Friday, October 9, 2009

Naturescape Gray Scale Series: Part 1 and 2

Naturescape Gray Scale Series is an ongoing study in learning to see value and work in gray tones. The idea of working this way was first put forth to me by Pamela Allen. I remember her wanting us to do a black and white still life. Dark Shadow is more of what I envisioned. Dark Shadow completed in January 2009 is Part 1 of Naturescape Gray Scale Series and measures 25 X 29. It is made of both natural and synthethic fabrics and fibers, machine appliqued and quilted. My goal was to capture light and shadows in a forest scene. The trees that are situated in the background appear lighter whereas the two in the midground are midtones. The tree closest to us in the foreground is very dark and it is where this piece gets it's name, Dark Shadow. I can still remember feeling that it would be the first and last black and white quilt I would ever do!!! I absolutely love color and this was a difficult piece for me to make. Still, nine months later, it is calling me back again.

White Lightning is Part 2 of Naturescape Gray Scale Series and measures 20 1/2 X 25 1/2. It was completed on October 5, 2009 and mounted to 24 X 30 black canvas. This piece was inspired from a photo that I converted to black and white. Once the pattern was made, it was transferred onto muslin. I began sorting out fabrics into seven piles ranging from white to black, a method I learned from Katie Pasquini Mausopust. Working from the actual photo, I matched colors of fabric to complete the picture. Once the design was complete, I fused everything down and layered it up for quilting. Initially I had intended to stay true to gray scale tones, but I soon realized that just the slightest hint of color really made a big difference. The whitest snow was quilted with the palest tint of pink to impart a glow to the snow, hence the name, White Lightning. Had I quilted it in white, it would have disappeared into the background. Indeed the snow that shows depth as it meets the river was quilted in white though at first glance it does not appear so. The snow underneathe the bushes to the left was quilted with a dull medium purple to convey shadows. The river is quilted in white, black and gray. This has been a very interesting study on value and a very valuable learning experience. And I love the play on words for both of these pieces, Dark Shadow and White Lightning. I have already chosen the next piece in this series and can't wait till I get back from Houston so I can begin working on it!!! Perhaps by then, I will have come up with a name for it. LOL


norma said...

These are terrific! I find it very hard to work without color. You've done a great job.

Nancy said...

Barb, Love the use of white to black in these, and the small hints of color with the quilting is just superb.

Leslie Tucker Jenison said...

Gorgeous, Barb. Working in grayscale is very inspiring.