Saturday, June 30, 2018

June Sunflower Theme Reveal

Over at Art Elements Sue had the pleasure of choosing June's theme. She chose sunflowers. How could anyone not want to participate, right? Sunflowers are so cheerful and downright sunny;-)
They have been depicted in paintings and other art forms for eons. I have some growing in my garden right now but they haven't bloomed yet.

I am currently doing the #100dayproject and I actually painted sunflowers back in May before Sue chose this theme. My goal when I started playing with watercolors while doing this project was to try and loosen up my painting style. I tend to get really picky and want to color 'inside the lines'. I try too hard to be realistic when all I want to do is paint loosely. I must be a control freak.

Anyway- here is the first sunflower, Day 42 back in May. Sketched with General's Sketch & Wash pencil then using Daler Rowney watercolors. I was actually looking at real live sunflowers when I did this. So I was definitely striving for realism but trying to keep it loose. Didn't work too well.

So I decided since the theme is sunflowers that I needed to re-visit painting sunflowers again. Here's the second attempt. I studied paintings with a loose style that I tried SO hard to emulate. Well, once again I ended up trying to tidy things up and made it more rigid than I wanted. I even did some washes around the flower and splatters of paint. I did use a better quality of watercolor paints-Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolors.
What I am finally realizing is...I need to develop my own style when I paint. I like the look of loose watery colors but I seem to like having some definitive lines. So here's my third attempt below. Again, I used the Winsor & Newton brand watercolors for the flower but used Daniel Smith's watercolor paint for the muted purple background.  I will keep trying to develop my own style when it comes to painting.
Okay, enough with the experimental painting and on to my comfort zone---stitching. I study and actually drool over some of the fabulous embroiderers on Instagram. I just love the landscape scenes I see. So I decided I needed to try a landscape with mountains in the background and sunflowers in the foreground.
This turned out so much better than I thought it would. I am now planning to do a full series of landscapes using some of my photos & my daughter's photos as reference. She lives in Colorado and has some phenomenal pictures of the mountains. She loves the mountains & sunflowers so this piece is being sent to Colorado once I sew a backing to it.
This final piece below is actually the first thing I started right after Sue announced the theme.
It is a needle case. I am forever losing needles, either down between the sofa cushions, on the floor, in my basket or container where I have various projects. I also have a huge variety of needles and wanted a nice tidy little place to keep them rather than a pin cushion.
I stitched the sunflowers with commercially dyed silk ribbon using felt as the base. I will have more process photos and a mini tutorial later in the month over at Art Elements. I will also share the various types of needles I use as well as my favorites. So watch for my next post over at AE.

Now, it's time to go visit all the guests and AE team members to see what they have created this month.
By the looks of all the sneak peeks on IG, there should be some fabulous sunflowers.
Thanks Sue!


Linda L.
Linda N.

Art Elements Team Members:



  1. Cathy you have been busy, lovely work, I especially like your embroidered hoop artwork

  2. I love your landscape embroidery - its absolutely stunning. The needlecase is a great idea as well with beautiful riboon embroidery on it. I feel that you have experimented with quite a few techniques for this reveal and they have all turned out nicely. Regarding the loose water colour paintings, you might want to experiment with spraying water on the paper's surface or dabbing water with cloth before you paint. You might get the outcome that you are looking for.

  3. You r landscape is stunning Cathy and I love the ribbon embroidery - my needle case is embroidered too and I'd be lost without it. Well done on sticking witht he 100 day challenge.

  4. Your embroidered landscape is gorgeous. It is jaw dropping. I think you should definitely do some more. I would love to have a pretty case for my needles like you made. Well done!

  5. The paintings are lovely, the needle case is beautiful, but that embroidery just blew me away. It's wonderful and I'd love to see more.

  6. Your paintings are lovely. I can empathize with wanting to have a loose style but not being able to loosen up. I don't know how to paint, but I suspect I would struggle because I want "realistic" details even as I admire more organic or abstract works. Your landscape is amazing. It has so much depth and detail. And the needle case is adorable.

  7. Cathy you are so crazy creative! I love your paintings but the best one IS the one with your own style (the third one) - it's gorgeous! And the stitching is beautiful. AND I love the needlecase - I know what you mean about losing needles - I have a freak that someone is going to step on one!

  8. I can not even....with that embroidered landscape...seriously!?!?! I loved even the little bits in the sneak peeks you shared. I've been dying to see the whole thing. You did not disappoint. It is FANTASTIC!
    How big is the finished hoop? (I love that it's oval rather than round as well)

    The use of the ribbon for stitching the needle case is pure genius!! I recently bought myself a needle book from a shop on Etsy because I started an EEP quilt last fall and little needles get lost SO easily in this house. Your needle keeper is more lovely by far. Great work!

  9. I am in awe about your stitched landscape! Yes, make more! It is simply perfect in texture, shape, colour, design.... (I could go on and on) Just... wow!

    I love the needlecase and I made several in the past as presents (although I painted them with textile paint) and even one for myself. It is the first wonky test piece still me learning but it is still with me!

    Your paintings are lovely, especially the last one. How about a compromise? Use a thin pencil for the lines that you won't see anymore if it is covered in paint or you can remove afterwards and see if you like this? But I am also always fighting between control and flow because I respect perfect water colour pieces (often so realistic) but I don't have any urge to own them or create them myself. But then I see a rather flowing water colour piece, a mixture of flowing and figural, and it speaks to me emotionally! But I do enjoy the learning process (most of the times) :)

  10. The needle case is just adorable. I love it. I have been wanting to test the waters in watercolors so much to the point of buying some paints and a good brush and attempting. Lets just say I need a lot of practice. I love all your creations.. Have a great weekend.

  11. Your landscape is super gorgeous, and the needlecase has turned out beautiful! I've always admired your stitching.
    And I like that you've decided to develop your own style of painting - I think that makes for so much more creative freedom in experimenting slowly on pushing boundaries, and arriving at a compromise that works for you.

  12. Thank you everyone! I really enjoyed working on the embroidered landscape piece. Thanks to Sue for choosing this theme.

  13. Wow... love all of your designs, the paintings, the needle case, and the embroidery (my favourite)... all stunning!

  14. I am totally in love with your stitched piece, the design, the colour and just how beautiful it is, just beyond beautiful!!!! I can't wait to see more like this!

  15. Great embroidery!I especially like the needle case.

  16. Ok, Ok, I'm sure you're tired of me fawning over your different mediums and unfathomable talent but I must, must, must do it again. :)))
    Your landscape stitching is awesome! The texture is amazing! And the small detail of the sunflower stalks is like 3D! Or maybe it's my eyes, but I don't think so. I can actually see the perspective of the 'photo' taken at approximately 45 degrees and want to go behind to see what's on the other side. Just unreal. No kidding.
    Là Voilà ....

  17. I love that you tackled this challenge in 3 different ways. I like your 3rd painting best - can't argue with your true inner voice coming through. The landscape just blows me away. So detailed, with such depth of field and vibrancy. The needle case is sweet too. Wonderful.

  18. I am the same with painting, I love the idea of loose and free washes in watercolour but I 'have' to have the illustrative black outlines which I love. Your paintings are fabulous but that embroidered piece really blew me away!!

  19. I love your watercolors experiments. Its a fickle medium! Keep playing. But the landscape? SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. That is insane. Stunning. Wow. You rock.

  20. your stitching is beautiful! Silk ribbon embroidery is perfect for sunflowers.

  21. That landscape is sooo amazing! I'm in love with what you created and I'm sure your daughter will cherish it.

  22. The paintings are whimsical, and the stitched project is simply marvelous! It really looks like you could step right into it. WOW!


Wishing you peace, love & chocolate!

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