White Tiger Beauty is finished

I finished White Tiger Beauty last night and bound it today. I tried something different with the binding. I used wool strips 1 1/2 inches wide that I folded over the edge and bound off as normal. But after pressing the rug flat, I got the idea to frame it in, so I went back over the edge holding the steam iron about 1/4" above the wool. Then I rolled the wool in toward the rug. It created a 3D wool frame that looks neat.

White Tiger Beauty. 2010. 17" by 17". 4-cut. Original design. Designed, dyed and hooked by April DeConick. Red Jack Rugs Palette dyes: Rosy Cheeks 113,Sand Castle 114, Milk Weed 115, Stormy Sea 120, Antique Black, White; #7 & #8 values of Alexander Blue 109, English Lavender 110, Sugar Plum 111, Raspberry Wine 112; tints and tones of Raspberry Wine 112 and Sugar Plum 111; Textures Stormy Sea 120. Hooked using VIP method (Value Intense Palette).

Exposing the back

Gayle asked me to post a picture of the back of the areas I had pearled and waffled to show better how I did this. In both cases, I hook all the white (or light) wool. Then I go back in with deeper and deeper values, hooking between the white. As you will see from these pictures, I would never pass the grade on my back because these areas are not smooth and flat. But the only way to achieve the pointillism effect on the front is to sacrifice the rules for the back.

The pearled area is the nose. It has many more crossovers because I am jumping around more only laying the wool in one or two holes adjacent to each other. I stagger a lot. I work in the direction I would normally hook the area (contour of face, around the ear, linearly, etc.).

The waffled area is the beard. It has less crossovers because I am working by filling a greater number of holes adjacent to each other, although still jumping around. I still stagger, but less frequently.

Loopgram: Waffling

I haven't posted on White Tiger Beauty for a while - not because I haven't been working on him - I have! But as usual, I have spent some time reverse hooking. I posted previously on developing a technique to achieve a pointillism effect in the ears and on the nose, a technique which I have decided to call "pearling" , dots of color randomly hooked on the linen to look like beads of wool. I've come up with a similar technique I'm calling "waffling".

When I moved down the sides of the piece and began hooking the long hair extending from the face, I initially did so in straight lines as we have been taught to do, with no crossovers on the back of the linen. Good girl technique, like this:

Then a few nights ago I got into the bad girl mode and started to rug hook randomly-shaped lines with quite a bit of jumping around. As I did this, I discovered that it looked great (but it does have crossovers on the back). It is a very different effect and one that I really prefer to all those straight lines. In fact, it is feeling a bit "abstract" to me. I am calling the technique "waffling" because you hook in random lines and fill between the lines as you go.

So I went back to the white chin hair that I had hooked straight, and I waffled the area. I went in with white in random rows, jumping around so the rows aren't straight. Then I went back in with other #1 values and hooked more random rows in between the white.

The result is impressionistic and quite vibrant. There is so much more life and movement than there was with the straight row hooking.

Now I have to go back to the left side of the piece and reverse hook and then waffle the area. So it will be a week or so before I am finished with White Tiger Beauty.

Loopgram: Pointillism

Pointillism is a painting technique developed in the late 1800s, growing out of impressionist art. It is a form of art known as Neo-impressionism, and is represented by the works of Seurat, Signac, and Cross.

These painters used small dots of color, often contrasting, to create the impression of a wider use of color. This technique relies on the fact that our eyes and brains to mix colors we see and blend them naturally. During this time period, color theories were being developed and it was realized that when you blended pure pigments together (particularly the primary colors: red, yellow, and blue), this dulled the color decreasing its intensity. Since light is so important in painting, these painters discovered that if they juxtasposed the pure primary colors next to each other as little dots (instead of mixing the pigments into a new less intense color) that the eye would blend them and the intensity of light would not be lost. This is how they were able to create paintings that appear to glow. Critics today call the technique "Divisionism". But Seurat himself called it "Chromoluminarism" which must mean something like "the illumination of color".

Can we apply this to rug hooking? Yes. I have been experimenting with it while hooking White Tiger Beauty, and I will probably continue to play with this technique in other pieces in the future. In the case of White Tiger Beauty, I am not worrying about luminosity. I am hooking a piece in neutral colors that are not pure pigments but blended to dull the intensity by mixing complementary dyes on my palette.

I am using the technique to create an impression of shaggy hair and multi-textured areas on his face. Here is a step-by-step example of how I am approaching this technique.

1. I am using a xerox b/w to see my values. I will hook the light values (white, #1, #2) in the white areas. I will hook the medium values and overdyed textures (#3 and #4) in the fuzzy areas. I will hook the dark values (black and #7 and #8) in the black areas.

2. I hooked the outline of the ear and then some structural points with my light values. I hooked in the direction of the hair and ear (up) and I did so randomly (not in straight or curved lines).

3. I added white in the white areas.

4. I added dark in the black areas. Notice that there are little spaces left in my hooking. I am not filling all the holes in yet. NOTE: to hook randomly means that the wool is going to cross over on the back of the piece; this cannot be helped.

5. I begin to add medium colors, the cool tones on the top of the ear.

6. I add the warm medium colors on the bottom of the ear, randomly filling in around the light hooking already there.

7. I went back in to the dark areas and filled it out with more dark values, trying to hook different colors of the dark values between each other. This helps the area have movement so it doesn't turn into a blob of black. So there is #8 value of my 11=PURPLE, 10=BLUE-PURPLE, 12=PURPLE-RED, and BLACK, plus the #8 values of each of my neutrals.

8. I filled in around the outside of the white area with light values other than white, mainly #1 values of my neutrals.

Now I have a left ear to match the right ear!

Progress report on White Tiger Beauty: Evenings 3 and 4

Just a quick post showing progress on White Tiger Beauty. I hooked the side of his face using the same technique of light and dark values (no mediums). When I got to the edge where the black fur meets the white and is longer and fuzzier, I did some pointillism.

The fourth evening I worked on the top of his head (mediums) and his ear which I did completely with pointillism.

When I hook the second ear, I will try to take photos of the process I'm developing to show how I am achieving the pointillism look.

I got the idea to try this in the fuzzy fur areas when I was reading about abstract art this past weekend. Abstract art comes out of a period following the neo-impressionists who used dots of color to create impressions of the objects they were painting like this one painted by Seurat. I figured that if I randomly hooked my values in an area, it might work similarly.

White Tiger Beauty: Second Evening

His face is developing. I continued hooking per my last post description. I moved down into the bridge of the nose with a combination of mediums, including over dyed textures, and a few random lights.

I decided to give pointillism a try after reading about it in an abstract art book. I learned from that reading yesterday that neo-impressionists painted by distributing dots of paint around the canvas and when you stand back from the painting you will see a form emerge.

So I gave it a try on Beauty's nose because I am in an area of coat that is varied in value, like salt and pepper. If I feel it is successful overall and don't reverse hook, I will use pointillism in the cheeks and ears too.

How to do it? I hooked vertically down the bridge of his nose in random descent. I didn't hook a straight or a curved line, but bounced around. This means that the back of the piece looks bad because there are crossovers. But it is the result of the pointillism technique and can't be avoided.

Going Gray with 'White Tiger Beauty'

I have been concentrating on developing a number of neutrals for my wool palette by combining complimentary colors in my palette. These produced three outstanding neutrals pictured here. The procedure and my color theory are all laid out on the PALETTE DYEING rug camp, so I refer you to that discussion in order to track what I'm doing here (left to right: AD 114 Sand Castle; AD 115 Milk Week; AD113 Rosy Cheeks).

I have gone on to produce grays, and yesterday came up with a fantastic gray by combining equal portions of two of my tertiary colors: 8=Green-Blue and 10=Blue-Purple. This produced a cool gray I'm calling Stormy Seas. I need to combine 4=Orange-Yellow and 6=Yellow-Green which should produce a warm gray, but I ran out of some of my dyes so this will have to wait until another weekend. I decided to go ahead and over-dye some plaids with Stormy Seas so that I have some textures in this color to use, and dappled dyed a couple of pieces too.

So what to hook with these neutrals to give them a try? I am inspired to hook a white tiger after going to the Houston Aquarium last weekend with Alexander and his grandparents. They have four white tigers there, and they are stunning.

Where to start? First, I am going to continue my pursuit of value hooking. So I'm not going to hook by trying to match colors to a photo. I'm going to hook by focusing on my light, medium and dark values. I am going to use all my neutrals pictured above.

I went on the web and found several pictures of white tigers, printed them and pasted them in my hooking journal for inspiration. As for design, I will just hook a full face and I will put my own markings on the animal so I can be freer to design as I go. So here is my red dot sketch and my rough pattern transferred.

Since I'm value hooking, I need a black and white image. So I xeroxed an image to use as a guide and made a black and white photo of another image in iphoto. I like to use the xerox and the black and white option in iphoto because it darkens the image and increases the contrast, so I can see really well where my lights and darks are and where my medium values are. In this case, the medium values are running down his forehead and down his nose, so in these areas I am going to use #3-6 values and textures I over dyed. The whiter areas I will hook with #1-2 values of my neutrals. The darker areas will get #7-8 values of my neutrals, and I am going to add in for fun some of the #7 and 8 values of my 10=Blue-Purple, 11=Purple, 12=Purple-Red, since the gray I am using is a cool gray made from my #8 and #10 dyes.

I am going to start with his eyes, which will be blue, so here I will use my 9=Blue. I am choosing to go with #4 cut because I want to increase my detail. But this piece is measuring about 15" by 17" so I could easily have used a #6 cut too. First I hooked the black outlines of his eyelids, using two different darks, one on the top and the other on the bottom. Then I hooked the blue eyes, using several small bits of #1, 2, 3, 4, and 8 values of 9=Blue, with dark black in the center. A loop and two tails (pulled in the same hole) of white finishes the eye by adding the light sparkle.

Next I hooked some of the dark markings with a variety of my #7 and #8 values of my neutrals and my 10=Blue-Purple, 11=Purple, 12=Purple-Red. Then I hooked some of the lightest areas with my #1 and 2 values of my neutrals. This is what 'White Tiger Beauty' looks like after one evening of hooking.