A quick note, as I promised in the last post about thread painting
, I will give a few tips for shading your thread painting.
Here’s some quick things to keep in mind. Decide which direction
the sunlight is coming from. Then the shadows will be on the backside and undersides of everything. They will need to be darker by at least several shades on the color wheel
. This will probably be dictated by the thread you have. You’ll start to look for shades in gradient colors
next time you thread shop. You’ll want a light, medium and dark shade
for many colors you use a lot.
Maderia Rayon 30 wt. is my favorite by far, the colors are bright, intense and stand out or show up beautifully. I can’t explain why they look so much better, but they do, other 30 weights don’t show as distinctly. They melt into a fabric more, and if you are quilting an heirloom quilt this is a plus, silk for example is wonderful for that. But on an art quilt
, bold color is usually what you want,
The Maderia 30 wt is good for thread painting, is strong, holds up, and doesn’t break all the time, like many others. You’ll need to use a 90 embroidery needle and get the tension right first, but with those things in mind you are ready. Maderia has zillions of colors too.
Frieda Anderson caries some of it on her web site, she uses it on her quilts. Frieda was the reason I first tried it. Her quilts radiate wonderful brilliant color [I love them so] so the thread needs to hold it’s own with that kind of “competition” so to speak.[ Her interview is in my archives and website as well.]
The shading is achieved by using 2 or 3 threads. On a plant with the sun shining from the left direction, there would first be a light edge on the side the sun is shining from, don’t just stitch up and down the stalk.
Notice the direction that the sun is shining from, use these observations in your work.
Notice also, the way the direction of the stitches, side to side with a slight roundness to give the illusion of a round stem. Kind of like a very flattened U. Then there is a medium shade in the center of the stem, again rounded. Finally your darkest shade on the right side, rounded too. See how the illusion of depth is created?
A few tips, start your thread painting with the medium shade so it will be covered a bit with the overlap of the 2 other colors. Then apply the light and dark shades. You want to made it appear blended.
Tip-2 you can use 2 colors instead of 3, if need be, it will create the same illusion.
tip 3-be more observant of what you see around you, take note of what you see. Notice the play of light on objects, how it looks and changes with the time of day. Notice how the shape of the shading on different objects effect the way they look. Notice these things more and try to apply them.
tip 4-rounded flattened U shapes create roundness on object. Also if thread painting an apple, the edges will be darker shaded, especially on the very edge and gradient change color getting lighter
as you get closer to the the center. The center area should be the lightest colored, maybe a little sized area like a ball or so. Or a few slightly rounded vertical lines, dark color recedes, light colors seems closer. So a rounded shape results, voila! Now if one side is in more in the shade, make your dark side extent closer the the center, rounding it, remember? This is where you observations of how light looks as it plays on different objects, is going help you.
You may notice how light and shadow may create shapes of white, like rounded rectangles with one side slightly shorter, to imitate light play on a ball, the edges will be darkest, gradually changing color lighter and lighter, until you reach the center, where the lightest color should be. Shapes may emerge from the play of light and shadow, perhaps the shade will look like jagged
edges towards the center, that have that sort of rounded U shape.
4- the underside will be darker, as on leaves and so on. They will often cast a shadow of their own. So makes the area under them a little darker too.I hope that you can see this on the above sunflower, it adds realism and life. The images are no longer just flat lifeless objects, but have depth.
5- Try these exercises with water color paints first, to get the feel of blending and shading light on objests.This is going to shock you, what a difference it makes and you did it!
It will be easier and blend better, to create the way things actually look. Do that a lot, it will improve your abilities a gigantic amount, please believe me, You’re thread painting aren’t you? So try the painting part first.
So that is the end of my little series of tutorials on threadpainting.