A few weeks ago I used some heavy structure gel in one of my paintings to give it an impasto look. However I found that from certain angles it reflected light a lot more than the acrylic paint on its own and therefore changed the colour of the painting.
So this week I decided to do a test painting and then varnish it with a Matt varnish to see if I liked the results.
The middle of the painting that looks impasto is done with acrylic and structure gel, the smooth parts are just plain acrylic paint.
Before varnish side on
I used one coat of Matt Liquitex varnish to see what the effect would be.
At the end of the day I think that I prefer it before/without varnish. I think that although the Matt varnish has homogenised the painting I think that it looks more muted and has lost a lot of definition from varnishing.
I don’t think that I will be varnishing my paintings in future. 🙂
Hope that you have been having a lovely crafty weekend.
Welcome to the first installment of my Victorian Crafting Series working with Cassell’s Compendium of Victorian Crafts.
Morag and I decided to start off with the Monograms and Cyphers because we anticipated that it would be a relatively quick one and also because it would give us something to use as a cohesive image throughout the posts.
Let’s celebrate! I didn’t leave it too long between posts this time. Haha. Anyway today’s post follows on from my last post. My last post was about how inspired I was by an historiacal embroidery exhibition I went to and what I learned about directionality in their cross stitch. The exhibition is the Scottish Embroidered Stories. Today I am going to cover my attempts at doing reversible cross stitch.
So I have not actually done my final piece yet as I have a whole lot of other projects I need to finish first. But I decided to make a little practice sampler to practice the different techniques I found in my internet searches. I decided to add my name and the date because I have a sampler which we belive to be my great grandmothers but we are not 100% sure. She probably didn’t add her name and date because it appears to be a practice sampler from when she was learning to embroider. She probably thought it would be thrown out eventually. But in today’s age where these sort of skills are not altogether common anymore I wouldn’t dream of throwing it out and I think that it is precious. I have blurred out my surname for safety’s sake but i want to note that I chose to use my maiden name because one of the interesting things about the exhibition we saw was that at that point in history and in Those locations of Scotland women kept their maiden names when they married. This makes tracing the genealogy of the samplers much easier.
I have also included this as a way to show what the back of cross stitch usually looks like. They are straight likes instead of crosses and you have to look hard to make out what shapes they are.
Next I practiced some different techniques which I found online.
The first one I did, starting at the top, is called alternating cross stitch. You can find the tutorial I used here.
The next one I am not sure if it has a name other than reversible cross stitch but it is made differently to the alternating stitch. You can find the tutorial here. I did not like this stitch as I felt the method used produced stitches which look uneven.
The third one is not really a cross stitch but it is a reversible variation of a stitch often used to accompany cross stitch, that is the back stitch. This version of the back stitch is called the Holbein Stitch, it is apparently named after the painter. You can find the tutorial here.
the last stitch I tried was the Italian cross stitch. The tutorial is here. This method produces a cross which was a box around it. The effect is that you get a very dense square with almost no material showing through.
The last bit in this picture was a practice of using the 3 methods I liked. I used the italian cross stitch for the crosses I used the Holbein stitch for the back stitch part. And I used alternating cross stitch for the diamond shape in the middle.
I then decided to practice a full motif. I chose a simple shamrock for this. My plan for the final piece is to only work in 2 colours which is closer to what the historical samplers I saw did. They relied more on patterns and less on colours. Many modern day cross stitch pieces are more like pictures done in paint by numbers.
I am really happy with how this turned out. The back is almost perfect in my opinion, the only problem is that it is slightly lumpy where I have woven in the ends but I am not really sure how to get around that.
Lastly here is a little bonus piece I tried and abandoned. The samplers I saw at the exhibition were all done on even weave fabric as Aida fabric (what I used above) was only invented in 1986. So I prepared a little rectangle of even weave fabric that I had and I even hemmed it by hand. I don’t know why but I always seem to go overboard with my projects. This was also going to be the shamrock design but I ended up abandoning it as it was really straining my eyes to see and count the threads. Half of me felt like I was giving up and that I should push my self harder. But thankfully the rational side of me said that if I ruin my eyes doing tiny stitches on tiny weave fabric I won’t even be able to do normal sized cross stitch on aida fabric.
And there you have it, that is the end of my experiments with reversible cross stitch. I will definitely be trying this again with the final piece that I have planned but as I said before I don’t know when that will be.
I hope that you enjoyed this and found it interesting if you are trying something similar.