The last time we looked at the Secret Garden Hummingbirds, I proposed a little color controversy, polling you all for your opinion on adding red to the second hummingbird.
Many good points came from that conversation as you chipped in with good advice, approval, or disapproval! And a couple questions arose, too, two of which I’ll clear up today while showing you a wee bit more embroidery progress on the birds.
If you click on the above photos, you’ll be able to view the embroidered hummingbirds much larger. Viewing them small, though, as the picture looks on the website, will give you an idea of what the whole embroidery looks like, if you were standing a little distance from the piece, as opposed to viewing it with your face up close to it.
When I’m trying to get a sense of color balance or color placement or whether or not a particular color is actually going to work on in a particular setting on a piece of embroidery, I do two things.
The first thing I do is back up. When I stitch, my face is often within ten or twelve inches of my needlework. If you happen to use a magnifier when stitching (which I haven’t found necessary on this piece, but on some pieces, I do use one, if the stitching is particularly fine or detailed), then the importance of backing up is more pronounced. You get a better sense of the whole picture if you move back a bit from it.
The second thing I do? I squint. I don’t know if it’s a very professional thing to do – to look at your work through the blur created by squinting – but I find it helps me see colors only, without necessarily seeing the detailed picture. It gives me an idea of the colors and where they are and what’s around them, without having to concentrate on seeing the details of the setting.
By stepping back and by squinting, I get a better idea of color placement and color balance.
So, back to the two questions I want to clear up regarding the second hummingbird.
The first is the notion that the whole bird on the right will be worked in reds. This isn’t the case. The whole bird will be worked just like the bird on the left, but everywhere you see purple on the left, you’ll see reds / corals on the right.
The second is the notion that the piece will end up unbalanced because the red bird is overshadowed by the large red flower and the purple bird is overshadowed by the large purple flower.
Maybe, if I had thought about it way ahead of time, with the flowers situated as they are, I might have embroidered the left bird (the purple bird) with red highlights and the right bird (the red bird) with purple highlights. That would have continued that alternating cross balance found in the flowers.
But – woe is me! – I didn’t think about it far enough ahead of time.
My original plan was two mirrored hummingbirds, both with purple highlights. The red was a last minute whim.
But it’s a whim that works. Besides the fact that I like the red (personally, because I just like red), as far as the balance goes, if you squint while looking at the first photo above, you’ll see that it doesn’t really throw the piece off. There’s still that alternating cross balance in the flowers, and that balance in the frame works to hold the birds in balance, too. I thought it might end up looking lopsided, but I don’t think it will.
I think we’ll know better about the balance once the blues are finished. But at this point, I’m thinking it’ll work fine. What do you think?
There are a few details on the red bird that don’t perfectly mirror the purple bird. The lattice on the wing is closer and at a slightly different angle, for example.
I outlined the inside section of the wing with a darker red, which I didn’t do on the purple bird. The red shaded part of the wing looks pretty shoddy right now, but that will improve when the surrounding area is finished.
And the red bird has a little extra red accent on his cheeky little cheek.
Today, I’ll make some more progress on this fellow. My plan is to finish the breast and the top part of the wing today during my Hummingbird Time.
Tomorrow, a stitch tutorial! It’s a fun one!
If you like, feel free to weigh in below with your opinion on the red and the balance, now that there’s a little more color on the hummingbird!
The Secret Garden Hummingbird Project began in 2014, and it is documented step-by-step here on Needle ‘n Thread, if you want to follow along. You’ll find all the articles relating to this project arranged chronologically in the Secret Garden Hummingbirds Index, along with information on where to find the design, the materials and threads used, and stitching details.