Dunstanburgh View project in pictures

You will have gathered from the build up that I was not sure how I would get on with canvas work.  in the event, it turned out to be a very surprising genre for several reasons.  Firstly, the amount of time it took was astronomical.  I am not a fast worker at the best of times, but canvas stitches took the biscuit.  It was a little bit like an oil painting, in that all of the colours and textures had to be created with threads and fibres.  I used stranded cottons, coton a broder, rayon embroidery thread, twisted silk, floss silk, braided silk, and crewel wool in various colours and combinations to try to replicate the textures and colours in the picture.  As this is a favourite spot of ours, I was very familiar with the place, which almost paralysed me… It was as if I could not bring myself to approximate anything, my perfectionism was in full swing.  And with canvas work, perfectionism is not necessarily a good thing.  Really good canvas work is about finding the essence and suggesting detail in texture, but my imagination was half ‘on location’, on the cliff top, listening to kittiwakes and skylarks and watching the sea pinks toss in the breeze.  A little more detatchment would have been liberating.  The second thing about canvas work that surprised me was actually how much depth and movement could be dragged (sometimes kicking and screaming) from a two dimensional grid.  The last thing that surprised me was my reaction to the piece.  I usually fall in love with any given discipline as I work, but I never fell in love with this.  It was a struggle.  and at the end, when I would normally mourn the passing of a project, I just felt relief.  I wasn’t sure if I liked the finished piece even.  But strangely enough, a few months down the line, I looked at it agin before handing it in, and suddenly bonded with it in a way I hadn’t whilst I was working.  I think it achieved its aim – to place the viewer into the landscape.  Can you hear the kittiwakes?  I hope so!


PS – The ninja.  As I nearly finished (and possibly was getting slightly hysterical) a boulder and two thrift flowers suddenly looked like a ninja hiding behind a bush.  once seen, cannot be unseen!