Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Want a challenge?? Giveaway and a way of looking at art

A bee mate brought this to me from the free table at guild... it started a big discussion about color and proportion and what the heck is wrong with that boat?

shall we start with the tsunami wave right in front? Or the odd shape? what's the dark blue line about? The weird shading of fabrics?

I am not criticizing the maker. I am critiquing  her choices in order to learn.

This seems to be based on a Lorraine Stangeness pattern. I LOVE her patterns using sew and flip pieces. She lays them out in such an easy graphic that you want to keep going til it's done.

This was given away for a reason. The maker just didn't get colors and shading right. To do her patterns one must consider more tone and shade, less contrast. It's why we have a design wall, so we can step back and see if fabrics blend or scream out.
I mean, each fabric alone is really pretty. 
This is how pretty fabrics can go wrong, in relation to other pretty fabrics.

If something is supposed to be representational such as a boat in the ocean, in a sunrise or set situation, then why go from extreme orange to deep sky color to bright yellow stars to bright light blue skies to peach?

Our senses want to make, well... SENSE of an image.

I do not know who designed this, but I wish she had asked friends during the process.
"Something is wrong here... what is it? "   Know what I mean? That is a great service good friends can offer each other.

Ask what's wrong, but do not worry if they do not see your vision of the finished item. I once had some unsolicited advice by friends, "You can't put all those yellows together!" But I knew what my vision was, and that quilt went on to win many local and several National prizes!! It's still one of my favorites and so very jolly. (I've never shared it here)

What do you do when you know "something ain't right" ? Do you walk in and out of the room til it comes to you? Do you ask a friend you trust to be honest? With design skills? I've done it all, including writing to it.

Um hm... a great design teacher once suggested that, early in my career.

I take out a pen and paper, and write, the mood I wanted to create, the idea or line or concept I wanted, and ask what do you want? I keep writing til it comes to me, Ohhhhhhhhhh! That's what's missing/too much/wrong. It's worked for me more than a few times.

 I've studied design principles and listened to artists, looked at a lot of art, often ask other artists what they like or not about certain pieces, all in an effort to make the process....effortless.

 Learn all you can, observe nature, draw a lot so you learn about shadows, take a lot of photos so you see reality differently, critique your own work honestly.

Then it's intuitive, lol!
And it is really.

I took an hour to really look at this, adding in pieces, changing proportion with folding, ripped off the bottom offending strip, and as much as I like little color scraps, I decided to offer it up to you as a challenge.
Notice what I've temporarily done here...

 a dark strip under the boat,
 change of fabric under the ocean,
replace the tsunami with another orange,
 remove some of the peach replacing it with a sunset fabric...

Not perfect but it's more balanced to me.
The boat is still weird.
You will receive it as it was originally minus a little bottom strip, not the way it looks after my manipulation. 

So are you ready for a challenge? Will you actually work on this and show us what you accomplished? 
 Do you disagree with me, and like it as is??? Fine with me!

 Want to be part of my little critique group here? What do you think? Leave an amusing comment and I'll send it to you... if there is more than one response, I'll just pick one of you. 

Come on and play! 


  1. O I would definitely fix it .... The boat is so distracting but again, art is ..... just that..... go to a museum... there are many concepts I just don't get. Me, I like something to look natural and flow....

  2. I agree there's something wrong with it. But I'd be darned if I knew how to fix it. I would be very interested to see what it looks like with some modifications!

  3. The boat's windshield is the wrong way. It should be flipped on that same axis.

  4. The,sail is not big enough for one thing.

  5. So interesting to see the little changes you made and how much impact it had on the whole piece. But I have no clue what steps it needs next. I often leave things on my design wall or the floor and just "live with it" for days before making a decision.

  6. Looks like someone was trying to use up some leftover 2-1/2" strips...

  7. your needles must be like magic wands, you made it to an artpiece....

  8. I love your IDEA of offering up a challenge piece. That would be so much fun if I didn't already have enough challenges of my own! You have an amazing mind and I love reading through your thought processes!

  9. From where I sit, everyday is a challenge but then again what do I know? 😇 I know you'll understand that thought. LOL

    I do know my eyes didn't appreciate the original art gift. I knew you'd be able to come up with something far more interesting and pleasing to look at.

  10. I found this so interesting, and enjoyed seeing your small but very effective changes! I do think taking photos helps and just letting things simmer for a while - but small pieces aren't really my favourite.

  11. My first impression was that the boat was being gobbled up by a giant orange mountain or something. The background was overtaking the foreground. You did the right thing by covering up that piece of dirty water on the right, so a horizon appears. Then pinning up the monster to make it less threatening was helpful. But it still does not look like sky to me. The actual sky area needs to not be there, or something. You have a real puzzle on your hands. Have fun or cut it up for crumb blocks for me.

  12. Ya know, the whiteness of the boat was the first thing that irked my eye. i have confidence you will turn this, come about, around swiftly and arty . i am currently challenged vertically and in a few other areas as well, so i will sit in the stands and watch your progress.

  13. I always love a challenge. The piece has lots of potential from my point of view. I would put the piece on my design wall and let it "speak to me"...so to speak. It looks to me like it needs to grow in size with additions both on it and around it. It has a lot of energy. Fabric paint and applique come to mind to use. Once it was pleasing to the eye (and heart) it could be "attic windowed"...it feels like it could be the sunsets through a window...play, play, play.

    1. I would send it to you Ursula but I do not have your email address. Mine is up on the right side of the blog so let me know and I'll send you the challenge!

  14. I found your thought process with this piece so interesting LeeAnna. This is exactly what I am bad at...choosing fabric/colours so it should never end up in my hands! All I can tell is that the boat seems a little off if it is meant to be a boat. But I like the sun/star blocks.