hoop. You know, I use to think that for me, a hoop was like training wheels, and once I got good at stitching, I could easily begin stitching without it as I know many people do. But now I know that I prefer the hoop for so many reasons, not just for tension! And I didn’t worry about perfect stitches either. I was not stitching to make something to show; I was stitching to learn the process of creating. It was exactly a practice piece – though not a practice in technical skill (aka perfecting stitches).

Sue set the guidelines of making a quadrant and selecting a single type of embroidery stitch. I chose running, as it would be quick and easy. As with other “series” of works, I wanted to begin with a title, so to speak, so a big initial and the year fill one box.

A geometric plaid type of theme fills another.

Boy calls this one “space tunnel” and is based off of doodles I do a lot – I guess kind of like the eye of a peacock feather?

And this last one was using negative space to define a shape in each color block.

So there is nothing super amazing about this little sampler for the viewer. But I got to practice a very basic process concept in working it. I began with an idea (directed by Sue), pulled out a piece of paper to sketch, considered options for design, and selected the items I would need to bring it to life. I did change the plaid design to try to better compliment the overall piece, but other than that the idea in my head was brought to reality as a process from the ground up. See, normally, I wing it. How many times have you heard me say “I started this project without really knowing how I would finish it…” and troubles arose. Or, let us think about how I was able to fully execute Mabel the Raccoon – which started as an idea, moved through a doodle and photoshop, and then became my very first real piece of my own creativity! You’d think I would have figured all this out back then, ha!

It appears that the second stitch challenge, released today, is only available on Facebook (where I do not reside). So unless that changes, I will work on process in other ways.