Nellie"s Needles

Monday, March 10, 2008

Reading A Quilt

Thanks to all who left comments for your input. It's interesting how everyone is visually tracking through this composition. It gives me pause about the power I thought I had in guiding "the eye" within my work. Well, at least everyone's eyes are staying within the "picture" and doing a bit of exploration. A very good thing!
As most of you know, a photo doesn't duplicate the actual colors. In reality the yellow beams like a light from this quilt, whereas, the orange beads in the "butterfly tongue" spirals in the center section shine more brightly in the photo. Also, the focus block is sparkling white because of the dark contrasting shapes on it as well as surrounding it. The light valued blues are quite true in the photo. In the black and white version below those orange beads disappear.
A "rule of thumb" I have for keeping attention within a piece is to arrange a visual sweep from upper right diagonally to the lower left. This counteracts our natural tendency to read patterns from left to right ... and on out of the picture. For that same reason I have strongly featured border patterns in that lower left corner to block the exit and draw your gaze back to the bright colors in the quilt.

Speaking of the border patterned fabric, I have used it around the outside edges to loosely frame the composition. It's also been used on the interior to transition between sections OR to guide the eye from one area to another.

Below is a tracing of the lines and shapes within this piece ... squares, rectangles, and triangles.
And here's a tracing of all the spirals.
To my eyes, both look balanced and have a good distribution of the shapes.

7 comments:

paulahewitt said...

the more I look at this quilt the more I like it! it was interesting to see it in B&W and the sketches - i think it looks well balanced too. i was a bit disappointed with myself that i was drawn to looking from left to right, even though you tried to make sure we wouldnt!

kay susan said...

I think you've done a fantastic job on this - and I have enjoyed following your progress - it's been very informative for me! Thank you.

Micki said...

I have enjoyed following your process/progress with this quilt. The B&W photos do help in seeing if something needs changing. Thanks for sharing.

teodo said...

I've never saw and done a progress like this for a quilt.
You have done a great job and now I understand why the result is so amazing.
Thanks for sharing your working process.
ciao ciao

arlee said...

I like the spiral tracings photo on its own! :}

Nellie's Needles said...

Arlee, some of those are tracings of spirals you created. I'll feature specific areas (including your fabric contribution) and embellishments in my next post.

Nettie said...

Thanks for this detailed and inspiring explanation. I've never tried an Art quilt, but used to like drawing and painting, so maybe someday...