4.5 x 6 inches, hand embroidery on hand-painted silk. This is a trawler heading out somewhere between Vancouver Island and the mainland.
In a rare episode of forward planning, I took photos while work was in progress!
I paint while it’s stretched in a hoop. Embroidery is usually seen stretched in a hoop like the skin on a drum, but I stretch it so that the picture faces me from inside the hoop. It’s like looking inside a drum and seeing the skin at the bottom. This is so that I can place white paper directly underneath and see the true colour I’m painting, because this is how it will appear as a finished picture.
You may be able to make out faint vertical lines in the paint at the top of the sky. That’s not on the silk, just the ridges on the paper underneath the silk showing through.
You can see I underpainted the water a bit. I then ironed that to seal it before beginning any embroidery.
Also, you can see all my messy testing of paint colour around the edges. These are my practice swings–I like to see the exact colour and wetness of the paint before I touch the “on stage” part of the picture, because it changes moment to moment.
Above, a further stage. I’ve begun sewing even though the sky isn’t finished yet. I wanted to see how my thread colours would look. In addition to off-stage paint scribblings, there is now off-stage thread securing.
Almost finished. I’ve ironed the sky part by now, to seal the paint. When ironing these seascapes I’m careful not to touch the embroidered part. I use a Sulky rayon which splits nicely into two wavy strands, which look like water already. Ironing them would flatten out the waviness, and I don’t want that.
Also, you can probably make out the horizontal line at the bottom of the hoop, which is the bottom edge of my white paper. You can see the difference it makes.
If you’re wondering why the picture isn’t centered in the hoop, it’s because before I start I always look for a nice clear, slub-free area of silk for any sky areas, and I must have found it at the top. The part that ends up covered with thread doesn’t matter.