Back in June last year, at the end of my 2nd post on this felt painting, having remixed the fibres for my palette and removed the fibres I had already needled into the far background of the picture, I redid that bit of work and left you with this picture of where I had got to then:

Starting work

I am pleased to say that I have made considerable progress since then and here I’ll take you along for the ride!

On my next visit to the Hideaway Workshop – my friend’s place where I tend to do most of my work on my pictures – I set to to blend fibres for the palette for the main part of the picture.

Blending Fibres for Palette

I worked on the picture for about 4 – 5 hours once a month, until I was able to take this photo of the results on 26th February 2022.

This was still work in progress and I carried on and in May I was able to take further pictures of details – Red Devon cattle in one of the far off fields; sheep moving on the hill in the middle distance; the beginnings of trees and shrubs in the near distance; and the river in the foot of the valley with woods behind.

Red Devon cattle in one of the far off fields
sheep moving on the hill in the middle distance
the beginnings of trees and shrubs in the near distance
the river in the foot of the valley with woods behind

By then I had done pretty much all I was going to do for the landscape until the final details just at the end, and I needed to get on with the horse.

Now, I was toying with a new idea about how to do this. For some time I have been considering experimenting with the type of scenery often seen in simple stage sets like our typical panto village scene with shops and other buildings. Almost all of which were flat with one side showing a village shop and the other some other building for a different scene. These would be set about the stage facing square on to the audience so that they could see only the side applicable to the current scene, with further buildings painted on the backdrop. Cast members would appear from behind these and various other scenery flats like rocks, or bushes. I don’t have any suitable photos that would illustrate this, but I do have a couple of photos of children’s toy paper theatres which also demonstrate what I mean.

Toy Paper Theatres

I thought I might be able to do something along these lines for the horse in my picture.  By affixing a fairly stiff piece of felt in the shape of the horse to the picture but leaving it’s head and the top of the body unattached and slightly proud.  I was hoping that this would give even more depth to the whole.

Knowing that if I was to needle felt a “flat-ish” horse to the required size, I would actually have to start off with a slightly bigger image – as the more it was needled, the more it would shrink and become out of scale.  So using my copier I enlarged the image of the horse by 10% and then made a tracing of the image.  As I did with the actual landscape picture, I then stitched the outlines of the horse through the tracing onto a piece of thick white felt.  This was a piece of the felt that I used for the background of the landscape, but folded into three.  I needled it and then wet felted it so that it was a solid piece of felt which would if necessary stand up on its own.

starting to stitch over the tracing
ready to colour in

I blended some fibres to make the palette I would use, having decided that the picture I had taken would be a guide to shape only and I’d have a slightly different coloured horse in my picture.

Horse palette

I had by this time removed all the guide stitches from the landscape picture, except the lower part of the Golden Mean lines to guide me where to place the horse when completed.

Here is the horse, substantially finished, about to be cut out of his background.

And here he is having been cut out. 

I have left the top part of the body with the original depth of the backing felt and have shaved down the backs of the legs, the belly and nose so that they will be more part of the picture as opposed to appearing to stand proud of it.  I have also added coloured fibres to the sides and the rear edges for the whole horse so that no white background will be visible when the horse is attached to the landscape.  The final shape of the legs and neck will be refined at that stage, and more grass added around the muzzle and hooves.  I have left the tail and the forelock un-needled to emulate a slight breeze blowing some hairs around. I have also attached some linen threads to the back which I will use to secure the body to the picture. If I don’t do this it is possible that the horse might fall off the picture if he’s only attached by his hooves and his muzzle.

back view

And this is where I have come to a (“shuddering”) halt.

I was hoping that this would be the last post in this series; that I would have finished my picture of the horse on the Devon hillside. However the recent very hot (to us) weather we have been experiencing here in the UK has meant that I’ve had to stop work. So I was getting very behind. In addition, I seem to have acquired an RSI (repetitive strain injury) to the shoulder of my dominant right arm – to be exact “rotator cuff related shoulder pain”. Although I don’t think it was as a result solely of needle felting, I suspect that the action of frequently stabbing fibres for several hours at a time may have contributed to it. It certainly hasn’t helped it. Whatever, it has resulted in my having to put aside my needle felting for the moment. I will post again as soon as I can get back to work and finish this, which has fast become a labour of love. In the meantime this where I have got to.

Back into the Project bag

21 thoughts on “GLORIOUS DEVON Part 3

  1. The horse is fabulous Ann and your dedicated work on the landscape has paid off – it’s wonderfully detailed.
    Thank you for sharing your interesting journey on this picture and let’s hope your recovery is speedy!

    1. Thanks Lyn. I had thought I was getting on top of the shoulder problems, but it seems it doesn’t like me doing sewing either. I may have to look at the idea of doing no more than a short period of time crafting with a long period of not crafting in between. Perhaps a “daily dose of fibre” as I think you used to do on the Forum.

    1. Thank you Barbara, [I wish I was cool too – at least it’s a bit cooler here in Dorset than it has been, but it’s still too hot for me!]

  2. Gorgeous horse Ann. You have left us with a cliff hanger. Looking forward to your next post!

    1. Thanks Helene. The next post isn’t due for a a couple of months, I keep telling myself that that will give me plenty of time to get there – (fingers crossed).

  3. Ann, your Devon picture has come along wonderfully. The details you have achieved in the background is amazing. The horse is really going to “stand out” 😉

    I have had issues with my right shoulder when needle felting every time I needle for more than an hour or so. It’s better now but that’s because I rarely needle felt. That is one of the reasons why. I hope you will find a solution without having to quit all together.

    I am looking forward to seeing the end result.

    1. Thanks Ruth, much appreciated. As I always say – getting old is a b***er, but it’s better than the alternative!

  4. I love your landscape Ann, and the amount of detail that you have added is wonderful. No wonder your shoulder is sore. I do hope you recover soon, I’m looking forward to seeing the completed picture.

  5. Great picture. when I sat the featured picture my first thought was are those cows, so you must be doing it right. I think it’s coming along great and the horse is amazing. I understand about the pain of needle felting. I try not to use use to many needles at once. The 6 needle tool is not good for my elbow or shoulder. But we keep on with it anyway, go gently.

    1. Thanks Ann. In fact I rarely use more than one needle, occasionally two. Perhaps that’s my problem – instead of several at once more individual stabs to the inch!

  6. Can’t wait to see the horse in that scenery! What a clever way to add dimension (and copy the right proportions of the animal).

    1. Thanks Leonor, I hope it won’t be too long before I can get back to it. Not being able to do much in the way of craftwork at the moment is very frustrating.

  7. Sorry to hear about you’re shoulder Ann. The “daily dose of fibre” idea sounds like a good plan if it keeps you doing what you love to do. Your picture is looking wonderful and that horse is a bit special!

    1. Thanks Karen. My problem is that once I get stuck in I just loose track of what’s going on around me and the passing of time. I suppose I need to use a timer/alarm. That might be the answer.

  8. Ann, your landscape is amazingly detailed & you’ve definitely left us on a cliff hanger. So looking forward to seeing your 3D horse grazing proudly.

    Hope your shoulder improves.

We'd love to hear your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.