I've been thinking a lot more about backgrounds, and the composition of the whole area of an embroidery, than I used to, and the idea of a design just hanging somewhere in mid-air makes me a bit uneasy these days. A while back I did a design of a Siberian tiger, which I quite liked in itself, but it was definitely one of those mid-air designs. So I’ve been trying to think of a suitable background for it. Thr tiger itself reminded me of some of the tigers in Rousseau's jungle paintings
So my first idea was to put the tiger on an embroidered background of Rousseau-esque jungle foliage.
The Siberian tiger in an embroidered jungle
This sort of worked, but the more I looked at it the more it reminded me of a naive illustration to a children’s book – naturally, I suppose, as Rousseau’s work does have a lot of childlike and naive elements. However I wanted something a bit more sophisticated, so I just painted an abstract and jungly background in greens and yellows, and stitched the tiger on it. To my eye this is a more successful approach, and although it still needs work I think it’s better than the more realistic treatment
The Siberian tiger in a painted jungle