Sunday, July 18, 2010

Designing the Painted Canvas: Adapting Celadon

I had resolved about five years ago, when my son once again asked, to finish this canvas for him for his impending birthday - but, once again, put it away without doing it. I found it in one of the deep layers of a box I was investigating a few days ago (his birthday has just now passed again), and actually found the threads for it as well. It's much farther along than I remembered, so is actually "doable."

This picture is upside down, but I only just now noticed it. It's so busy, it doesn't really matter for this purpose, except that the pomegranites in the center look rather strange. (symbol of fertility).

Anyway, about 14 years ago, he gave me for Christmas a wonderful collection of antique porcelains to jump start a new design venture for me. This gorgeous Chinese Celadon bowl, dated ca.1820, was in it.

As he is the only one of my six children who loves my work and understands it, I gave him the choice of one that I would stitch for framing for his office. He chose this one, so I have kept the bowl as well to surprise him. I had apparently almost finished it when he started his own law firm with his two law school roommates - and I didn't think this one would do for the new office, so put it down for a while. A very long while. Oh dear.
The pomegranites I chose for the center of the canvas in this adaptation were inside the bowl in the center. A beautiful detail! the black spots are flaws in the glaze.

I took the main part of the canvas design from the outside of the bowl.

The next picture shows the butterfly - which is the symbol of bliss and fidelity for marriage. I think maybe this bowl was intended for a wedding present/blessing, as it also has the "coins" for prosperity.

I was looking at this last night, and amazed at the fact that pre-digital camera/computer, color copier, etc. for over 35 years I did everything totally freehand. I'm not really sure now that I could start from scratch with a piece like this bowl and make it look right. I have become lazy and spoiled, and I think it's ruined my drawing skills. Hand/eye coordination isn't what it used to be. Oh well. Time marches on.

The next picture shows the center of the canvas mostly stitched - still upside down. It's amazing how the stitching brings a canvas to life.

This canvas is done entirely in basketweave, as it's way too busy for any other kind of stitch.

The first "coin" picture shows it not yet finished, as I haven't done the outline yet. Fortunately, although most of the outline was already done on this canvas, I hadn't worked but a tiny bit of one of the coins in gold. I had to take it out, as it was way pre-002Vintage gold, and entirely too shiny and bright. The V braid (#12) is perfect - has just the right "gleam" of gold Again - notice how the stitching fills up the canvas and brings it to life.

This used to be the wonder of stitching the painted canvas! Also, as a designer, we were always aware of what we called "entertainment value." That is, a good balance between design for challenge, and background for relaxation and rather mindless stitching. I never liked outlining, but my sister did. She hated backgrounds, but I preferred them. I had four more children than she did, so needed more decopression and nerve steadying..

Doing outlining was an exercise in self-discipline for me. Thank goodness I had already done this part of this canvas when I put it away.
The last picture is one segment with a butterly - almost finished with background, etc. Again, it's amazing how a painted canvas comes to life with the stitching - this is what keeps us going just a little bit farther.

My reward now today will be to stitch more on Joe's Celadon AFTER I finish my painting that has to be done. He's on vacation now on Cape Cod - and will be very pleased and surprised when he gets back - assuming he'll be gone his usual two or three weeks.


Anne Stradal said...

What an incredibly beautiful thing!

Anonymous said...

This is stunning!! Your son will be thrilled when he returns from vacation. Keep stitching - you need to get this finished.

Cool City Stitcher said...

This is exquisite.. and to think that you drew it free-hand. I love that you stitched it all in basketweave and outlined it so beautifully. What a lovely gift!

Rachel said...

This is delightful. And I think you would find that the freehand drawing would come back quite quickly if you needed it to!