Project Three – Coloured Stitches and Pointillism

For stage five, I chose to work red and blue stitches on black fabric. It was interesting to see how the depth of each colour changed depending on the proportions used in relation to the background as well as each other and the direction in which the stitches were worked. The red and blue both appeared brighter when small spots of red were worked on a blue background. The blue appears more purple and the red richer in the reversed arrangement. Again,  have worked a quite formal sampler, but am pleased with the final piece.

Since starting this project, I have been looking at the impressionists, especially pointillism (Seurat) and fauvism (Matisse). As well as reading, I watched a really interesting documentary on Seurat (The Private Life of a Masterpiece, BBC). The idea makes sense that allowing the eye to do the mixing, the colours appear more luminous as you are seeing the fluorescent halo around each colour. I have found that this works when two colours are used, but once further colours are added the resulting combinations can look rather muddy at a distance. It is interesting looking at works by Matisse, where relatively large areas of white are left between the marks, and Seurat where there is dense packing of marks and underpainting to block out main shapes in the composition. In researching Seurats work, I have been bowled over by his conte sketches and the light and shade in them. In my colour skechbook I have tried out a couple of ideas. Here I have worked a section based on a Seurat painting. I then used ink and cotton buds to experiment with mixing colours myself.

I worked my first french knots sample on blue again, looking at matt versus metallic threads, mixing primaries and adding in a secondary colour. Red dots made the blue appear more violet, yellow brought out an olive hue, and adding a third colour dulled the background in keeping with my previous observations. The image below is strobing a little on the screen but looks better viewed full size.

I then moved onto mixing pastel shades, first moving hrough each colour in turn, then viewing one, two, then three colours intermixed.

For the final part of this stage I thought I would use a sketch that I had made of my bathroom window. It was one of the only pastel sketches I had done, and I thought it made sense to use a sketch of light rather than an object to demonstrate pointillism, which to me seems is all about perception of light.

My first sketch was quite literal, and following receiving comments on my first assignment, I took advice and thought about making some more expressive images and using different media. (I was really pleased with my first report by the way!)

I worked a series of paintings as below and felt I captured the properties I wanted to.

In the end though, for this exercise I felt the initial painting was most interesting for development. I started by selecting an area to work on, and chose the shape I did to emphasise the movement of the light and graduation of one colour to the next through the piece. I then repainted a sketch of the area in the pastels I would use. The main idea is to move from blue to yellow, and I have used the pink for shade, using the idea that a third colour tends make the resulting mix appear less vibrant. I am working the final embroidery from this rather than the pencil dotty drawing as I want to have a less uniform distribution of knots and be a bit free in my interpretation as I work the piece. It’s not quite finished yet, so photos next post.


2 comments on “Project Three – Coloured Stitches and Pointillism

  1. Jackie says:

    This is a really nice page, well thought out and some interesting work.
    I like the stitch sampler at the top – especially the long lines of stitching with the chain stitches dotted over the top.
    I’m just nearing the end of this project…. will we ever get to the end of the assignment?


  2. Sarah Bayly says:

    Love your window work. Really like the way you choose something patterned to sketch, rather than a recognisable object.

    … I have some beautiful glass doors like that, which I keep intended to do a fabric rubbing from, using Markel Sticks.

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