Week in Review 2023 – 01/13

More or Less

Is more or less better when it comes to art? That depends on what the intent of the art is. Sometimes simplicity is called for. Other times the artwork lends itself to a more complex approach. Personally, I feel most energized and engaged when I am working on one of my more complex artworks.

Pillars of Creation as viewed through the James Webb telescope is the inspiration for my Fierce Planets entry. It will be pieced in my signature style of abstract realism. The working title is In the Beginning.

More is More

Pillars of Creation is a complex concept as well as being a very visually complex image. It could be simplified, but so much would be lost. One of my goals, as I work my way through this piece is to show the captured sense of movement.

The top two rows of In the Beginning are complete. It measures 9″ H x 55″ W.

I’ve always been impressed by artists who can look at an image or scene keep track of what they are looking while simultaneously creating it. I get lost. Where was that branch? How do the zebra stripes work? So, I turned to my Senior Executive Director of Studio Operations and asked if he could make me a tool to help me keep tabs on where am as I build out In the Beginning.

When I create one of my abstract realism artworks from a photograph, as I am doing with In the Beginning, I print out enlarged photograph. Next I grid it. This time I selected a grid of 11 by 12 3″ squares. So much was happening in each 3″ square, I still struggled to go from photograph to worktable and keep tabs of how to build out the next block. Having a “tic tac toe” grid tool breaks the photograph down further. This way I can retain dark brown in upper left, mid value rust colors in the remainder of the top row, etc. There is more to it, than that. Hence, more is more. 🙂

Less is More

    How Does Your Garden Grow will look similar to this when it is finished. It is my 2023 Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt.

    If you compare my other current artwork, How Does Your Garden Grow to In the Beginning it demonstrates how less can be more. In this case the stems and leaves are simple, graphic images. Also, I am using a single background fabric. No surprise, I don’t struggle to keep track of where I am in the image. In fact, I expect you will be able to figure out where the block I finished this week will be positioned in the quilt more easily than you can align the rows from In the Beginning to the photograph it is based on.

    One of the two deep blue blocks finished for the 2023 Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

    What’s your preference? Do you prefer more or less? Perhaps, like me, appreciate both approaches.

    I’m linking up to the following posts:

    By Gwyned Trefethen

    I am an artist who uses fabric, thread and miscellany to create designs gifted to me by my imagination.


    1. I smiled when I saw your grid tool. I use one too — but it’s constructed differently. My daughter’s office sometimes uses a laminating machine; she gives me the off-cuts. I’ve used them often to draw a grid through which I can see to ensure placement and size of parts of a piece. I’ve also used paper grids — especially for irregular grids. I don’t enlarge them often (no service nearby) but they’re still helpful in achieving what I want.

      1. Using off cuts from lamenting is definitely another solution to creating a grid. I’m pretty good at applying the rule of 3s in my work to determine where to place a focal point. In fact I have that sweet spot marked on my master plan for In the Beginning. As for enlarging photographs, I do that on my home printer. I convert the image file to a .pdf and print it as a tile poster. I did look into having a local printer do it for me, in order to deal with a single page versus 25 pages that have to be taped together, but the cost was prohibitive. Expensive as ink is, home printing was significantly cheaper.

    2. Cool tool made exclusively for YOU! Haha! Pretty flower about to be sewn. Have a creative week!

      1. Thank you, Diann. True the two artworks are different, BUT they share my favorite style of creating – precision piecing – even if I am not always that precise. 🙂

      1. So many compliments on the grid tool. That Senior Executive Director of Studio Operations is getting quite the swollen head. Thank you for the positive comments about my latest artworks.

    3. Hi Gwyned, working in a grid would sure help you to work on a more complex piece. I’ve never really had that issue yet but then I tend to work, at least for now, on much small pieces. Thanks for sharing your tool! Take care.

      1. I admire those who can work small. It is a skill to translate an image to its essence, as in less is more. Perhaps, because I started as traditional quilter making bed quilts for my children and as gifts, I am most comfortable doing large scale work. I think of my work as relatively small compared to that era. Most work is closer to crib size than queen size beds. Glad you enjoyed the very primitive grid tool.

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