Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It started with a question about clouds.

I love looking at clouds and I love learning what comes together to make them form in the myriad ways they do.
So I was delighted to get this question sent on the week-end on The Welcome Mat.

Help! I am struggling with how to hook the clouds/sky in this feedsack. I am working with #3 and #4 cuts. Had half the clouds done and ripped them all out as once I started to hook the background sky it all looked stilted and horrible. The colors you see are printed on the sack itself and not the wool I am working with.

Saw someplace on TWM where Wanda had talked about hooking couds with dip dyed wool ranging from blues toward bluish whites...but I didn't understand how that could be done. When I first tried these, I hooked around the edges of the clouds and then filled in with hooked shadowing beneath (i.e. following the outline shape). Then tried horizontally hooking casseroled dyed wool for the background sky that had mottled blues, whites, pinks. It looked terrible. NEED help! All suggestions welcome! (PS: At this time, do not plan to hook the snow on the mountain peaks beneath the skyline. Unless, of course, TWM members advise otherwise!) Thanks to all in advance for your help.

Dear Friend:

I'm pretty sure I don't advocate the use of dip dyes to create isolated clouds in skies. I think I'd rather shoot myself than say that. Though I once did paint clouds onto a dip dyed piece of wool, this way the sky and clouds get hooked in by simply keeping the wool in the order you cut it by taping it down.

Keep it simple as per your feedsack.

You might want to alter your sky to be lighter on the bottom and brighter on the top.

Here are some visuals if you want a more realistic portrayal. You need grays on the bottoms of the clouds to ground them in the atmosphere. I vote for the snow- more dramatic this way, a tension is built between hot desert and cool mountaintop aside from the physical height.

Hope this helps.

Thanks, Wanda! Still more questions though. Do I hook the clouds in horizontal rows or do I shadow hook their shape outlines? Oh, yes! The visuals really help with seeing what the grays do and how the sky is brighter at the top than on the horizon! Amazing what we miss until someone else brings it to our attention.

Dear Friend,

You might be surprised to hear I don't give two hoots for so called directional hooking. We make way too much of it and it sometime detracts from what we want to accomplish.

So the clouds are puffy, what kind of line will help them look that way? I think you might know already... and I want to hear what you think....


My guess would be circular, but I really don't know. I wish I did! I find it interesting that you don't believe in directional hooking. Isn't that the 'mantra' of McGown teachers and all those doing fine shading in florals/fruits??? This is a totally new idea for me! got me thinking about those shapes...went back and looked at photos. The lines I see there (I think) are flattened elongated S's that are on their sides...if that makes sense.

However, I am remembering also what you wrote about how often we see what we believe rather than believing what we see. That statement in itself could lead to some extremely interesting spiritual/philosophical discussions re: realities.

Dear Friend,

I think your observations of elongated s are good, I'd probably try long tailed Cs

Yes you can fall right into a big old Zen trap.

But when I talk about doing what's there I mean that literally, like in the right brain way and don't try to make too much sense of it with your rational brain. Your brain wants to tell you, those are lips so they better be bowed and they better look shiny when your visual might tell you they are flat thin lips that only show up on one side and then disappear.

I hope that explains what I mean.

You know that I'm a McGown teacher and we aren't all cut from the same thought or practise cloth! LOL!

No matter the source always ask your questions. That's how you'll know the answers, the best ones for you.

Oh Boy! That makes total sense...My mind said circular, my eyes saw elongated S's on their sides and you recommend trying long-tailed C's...kind of a blend of the circular and the S waves. Imagine that! Going back again to look at the photos, I know what was wrong before! Wish I hadn't ripped it all out, as parts of it were "right"...i.e. the pale gray/green at the base of the clouds I had hooked. My mistake was in where the clouds hit the mountains...which I had hooked directionally on a sort of it ended up looking like a melting ice-cream cone rather than a cloud! The base of the cloud needs to be more horizontal I believe. Thank you, thank you! The best part has been to begin to change my way of thinking and seeing, rather than just the specifics about clouds! What a wonderful thing to be able to activate in another person! I am SO glad I was led to TWM...have recently added listening to a section in The Music each morning as well as all the other exploring I am doing! I am not a 'lurker in the weeds!' Cheerio!

Isn't that great? This is the best kind of learning, the kind you discover for yourself.

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