Monday, July 25, 2011

Green is a Neutral!

I’m finishing up my week of hand-dyeing.  I did a lot of over-dyeing to get some new colors and designs. I wish I had more time or maybe a twin.  But then again, Joe would probably freak out with 2 of me in the house - he can barely handle one.  Yesterday we folded patterns which inevitably means running out of Ink.  Why the printer runs out of yellow ink when you are only printing black is still a mystery to me. 
Did you know that green is a neutral and has the power to make or break your quilt?  Over the past 4 years I have observed my students working with green and found that the wrong shades of green can visually drain your quilt of its color power.  
 Today, as I am washing and pressing my green fabrics, I thought I would give you the secret to a knock-your-socks-off quilt.  It’s in the greens.

To demonstrate this theory I have my students focus on just their flower petal colors first.  They get them working together perfectly.  How do you know if it’s right?   You either get a feeling of AHHHH or YUKKKK!  I know this is deep stuff.  When the student feels happy with it, then we find the best background fabric.  Here is how I have my students think like an artist.  When we lay that flower on the background fabric they brought, 50% of the class will change their mind about that background fabric that they thought was perfect.   Why didn’t that fabric work?   What they thought at home was great changes in class when they see how their flower is coming along.  This is OK.  Artists change their minds all the time.  It’s not a failure to change your mind. It’s the path to success!

Color is a science, a chemical reaction which happens when the colors touch each other.  Now we audition the greens for the leaves.   80% of what the students thought would work at home have changed in class.  It may not be the best for the new flower they have just created.  
Now, what if we where painting with paint, not fabric?  Well, you can paint over paint until you get just the right color.  With the fusible you can peel the color off and change your mind.  You are auditioning a variety of choices to get your quilt looking just the way you want.  
The artist knows this intuitively but even the layman can learn the technique. When the color is right you will have a feeling.  Artists feel…sometimes too much.  Talk to me!  But go with it in your art.  This is how that feeling works.

 Your eyes perceive the color, that message goes into the brain and causes a chemical reaction, then the message shots down the body to the stomach,  turns around and then shoots  back up to your mouth and comes out as YUKKKK or AHHHH.  This is your brain, gut, intuition, telling you if it’s working or not.  It’s a FEELING and feeling in art is always good.

Now back to the power of green.  Greens come in hundreds of shades - just look outside at nature.  It can also set the mood you are trying to portray.  Example: visualize what color green you see when you are in Arizona?  There’s a look.  It’s the cool, light green and grayed greens of the desert cactus.    Which, when you use them in a quilt give you that southwestern look.  What about the greens in Hawaii?  Those are a deep blue green and yellow green, which give off a tropical feel.  So take your time when you use a green fabric when quilting and get the strongest AHHHH out of that green.  You may just win the next award!

Post a Comment