Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Stitchers, BEWARE!


Thank you, Blog Readers, for you kind comments about my newly-finished HOUSE AT CROW CORNERS. To answer your questions:

~ The whimsical painted canvas comes from Dream House Ventures (Vickie Hastings, designer). The finished size is approximately 7" by 8" on 18 ct. canvas.

~ As many of you may relate to, I was so focused on COMPLETING the piece, I didn't really give much thought to HOW I was going finish it once the stitching was done.

~ As Coni suggested, it certainly would make a cute stand-up project...if I wanted to do all that work. Nope. I decided to frame it - my usual fast and easy finishing technique. (I cut mat board to fit the piece, then lace it up in both directions using long pieces of #5 pearl cotton.)

[And here's My Secret Finishing Tip #1: Periodically, I check my local discount stores for frames. I especially look for square frames, but often times you can get good long narrow frames too...I ignore the image, the matting and the glass...and just look for interesting frames. If they're on sale because the glass is cracked, so much the better. I don't put my stitchery behind glass. Now I have quite a stash of frames, so I went looking for a dark frame to fit this house, and lo and behold, I had the perfect dark frame with bronze accents.]

(Okay, stitchers, are you sitting down?!? This is going to shock you, so BEWARE of what comes next!!...)

[My Secret Finishing Tip #2: Occasionally, when I don't want to stitch a background on a canvas, I'll color it with colored pencils. Yes, you heard right - I use colored pencils. I can hear your collective gasp out there....Yup. Colored. Pencils. Scribbled. Directly. On. The. Canvas. (Quick! Grab your smelling salts, ladies!)]

Here's my process: Sometimes, I'll color right up against the stitched image - like a santa, for instance - and then fade out to the borders. Yes, you have to be really careful not to brush up against the stitching. But once you get over the shock of coloring on the canvas, you get a little braver, and that's when I start overlaying different colors.

In the photo above, I used greens, oranges and golds, starting softly and then building up pressure and darkness around the outer edges. I was aiming for a spooky forest look, and I think it does look like an illustration in a storybook. You can smear the pencil colors with your fingers, or a bit of rag to soften/blur the colors. And then I went back over in bolder marks to increase the look of scratchy scribble lines. Above, you can just see some orange, gold, and green lines in the shadowy areas.

And yes, I do sort of hold my breath while doing this because I don't want to get carried away and end up with a muddy mess. But at some point, as I'm carefully scribbling away, I say to myself, " oh, well, in for a dime, in for a dollar" and just go to it. Worse case scenario: if I hate it, I can cut a close mat for it and cover most of it. (And, before you ask: I don't use any fixatives, but I don't rub my fingers all over it, either. And I don't expect these pieces to be sent to any museum or last for two hundred years, so I really don't worry about the wearability of this coloring process. These fun pieces are for my enjoyment only and I don't expect them to last forever....)

So there..... now you know some of my most PRIVATE and SHOCKING finishing secrets. Do with them what you will....if you are brave enough to give them a try....ha, ha, ha...

15 comments:

Cyn said...

Hi Laura,

Love the look that you achieved with the pencils!

It does look like the house is sitting in a fall forest or is one of those old pictures where they are fading around the edges.

Have you ever tried any other mediums for backgrounds such as adding paint or fabric crayons? Hmmmm... many possibilities!

Cynthia
Windy Meadow

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

I'm fool enough to try anything--once. LOL

Seriously, thanks very much for the fascinating information. It's fun to hear that you are a thrifty buyer of frames and a very creative framer. And the end result is pumpkin-smashing!

Jane, now updating Blog with the latest and greatest LP info

Coni said...

Bwa ha ha ha ha! Now we see the woman behind the curtain! Thanks for giving me permission to just GO FOR IT when it comes to finishing a canvas. I'm breaking out the colored pencils now and will do so with impunity! LOVE LOVE LOVE this house!

Margaret said...

That is a great effect!

Ruth said...

lol I was looking at all your beautiful stitches and thinking to myself how much I loved the colored background to the canvas and wondered if I could try that myself....... now I know I can. :) Bless you for the inspirations!

Stitch Wizard said...

What a wonderful look you achieved with the colored pencils! I wonder if I would be as artistic as you are trying something like that? Yours turned out just beautifully! It is just gorgeous! I too wouldn't want to just stitch the whole background when you can achieve a beautiful look as you have with the pencils. Thanks for sharing! Debby :)

Denise & Linda said...

OMG!!! Color on the canvas! Brave, brave brave!! This creation is so amazing!

NCPat said...

The house is amazing and I just love what you do with the pencils!
Said the lady who uses glue to finish ornaments! LOL

bea said...

How fun! Love your philosophy

Lynne said...

You have created a wonderful effect !! And as aways your stitching is outstanding. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us.

Beth in IL said...

Thanks for your tip about colored pencils. I have so many art supplies, but I never thought about using colored pencils. Also like the framing tip. Framing is so expensive, I hold onto pieces waiting to frame them.

Odette said...

It looks absolutely wonderful. Canvas must be the only meduim that it so versatile. Thanks for the inspiration.

Odette South Africa

Jane said...

This piece is absolutely amazing. I've been thinking about it since you posted the first picture of it. I wanted to let you know I put a link to your blog on my blog. Hope you're ok with that. Thanks for doing such fun work! Jane Williams
http://janew1102.typepad.com/

Пушистость said...

прекрасный домик!

Пушистость said...

Очаровательная вышивка!