Thursday, March 28, 2013

Going with the flow....

of my meandering creek, that is.  Now that the trees are done, I am turning my attention to the other focus of my piece which is the creek. 

My idea is to have the water and some areas immediately adjacent to it in dark values along with the dark values of the trees.  I really want this creek to stand out against the background of the landscape and connect the trees in what I hope is an interesting zig-zag line.

From left to right you can see my progress as I add different blues and some darker patterned fabrics I think of as representing bushes along the water.  As I add these different fabrics, I am also thinking about atmospheric perspective in that the foreground water fabrics are darker with larger patterns while the far distant water is a tone-on-tone fabric in a lighter blue.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Larimer County Artist of the Year

I just received some very exciting news - I've been selected as Larimer County Artist of the Year for 2013!

As someone whose work is inspired by nature this is a particularly rewarding designation to have.  An honor bestowed by the Larimer County Department of Natural Resources, the artist chosen is asked to create a piece of visual art inspired by a Larimer County park or open space which they will donate to the County.  This artwork will then be celebrated and displayed for public viewing in a Larimer County building.

I've just been looking at the long and varied list of parks and open spaces, some I'm familiar with and others I look forward to exploring.  Larimer County contains such wide and varied types of landscapes that I don't think there will be any lack of inspiration!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Color in a winter landscape

Now that the trees are done, I have been sorting through all the other fabric choices for my winter landscape. 

There are several blues that I want to use for my meandering stream.  Then there are a couple of other fabrics that are also a dark value with a strong print to them that I think will be perfect for bushes and shrubs along this stream.  Last, but not least, I have fabrics that are variations of white and beige that will represent the snow covered patches in my landscape.

As I always like to do, I have organized all my fabrics by value.  I want to make sure that my meandering stream is the darkest value (aside from the trees) across this landscape, with the edges of the water gradually receding to the lighter value of the snow covered areas.  Sorting the fabrics by value now will help me in my choices as I fill in my pattern. I'll be able to group together similar values in my fabrics, making sure I avoid a "stripe" effect.

Somewhere I learned the phrase "value does the work while color gets the credit" and I've always remembered the words as they are so true.  If anyone knows who can be credited with that statement, I would love to hear from you.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

My never ending search

As someone who focuses on nature, more specifically trees, I am always on the lookout for fabrics that portray foliage.  And a fabric that can portray foliage against sky is the absolute Holy Grail for me.
.Unless you are working in a very large scale, it is usually out of the question to individually piece leaves.  If I did applique or fusing or some other technique, this would be an easier problem to tackle  but piecing is what I enjoy.  So I look for fabrics that have a light/dark value contrast even if the colors are not anything you would ever see in a real leaf or in the sky.  I once did a piece that featured blue trees in a blue landscape just because I had found the perfect fabric for the foliage against the sky and that perfect fabric was in shades of blue. 
When it came time to add a few leaves to my cottonwood trees in this project I chose the fabrics pictured here and drew them in random shapes.  The shapes of the fabric pieces themselves definately do not resemble leaves in any way but are my impressionistic interpretation of foliage.


Monday, March 4, 2013

A Quick Value Check

There's nothing like having a brand new project to start.  My favorite part of the process is pinning the pattern to my design wall and getting to put those first splashes of fabric color up!

As always, I start with the most obvious and easiest choices first - the trees.  I have a large tree in the foreground, a few trees in the middle and several smaller trees in the distance.  Because of this, I want to keep the principal of atmospheric perspective in mind and keep those trees in the foreground a darker value and the trees in the far distant part of the landscape a lighter color in value.  I also want to show a little more shadow detail in the largest tree in the foreground. 

To make sure I achieve all this,  I've taken all my possible tree fabrics and and arranged them by value as you can see above.  Some of the fabrics with the lightest value will be perfect sunlit accents on my largest tree in the foreground.  And, while it may be difficult to see in my photo, I can make sure that the largest tree in the foreground consists of my darkest value brown.  I can also make sure that the trees gradually get lighter in value as they recede in the landscape by having those fabrics side by side from the start and sorted by value.