With 10+ inches of snow on the ground, we finally got a day when we had no choice but to stay home and chill out and it was kind of nice! Even though our school district's allotted snow days are all officially used up and we've had to dip into our scheduled vacation time, I didn't mind so much today. We knew last night that the schools and library were closed, so the phones weren't ringing at 5 a.m. and we all slept in, lazed around, and caught up on this and that.
It was the perfect opportunity to put some extra time into my "Tuscan Window"piece and it's coming along! Today I added some of the details to the foreground, including the house, rock wall, and olive and cyprus trees. I had a nice piece of textured fabric to use for the closest rooftop, but it wasn't a real deep "Siena" color, so I painted it several times with diluted acrylic paint until I got the right shade (you can click on the photo to see it close up). I also changed the shape of the window from a pointed Gothic style to the rounded baroque style. I think it's more appropriate for Tuscany. The next steps will be finishing up the details of the landscape, including some hand stitching, and then creating the surrounding wall and window. I went through my stash and have some scraps that might work, but nothing large enough to cover the space in one piece.
Since I've got a little experience painting and dyeing fabric, thanks to my FANE group, I thought I might give that a try before I head over to the nearest fabric store, which I won't be able to do for a few days. I've used onion skins to dye fabric before, and thought that pale yellow-beige might be the color I'm looking for. So I threw a bunch of the papery skins into a pot with a little water and boiled it for a while. I also brewed a little strong tea to splash on, to add some browner tones. I'm letting the fabric sit crumpled like this, so the dye will dry in a random and uneven way, to mimic the plaster walls we saw in Tuscany. If I need to, I can always add more texture and color with some thinned acrylic paint and a sea sponge.
Finally, I've been enjoying my latest best-seller, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I've been reading a lot of YA novels lately, and this story, although an adult book, is about a 13-year-old boy who loses his mother in an explosion and what happens to him in the years following her death. The writing is very crisp and detailed, and you feel like you're experiencing everything along with the main character, so it's quite absorbing. I think I'll get back to it...