Peacocks in Magnolia Tree

Peacocks in Magnolia Tree
24" X 60" Alkyd and Gold Leaf on Board

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Needlepoint Stitching a Beautiful Hand Painted Peacock Needlepoint Canvas

Now this Peacock hand painted canvas is not completed yet, but you should know I work on multiple canvases at once.  I'm working on about ten or more at once, have a book beside me taking notes for stitch guides, and trying out different stitches on each canvas.  Why, so I can learn, and have time to make decisions when something doesn't work out.  I'm learning to stitch, but also learning how to paint a needlepoint canvas for stitching.  You all know I understand how to design and paint a painting. However, just as a design for a stained glass window is quite different  from a design for etched glass, so too a design for Needlepoint painting is different than just painting a canvas to frame and hang on the wall.  You need to design with more space around the main subject and the edge of the painted design so the stitcher can do a background stitch easily.  I don't believe stitching a needlepoint canvas should be vexing, trying, or simply piss you off.  Trying to count around the foreground and middle ground to execute the background is very irritating IF you have no clear space to set up the stitching for the background.  I now know to provide that space in the design.
This Peacock Canvas is large and complicated, but oddly I find it easy to stitch.  Sally London at Rainbow Gallery helped me pick out the threads I'm using, but I'm also using some Kreinik Braids, and DMC floss.  I love this canvas, and love the effects I can achieve.  Here is the 20" X 20" stretched Canvas hand painted on Zweigart 13 count canvas.
Blue and Gold Peacock Needlepoint Canvas  Designed and painted by Anne E. Shoemaker-Magdaleno
Copyright: HouseofChabrier Anne E. Shoemaker-Magdaleno 2011

I started stitching on the head, neck, and back, but also worked on the Peacock feathers around the edge.  Here is how I stitched the head and neck in a tent stitch.
I outlined the Head , neck, crest, and eye in black DMC cotton using a tent stitch.  I then used a very dark blue DMC cotton with a Very Fine Kreinik Braid in combination to stitch the neck and head feathers.  I then switched to pure Metallic Kreinik braid to get the gleam I wanted in the Neck..
I wanted to show how I leave spaces to fill with another color of thread.  This allows me to blend colors in advance, and not create an unwanted line between two shades of thread.
 The Gold outline for the back feathers is done in a
Kreinik Metallic Mediem #16 Gold Braid.  The lower Blue back feathers are outlined in a Deep Blue Kreinik Metallic #16 Braid
I used Rainbow Gallery Neon Rays N10 Cream color for the creamy beige portion of  the Peacock Eye Feathers, and I bought 6 packets of this ribbon, and I have used just about every packet and I have 7 more peacock feathers to go. I love stitching with this ribbon it goes down so evenly and beautifully.  It's very lovely to stitch with.  I also stitched the gold center of each peacock feather differently just for the fun of it.

The eye of the peacock is critical, and since I have painted many peacocks I wanted the eye to look the same as when I paint one.  I also wanted the beak to look natural so I stitched it in brown and beige DMC cotton.  

This is how the Peacock's head, beak, neck, back, and the Peacock feathers look nearly completed.  I add the gray blue shadow stitch to emphasize the gold feather stitching.  I used different colors of Rainbow Gallery Crystal Braid  in shades of crystal blue, pale green, and pale blue to make the feathers shimmer.  This canvas photo doesn't show the way I am stitching the outer feathers, but I will share that later.
 This is a close up of the head stitching.  You can see it's a simple tent stitch, very easy to do, as it the feather tufts on the Peacock crest which is stitched similar to how the crest looks in real life.
This shows the gold barbed wires that support the Peacock crest and allows him to raise and lower it to show his pleasure or displeasure.

Well dear readers I hope you enjoy this insight into my stitching of what looks like a complex canvas that is made easy by stitching one component at a time.  I have also a Venetian Mask in progress, and will share it with you soon.  Right now I'm almost finished with my small Hanimal Zebra drinking from a pool on the Serengeti, and also almost finished with a quite different Hanimal Peacock shaped a designed based on James Shanahan's hand.  Stitching should be fun, and if you love it and persevere you can accomplish so much.  
HAPPY NEW YEAR  to all my dear friends, family, extended families, and beloved readers.  May health, wealth, and prosperity be yours in the coming year!

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