Cross Stitch Patterns from Fine Art by Scarlet Quince
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Scarlet Quince Ramblings

Cross stitch ... art ... life

Why we may not have your favorite painting
Thursday, June 13th, 2013

I received a suggestion yesterday that we add a pattern of Edvard Munch’s The Scream. It has been suggested many times before and I wish we could use it. I’m sure it would be popular, particularly in this day and age when there seem to be so many good reasons to scream. But it is still under copyright and we inquired several years ago and could not get permission to use it. I explained this and the lady responded that she knew of at least two other cross stitch sites that have it. I’ve seen them too, but they are using the art illegally. I don’t know that 100% for sure, but I like to think our patterns are at least as good as anyone else’s, if not better, so it’s not likely that these other designers got permission to use the work while we were denied it. Maybe they negotiated the exclusive use of the work, but generally when someone has an exclusive, the rights holder says so. So it’s my belief that these designers are either ignorant of copyright or just don’t care. They’re small and apparently not worth the rights holders going after them. It’s really frustrating but much as I would like to offer a pattern that others have, it would be illegal. And wrong. I don’t think Munch (or his estate) would be injured by a high-quality cross stitch pattern, but it’s still their right to deny the use for that purpose.

We have also been denied the right to use the work of Pablo Picasso, Rene Magritte, Henri Matisse, Andrew Wyeth, Jackson Pollock, Marc Chagall, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Salvador Dali. If you see cross stitch patterns based on work by these artists, they are not being used with permission and the designers are not paying royalties. Then there are the artists (actually their representatives) who don’t bother to respond. These include Jack Vettriano, M. C. Escher, Thomas Kinkade, and Peter Max. Some of these may still be possible if I’m persistant enough, although I read somewhere that Peter Max made a decision several years ago not to license his work for anything anymore.

I often tell people that licensing art is a time-consuming process. Some of that is negotiating terms but most of it involves requesting permission, waiting, following up, waiting …

The good news is that Edvard Munch’s work will become public domain January 1, 2015. So we’ll be all over The Scream then!

Nighthawks in the news!
Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Barbara Miller finished stitching Nighthawks – Edward Hopper, took it to the Art Institute in Chicago to visit the original, and she made the Chicago Tribune!


You can read the article here. Alas, they don’t mention Scarlet Quince, but you can’t have everything. The author of the article was clearly not too conversant with “the craft style known as counted cross stitch” so some important information was omitted: this was stitched on 32-count linen, using Q-Snaps, with hair clips to keep the extra fabric rolled up and out of the way.

It’s an amazing achievement and I feel both impressed and proud!

Start over!
Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Apparently Christmas is upon us (I find it so disorienting to go into a store the day after Halloween and find it filled with Christmas decorations) so I thought I’d do something Christmas-y (for folks to stitch for NEXT Christmas)…

Burne-Jones "Star of Bethlehem"

This is Burne-Jones’ “Star of Bethlehem”. I got the pattern finished and went looking for the date it was painted, and discovered that his first version of this was a tapestry design for the William Morris Company. He was later given a commission to do a painting and in it he reworked the colors and put in a lot of detail you couldn’t have in a tapestry. Here’s the tapestry:

Adoration of the Magi

This one is called “Adoration of the Magi”. I know which one I like better! >sigh< Partly the tapestry has a more reasonable level of detail, and partly I like the colors better. So much of Burne-Jones’ work is in these murky blues and greens that make me feel like something has happened to my vision. (Nothing wrong with blue and green — I just like red better.) So I have started over on a pattern of the tapestry. I’ll release the other pattern too, since it’s finished, but I want to put them out at the same time because I don’t want anyone to buy one pattern and then wish they had the other. (By the way, these are not pattern images — these are the retouched art I worked from.) Kind of interesting to compare, don’t you think?

This always happens
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Recently someone suggested Frederick Church’s Twilight in the Wilderness.

Twilight in the Wilderness - Frederick Church

I thought, “Wow, that’s really an amazing painting — we need a pattern of that.” (Yep, that’s approximately the process around here.) Of course, someone else was the first to suggest it. It had been on the list for about 18 months, but didn’t make much of an impression before, or maybe I didn’t see a picture of it before. I did tell the person who suggested it recently that she wasn’t the first, so she isn’t expecting to get a free copy of the pattern, but I always feel a little guilty creating a pattern right after the SECOND person suggests it. It must seem a little fishy to them as well. Of course, if the first person doesn’t respond to the email about the pattern, the second person will get the free pattern. (In the old days, we only kept the email address of the first person to suggest a pattern, and if they didn’t respond, nobody got the free pattern. Now we keep all the email addresses and go down the list until someone responds, which seems a lot friendlier.)

Anyway — if you have been a second suggester and had this happen, I really am sorry. I’m not sure if this story has a moral — maybe “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”.

Europe from space
Sunday, September 13th, 2009

I’ve been surprised by how popular the “Earth from Space” pattern is.  I was less surprised that, almost as soon as it was available, I got an email from someone asking when there would be an “Earth from Space” pattern showing her part of the world — which turned out to be England.  She said she didn’t mind if it was off in a corner as long as it was there.  But as far as I’ve been able to find, the other daytime images of earth from space are centered on Saudi Arabia and mostly show a lot of Africa.  If you use your imagination a bit, England IS there, but it just didn’t seem very satisfactory.  So I was pleased to find a really beautiful (I think) image of earth at night centering on Europe.  It has an edge of Canada, northern Africa, the middle east, India, most of Russia, and some of China.  I don’t think you can see Australia — sorry, guys.  The large sandy and icy areas are a deep blue and the shape of the continents is picked out in lights.  This pattern will be released soon.

I thought it might be a nice pair with the other one but I had to make it larger than the first one to get the lights to show up well.  If this one turns out to be popular as well, I may make a larger version of the other so that there are two with the earth the same size.

You just never know.  I am from John Glenn’s hometown (although I usually think of it the other way around) but I have just never been that interested in the whole space shot thing.  I know people who feel that they can never miss a one (going back 40+ years) but somehow after the first few I felt that they were all awfully … similar.  I do really enjoy the pictures of other planets and galaxies and so on.  It’s a beautiful universe!

Andrew Wyeth wears army boots
Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

We’ve had quite a few requests for Andrew Wyeth’s work, most recently by someone who was enthusiastic enough to track down who I needed to contact about licensing it.  I emailed and got a quick (and admittedly, courteous)  response that they don’t license the work except for “art historical books and limited posters”.  If I were 8 years old, I would wonder why some of these people are so stuck up, but I’m supposed to be more mature than that.

I am not deeply grieved, in reality, because I am not Andrew Wyeth’s biggest fan.  Of course his work is very good, technically, but the colors are not to my taste, and the subject matter doesn’t move me (except for “Christina’s World”, which creeps me out — what sicko left that poor woman way out in the field dragging herself back to the house?).

My father was a big Wyeth fan, and I have been dragged to the Brandywine River Museum,  which has a lot of assorted Wyeths, way more than I deserve.  My dad was a big museum-goer in general, and it was always something of an ordeal, because there was no such thing as leaving before we had seen everything.  That’s more fun some places than others, but it’s always exhausting.  I’ve seen everything at the Franklin Institute (but don’t remember anything except the Foucault pendulum).  I’ve seen everything at the Franklin Mint, where they have a gallery with every commemorative coin and little model car that they’ve ever made.  Maybe, on all those occasions, he was tired too, and was waiting for me to say I was ready to go.  I never sensed that but it is theoretically possible.   When “Tora! Tora! Tora!” was in the theaters (yes, a LONG time ago) he wanted to go and I said fine.  We saw it, and then the next movie was going to be “Herbie the Mixed-Up Volkswagen” or some title like that.  He asked if I wanted to stay and see it and we did one of these “do you?” back-and-forth things and ended up staying.  In retrospect, I am pretty sure that he didn’t want to see it, but at the time I couldn’t tell, and didn’t want to say I didn’t want to see it in case he did.

Anyway, fair or unfair, that’s one more thing I hold against Andrew Wyeth (the museum trips, not the movie.  The movie is Walt Disney’s fault.)

Yes, we have no Chagall
Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Someone recently suggested a couple of Chagall paintings and they really were quite beautiful. There have been other Chagall suggestions in the past and somehow I’ve never done anything about them. Chagall’s rights are managed by the Artist Rights Society which really makes life easy — I can just send an email to my contact there and (usually months later) get a response. This time the answer came quickly and it was no, the Chagall estate will not give permission to use his work in cross stitch. It’s frustrating, because I think that if they saw the Scarlet Quince web site they might at least consider it, and I hinted that. But maybe they wouldn’t, and ARS considers it more important to protect their clients from being annoyed than to bombard them with “opportunities” they aren’t interested in.

We’ve also had No’s to Picasso, Matisse, and Magritte. I have it in the back of my mind to wait a few years and try again. Maybe then someone different will be making the decisions, or they’ll need money more, or … Scarlet Quince will be famous? You never know.

Poëtes, anyone?
Friday, March 13th, 2009

I’ve been informed by someone from France that the word “poëtes” which appears on our new chart of Chat Noir is not a French word and that it should be “poètes”. Here’s the funny thing: I didn’t make this up, it is the way the original poster read. Further, it’s pretty clear that, although you sometimes see printed material where part of a character didn’t print, the umlaut is not a broken accent; it’s a deliberate umlaut. (I’m sure the French don’t call it an umlaut, but I’m not opening that can of worms.) So why did the poster say poëtes?

I had a lot of trouble translating the French because I don’t speak French and the online translation services I tried translated some words but not all. Sometimes you can work translation software backwards by guessing what a word means, giving the English, and seeing what it translates into (or at least you can eliminate words that way). But none of the words I could think of relating to poets, poetry, poems, poetry readings, translate into poëtes. Finally I got what I hoped was the gist from a web site giving some background on this poster, but I’m sure it’s not a very exact translation.

I just did a Google search for poëtes and found it on some pages that appear to be French. If I copy it into French-English dictionaries they either say it isn’t a word, pretend I really entered poètes, or change or remove the ë and tell me that poates (or in one case, potes) isn’t a word. I can believe that but it doesn’t help.

If I thought the original poster was somehow just WRONG, I’d change the umlaut to an accent (and since the chart contains a couple of accents, this is something any stitcher could easily do whether I change the chart or not). But it seems like a French poster, produced in France by native French speakers, somehow must be correct even if I can’t prove it.

As they used to say in Dear Abby, sign me … Baffled In Austin

Bierstadt and Half Dome
Thursday, December 18th, 2008

I had another browse through some Bierstadt paintings and I was wrong — there is a painting with Half Dome in it, although it’s not exactly a painting OF Half Dome:

It’s called, appropriately enough, The Domes of the Yosemite. I believe this is a view from the top of lower Yosemite Falls, with the upper falls on the left (although we didn’t go up there; the falls were dry). It’s somewhere between this view (Washington Column on the left, guess who on the right):

and Tunnel View (this is the first view of the valley you get driving in):

You have to imagine you’re down the valley and around the corner from El Cap (on the left).

Comparing the Bierstadt view to the topo map, I believe the point jutting over the left side of the valley is Washington Column, the round dome between it and the falls is North Dome, and the sliced-off round place directly in front of North Dome is Royal Arches. I think the largest dome on the right is Half Dome — it doesn’t quite look like it, but there have been massive rock falls from the face since Bierstadt was there, so I think the rock in front of what appears to be Half Dome just isn’t there any more. My best guess.

And by the way, I’m working on a chart of “The Domes of the Yosemite”.

Yosemite in the fall
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

We got back from Yosemite about a week and a half ago and I am finally almost caught up. (What? You didn’t notice I was gone? That’s because of the secrets I learned in the Orient which enable me to pass invisibly among men.)

We stayed in the Wawona Hotel which is one of the lodges in the park and did day hikes. The first day we hiked in the west end of the Yosemite Valley, and here is El Capitan:

We were walking along the Merced River when a black bear came out of the woods on the other side and had himself a bath.

So much for my theory that the bears might be hibernating. I had brought a couple of bags of trail snacks and it was very hard to know what to do with them — the park doesn’t want you to leave them in your car or the bears will rip your car apart, and the hotel doesn’t want them in the rooms because they’ll attract mice. Yeah, carry them with you, but you can’t walk all the time (especially me).

This is Cathedral Peak, same day. I didn’t connect it with the Bierstadt painting of Cathedral Rock until later — his view is from way down the valley.

The next day my knee was trashed so we had a mostly driving day. We drove out the Tioga Road which crosses the park east-west and is a winding chain of sheer drops with no guard rails. We stopped at Tenaya Lake, famous from the Ansel Adams photograph.

The jet trails are coming from Reno, I believe.

On to Mono Lake (actually a little east of the park). I had a vague impression that the tufa towers were caused by pollution but that’s not quite the story.

They form natually underwater when the calcium carbonate in the lake water reacts with something in the fresh water entering the lake. They’re visible now because Los Angeles has been siphoning water off from the feeder streams for years. This has been very bad for the lake and everything trying to live in it. A few years ago an agreement was reached that half the drop in water level would be replaced, and the lake is within about 10 feet of the target level, if I recall. The last 10 feet will take much longer because of the larger area to fill. The bird in the water is a western grebe. This does not count as an animal picture.

We stopped at Tuolumne meadow on the way back and walked to Soda Springs (a naturally carbonated spring) just for a place to go. We saw this coyote on the way back.

We visited a couple of sequoia groves. Here’s the upper grove at Mariposa Grove:

The building is a museum which was closed for the winter. And yes, we saw the tree in Bierstadt’s painting, the Grizzly Giant!

They had been burning the grove (lower down; you can’t tell from this picture). For a long time there haven’t been any new sequoias getting started because they need fire, and the Park Service has been on a no-fires mission for years and years. A managed burn clears away the pine litter on the ground so the seeds can germinate, the ash nourishes the young trees, and the fire doesn’t hurt the old trees.

The Mariposa grove was full of tame animals. I refused to take pictures of the mule deer, although I pointed some out to a woman who was taking pictures of every animal she saw. She crept up on the deer very slowly, taking pictures all the way, only to discover that the deer probably would only have moved if she had kicked it (and maybe not then). I do like ground squirrels:

The markings on their fur look like feathers. This guy was completely focused on his digging and only moved when I stepped around him.

I took a lot of pictures of Half Dome from various angles. Here’s Half Dome and Tenaya canyon from Glacier Point:

Glacier Point is at about 7200 feet with a 270-degree view, and there is a 4-mile trail from it down to the valley, which I think is at least a 4000-foot drop. Must be quite a trail.

When we got home, I went through a lot of Bierstadt paintings on a couple of web sites to see what his views were like. He painted at least 100 pictures of Yosemite’s domes, peaks, waterfalls, and canyons, but as far as I can find, not a single picture of Half Dome. That seems very strange. Maybe Half Dome wasn’t really famous until Ansel Adams photographed it.

We also walked down Tenaya canyon one day. It passes Mirror Lake which is the brown spot among the trees at the lower center of the picture. The Park Service has allowed it to silt up (they used to dredge it each year), and while there may be water after the snow melts, in the fall it’s just a sand pit. It’s on a list of “most overrated” destinations in Yosemite. One guy who hadn’t gotten the word asked us where Mirror Lake was, and was very put out when we told him he was looking at it.

We had beautiful weather with chilly nights and daytime highs of about 70, and it was really a relaxing trip, in no small part because there was no TV, no radio, no internet, no email, no cell service (we were apparently the ONLY people in Yosemite not getting cell service, but I think they were the ones losing by it — what sense is there in climbing to a beautiful spot and calling the office?).

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