Fighting the January Blues

Fighting the winter blues is always a bit of a challenge, but when it’s so cold, the daylight is grey, at best and I am recovering from flu it’s more difficult than usual.

Inspiration and preparation

Painted backgrounds and threads ready to start stitching

I decided the antidote to potential misery was colourful embroideries! I had a few pieces in progress and decided to look at the most sunny and colourful to work on and found these flower based ideas.

Embroidered Lavender

Close up studies of lavender

I happily stitched and completed each background, enjoying the process after my trip to Aus and NZ which always means an enforced break from my own work.

Welsh Poppies from my garden

Welsh Poppies from my garden

It seemed to work and feeling enthused I trawled through all my photos from my recent trip to Australia and NZ to revisit all those blue skies and summer colour. I found a series of images from a beautiful rhododendron garden we stumbled across in the Blue Mountains. 2 of them immediately attracted me and seemed obvious choices for new work.

Sunlit Rhododendrons

Completed embroidery on the “Sunlight and Shadows” theme

They were just what I needed, colourful and vibrant to lift my spirits. Painting with bright colours and selecting lovely pinks, reds and bright blue threads to work with was already firing up my enthusiasm. I thought a series would be a good idea, thinking about my display at Chelsea in May (planning ahead!) and I remembered had taken some photographs of my own garden when the rhododendrons and blue ceonothus was in flower. So then I had 3 images to play around with and I wanted them to work together. Looking at the compositions and overall size was a good starting point.

Photographs of my garden and silk painted background

Photographs of my garden and silk painted background

Sketches followed, lots of standing back, looking, thinking and drinking tea! Finally a commitment was made on each piece and I could draw each one on to the silk and paint the background colours.

Painted background of the rhododendrons

Painted background of the rhododendrons

As usual some pre arranged teaching popped up in my schedule and an enforced break from my own work came along. It’s never a bad thing, I like the space between the processes, it gives me thinking time, stops me rushing in, too eager to finish a piece without due consideration.

So at this stage I have 3 backgrounds ready to stitch when I can get back into my studio! In the meantime winter is slipping by and the snowdrops are looking pretty outside my window. Daffodils will be next, hurry up spring!