Sunday, October 16, 2011

Spinning a Tale WIP1

There is a Pioneer village fairly close to where we live that is an absolute joy to visit. It feels as if you are entering another world as you pass through the reception area. One very hot day last summer Rebecca and I took a friend for a visit and while she was exploring the village we had enormous fun taking photographs and chatting to the volunteers. A couple in particular were wonderful to talk to, the tin man and this spinner woman.

I loved the way the sunlight from the window was creating wonderful atmospheric lighting but it was more than this that drew me to the photo. You might not be able to see from the small jpg but in the photo the spinner woman is not only busily spinning the wool but also  spinning her tale of how in the days of the pioneers sheep would be kept not only for their meat but also their wool. Every spring the wool would be sheared, collected, cleaned then brought inside and spun into wool to be made into clothing and blankets to keep the families warm during the cold harsh winters.

I thought it would be interesting to tell at least part of this woman's tale in my painting.

I am hoping to keep the lighting effect similar to the photo but to replace the background with a woolen blanket. In this blanket  I hope to creat suggestions of some of the sheep whose wool made it and a boy who is collecting the freshly sheared wool to take to his mother.

It's hard to imagine at this outline stage but I hope you can, at least begin to get the idea of what I am striving for. I just need to decide on the final crop.

I thought you might like to see the different versions that I am pondering over. Its amazing how by changing the crop you can alter the  emphasis of the whole painting. It's really worth exploring different possibilities before deciding on your final outline because, as you hopefully can see below, different crops can really change the emphasis in the message you are conveying.

The first crop I created is only slightly cropped in from my original drawing. I like the fact that it sets the scene and includes the spinning wheel as well as the woman  but I am a little concerned that her expression will be lost as it will be only a small section of the painting.

The second crop focuses more on the process of her spinning the wool but in cropping the spinning wheel becomes rather disjointed.

The third crop really focuses in on her face and hands. I love the fact that you can really see her expression but the spinning, apart from in  the very bottom section of the painting, is basically lost.

I thought about what I liked and didn't like about each of the above and then created the final crop below.  By cropping in slightly more from the first idea the expression on her face increases in importance but at the same time the act of spinning the wool as well as the story she is telling has its place too because the spinning wheel is still largely intact.

I've also adjusted the transparency of the background on this final crop to help give you more of an idea of the kind of effect I would like to create. I want the story she is telling to be almost as if it is woven into the fabric of time.

 I can now start drawing it out on the watercolour paper. I am planning to paint this quite big so will be drawing it out approximately 34 inches high by 25 inches wide:)



  1. I love the final crop that you have chosen. It sets the scene but at the same time you feel like you are sitting there on the floor listening to her tale. I can't wait to see the idea of the background materialise. Woven into the fabric of time... what an awesome concept!


  2. Thank you Nicole. I hope I can pull it off. Its good to stretch yourself but challenging too.

    well it's all drawn out and masked ready to begin on the background. Hopefully I can make a start tomorrow.


  3. Wow Ona, this will be quite the challenge but I'm sure it will be beautiful.

  4. Ona, this has all made so much sense! I look at my picture differently now, and hope can capture my story in it like you have yours! Thanks for sharing