A few months ago, I decided to finish my center panel. I wasn't certain if I was going to thread paint it or not. It's a nice painting and I really didn't want to screw it up because its a really big panel to have to re-create.
But all the other animals are thread painted or at least the backgrounds are but I had some reservations about thread painting the rhino. When I used the white ink I had (like for the polar bear) it was a lot more opaque and dried harder than the other inks. So when I tried to thread paint over it it looked like giant holes where punched through the paint which looked really bad. So I avoided thread painting on white areas or ink mixed with white. And the rhino has some white on it and mixed with other colors so I was concerned it was going to look really bad.
But I took a deep breath and started thread painting. I didn't want to thread paint the entire thing because I knew I was going to have to do that to the background and I didn't want to ruin the painting. I just wanted to enhance it. I decided to started in the darkest areas first. I started with black embroidery thread and worked on the horns, ear, eye and mouth area. There's also a small spot of black on the legs/body which isn't shown.
I slowly worked my way out color wise from there. I went to dark gray, brown, gray/brown, silver and a gold/beige color and I focused just on the head area. I want the viewer to really look at the animal so I focused on the head/face area.
I added a little bit of thread painting to the body of the animal just to round it out but I didn't do much.
Since I'm added tall grasses in front of the rhino, I took a variegated thread and did some of the same grass shapes around the sides of the rhino so hopefully those "grasses" will look more like they're in the background. The rest of the background is just a meander stitch done in gold from the grasses up to the top of the panel.
I also started tucking the edges of the fabric around the tree and limbs to make them into an applique that I've started stitching down to the panel. I simply took some fusible tape, stuck it to the fabric edge, rolled the edge under and iron it. The edges are now nice and smooth. Fusible tape is now my new best friend.
As I was stitching the tree branches down, I decided the leaves I had made were not going to make it. They were just too small to have to try to sew down without a bunch of raw edges and that's not the look I'm going for. So I decided to paint more fabric and using my embroidery machine, I embroidered some leaf shapes and I'll applique them down. They're much bigger than what I had and look nice with a finished satin stitch and some leaf veins and stems. I think these leaves will work out nicely for my tree.