Friday, October 23, 2015

The Lake House: An Update

I have been slowly adding in stitches on my Lake House piece.  I have started to add in some stretched metals in the water and the tree.  This piece is a bit of an experiment trying out some of the ideas I have from looking at all the paintings in my other research.  As I have been wondering if I could use my metals in a similar way as I have been seeing the painters use complementary colors to create depth and visual energy to the composition. 
 I started by adding some long stitches in with different shades of water (blues, browns, and some peach in there).  I'm using the Valdani threads that I love so much so there is a nice variegation to all the colors.  I'm using a mix of their embroidery floss and their hand quilting thread.  

After I had a bit of the color added in, I started adding some stretch purls.  I'm using stretched smooth silver purl for the strong highlights and gold for the rest.  I love just looking at the lake and all the amazing colors and reflections.  Water is so incredible to study- the texture, the detail, the color, and how it can change in an instant.  I am also varying the amount that I am stretching the purls to allow different amounts of the threads to show.
 After adding in some water detailing, I felt that the top portion needed more stitching.  I started by adding in some bullion knots on the left tree to add some texture and then I felt it needed more so I added in some stretched purls.  This time I'm using overstretched smooth gold for the highlights and stretched rough black purl for the rest.  Again, varying the amount of stretch to change the amount that the thread shows through the purls. 
Most recently, I've added in a lot of leaves--tons of leaves!  I had been using only 1 strand of the Valdani quilting thread and now I have started adding multiple strands together to get a wider variety of color variation and up to 3 strands to add more dimension and texture.  

It needs more leaves and more texture, but I'm pretty exciting in the direction it's going.  I am choosing not to use a frame for this piece as I want the printed layers to shift and I want to work in the tension variations to give the piece more depth and that since of blurred memory.  It's exciting to see it bubbling a bit more as I stitch more into it.  

I think there needs to be more stitching on the water but I'm giving myself some time to reflect on that portion right now as I think it could quickly cross the line to that ever dreaded "over-worked".  For now, back to adding more leaves--lots and lots and lots of leaves!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

France: Day 2 Giverny and Monet's Gardens

I love gardens.  I love flowers.  I love the colors, the textures, the fragrance.  I love the relaxed pace that a garden gives me--that I forget time and focus on the tiny details of the buds about to bloom and the bugs crawling around.  So I set out to Giverny to see Monet's actual gardens.  I wanted to see the lighting he saw.  I wanted to immerse myself in his environment.  So, how different were his gardens to his paintings?  As the focus of the Impressionists was to capture the true essence of light, I thought experiencing "Monet's light" was an important part of the process of evaluating the colors in his paintings.   
The greatest part of the day in Giverny was the fact that the weather changed.  It started sunny, clouds moved in and it got chilly and overcast, then the sun came out and washed the clouds away bright as could be.  All these changes happened as I made my way through the gardens.  I took my time, leisurely walking through the gardens enjoying the scenery and taking copious amounts of photos, trying to soak in every detail I could and capturing the overall scene, different viewpoints and details. 

I have tried to pick my “favorite” photos from Monet’s Gardens, but trying to do that is like trying to pick just a couple macarons to eat at Laudree or Fortnum and Mason—when looking at your options your automatic answer is “I’ll take them all, thank you!” but your brain knows that you cannot actually eat the whole counter of them (or pay!).  In the same way, I would love to show you all my photos I took but alas I have had to heavily edit down which ones I share!

It was so interesting to watch how the color of the flowers changed as the clouds rolled in.  The highlights disappearing and the overall contrast from highlight to color to shadow mellowing. 

As the sun came back out, you can see the harder highlights that it gave to the flowers.  It was interesting to see which flowers popped during the different weather conditions and when photographing them (whether among other plants, against the sky or water). 
You cannot go to Monet's gardens and not pay attention to the water lilies. 

The water was so still the whole time and it was exciting to see the reflections in the water adapt to the changing weather. 
The sun had just popped out and everything looked like it had a "top coating" of sun just on the top edges of everything.
Clouds moving back in ....

I love taking photos of moss and with the interesting twisting and looping of the branch, I could not resist capturing this moss!

Haystacks (not the actual ones Monet painted)!