|Finding the right direction!
We're all trying to find the right direction....and, as a result, in my classes (especially the online ones), I do a lot critiquing. I seem to see the same mistakes made over and over..hmm.. perhaps mistakes is the wrong word! Rather - I feel that some of the designs and compositions just don't work as well as they might.
One of the most obvious problems is that of dividing the Picture plane–(I know that is art speak but it is a useful term so let's use it!) The Picture plane is simply the whole area of your quilt top. It is that two-dimensional space upon which you are creating the design.
Having a horizon in the exact middle of the Picture plane or a vertical line (such as the edge of a building) divides the area precisely into two equal amounts. Two equal areas that are similar are not as interesting as Unequal divisions. We like a little variety or novelty...we're hard wired that way! We pay more attention if things aren't quite predictable.
|Split into two horizontally - Boring! and a bit confusing...what is the quilt about?
|High Horizon - much more interesting!
So put your dividing line/horizon line or edge of building line...whatever it is...slightly off center. Some text books recommend dividing the picture plane into thirds, other recommend fifths. I think either can work depending on what you want to emphasize. In the image above I've shown the horizon line just 1/5th from the top of the picture plane.
If it's about an amazing sky pattern...then don't have the horizon in the middle: sky and land equally important - give the sky more space. Or if the sky isn't important but it's the landscape ...then give it more space...maybe 2/3 of the picture plane, or even 4/5.
I have a high horizon line in the quilt below, this time it was about 1/3 down from the top.
Another problem with dividing the space up equally is then you can end up with two quilts! The right hand one and the left hand one, each side being equally important....because you (the artist) have not indicated which is more important. Now occasionally you can use this device if you have a message you want to convey: e.g. something like War and Peace...the quilt divided into two equally with one side representing one thing, the other the other....showing that these alternatives are equally possible. But we are rarely wanting to communicate that. so think!! Just what are you trying to tell people about?
In the quilt below, I was actually trying to communicate hard vs soft, industry vs nature or man:
|Double exposure: spire
But more generally: an unequal division will work better
|A summer Day, long ago...
So.....keep your divisions unequal and you'll be just fine!!
And now for a nice cuppa tea.....and perhaps a little piano practice - gotta prevent the pedagogue from tearing his hair out over me!!
If you have been, thanks for reading.....
PS...please do let me know about your experiences with splitting the picture plane......