Monday, June 23, 2008

Thoughts on Color

Lately I've been feeling negative about quilting--much of what I see seems stale and based on current "trends", the latest techno gizmo, or hot new technique. So I've been trying to go back to basics and connect with what has always drawn me to any kind of fabric work, which is color. Looking back on what I've made, I find that the things I like best and am happiest with are pieces that I based on a particular color plan that spoke to me. Some of them have come from art or photographs.


The first is a painting by Picasso of his mistress Dora Maar. This combination is bizarre, and I can't analyze why it works, but I love it. I used it to chose fabrics for the quilt at the top of the blog. Some one else liked the combination apparently because I actually had a novelty child's fabric to use for the border.

Then there is this Christmas card, which I've used several times. It's not in the same category as the Picasso, but what makes it special to me is the zing of the red orange. Perfect!

I chose color plans from nature too. This quilt was inspired by flowers and foliage on my deck. I don't like the quilt because I didn't get the value placement right, but the effect of pink/red scattered through the different greens still pleases me.

I also like this quilt, where I tried to capture different grasses and wild flowers along the roadside.


I've wanted to make something in the muted, greyed, greens and browns of winter for a long time, but I haven't been able to decide on a design for that. Currently, I'm thinking of something based on this Science cover that I've saved for over a year. Unfortunately the reproduction isn't good; there's quite a bit of green in the stone of some of those spear points, and that's what makes it particularly striking. This would make a stunning quilt I think, very contemporary looking, and rather masculine, although no one I would make it for is hung up on that sort of thing. Maybe this project is what I need to get me out of the doldrums. I'm going to need some fabric...

11 comments:

Rian said...

Very interesting post, Kay. You obviously love green and orange. I think any time you are stymied on color you can look to Nature, for She gets it right.

One of my favorite palettes is greens mixed with violet, magenta, pink, red, or orange. This is one I use often, for it is pleasing to my eye. And we see it in Nature all the time. I am with you on that zing of orange. Yeah, baby!

The Calico Cat said...

I love the getting back to nature concept. I quite enjoy looking out the car window at the wildflowers & often thing of a quilt with all of those greens & specks of floral colors. (I was recently accused of taking pictures of weeds - but the color of periwinkle/purple/blue was so beautiful!)

Last week, I read a few posts about the "excessive" quilting - this kind of fits in the same vein...

But then again - if it works for you, for your project, for your needs - then go for it.

(I am working on a 30's quilt & I still hold that 30's are not my "thing.")

The Calico Cat said...

I forgot - Love the Arrowheads - I can so see a graphic quilt made with those colors...

StegArt said...

I really like both of those quilts. I think the one on your bed is absolutely lovely, and I've always loved the pattern in that second quilt.

Allison Ann Aller said...

Wise you are to go within to reconnect to the source of your own personal inspiration.

We just have to ignore the current quilt culture sometimes...and you know, I hear this from friends who are in lots of different areas of needlework: that the needlework industries, in order to make a profit, push and sell new tools, patterns, etc to the point that the trends this causes get imposed on people's natural creative inclinations.
And then all of a sudden you realize it's not fun anymore....

The industry, from manufacturers on down to the shops, of course need to make money and should.
But sometimes we have to tune them out.

Those arrowheads...what a great way to do that!

Karen Dianne Lee said...

Great post. I love the way you're talking about color and connecting it to what the eye sees - whether its a painting ( love Picasso by the way - Dali, too) or a card or nature.

I quite enjoy when you share your thoughts (as I've said before) as I find they inspire me to contemplate things a little differently.

ARROWHEADS are a MUST! Having just pulled my head out of my Hancocks catalog I'm oozing fabric and oh boy... well Kay you have fun because these colors are fantabulous!

McIrish Annie said...

I have been in a back to basics mode lately. With so many different techniques and designs, it's easy to be pulled in a million directions. I have gone back to "old time quilting" basic piecing of an old block to clear my head of this trendy stuff going on..

Love your arrow head idea.

paulahewitt said...

I agree with your comment about current quilting trend. Im feeling a bit ho hum about it all.I really like the second quilt in your post (broken dishes? im not dure of the pattern - i love those colours) and the arrow heads are great. Nature really is the best inspiration

Debra said...

About 10 years ago before I was so wrapped up in the Internet, I totally swore off all things quilty. I discontinued my guild membership, I cancelled all my magazine subscriptions,I skipped all the patterns/book aisles at the stores, I bought "fabric" in the form of used clothes to cut up and use. I refused to have anything to do with what was currently going on in the quilt world. I think it totally liberated my thinking at the time. I had to go inside of myself and look for ideas. I also began hanging out with a circle of "artist" people & that broadened my thoughts too. Since then I have tried to stay on the outskirts of quilt happenings and all the trappings of stores and trends by working to develop my own style.

Just the other day I thought to myself that maybe I should cut the cord again; but, then I thought about my on-line friends & decided that I needed the friendship and support. Last year I cut my blog readings down to about 10 regulars because I found myself looking at other people's work too much. While it is nice for inspiration sometimes, it is just as easy to go out into the world and think about your own designs.

One of the strengths of the ARTImage Challenge is that you have to look and interpret--exactly what you are trying to explain here with this post. It may be time to reevaluate your interest there too.

Amy said...

I like the colors found in the points. I worked for a short time in the archeology lab counting and weighing artifacts. I always like the stone artifacts, especially the varieties of flint. I was also intrigued by the colors found in chip stone flaking debris (CSFD). CSFD are the tiny flakes of stone that resulted in creating the points. I always thought the subtle earthy tones of these little chips in a bag would make a fabulous quilt.

Elaine Adair said...

Those stone points are awesome - clever of you to note it's graphic possibilities. LOVE the green grasses and the quietness. Looks so natural.