I’m not much of a painter.
But looking at the miniature paintings of Carol André makes me wish I were!
Carol paints traditional miniatures, which, according to her website, is “defined both by size and technique. A true miniature is 25 square inches or less, and is highly detailed, able to withstand magnification and still look good, and generally the subject should be 1/6th scale or smaller.”
To add a new dimension to her artwork, Carol began adding some embroidery to some of her miniature paintings, and the outcome is quite delightful. Keep in mind that these pieces are small – and you’ll get the sense of how small, at the end of the article!
Carol begins with the painting, working on white muslin. You can see the very first steps in creating this piece in this article on her blog.
The church is painted in with minimal details, and then embroidery – long and short stitch and a mix of other stitches – is worked on top of the painting to add the details you see in the church building. She even uses metallic threads on cross and the top of the steeple.
The foreground bushes are composed of layers of wool felt, cut and sewn down – almost sculpted – to conform to the shape of the vegetation, and then they’re covered with an amazing amount of French knots, bringing the whole front vegetation and the church into focus against the hazier watercolored background.
This piece, titled “Hill and Dale,” is completely underpinned. The forward parts were then embroidered, starting in the background and moving to the foreground with denser stitching.
About midway in the hills, Carol began adding felt padding, which was layered thicker and thicker towards the front, and sewn down around the edges to further define them. Then, the embroidery was worked over the padding.
The row of trees is lightly felted, and the foremost tree on the right is worked in French knots with small stitches visible underneath for branches.
The front grasses on the left are padded with felt, and then embroidered over with the tambour needle, and then clipped.
So many techniques in one little space, and they all work together so well to create the landscape. I love this piece!
And here, you can see the development of Carol’s little fox. Again, she started with the painting…
…and then embroidered the foliage into focus with lots of French knots!
Finally, the fox is added with long & short stitch, satin stitch, and a fluffy Turkey work tail. The grasses are embroidered around his legs, and even the water is highlighted with tiny stitches in metallic threads.
And the penny is for perspective! See what I mean about small?
I hope you enjoy this glimpse of Carol’s miniature mixed media masterpieces as much as I do! I think they’re a lovely combination of art forms, and simply charming.
You can see more of Carol’s work on her blog, Nature Art by André. If you like owls, you’ll love the first photo on the site!
Would you like to be part of the Reader’s Embroidery series on Needle ‘n Thread? If you’d like to contribute for future articles featuring your own embroidery, write to me at mary(at)needlenthread(dot)com and tell me about your project. You can attach photos of your work right to your email. If you have a blog or website, a Facebook page or Pinterest board that you’d like to share with everyone, feel free to include that information as well.