I’m looking forward to seeing the kinds of shoes my classmates draw. Dancing shoes, hiking boots, flip-flops? Everyone’s kitchen objects were about what you’d expect, but it seems like there is some room for surprise with shoes.
This was a technical exercise in learning to measure and compare the proportions of one item against another. I’d seen this method shown in cartoons before…the artist holding a pencil in their outstretched arm and squinting past it to the still-life or model beyond.
This was a difficult concept for me to grasp at first, but something finally clicked and it got easier. Whatever the flaws of this drawing (that bottle wasn’t listing to the right in real life) the proportions are correct! That felt like a minor triumph.
The next exercise continued practice with the measuring technique, but with a shift in medium to compressed charcoal. And yowza, compressed charcoal is not at all forgiving.
Our instructor said that compressed charcoal favors the bold. I left class feeling relieved that we would be moving on to conte crayon next week.
Sometimes a project moves forward in the smallest of steps. I decided I wanted the orange cat to have a greenish radiance. That required a shopping trip where I added to my collection of green embroidery floss.
So that was the first tiny step forward.
And then I added concentric circles to my inkscape drawing, and used the drawing to trace little hashmarks on my embroidery background. Another small step. Those marks will be my rough guides for where to change shades of green.
I think I’ve narrowed the greens down to a selection of three, so some of those hash marks are extraneous. Except, I never know…maybe I’ll add a couple more greens and need those hash marks after all? Things don’t necessarily go as planned once I’m stitching and I like to be open to the possibility of totally changing my mind.
I’m taking a drawing class, hoping to improve my skills. The first of 8 sessions was today and the class was just what I was hoping for. Good instruction and long meditative silences as we all worked. There were seventeen of us and, in this first lesson, we spent two hours drawing still lifes in charcoal on newsprint.
Right now, I don’t see a direct path from still life drawings to embroidery, but maybe there will be some peripheral influence? And if not, the act of drawing feels like reward enough on its own. I’d forgotten how much I love art classes. A watercolor class I took years ago is still one of my favorite classroom experiences.
I finally finished one of my cat embroideries. I struggled with this one. For days on end I thought it just wasn’t going to work out. I believe that this project sets my personal record for stitches removed and colors changed.
All the orange diamonds make me happy.
And here’s the orange twin, awaiting its radiant glow. That out-of-focus photo of Emma is the inspiration for it all. She is 11 years old, and for 10 years I’ve been attempting to draw her tabby stripes and for 10 years I’ve been failing. Creative license is sometimes just an inability to draw one thing and substituting another.
So, the embroidered cat twins are fraternal, not identical. The first one, which I didn’t picture in the last post because it showed no signs of progress, now looks like this:
I removed the red thread that’d been around the fish bones, because it didn’t seem to go with anything else. Next I have to decide if I want to fill in all the diamonds, and I have to choose a color and stitch design for the hoodie. For the moment, I’m calling this the gray argyle twin.
I’ve been feeling marginally dissatisfied with the diamond background and decided I wanted to try something different for the orange cat. Maybe lines radiating from the center point of the embroidery. I asked my husband if he had a protractor and–what were the chances?–he said he’d happened to find one while he was out walking a few days ago. This must be fate.
But, as I started thinking about it, I realized I could execute my idea much easier on the computer. It took 5 minutes using the program Inkscape.
That’s my rough sketch on the right, the Inkscape rendering on the left, and the unused (but excellent) protractor on top.
And here are the lines traced onto my embroidery:
This is the orange radiant twin. Just by the names alone, this one is set up to lead a more exciting life.
But neither one is finished yet, and anything might change.
I feel like I’ve been working on my cat embroideries a lot, but have little new to show. I’ve done a lot of stitch-removal. Between my two cats, there have been three pink noses, and one green eye, none of which remain. I’m worried that I’m wearing out my fabric with trial and error.
This one has gained some orange though.
The other cat is unpictured because it was all one step forward and one step back which means it looks just the same as previously shown.