Updated January 8, 2021.
As I noted awhile back, one of the things I love about Whistler is his nocturnes. I’m especially fond of the way his painting technique allows the colors to change constantly.
My first Whistler Effect project was to try to reproduce this kind of background easily in thread. Although Whistler’s nocturnes are medium-dark to dark, I started with lighter colors to see the changes.
Here’s how to do these backgrounds.
- Begin with hand-dyed or overdyed floss or stranded silk. You will need at least one color for each strand in the stitching bundle.
- The colors should be similar, but some colors should contain additional colors, such as the muted violet here.
- Feel free to mix brands of these threads.
- Make sure there is a clear dividing line between the focal point and the background. I tried doing one where this wasn’t the case, and it didn’t work.
- Stitch the background in Continental.
- The colors will be more randomly distributed and look more like Whistler, if you change the area where you stitch with each new stitching length.
I love how the background is so simple and subtle. I have stitched the next piece’s focal point in this series and will be using the same background technique but adding a metallic to the mix. This is a bit flash for Whistler but might give me a better definition between focal point and background.
The step after this will be to try a dark background with some defined areas of color.
This type of background is a subtly beautiful and unexpected background.