Flower Painting Completed


IMG_3742-001This painting is the inspiration for going out of my wet felting comfort zone.  I am still learning about the wool and what it can do.

IMG_5264This is the painting after wet felting for the second time.  I regret not having taken a photo after the first stage.  I used natural white Corriedale batt as the base and pink for the next layer.  The flowers and leaves are a mixture of Corriedale roving and Merino.  I also used Wensleydale locks for the drippy bits and a bit of silk noil.  After the first wet felting, the pink migrated outwards and instead of shrinking the way I wanted, it spread out.  Some parts were really thin, and the flowers lost some color and definition.  I then reworked the piece with needle felting in some dry wool to get the flower shapes back and filling in some spaces.  This also gave me an opportunity to add some extra details to the flowers and some more leaves.  I then added some more Corriedale to the thin spots and then wet felted the whole piece again.  The piece only shrunk a little bit more so I threw it into the tumble dryer to see if that would do anything.  Apparently it didn’t make a difference.  The piece measures approximately 12 inches wide x 14 inches on its longest side.

IMG_5305The next step is to machine stitch the piece.  There is such a thing as less is more, but as this is a flower painting, I felt that each flower and leaf needed to be stitched.  I even added a few extra leaves.  Free style machine stitching makes me nervous, but once I got going, I was ok and was happy with the result until I saw this photo.  So, before going onto the next step of embellishing with embroidery. I ripped out the silk noil and the extra leaf under the blue flower on the lower left corner.

IMG_5339Here is a close-up of the finished piece.  I used embroidery and beads.  I purchased a couple of books on embroidery stitches that were very helpful as it has been a long time (teenager) since I did any embroidery.  I think my grandma would have been proud as she taught me how to do most everything.

I didn’t have a frame large enough to frame the piece in its natural state.  I really love the look of the raw edges, but I wanted to frame this and had to compromise.  I had a square frame that is 16×16 inches with a 12 inch aperture that is meant to be used as a box frame, but unfortunately that is not the case by the way it is made.  I had two of these frames and took the mount out of one of them to double them up in order to keep the painting as far away from the glass as possible as wool has a tendency to sweat if touching glass.  I know it’s weird, but it happens.  This is why it is better to frame them in a box frame.  In any event, I always say that art looks great when it’s framed.

I have some good news on the job front and managed to snag a temp contract for the next six weeks.  Considering that none of my applications brought fruit, this is a welcome relief as it has been a struggle these last few months.  Although working will be great, that will mean less time for playing around with wool, but at least I more or less know what I am doing now!  Thanks for stopping by!

WIP – A Flower Painting

I have been looking for full time employment since I’ve been back from our holidays.  In between job hunting, I have been felting and blogging.  You can start reading about the places we went to since the beginning of June.  It’s on my other blog.  I believe there is a link on the sidebar.  We started in France and the rest is a bit of a roller coaster!

I have been putting my hand to wet felting.  It is like painting, but with wool.  I have amassed a nice collection of different wools to play and experiment with.  Interestingly, each type of wool has its own characteristics and is better for some things than others.  Merino wool is supposed to be great for wet felting with.  I haven’t wet felted with 100% Merino wool yet.  Corriedale is meant to be great for dry needle felting (2D and 3D) and the Merino is meant to be great for wet felting as the fibers are thin and long.  Merino is also very soft.  Some manufacturers make blends.  Needle felting has opened up a whole new world for me, and also jargon.

So far, I have wet felted exclusively with Corriedale wool which is a bit more coarse and with shorter fibers.  So far, I have learned that it wet felts very quickly.  I am guessing that is due to nature of the shorter fibers.

My current work in progress is based on one of my drippy flower paintings.

IMG_5264Here is the painting after wet felting for the second time.  First I used Corriedale as the bas, and then I used a mixture of Merino and Corriedale for the colors I needed.  There was a slight issue with some of the shapes going askew and the colors not being vibrant enough, so I needle felted into the painting to tidy it up and added some extra leaves.  My edges also got really thin, so I tacked on some extra wool.  I then wet felted the whole thing again and got the above. My painting spread out quite a lot and I think that this is a characteristic of the Corriedale.  This piece measures 12 x 14 inches.  I started with 12×12 hoping it would shrink down, so I need to work out how to improve on that as I have been following the instructions (there are different ways!).

The next step was to do the free stitching.  I found some colored sewing thread and embroidery thread cheap at the charity shop and topped up at the haberdashers.  I get a bit scared of the free stitching as you don’t use a foot on the darning plate.  Anyway, here is what I did next.

IMG_5305I just sat at the sewing machine and went for it.  In my acrylic painting, the flowers are quite abstract, with swirls of paint in each flower to show movement.  Here was an opportunity to do something different.  The next step is to add some detail with the embroidery thread without going over the top.  Wish me luck!  It’s been a long time since I have done any type of embroidery! 🙂

Art for the Joy of Making and Getting Out of the Blues

I haven’t been working for a few weeks now since my last contract ended.  Apparently there aren’t any admin jobs at the moment.  It is not too surprising since it is the end of the tax year and everyone is waiting to find out if their budget will accommodate temps.  So while I wait patiently for something to turn up, and it usually does, I need to be creative.  This winter was dire for me as the light was really bad for painting and I probably had one of the worst temp placements ever.  Usually the jobs are not that interesting, but the people tend to be great to work with and that can keep me going.  I had a six week placement that had no up side to it what-so-ever.  That is all I am saying.

So, what did I do?  I knitted myself a hat, scarf and gloves and started a set for my daughter.  I moved furniture around and had a bit of a clear out.  I went for walks with the dogs and the hubs.  I have been thinking about my life and hobbies and how to move forward.  This is what happens when I have a lot of free time on my hands.  I think about stuff.  Now that spring is here, my mood is more upbeat.  There is more light to the day.  The weather has generally improved.  I am still thinking about stuff, but I feel less stressed.  I like to try new things.  I will give things a go.

When I first moved from London, I went to an art class because I had the time and I wanted to try something new.  I discovered that I can draw and paint.  I may not be great at it, but I can do it and most of the time I enjoy the process.  I was really enjoying myself with it until someone suggested that I sell my stuff.  That’s the problem.  Just because someone makes the suggestion doesn’t mean that  you have to do it.  I think we just get flattered that the suggestion would even be made.  What we tend to forget is to ask the person who makes the suggestion if they would like to buy something and how much would they pay?  It’s great to have the suggestion, but are you willing to part with your cash?  And since everything is about money these days we forget why we are doing what we do in the first place.  I have read so many comments from people asking how much should they be selling their work for.   Art is subjective.  Ok, you do have to work out the cost of your materials to recoup that back, but what about your time and effort and creative process?  How do you put a price on that?  This then becomes a minefield.  Don’t charge too little as people won’t take you seriously.  Charge too much and people won’t buy it.  Either way, people are not buying.  And yet I still take online classes and I keep making things.  This happened with the furniture that I was painting.  People can paint their own furniture, so unless you live in the USA or London where people pay stupid money for upcycled furniture, it ain’t happening where I live.  People are tight here!  I don’t have time to go to craft or boot fairs as I generally work full time!

While going through my prints, I decided that most of them would make better cards.  I may or may not try to sell them as cards.  The main thing is that I had fun making them.  I tried to sell them as prints, but nada, nichts, nothing.  I looked at all of my 10×12 inch paintings and think I might try and sell them super cheap in one last ditch effort to make space on my walls.  I will give Etsy one more chance.  Some I will keep or give away.  Paintings for family is always free.  They just have to come to where I live to collect it or tell me what they want the next time I visit them.

I just started needle felting and I do love it.  I didn’t think I would like it so much.  People are already asking me if I will be selling my creations!  I didn’t start needle felting to make money from it.  I started needle felting as it intrigued me and it is a way of making a sculpture (or a painting) from wool.  I find it relaxing.  The upside is that it is not too messy!  I can make little critters as realistic as I want to and they will still be cute.  I used to have felted animals when I was a child and I thought I could get a head start on making some for potential grandchildren.  If someone wants to purchase anything I have made so far, contact me as I am open to offers.  Right now I am happy learning how to make cute things.  I am working my way up to making things with armatures.  I want to make my dogs.  I think that would be fun!  What is the price for having fun?!

So, what about painting?  I’ve done a few things so far this year and currently have a WIP, my biggest one yet.  Here is stage 1.

FullSizeRender (1)

And here is stage 2.

FullSizeRenderI am painting lupins loosely based on photos I took of the many lupins we saw in Bariloche in Argentina when we had our grown up gap year 5 years ago.  I stopped progressing it when I started the needle felting.  The painting is about 3×2 feet.  This has a long way to go yet.  I am sure there will be a lot of changes.

So, my plan is to continue how I originally started and to make stuff just for the heck of it or out of necessity, like the cushion covers I need to make for some pillows for the campervan.  Now that I made that decision, I feel so much better now.  Thanks for stopping by and if you have managed to read all of this, pat yourself on the back for getting through it and thanks for listening. 🙂