A STILL LIFE IN THREAD

I am not sure what I love so much about fruit as art.

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I have always LOVED fruit. As a little kid I ate it like candy. I delighted in discovering new more exotic fruits, like kiwis and star fruit, when I could find them in our small town grocery store. The shapes, textures, colors and, of course, varying levels of sweetness have been a source of tremendous pleasure. A simple gift from nature, much in the way that flowers are.

It’s not surprising then, that I would want to create art from one of my favorite subjects! The colors are always unique to each individual piece of fruit which is why I could paint different apples, for example, over and over again. I love the way the light reflects off the apple leaving dots of bright white or the way the shadow outlines the bottom depending on the light source.

This is why I am enjoying taking one leap further and recreating the apple in thread.

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When I paint with watercolors, I try to find the lightest color to lay down first then I add colors from lightest to darkest, building up the foundation with each layer.

I started my embroidery by tracing the outline of the apple onto a piece of stick and washaway and then applying it to a piece of, in this case, linen fabric. I center that in a wooden embroidery hoop.

This is the stick -n- washaway that I like to use. It had an adhesive back so you can trace (or print from your home computer) your design then peel off the paper backing and stick the design onto your fabric of choice. When you are done stitching, you just rinse it off with warm water.

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I started with the yellow area and just made a whole bunch of straight stitches. I shifted colors where there were shadowed areas. Much like a rule I use in painting (Paint what you see, not what you think you see.) I tries to mimic exactly what I was seeing, not how my brain was interpreting the object as a whole. (It’s not an ‘apple’ but a mass of yellows, reds, goldens etc.)

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I just kept adding straight stitches mainly going vertically. I think the challenge is working with a limited color palette. It is so much easier to mix the exact paint color you want but harder to figure it out in thread. In areas where the colors met together I tried to over lap the stitches for a blending effect.

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Using my painting and photo reference I keep adding more rich layers of colors, finally adding the dots of reflected light, my FAVORITE part of any painting. I think it really brings the painting to life! I wonder how the look would change if my stitches were all horizontally oriented.

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All in total I used 16 colors to make this apple.

Next I moved onto something a little more challenging.

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All those little divots and tiny seeds!

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I created my painting.

I dug into this project without ever stopping to take progress shots! Sometimes the passion overtakes me and I just forget to stop what I am doing to take pictures. I started with the lighter red at the top of the strawberry. I then realized it would be easiest to fill in all the seeds rather than leave them empty and try to sew around them. The seeds had several different colors so that kept me busy for quite a while! Once the seeds were finished, I added the red background. There were shades of pink, crimson, coral, and orange. I just kept looking at the photo and painting for color and value reference.

I dug into this project without ever stopping to take progress shots! Sometimes the passion overtakes me and I just forget to stop what I am doing to take pictures. I started with the lighter red at the top of the strawberry. I then realized it would be easiest to fill in all the seeds rather than leave them empty and try to sew around them. The seeds had several different colors so that kept me busy for quite a while! Once the seeds were finished, I added the red background. There were shades of pink, crimson, coral, and orange. I just kept looking at the photo and painting for color and value reference.

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I used 13 colors total to make the strawberry.

A side by side.

A side by side.

Hope you enjoyed exploring this with me. I have an easy ruby red grapefruit to try next. This really is giving me the itch to try a portrait again! Maybe a pet first (?)

Thanks for stopping by! Would love to hear about any of your adventures in needle painting, Especially if you have picked up some fun tips along the way!

Warmly,

Pam