I begin with a pre-gessoed canvas that has been stapled to a frame. Then I use a cuticle pusher to remove the staples. You’ll also need a flat-head plier because the cuticle pusher end will get damaged and you’ll need to flatten. The pliers are also handy for grabbing the staples once they are removed enough.
Then I use an iron on the cotton setting with steam on the back of the canvas to flatten it out a bit. I do this because I like to paint all the way to the edge of the canvas so the edges are extensions of the canvas. You want to get the canvas flat but the creases will remain, which helps with placement of extras as well as restapling.
I used PanPastels in black and gray on the background to give it a variety. I then sprayed with a workable fixative so the pastels wouldn’t bleed too much. I used Golden High Flow Acrylics in a red and yellow by dripping directly from the container onto the canvas and brushing toward the edge. I then repeated that process using Golden Fluid Acrylics to get a little denser color in a couple spots.
The heart came from my stash of paper that was created by using Liquitex acrylics on photoscan paper. As the acrylic dried it created a crackled texture, which I then painted with a variety of red Fluid Acrylics. I’m using a 4″x4″ canvas so I folded a piece of paper and cut to 3″x1.5″ (3″ square unfolded). I freehanded the heart shape with scissors, traced with pen onto the back of the photoscan paper and then cut out the heart and pasted with a mix of Mod Podge and Matte medium.
Using a grid sheet, I plotted the block lettering for stitches. These were flush right so it wasn’t as important as if I was centering but it was helpful to see how the letters should line up. Also, it’s handy to spell the words out before embroidering. Since I wanted the text to be in the bottom right, I looked for the creases and moved in slightly.
I used the smallest needle I have and two strands of black floss. Since the canvas is painted, you don’t want to make the number of holes a straight stitch would need. I tried to come up in the same place repeatedly or use the same spot for downward stitches.
Once the stitches were in place, I restapled the canvas.
Note: If you want to add a protective layer, you need to do it before you do the embroidery. Otherwise the medium/varnish will glop on the embroidery. If you choose to do that, you need to make sure it’s a protective coating but not so thick you can’t sew through it.
I used Matthew 15 where Jesus reminds us it’s not the food we eat but what comes out of our mouth that defiles us. It’s in honor of the counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va., and Boston, Mass., who stood up against hate speech.