When I thread paint, I rely on the thread to do the bulk of the work. My technique allows me to blend colors and create subtle shading and contours, as if I were working with paint. In my process I find that there is an OTZ (Optimum Thread Zone). Stitching below the zone creates what I consider dense quilting, and stitching above the zone overloads the fabric and causes it to expand and buckle.
With this in mind, I consider the facelift that is needed by my horse. As mentioned last week, the shape of the nose needs some adjusting. However, having applied heavy stitching to the face already, there is a limited amount of thread that can be added without exceeding the OTZ. This means I need to get it right, right away.
In the original photo, the horse is moving his head as the photo is snapped, so it is blurred and doesn’t provide the details that I need. It is off to the internet to find images of horse heads that face the right direction, at a similar angle, and in the right light. I also look to reference books of paintings done by several Western artists.
Next, I place a clear plastic sheet over the face of my horse and outline its shape and key lines with a red marker. That sheet is then set on a white background where black lines indicate where stitching is to be added or changed. In this way, I can audition the additional stitching, erase, and redo as needed until it’s right.
Back at the longarm frame, I keep this plastic sheet handy and begin the facelift. In addition to creating a more boxy snout, highlights were added around the nostril and above the eye to give them more depth.