Archive for the ‘2015’ Category

Outward Bound

Monday, December 21st, 2015

Outward Bound for blog

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.


Positively Petite

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

Place des Arts evite

Just a little publicity for this upcoming event!

Wake Up

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

Wake Up - large

Hand embroidery and thread lint on hand-painted charmeuse, 3 x 4 inches. The wake is from a ferry to Vancouver Island.

I wanted the wake to be mostly matt in contrast to the shiny water on either side of it.  I first glued some thread lint (finely chopped thread) in a range of colours to the background.  This helps bulk it up a little above the surface of the water and gives it that frothy look.  Over this I couched some matt sewing threads in various shades, using thicker threads closer to the bottom of the picture to help with perspective.  It was quite tough pushing the needle through the thicker layer of lint, so this may be my first and last wake, at least for such a large seagoing vessel!

This piece and a few others will be on show at Positively Petite starting November 13 at Place des Arts, Coquitlam.






On a Sparkling Sea

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

On a Sparkling Sea - Medium

Ahoy there, mateys!  I’m just drenching you with all this water, I know.  The sparkling sea in question is the Strait of Georgia as viewed from White Rock, British Columbia.  This picture is 3 x 4 inches. The sky, mountains and distant sea are hand-painted on silk.  I started by pouring on a pale pink wash.  Then I added blue very gradually, with almost-dry silk paint.

The nearer water is hand-stitched in various Sulky blues.  I left a space for the boat (the hull is hand-painted ribbon) then once those pieces were glued in place I filled in the bits of leftover empty space with watery stitches.

This boat had more rigging than I have patience!  But let’s call it artistic license.  I used a regular sewing thread that split into individual fibres as thin as hair.

I suspect the little flash of red is a Canadian flag.


Sunday, September 13th, 2015

Vignette - originalThis picture is 2.25 x 3.25 inches, but the painted and stitched areas are smaller than that. The eagle-eyed among you will spot my almost invisible signature in the bottom left-hand corner.

Usually I do all sorts of colour tests and stitch-securing immediately off to the side of the piece, which I conceal behind the mat when framing. But I wanted to challenge myself to do a more “tidy” piece. The background trees, mountains and sky are painted, and the rest is hand-stitched. The boat hull is a piece of hand-painted ribbon.

I chose the name Vignette because of the way the picture fades in at the edges. But it seems that vignette is also the word for a boat licence in Europe. So, I’m making puns even without trying.

Reflective Moment

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015


Reflective Moment - master

I know, I keep being naughty and doing more and more waterscapes!

This one is 3.5 x 3.125 inches and depicts a heron in a river in White Rock, BC, having a reflective moment or probably just looking for some fish.  My husband did suggest the title Keep Your Heron but I said no.

Lately I’ve been representing water with stitching, but for this scene I wanted to paint the water and make the heron and the surface water bubbles stand out by embroidering them.

I used my wibble technique to paint the water.  Even though you’ll see a lot of vertical lines in the water (reflections of some trees we can’t see), they’ve been painted horizontally, with a zig-zag motion of the brush from side to side.  Wibbling is the technical term for this : )  Water demands a horizontal approach, or it will refuse to look like water.

The heron is stitched in regular sewing thread, in a mix of long and short stitches.  I tried to bulk out the body with an extra layer of stitches there.

A tricky aspect of stitching anything that stands alone like this, is that all the stitches have to begin and end behind the heron. Especially with the darker colors, if I anchored them off to the side of the piece, it would show through the silk.  The poor heron would look like it had faint lines springing out of it in all directions, like an airport flight path diagram or something.

And it was all looking a bit paint-by-numbers until I used an emery board to gently fuzz up the thread, which allows one color to blend into the next in a more realistic way.  I also used scissors to cut into threads sometimes to style as needed.

The bubbles are stitched in a shiny off-white thread.  For the larger bubbles I sometimes bulked them up with a stitch of regular white sewing thread underneath first.

More waterscapes are coming! It’s all the fault of White Rock.



Daily Mini Interview

Friday, August 7th, 2015

Become a miniac!  Read an article about my miniature landscapes and explore the Daily Mini site for interviews with other artists who work in miniature, and pictures that inspire.

Thank you Maarten Meerman (read about his amazing nano-sized creations here) for kindly passing on my name!

Into Silver Waters

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Into Silver Waters medium size 3.5 x 2.625 inches, hand embroidery on hand-painted charmeuse.

This is another view from aboard the ferry to Vancouver Island.  I did something I don’t usually do and painted a background behind the water. Perhaps it looks like sand, but in reality these were very smooth, glass-like areas of water.

I worked on some of this embroidery during Art Mart, a recent show in downtown Vancouver that was a joy to take part in.

There’ve been a lot of watery scenes lately.  I’m ready for some landscapes I think!

Near and Far

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

Near and Far3 x 4 inches, hand embroidery and some ribbon work on hand-painted silk.

I poured on a wash of the sky color first, then painted the mysterious distant island (somewhere off the west coast of Canada) over the top of that.  The original source was a photo taken on a grim, cloudy day, but I manipulated the colors until it looked like a summer day with a heat haze.  I had some thread in hot blues I’d been itching to use.

The “far” lighthouse is made from semi-transparent pieces of ribbon, hand-painted and glued very carefully to the background.  This is like trying to glue down a bunch of snowflakes and not my idea of a fun way to spend an hour, I have to say.  Then the headland is hand-stitched in various shades of regular sewing thread and in a much better temper.

The “near” depth marker is made from normal-thickness ribbon, hand-painted and glued on.  There are a few stitches in there for details that were too fine to work in ribbon.  Then lots of hand-stitching in Sulky embroidery thread for the water.

I hope it makes you feel summery.



Friday, April 24th, 2015

Lightfall smaller

5 x 6.25 inches.  Hand embroidery on hand-painted silk. Somewhere between Vancouver Island and the mainland.

Try as I might, I can’t take a photograph that looks like the original. In reality the reflection is vertical and everything more purple and less brown.

However, you can judge for yourself if you want because Lightfall will shortly be exhibited as part of May is Art Month (see my post about Upcoming shows below).

I’ve been working on this and lots of other pieces, but nothing else finished yet. And taking reference photos of all kinds of boats, and getting them on the computer and looking at them close up, and seeing that some sailors of those faraway boats were waving at me!  I hope they weren’t waving for help.

Probably some more watery scenes coming up.