painting with threads

Breath and Beyond

“Breath and Beyond” 12" x 12" acrylic, cloth, threads, and paper on canvas.

“Breath and Beyond” 12" x 12" acrylic, cloth, threads, and paper on canvas.

“Breath and Beyond” was the first painting I worked on and completed after returning from packing up my parent’s home. (We were getting it ready for sale.) Although I returned with several new projects in mind, I decided to get busy with the raw canvas I had prepared before leaving. My first goal was to create a thread filled environment in which to paint.

“Breath and Beyond” in process.

“Breath and Beyond” in process.

I began by sewing lines of stitches in something of a checkerboard pattern, leaving loose threads at the ends of each line. I had already cut five squares into the cloth before the trip.

“Breath and Beyond” didn’t develop as I had originally envisioned. So, I let go, allowing the process to lead me, and I was able to enjoy every step along the way.

I kept adding color, then some text, and then more color. The background canvas became a deep brownish mauve to peek through the openings in the cloth.

The text in the painting is the mantra, So Hum, meaning: "I Am That." It is used in meditation as one focuses on their breath.

“Breath and Beyond” in process.

“Breath and Beyond” in process.

I always have a title in mind by the time a painting is complete… but not this time. The painting had journeyed so far from the original idea and I felt like I was just along for the ride, not knowing where we were going. I had to brainstorm ideas for a name.

When the title, “Breath and Beyond” came to mind, I knew it was right. I could see how the painted cloth had become a tapestry OR a tapestry of life. I had chosen a mantra that represents the breath OR breath of life. And the cutouts had become windows to the beyond.

Breath and Beyond is available for purchase, here.

“Breath and Beyond” in process. Sewing the painted cloth to the back canvas.

“Breath and Beyond” in process. Sewing the painted cloth to the back canvas.

Small Bites

Small Bites 12" x 12" acrylic and cloth on canvas.

Small Bites 12" x 12" acrylic and cloth on canvas.

A dream became the inspiration for Small Bites… an original painting that is now part of my Canvas on Canvas series. First I prepared the piece of raw canvas by fraying the edges and cutting out holes in the cloth. I attached it to the stretched canvas and then it was time to take out the acrylics and brushes and choose some colors.

Small Bites in process. Choosing the color palette.

Small Bites in process. Choosing the color palette.

Choosing the color palette:

I only had a vague idea of the colors I would use. So, I began with one of my favorite starter color palettes: yellow oxide, titanium white, and Payne’s grey. (Oh, but since I have very little Payne's grey around, I'm using ivory black.) I love the way these colors mix together!

Now I had to choose the rest of the colors. I have a small collection of color cards that I’ve created and add to from time to time. I find it very helpful in choosing a color palette when I don't have one immediately in mind. I went back and forth on different color ideas for this one.

It took me a while to get comfortable with the reds I had chosen, but I really like the idea of stretching my “color comfort zone.” And by the time I was finished, I had grown much more comfortable with the reds in this color palette. (0f course, I did soften the intensity of the color, somewhat.)

Small Bites is available for purchase, here.

Painting with the Kaddish

"Kaddish 1" 12" x 12" acrylic, paper, string, and cloth on canvas.

"Kaddish 1" 12" x 12" acrylic, paper, string, and cloth on canvas.

With the recent loss of my parents, it seemed the perfect time to create a painting with a focus on the Kaddish, a Hebrew prayer often referred to as the Mourner’s Kaddish. I have always loved the flow of rhythmic sounds as these Hebrew words are recited aloud, particularly in a group. There is a cadence to these sounds that becomes a shared journey.

Text strips prepared for “Kaddish 1”

Text strips prepared for “Kaddish 1”

First, I spent a day preparing strips of canvas cloth for the lines of text I would be using in the painting. I probably created enough strips to produce multiple paintings. Hence, the name Kaddish 1.

Detail of “Kaddish 1”

Detail of “Kaddish 1”

While working on Kaddish 1, I never had a clear vision of where it was going. The painting seemed to keep showing me what my next steps were in it’s development. It took some time before the design layout for the text strips became clear. You might be able to see how the strips are not laying flat, but each one has an area which is raised up (image down below). And… I have to say, I became quite jazzed at the idea of adding the three lines of text to the left side of the background canvas, after placing single rows of text on the other three sides.

For now, this painting will remain with me and won’t be available for purchase. But I do plan to do more like it.

Detail of “Kaddish 1”

Detail of “Kaddish 1”