January musings

I have blogged for a year now and see that art and how I do that art is my biggest subject. January has always been the month to look back at my accomplishments from the year before to see how far I have come. It is also the time to see what has worked and adjust my goals and plans for those goals as need be.

As part of my on going goal I started another new piece of art. I have several cardinals that I enjoy watching outside my window this time of year. As the male bird begins to turn brighter red I know winter has really set in. Something about their sweet call and perky pointed top feathers just makes me smile.

With the soft muted colors of a wintery forest I have to add the contrast of a bright red cardinal. But how do I depict the three demension of snow without making it just gray and white? Looking thru a search of winter photos on-line I see there are many colors in the shadows other than black and gray. There are purples, blues, greens and gray in the ditches and valleys. The white of snow reflects yellows and reds too. This gets my juices flowing so time to get these ideas into a piece of art.

I started with a background of blue gray and muted white, a middle tone of the same blue gray and a hand dyed white with light streaks of blue for the snowy field. Next came cedar trees muted in a blue and green. I fussy cut them out from landscape fabric then bonded the blue to the background and the green in the middle. Out came my colored pencils, adding more white, light blue and gray green to emphasize snow on the trees.

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A fence row in the background helps to add depth along with colored pencil to anchor the trees. I wanted to show fluffy snow so glued down strands of white cashmere roving that gave the depth and fluffyness of snow banks. Roving is a long and narrow bundle of fiber. Rovings are produced during the process of making spun yarn from wool fleece, raw cotton, or other fibres. I added a pair of cabins in the middle of the foreground. The cabins are framed with tall cedar trees. The trees have to have snow too, so stitching over the green I used a white silk and wool mixed thread that worked perfect.

I decided on a pathway to the cabins leading to one of the tall cedar trees. I added brown and black leading to the tree and cabins in a meandering diagonal line to move the eye across the piece.  I darkened the shadows in front of the tree lines and added purple to the fields behind the fence line. More cashmere roving was added all thru the piece along with colors to show valleys and clumps of snow.

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After looking at this stage the next morning I think it is looking too gray and the black appears dirty. Though snow gets that way after awhile this was not my intent. There is a bit of purple on the lower left side so used this along with a red purple to add some warmth to the pathway. Used these same colors on the shadows in front of the trees in the foreground. I worked on the tree lines adding white and a pastel blue gray to show snow on the trees. Blurred the lines to keep the distance of these within the picture.

But wait, don’t forget about the cardinals! The scale or size of the bird will be tricky. I also need something like a fence row for them to be perched on. I try stitching the beginning of a bird on a limb of the trees in front. Don’t get very far when I realize it is too hard to see the bird. Scratch my head, get something to eat then I remember I have fabric that has a medium gray stone that would be a perfect contrast to the bright red of a cardinal.

After I pull out the stitches of the cardinal in the tree I see that the rock fence line works wonderful. I added red dots of French knots in two of the cedar trees. The same white thread in those trees were used in the rock wall for snow. Some thin gray green thread was stitched in short stitches around the foreground trees to imitate stubby grasses. Finally the red cardinals are added on the rock walls. I do believe this is done though I may decide to pull some stitching on the bird at the far left. The scale seems a bit too large. Yet my hubby told me to leave it alone.

Now to consider a name, perhaps Winter Wonderland? What do you think?

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