Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How to Create a Waldorf Wool Seasons Painting

Children playing throughout the four seasons is a theme that speaks to our hearts. Childhood as it should be, outside in the fresh air.

four seasons painting

Waldorf Seasons by Claudia Marie Lenart

I originally created my Waldorf Four Seasons wool painting as a commission for a kindergarten class at Da Vinci Waldorf School. I have recreated the image numerous times for art patrons around the world. There are subtle differences in the recreations and some of them have been customized to include the customer's children.  The characters, trees, and animals are all created from needle felted wool. 
The images I created of children playing throughout the year have been so well received that they inspired me to write a book with 12 illustrations created from wool -- "Seasons of Joy: Everyday is for Outdoor Play." 

In this blog I will provide an explanation of how I make a wool painting. It is not a step by step tutorial, but I hope you will find it inspiring. 

blue felt

Newly dyed felt drying in the sun

The wool painting begins with a sheet of 100 percent wool felt fabric. I dye it blue, since a large part of the painting is blue sky. 
After dyeing, the wool gets a bit misshapen, so I measure and cut to the desired dimensions. 

Dyed wool felt ready to be measured.

I apply thin layers of Romney wool to the entire painting, blue in the sky portion and white over the ground. I needle felt along the edges of the painting, then place frame glass over the painting and gently rub the glass. This method is called pressed wool painting. The glass can be left on the wool for days.

blue wool sky

Layers of wool create the sky.

My trees are made of natural brown Corriedale wool. They are felted along the edges and then on the tree to look like grooves in the bark. I sometimes roll the branches so they look more solid and thinner. 

Three wool trees

I have used different types of wool for the grass. In this photo it is mostly merino wool. I usually apply a couple of layers of different shades of green. I lightly felt the wool in and then place the glass frame over the wool to enhance the felting process. 

merino green

Grass changing from Spring to Summer.

The tree leaves are fun to make. I usually use green locks for spring and white locks for winter. The summer and fall leaves are created from many different shades, built up in layers. 

Four seasons trees

Four Seasons Trees

To create the children, I study photos of children moving and then lay down a white wool outline. I create the heads separately and felt into the painting. They are dressed on the painting. 

girl running in spring

Children in Spring

I create the animals and flowers separately as well and then felt them into the painting.

needle felt cottontail

Cottontail running in Spring

felt robins eggs

Needle felted robins eggs

spring wool painting

Spring complete

The swing in summer is made from very thin yarn strung around the tree branch then attached with a sewing needle to the seat. The seat is very tightly felted wool that I cut into a rectangular shape.  The girl on the swing is a little doll which I attach to the swing. 

Girl on swing

Spring and Summer

Nuthatch in spring


Fall characters in progress

Children playing in fall leaves


tiny grey squirrel

Little squirrel

I spend a lot of time studying animals both in real life when possible and, more often, in photographic images. For the deer, I used a photo I shot while hiking last winter as my inspiration. The deer was created in layers directly on the painting.

Creating a deer

Winter sledding

Fall changing to winter

I hope that I inspired you to create your own wool painting. This image is copyrighted, so please do not create one to sell. 
If you would like me to create a wool painting for you or if you would like a print of my Seasons paintings, please visit Claudia Marie Felt on Etsy.

For a great book on wool painting:

1 comment:

  1. Hello I find your work very inspiring,they are beautiful.I am interested in the pressed wool painting technique but cannot find any information on it. Can you tell me where I can find information on it? Thank you Marge Pusch