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As the time for my portrait of Catherine approaches, I thought I would end my series with the history of how some of my portrait choices evolved. I hope a couple of illustrations will clarify the style I used for Elizabeth and even more so for Catherine.
Painting with a Needle
How many times have you heard the term 'painting with a needle'? Every time I hear it I groan, for it means yet again trying to make needlepoint into something it isn't..Poor needlepoint -- how would you like to spend your life trying to imitate something you aren't? Let needlepoint be needlepoint.
No matter what we choose to do with it, needlepoint is on a grid and the grid is always in evidence. Rather than trying endlessly to disguise the grid, let's take advantage of it, celebrate it and make it work for us. To my eye, that's what traditional needlepoint stitches and techniques do.
I would like to make a distinction between Painting with a Needle and Painterly Needlepoint. I see Painting with a Needle as attempts to disguise needlepoint so that it looks like a painting.
Conversely I see Painterly Needlepoint as using needlepoint's natural grid, geometric forms and traditional stitches to bring a little painterly quality to a design. I may borrow some painterly effects, but beginning to end, the effects come from my use of very traditional needlepoint stitches and techniques.
As an example, my Elizabeth has some painterly effects but she is unmistakably a piece of needlepoint. I say this because I did not try to disguise my traditional use of basic needlepoint techniques and stitches, nor did I try to disguise the dominance of the needlepoint grid.
As you will see in a few days, my portrait of Catherine is even more painterly but she is still unmistakably a piece of needlepoint.
Now I know, Cezanne never stitched, at least I don't think he did. But from him I learned so much about needlepoint. So much, as I have said repeatedly, that he revolutionized the way I approach needlepoint. Let me see if I can explain this in simple terms.
From Cezanne I learned how to do shading and create depth by blocks of color. Once I looked at this form of shading, I began to see how it could allow a graceful way of shading that lent itself to needlepoint's grid.
Look at the paintings on the left and I hope you will begin to understand. The top one is a traditional landscape painting. The one underneath is the way Cezanne painted a somewhat similar scene.
My Study Program
Of course I can't hope to approach the genius of Cezanne, but I could experiment with some of the techniques for working within needlepoint's traditions, and that's how my painterly needlepoint began to evolve.
It may seem far fetched at first, but my approach to so much of the stitching on Elizabeth evolved from my study of Cezanne; and even more so on Catherine. In short, I could not have made either portrait without Cezanne's help. Thank you, Cezanne. You made my portraits possible.
Lessons on Hiatus as Queendom Website Prepares for Catherine's Arrival
I had more lessons planned, but the days got away from me and it is almost time for Catherine's arrival. MacSoph reminded me that we have a lot of work to do in preparation for the arrival of the Empress.
This doesn't mark the end of my lessons; they're only on hiatus.
Soon it will be time for Catherine. Come on, MacSoph, we have busy days ahead!
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Is anyone ever Advanced? Advanced always implies to me someone who knows it all. Now I know some people who think they know it all, and likely you do too, but I know I don't know even a substantial amount of what there is to know.
Rather than think of myself as an Advanced Student, I think of myself as an Advancing Student. I learn a bit here, I figure out a bit there and the days move forward.
These lessons include some snippets of what I have learned and figured out, snippets that have helped me move more of the days forward.