Thursday, November 8, 2018

Why Study Value?

My name is Gwyned Trefethen.
I am the featured art quilter on
and @52quilters November 5 - 11, 2018.


Bearded Iris
by Gwyned Trefethen
12.5" H x 15" W
By the early '90s I joined my local quilt guild, the Rhododendron Needlers Quilt Guild, in Walpole, MA. We were very fortunate to have the budget and the support of our members to bring in several nationally renowned quilters , especially those who stretched tradition and/or made art quilts, annually. When it was my turn to put together RNQG's schedule, I knew I wanted to contract Katie Pasquini Masopust. At the time Masopust was exploring a new series she called Ghost Layers. It was quite a departure from her very early work, made when she was Katie Pasquini, that focused on isometrics. Everyone wanted to learn how to create their own ghost layer style quilt. Not me. I asked her to teach her color theory class. I'm so glad I did.

Influential Books and/or Quilt Artists

3 Dimensional Design, by Katie Pasquini, is the first book I purchased featuring art quilts versus traditional patterns and the techniques needed to make them. I was mesmerized by Pasquini's ability to create a sense of dimension using a 2 dimensional medium. I learned two things from this book. First, was the importance of a grid based on perspective lines to create the sense of a third dimension. Second, was why a light source is necessary to really bump out that third dimension.

Lets Look At Value:

Bargello Blessings
by Gwyned Trefethen
Made for my sister when she was
undergoing treatment for colon cancer.
Anyone who has studied a musical instrument knows the importance of practicing scales. I think of value levels as a color scale. Each color begins with its palest version and works its way towards its darkest version by gradual increments. Hence the term gradation. Creating gradations is like practicing scales. Understanding the intervals, or steps to get from one note to another or one color to another is key. Why? Because this understanding will help the artist achieve their vision. Value is necessary to show a light source. Areas infused with light are the palest colors, while those areas blocked from the light are in shadow or the darkest colors. Mid values are used for those areas neither in direct light or shadow. Value is relative. One color may read as dark, say royal blue next to a sunflower yellow, but that same royal blue will read as light when placed beside an eggplant/aubergine.

Tip of the Day:

One is so used to seeing color versus value, that it is easy not to have sufficient contrast in one's work. The result is key elements of design may blend into the background or neighboring elements. If you want to make sure you have enough contrast take a picture of your piece and convert it to black and white. Some cameras will do this. Photo apps often has this feature, as well.

Comments and Questions:

I value your comments and questions. You may send them to me publicly by commenting at the end of the blog. If you prefer, you may address me privately via email. I will be hosting the 52 Quilters blog and Instagram accounts from November 5 - November 11, 2018. I will answer some of your questions in the final post on November 11th.

Social Media and Affiliations:

Instagram: gwynedtrefethen

Juried Artist Member (JAM) and Board Member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)


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