Art Elements Theme Challenge Reveal – Forest

Hello and welcome to this month’s Art Elements Forest theme challenge reveal hosted by Susan Kennedy. I love forest and woodland and have a small one right on my doorstep so this challenge was a great inspiration for me.

The first piece I set to work on was actually a textile project I began a few years ago but got distracted from.

As you can see half the tree is missing its branches so I set about rectifying that and also adding some embroidered leaves to the canopy for extra interest.

Then comes the tricky bit…this piece is designed to be a cutwork project with the majority of the tree trunks being worked away from the fabric so that the background can be cut away. It’s the first time I’ve done this and it’s a little nerve-wracking as you have to cut as close to the stitching as you can but being careful not to snip a stitch. Oh well…nothing ventured nothing gained…

Phew – I managed to keep it one piece! At this point I came to stop because I haven’t yet decided how I want to complete the piece. I could just have a simple contrasting background in the cutaway but that doesn’t seem very exciting. I did play around with greetings card I found with a photograph of some trees and quite liked the effect that gave…

I’m thinking maybe I could paint something similar as a background but it will need some experimentation to see what works and I didn’t want to rush it so I’ll keep you posted on that one.

Next I moved on to watercolour painting. You may have seen some work I’ve been doing lately inspired by some online courses I’ve been taking with Australian artist Laura Horn. One of the techniques she teaches is making these lovely trees with drippy trunks that she discovered through a happy accident.

As soon as Susan mentioned forests this technique popped into my head and I thought that by adding a lot more of the trees I might be able to get a more heavily wooded effect. I set about adding lots of layered shapes in autumnal shades allowing each one to drip gradually moving down the page.

Once that was done I added lots of varied detail using Posca paint pens in black, white and gold.

I quite liked this piece but the white space was niggling at me a bit so I had a play about with cropping and image and matting it in Picmonkey and I much prefer this version. I think cutting out the white space gives it a much denser feel.

I really enjoy the process of painting like this so I did another version in a green palette…

I also did a couple of quicker studies in my sketch book but I left the drips out of these simply because they take time to do and dry. The sketches were fun to do but I prefer seeing the shadow of the trunks in the background as again it gives more depth. I think there will be more of these to come as they’re very therapeutic to paint.

My final piece is a very quick bracelet I put together after clearing out my studio and coming across a set of ceramic beads by Tracey Seder Donoughe that reminded be of the textures and colours of tree bark. I dug through my stash and found a polymer clay heart focal with tree rings by Rebekah Payne of Tree Wings Studio and an electroplated ceramic acorn by our own Caroline Dewison. A Tierra Cast tree of life button made a perfect fastener and with the whole thing strung on waxed linen with copper accent beads, there you have a bracelet in my favourite earthy tones.

So those are my offerings for the month and I hope you enjoyed them. Many thanks to Susan for this inspirational theme and I home you will join me and visit the other participants using the links below.




Evie & Beth






AE Team








14 thoughts on “Art Elements Theme Challenge Reveal – Forest

  1. I love the drippy trees! I agree with you – I liked the cropped image without the background – though it was still lovely! The first piece with the photograph in the opening was amazing – I can’t wait to see what you finally end up creating!

  2. Love your textile project. Very striking layered over the picture of trees in the distant! I have found that ironing steam-a-seam 2 on the back before you cut helps to hold the threads in place. Especially around the leaves you can cut about 1/4 inch around carefully snip and hand press and then iron under.

  3. I always look forward to you reveals; Your sense of color and reference to stitchery (even when your work is based in painting and mark-making) are really soothing to me. I’m especially fond of your watercolor ‘forests’ !

  4. Wow, Lesley, I don’t think there’s any art medium you can’t conquer! I love your cut work piece, I would have been scared to cut it as well! And your paintings are fantastic, I really love your trees and the way you add the posca markers. The bracelet is wonderful, as well, I love Tracey’s beads. Thanks for joining in, I always enjoy seeing what you create!

  5. Your stitched trees are so beautiful! I love the cut out effect and am curious how the end piece will turn out. Thankfully you worked on it again, it would have been sad otherwise! My favorite parts are the tree trunks and the addition of the leaves brought it all together. Like the bracelet, all the single pieces work together!

    And I love all your watercolor work! Colors,shapes, marks…. just love! 🙂

  6. OMG! Each and every one of your projects made me gasp a little! I really, really love your watercolor trees. I think it’s fabulous that you took a technique from a class and made it your own by bunching the trees closer together. Wonderful!!

  7. I really like how you have used the cut work as a frame from the pictures. I would have never imagined embroidery this way. It is really new and unique. I love your trees as well. I have been looking to do some wall art and you have given me a great idea on how to work with negative space.

  8. I love the stitched tress with the cut-out! Excellent job of cutting away the fabric and that photo of trees in the distance is perfect! I love your watercolor drippy trees and yes-cropping the white portion out really makes the scene more inviting and warmer. I love all your tree paintings. I am still practicing mine. I have a problem with patience and waiting for paint to dry;-(

  9. I love those ‘drippy’ trees of yours and your use of colour is just perfect. Cutting out that fabric I was holding my breath just reading but it was worth it the result is stunning!

  10. Lesley, a lot of ‘experts’ talk about how white space is appealing, and while I agree somewhat, it depends on the piece and the feeling intended. Your intuition on this was spot on! I, too, love your drippy flowers line. That being said, I love your first embroidered piece, and the cut out section adds so much interest. In your greeting card inspiration, the clouds are what caught my eye! Alysen

  11. I’ve been enjoying your paintings on IG all month. I love the color combinations you’ve worked with. The textile work in progress is lovely. I think the cut out looks a bit like a castle or cathedral window. Your jewelry is always so perfectly put together. I know you have moved in other directions, but clearly you can easily come back to jewelry design any time you like.

  12. Glad you got a bit more done on your embroidery, I really liked that when you first started it. Absolutely loving your watercolours too, I think you’ve found your style with these paintings, they’re really beautiful!

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