Watercolor Dye Technique #4: Toscana, My most intricate dye job to date

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by shipwright posted 322 days ago 1374 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Tips and Tricks I've Learned Part 4 of Watercolor Dye Technique series Part 5: Toscana, cutting and assembly »

I have done a few dye projects since the last post to this blog but they have been small and not very noteworthy. I did however learn from them and have decided to try something a whole lot more intricate than I’ve attempted before.

The story begins with new granite countertops for our kitchen and my wife’s request for a bit of marquetry for a feature area in the new backsplash. She tried my Chianti tray there and likes it but it’s a little too small.

She liked the Italian theme but said she would like more of a landscape so off I went to search Google images. This lovely bit of rural Toscana is actually about a rental property near Gaiole in Chianti, a place we have stayed in the past so it became the centerpiece that I would build the picture around.

Next I found a generic grapevine graphic that I could work with …....

...and made a quick sketch.

Then I imported the sketch to Inkscape and came up with a cutting pattern.

As you can see it is quite large to cut on the chevalet with a saw frame only 18” deep. It hardly looks cutable but with a little ingenuity and a few different start holes it was finally cut down into pieces that could be handled more easily.

With the cutting well underway, this is a good time to break off. Next up will be finishing the cutting and assembling the monochrome marquetry. This whole picture will be from one (jointed) piece of 1/16” maple. All color will be added by “watercolor dyeing”.

Thanks for coming along on the ride. I’m having lots of fun with this and it presents all kinds of probl …. er … opportunities so it should be fun.
Questions, comments critiques
as always are welcome.


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

15 comments so far

View stefang's profile


12405 posts in 1919 days

#1 posted 321 days ago

I like the way you made the landscape manageable with the arch Paul. I will be watching closely to see how you do the dye work and the results. Judging by your past work, it will be beautiful. I can’t wait to get started with marquetry again with summer coming to an end and with all of our house and garden work done. It still may take awhile as I have to make a few improvements to my shop first.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Schwieb's profile


1464 posts in 2046 days

#2 posted 321 days ago

I’ll be following this with great interest, Paul.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Bearpie's profile


2583 posts in 1603 days

#3 posted 321 days ago

Looks wonderful, I like the scenery!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View rance's profile


4125 posts in 1745 days

#4 posted 321 days ago

Paul, the artistry with how you merged the items is supurb. So what do you think of Inkscape? I’m thinking of using it for some design work. Is it easy to learn? Any drawbacks to it? Can it export to DXF? Thanks in advance for any info. you could provide.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Greg The Cajun Box Sculptor's profile

Greg The Cajun Box Sculptor

4898 posts in 1893 days

#5 posted 321 days ago

As always, your ideas and work are amazing and impressive. It was a smart idea to cut it down into easier to manage pieces.

-- Every step of each project is considered my masterpiece because I want the finished product to reflect the quality of my work.

View a1Jim's profile


111999 posts in 2162 days

#6 posted 321 days ago

I’m always so impressed with all of your work Paul it’s great of you to always share you work and techniques with us.

-- Custom furniture

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7595 posts in 2637 days

#7 posted 321 days ago

WOW, Paul,

You’re sure taking a BIG bite this time!

That’s a HUGE piece to be moving around in your Chevrolet cutting machine!

I can’t quite see how it’s developing yet… BUT, I’, sure I will as you progress…

Thank you for taking the time to do this…

You are just AWESOME and it’s always a great pleasure watching you go through a project & into NEW terrirtory.

Thanks again.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View tinnman65's profile


1097 posts in 1999 days

#8 posted 321 days ago

Looks like a pretty ambitious project Paul but it seems you have it well in hand. I look forward to see how you do the dyeing process.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View Philip's profile


1061 posts in 1124 days

#9 posted 321 days ago

Paul, I’m very impressed with how far you’ve come with the marquetry and you keep crankin’ them out! Can’t wait to see ‘em dyed.

-- If you can dream it, I can do it!

View kiefer's profile


2937 posts in 1252 days

#10 posted 320 days ago

You hit a soft spot and I will be watching this one with great anticipation .
I framed some prints of Tuscany for a young lady some time ago and just fell in love with this place and it’s beauty ,hope to visit some day .

-- Kiefer 松

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

5261 posts in 2013 days

#11 posted 320 days ago


-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Roger's profile


13954 posts in 1389 days

#12 posted 320 days ago

You are just an incredible craftsman, and, artisan Paul. WowZa!

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View shipwright's profile


4807 posts in 1383 days

#13 posted 320 days ago

Thanks everyone,

Rance, I like Inkscape for the things I do. It is flexible and quite easy to learn but I don’t have enough experience with other programs to give a good review one way or the other. As for DXF ….. you’re over my depth on that one :-)

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View peteg's profile


2797 posts in 1408 days

#14 posted 320 days ago

I hate it when you tease us Paul with WIP shots for a piece like this :)
Can’t wait to see this finish line, fabulous design

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View JeremyPringle's profile


281 posts in 1059 days

#15 posted 319 days ago

I don’t think this is real. Your ‘photos’ are obviously staged! I have never seen a shop that clean and tidy before. Come on, tell us… green screen?

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics :: gardening showcase