Lesson Two - Uta L.

Andy Goldsworthy : Snow, heaped into a line, slowly melting (from: TIMe)

The long rectangle in a natural environment is a clearly defined shape that starkly contrasts with the natural shapes around it. This holds for all four stages.

first two: black and white contrast. In the first stage, the contrast between black/white is still relatively light as most of the environment is still snowy and basically the colors gray and white predominate. The shape of the rectangle is visible because of the different colors, but color contrast is not really strong.

In picture two the contrast between black and white is much more noticeable because some of the snow immediately around the ‘wall’ has already melted, leaving a much darker area that defines the shape more strongly: here, it is more noticeabley a double shape. The contrast is more noticeable, too because other natural elements are more pronounced after the snow has melted from the trees, and the snow cover is less dense.

Picture 3 finally introduces real color: due to the fact that much more of the snow has by now melted, color as such is introduced into the overall picture. The white shape of the rectangel yet again is visible due to the strong contrast of the intensively white line, but not it appears only as a single shape.

Picture 4: the shape is still visible, more color is added through the appearance of grass.

It would be interesting to know a) the number of days over which these pictures were taken, and to know the difference in daytime between pictures 3 and 4 – if picture 3 had been taken at the same time of day as picture 4, it might have left a completely different impression.

Gabriele Münter Sunset on Lake Staffelsee

strong contrast of color: three primary colors placed pretty much next to each other

only two of the complimentary colors from the range of secondary colors are also included in the picture (the definite lack of orange (which appears as only one little line in the streak on the right hand side) is very noticeable and makes orange even more conspicuous

contrast of shapes and values: the black island in the middle, shifted slightly towards the left, balancesthe whole distribution of light/dark values, and of shapes, because the repetition of the two ‘spikes’ rising from the island

contrast of line: several of the ‘cloud’ shapes (and the upper line of the hill in the foreground) are encircled by red lines. Only red lines appear. Linear elements in the lighter area of the picture do not have this lining function, but are included.

Emil Nolde – Sea and 3 Yellow Sailboats

Top - Lake Geneva, Bottom - Sea and 3 Yellow Sailboat, Top

Top - Lake Geneva, Bottom - Sea and 3 Yellow Sailboat, Top

The whole composition revolves around the complimentary colors contrast, which is mostly carried by the boats, 3 defined shapes against a backdrop of amorph water/clouds. 

repetition of shapes in the ‘above’ sails and the mirror images

Contrast of complimentary colors and the adjoining colors in color wheel (purple/blues)

contrast of values: purple goes from darkt to light, a wider range than the variation in value in the blues.

Lake Geneva

color contrast: almost complimentary color (blue/yellow), with a bit of real complimentary in the foreground

contrast in shape: 1) a line (the coast line) vs. the rest of the picture; 2)coastal shapes + mirror images vs. more amorphous clouds, repetition of the coastal shapes through mirror images.

Georgia O’Keeffe My Last Door (my absolute favorite in the exhibition four years ago!)

contrast of ‘color’ reduced to the minimal but total contrast between black and white, and a bit of grey (contrast of values)

wonderful contrast of shapes: the two different long grey areas at top and bottom of the picture, the white background (i.e. a large rectangle) and the black center rectangle bordering on square: a dark focal point.

repetition in the use of small grey rectangles with minute variations in size, lines and values.

Own works:

I chose to use one work of mine that has already been finished, one that is still in the process of being finished, and a small new composition worked on according to the guidelines given in the assignment.

Finished piece:  

Shades of Green (Play of Lines XXXIV)

When I was working this piece I was reacting to the statement of a friend whom I had given a piece of hand-dyed green fabric, who said “why do you think are there so few green quilts around?” – yet I had many green scraps. So I was using up scraps, sewing them together by values. Green by itself seemed boring, so I wanted to add contrast and chose complimentary red to dissect the pieces with thin lines in a certain arrangement, repeating the arrangement, but each is its own as they were made individually. Then I arranged the blocks, and at that stage did not like them touching each other directly, so I added the frames – I regret that now, but too late. The arrangement by value happened with gut feeling, so I wasn’t really sending any kind of artist message while making it. 

It has a combination of machine stitching around the red line motifs and extensive seed stitch all over the quilt (except inside the motifs).

Piece in progress:

No title yet – perhaps “Thinking of Nasrin” in Aghanistan

This piece started from a challenge in our group to use one embroidered square from Afghanistan (they were all made by the same embroiderer, Nasrin). The original square I chose is this one. (square) Because two squares were left at the end of the choosing process, I decided I would include those as well. Didn’t want to keep them square, though, so inserted them into a circle. I had a piece of a tchador with the typical embroidery which I had dyed blue and wanted to use this with the embroideries by an Afghan woman, but without replicating a tchador. I kept the hemming lines that were in it, cut it up to keep the embroidered parts and arranged it, then added a printed piece of fabric of mine which takes up the circle-theme in the printing, a little piece of fabric that my son had done some embroidery stitches on (upper right hand corner), took up the yellow of the original challenge square in the lowere left third and added a mixtrue of embroidery stitches by hand to tie that strong yellow line in and keep it from popping out too much, and some machine quilting that echoes some of the patterns but has areas where it stands completely for itself, too, but very ornamental. 

To me this quilt expresses a lot – but I think I won’t talk about that here without having heard the analysis of the use of contrasts/repetition.

Little composition:

all this is non-fixed as I simply pinned it onto the wall on top of another piece (which explains the weird upper righthand and lower lefthand corners in some of the photos, these don’t go with the composition).

I began with a piece of cloth I printed in November (1).

Then I added some circular shapes in the background color, and taking up the sort of circular shapes from the printing, and imitated the purplish square figure through the purple lines arranged in squarish arrangement (3). 

Another little circle, in another color, and integrated into the original and extended square (4).

Because it seemed a rather boring and dull composition at this stage, I wanted to break up the square-shape and tried adding the purple lines in rectangle arrangement at the right top and the left bottom corners. (5) Then it needed contrast (6), but the more pointed arrangement and broken line in (7) appeals to me a bit more. Size: approx. 30 by 50 cm. 

Hoping to get back to some of the other exercise suggestions...