Friday, March 8, 2013

**A Few Lines about Line ** Off the Wall Friday

Now that the Ladies are safely designed, layered and quivering under my sewing machine, I'm taking a break from the frenzy.  Today I struggled with line.  Now I know that some people create just by making visual decisions as they go.  Of course, that's not a bad idea since you need to make visual decisions visually, right????.  That said  - what happens when that fails you??

Since last summer, I knew darn well that I wanted to add some kind of finishing lines on the hands of the Ladies.  I mean, let's great honest here - their hands were just kinda stumps - which equated to visual stopping points in the piece.  Stopping points are not good either if your aim is to convey movement and grace.  (read big sigh!)  With the deadline looming, I had to once and for all make the decision concerning the hands.  (read even bigger sigh!)
Arm extends across Yellow Lady - cutting her in two and  taking the eye right off the piece

So I took my own advice and made visual decisions visually by auditioning different tissue paper curves at the ends the hands. An hour and a half into it, all were wrong and I wasn't any further along.  My eye told me they were wrong but I couldn't figure out why.  So I just tried one curve after another.  Finally, after a cup of tea, I realized that maybe if I used my brains instead of my eye I could stop this whole auditioning process.  The hands were in essence the line and movement of the piece.  I needed to decide what way I wanted to the viewer's eye to move - where the flow of the quilt was going  - and where it would eventually stop.  So a piece that started out in an exercise in value - ended up being just as big  a lesson in line.
Hand is working with the Yellow Lady's line  but still is a bit heavy

And the lesson doesn't stop there - once I figured out the lines of the hands (which took 20 minutes after my epiphany)  - there are still all the quilting lines to work out.  You've caught me in the midst of that.  Still I can tell you one thing - the lines are NOT going to fight against the movements of the Ladies who after all are the focal point of the pieces (as all divas are).  So many times lately, I see quilts, art and traditional,  that have quilting lines that seem totally foreign to the composition of the piece. Remember composition and line should compliment each other - not work against each other.  Take elements from one to guide you in the placement of the other.

Hand is finally working the the lines of Yellow's Lady's dress and is in proportion to her curves

I'm writing this all down here  - so next time I'll remember how important line is  before I waste an hour and a half trying to work against the composition. (read one last parting sigh)

The Ladies will be finished by tomorrow - I promise  - safely making the deadline.

So what have you been up to creatively??


MulticoloredPieces said...

Hi, Nina Marie. Yes, you nailed the flow of the piece. Very lovely. I'm struggling with that as well. The stitching also makes this piece dance.
best, nadia

quilthexle said...

Thanks a lot for this post! It was super interesting to read what you tried, what did not work (and WHY !!) and finally to see how you solved the problem. Can't wait to see the Ladies finished ;-))

Margarita Korioth said...

It is so interesting to read your process; thanks for sharing.

Karen S Musgrave said...

Can't wait to see this finished!

Nancy Bowron said...

Another option is to take those flowing curvy lines from the stumps of her arms and cut them into pieces of varying lengths and then arranging them to lead the eye wherever you want. These would end up looking like dashes, and the values and colors could change as necessary. Does that make sense?! Its a neat quilt and I look forward to seeing where it goes!

Lisa Chin said...

Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing. I'm looking forward to seeing the completed piece.

Anonymous said...

I love this quilt- and I love your discussion of your design dilemma and the solution you are crafting. You know I think the transparency solution is very elegant. And the shapes are very nice. I have really enjoyed "meeting" your blog- and will be back often. I LOVE to encounter interesting, honest writing about the visual creative process. And you certainly have it! Thanks!!