Morning Conversation V

Here it is, finally completed. It looks like I was imagining it – with the help of some permanent markers and coloured pencils I was able to sharpen the men’s faces and clothing just a bit.

Morning Conversation

In the end, I created/modified embroidery stitches on my machine to provide a bit of texture to the hanging plant behind the men and on the bush peeking in front of the sign on the left. The thread painting in this piece had more to do with creating definition rather than filling in areas as it was with the tropical flowers. Nevertheless, it took quite a bit of time deciding just what should be stitched, what colour thread, what stitch size (I ended up using a 1.5mm straight stitch for much of the stitching)… And all within the limitation of being able to stitch just once!

The hand gesture is still obvious, the second man looks attentive, and the shop fronts turned out quite well – so even though I gave up trying to create reflections in the shop windows they have turned out quite well.

I found the framing fabric in my stash – from the Northcott Medici collection I used in the large medallion quilt. The dark fabric makes the sunshine and highlights stand out.

I began working on this piece February 4 – it’s taken me just over 2 months to complete it – a lot of contemplating time involved here trying to figure out how to simplify the image and create the street scene to showcase the men.

Morning Coversation

This is piece #5 for the Parrsboro show – I need still another 5-6 wall art pieces of some sort. My self-portrait on a fall day is up next – I’m still not sure how to texture the background on that piece but I’m sure something will come to me.

Halifax Harbour II – Finished

Halifax Harbour II

Another textile art piece finished. The second version of the city of Halifax floating above the fog as seen from the Dartmouth shore. In this one, there is more of a sense of the fog shrouding the city.

In this piece I let the photography speak more than I have in previous works. I thought the overall movement of the clouds and the sea/sky balance worked as it was so I didn’t cut this image printed on fabric into smaller elements to situate them within an appliqué background. This image, with a small amount of thread painting stands alone.

I’ve come up with another pair of images that I’m going to compile into a piece. These photos were taken in the fall of 2007 when David Lacey (a NS landscape painter) and I were spending a day taking landscape pictures.

Fall Day 2007

David took the photo of me not on this particular country road but on another close by. What draws me to this roadway is its gentle curving from mid-left to bottom right and the sun/shadow balance and the farmland in the distance. David’s photo of me, taking care to position it correctly, will make the sun on my back fit into the shadows in this landscape. I don’t know yet to what extent I will use the background photo printed on fabric or whether I will piece the background. More and more my photography seems to want to speak out.

Halifax Harbour – II

I didn’t expect to finish this piece so quickly!

I sat down to do some thread painting this morning, and before I knew it the stitching felt completed. I chose not to stitch the boundaries of the fog, or within it, because the fog is a diffuse blanketing of the land/water interface – I wanted to retain its fuzziness. I also decided not to stitch the skyline because I didn’t think I could capture the tiny differences in building height even if I used a 1mm stitch length – I left it alone.

Halifax Harbour In The fog

I added a signature, and a wide outer border/frame. Finishing up these pieces takes more time than I expect – hand stitching the mitred border corners, adding the hidden binding and stitching it in place all takes quite a bit of time and painstaking hand stitching.

I’m going to attempt another version of the city enshrouded in fog – in this second photo taken a few minutes before the one I used as inspiration for the piece above, the city peeking above the fog is more pronounced, the clouds are more defined, as is the fog the Halifax side of the harbour and I like the sea/sky balance better.

Halifax Harbour 2010

This time I may not cut the printed image apart, but instead try to do something with the photo as it is – my inner photographer thinks this image might not want any thread painting and maybe even a hidden binding so that what strikes the viewer will be the city barely visible in the fog. Have to think about this some more.

Halifax Harbour

Several years ago (2010) I was on the Dartmouth side of the harbour taking photos with my two oldest great nephews. We stopped at the Woodside Community Centre and walked down to the shore. The harbour was shrouded in fog but the Halifax building tops rose above the fog and the low clouds were well defined on this dullish day.

Halifax Harbour 2010

I filed the image away as one of my better photos. I came across it a couple of months ago while perusing photos looking for images that might be suitable for wall art pieces. I stashed this one in that folder.

I enlarged it a bit, printed it on fabric and today I began assembling it. So far I have a base image, with a narrow inner border and piping. I’ve chosen fabric for the wide outer border. I haven’t yet begun any thread painting – I have a feeling this is one of those situations that wants less, rather than more. The challenge is I can’t take out stitching once I’ve done it because the needle holes show. So each stitched element has to be carefully thought out.

Halifax Harbour

I’m also still working on Morning Conversation but today this image called out to me so I worked on it instead.

Morning Conversation IV

I worked on the piece quite a bit filling in background – It’s just about there. I think I’ve decided I’m not going to use the fusible vinyl on the windows – it’s just too difficult to apply successfully and I think even though the vinyl I bought is “matte” the shine will detract from the two men.

Morning Conversation IV

I’m still debating whether to thread paint the background elements completely before adding the men – I will end up with stitching underneath that may show but the stop/starts of thread lines would be smoother because they’d be hidden beneath the final appliqué. I guess I can start on the left of the piece and get as far as I can there, then decide.

Morning Conversation III

Making headway slowly. It’s the technical stuff that’s bogging me down – problems I’m not sure how to solve. I’ve kind of worked out the shop windows but now I need to do quite a bit of thread painting to make the elements I’ve decided to put in make some sense.

Morning Conversation

I’m still not sure whether I want to do more with the shop windows – I did buy a piece of fusible vinyl (matte finish) to apply to there but it’s very tricky stuff to work with because if you put the iron anywhere near it, it melts off leaving a mess behind. And because I’ve got elements outside the glass having to be applied afterward, I’ve taken the coffee shop window apart a number of times, and I’m hesitant about reapplying it to this latest version!

The gentlemen aren’t yet fused in place – not until I get the rest of the background exactly as I want it.

Morning Conversation II

I’ve walked around this piece for more than a week! There are still several decisions I haven’t been able to make and that stopped me from doing anything. This morning I pushed myself to do something.

I’d chosen fabrics last week – today, I finally started creating templates for each element, cutting it out and fusing it to the base. The gents and the sign/bush on the left are simply laying in position – they’ll be among the last elements to be fused in place. But I wanted to get a sense of how they look against this background and I’m doing OK so far.

Morning Conversation

The shop windows are the big challenge – the shops are both dark inside, but there is some light. I originally thought I’d be able to use organza to hint at the glazing, but it obscures what’s behind it – great for implying fog but not so good for glass windows. Small bits of plastic might work – the question is how to adhere them to the underlying fabric!

For now, my plan is to continue adding background elements – a couple more and then some thread painting to stitch the fused sections to the base and to add texture to the stones and pavement.

This is the original image to give you sense of where I’m going:

Morning Conversation