Monday, August 24, 2015

+ feeling......

A couple of people asked in the Comments (of my blog) last week (love comments - thank you!! and thank you to Janis for the links - most enlightening - I had no idea all those QN 15 shorts were on You Tube)
..yes!, a couple  of people asked me "well just how do I get the emotion into a quilt?"

Actually the answer is fairly straight forward...but I do think it's a good idea before practicing the techniques  to look and see how the Great Artists of all time got emotion into their the internet for art- you can google things like The world's 100 great paintings etc and come up with a lot of work.  Or go to the website of many of the large museums, several have now had their best paintings carefully digitally photographed at high levels of resolution so you can really examine them.  As with anything new, always begin with clear classic examples.....

For example:

what emotion would you see in Mary Cassat's mother and baby paintings?

or here:

What emotions do you think Picasso was trying to convey in Geurnica?

and what do you feel when you see this painting?

While there may be a little variation I think that most of us would come up with wonder, tenderness and grief (not necessarily in that order!).

So what did these artists do to show that?

In 2D art you basically have 5 things that you can manipulate:  value, color, shape, line and texture.

Let's take each one of these:
Value:  you can have an art work with soft gradations in value, or very marked sharp ones.
See how Picasso uses very bold contrasts of value to convey feeling, Cassat keep the value changes very soft.

Line:  note how Cassat's lines are soft and melting, Picasso's are hard, Van Gogh's are excited like exclamation points!!!

Color:  Cassat uses soft warm colors to show tenderness....and love ...Picasso used harsh black/white/grey contrasts....and van Gogh had a sharp complementary blue/yellow color scheme,  bright and scintillating.

Shape:  Mary Cassat's women and babies are rounded soft shapes that enclose and intertwine, Picasso's are harsh, pointed, jagged and rent with emotion.  Van Gogh's shapes  are spreading out in waves and circles radiating across the sky.

Texture:  again Picasso has a harsh bristly texture, Cassat's is so soft it feels like warm velvet.

I do go over some of these concepts in my two books: Inspired to Design and Working in Series both of which are basically about the application of the major principles and techniques of art to the design of quilts and available from me, your local independent quilt store or Amazon.
Or look at Molly Bang's little book:  Picture This: How Pictures Work  which shows these concepts very clearly in use in the telling of the Red Riding Hood story.

I hope this explanation helps to answer the questions!  Let me know what you think...and also I'm very happy to have topics suggested for the blog...sometimes all the cups of  tea in the world don't inspire me to anything except a trip to the loo!!

If you have been, thanks for reading.....Elizabeth


Sharon Robinson said...

This is a very useful post, thank you Elizabeth. I really enjoy your blog, your books and your class. I am finding that you have a way of really explaining something in detail so that it makes sense, especially with the examples you give. Many teachers will say to "put your emotions into your work." But very few can actually explain how that is actually done. Thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth Barton said...

Great!! That is my aim...eschew obfuscation! Clear English and definite solutions...I don't mind if people don't USE them, of course. My goal is to clarify and elucidate the "art speak". I've been bedazzled and flummoxed by it too much myself!

Turtlemoonimpressions said...

In last week's post, you showed a piece that has a lot of feeling in it, along with some stunningly beautiful shibori. It exudes a peaceful, harmonious state of being, yet has a bit of mystery to pique your interest. What is the title of that piece?

Ellen Lindner said...

Love the links to the examples. And I have Molly Bang's book, too. It's eye opening!