Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Another Quandary

Reference photo of section of fountain wall
Trying to visual only takes you so far...

I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday concerning the bottom section of the fountain wall. Looking at my reference photo again in hopes of sorting out my confusion, I realized I didn't have to work two different fabrics into it just because I had physically divided the space and done so on my sample. It could be all the same fabric, broken up by the grout line stitching. Very possible that this newest brown fabric would not need any "improving" with paint. But I'd also considered a few other combinations and the image of each would not hold in my head long enough for proper comparison. Oh yeah, next epiphany - photograph each variation and view on the computer. Better yet - once in Paint Shop Pro, I could add lines emulating the stitching lines to come. I'd already seen how those lines changed my perceptions when I did them for real.

Variation 1

Bear in mind that the colors aren't quite perfect - some of the golden tones in the lighter fabrics have been washed out, but I think the values are fairly true. The top row and left hand side are actually complete; the sections on the right below the top row are the ones in question. Also remember that my point is to accentuate the step-down nature of the fountain wall, wanting to encourage the eye to move from upper right to lower left. In the version above, I added a strip of the fabric used on the lower left, because it was no where else and has that bluish grey that is in the top batik. Nice thought but it pulls the eye back to the right and strikes me as looking out of place.

Variation 2

Same version but with all brown at the bottom. Note that the fabric between the brown and the top row is the same as the top row fabric. I'm thinking that helps with the step down idea and swings the eye around if it tracks left to right from the top.

Variation 3

But I'm still bugged about having that greyish fabric in only one spot, so I've tried it in that position between the brown and top row. I feel that it stops the flow of the step-down movement, creating too much of a segment by segment effect. But I could be wrong

Variation 4

What if I let go of adding the brown altogether and surround my dark "water" section with the grey/tan fabric, reinserting the lighter stone fabric in between it and the top row? Not sure, not sure, not sure...

Paint Shop Pro composite of variations

In Paint Shop Pro, I can change the window configuration in several ways. I normally have it set to show one photo at a time if more than one is open, with tabs along the top that I can click to move from one photo to another. But I can also tile them in various ways, including like this so I can see these four versions side by side. I can roll back in my chair and squint my eyes or move in for closer inspection - a very helpful aide. And yet, I am still unwilling to commit. The waffle is between the bottom two in this screen shot of the horizontal tiling (or variation 2 and 4 of the individual photos). I've caught myself trying to base decisions on everything from employing design principles to justifying all the money I've spent on fabrics that might solve my problem. I've tried not to be too influenced by the original design inspiration photo or the sample that I made in order to be more open to options, but I can't deny they have both helped and slowed me down. I'm left in a bit of a muddle while at the same time knowing I am close to resolution.

So what say you? I could use an unbiased critical look and weighing in. Click on any photo for a larger view, then let me know. Oh, and ignore those bits of purple and orange around the edges - they belong to other potential quilts taking up space on the design wall. 


Olga Norris said...

I sometimes find that changing the orientation of an image on the computer gives me enough of a push in choosing which one to go with. In other words mirror, or flip the images, just to test the composition.

My personal preference is for your Variation 4 because that retains the contrast with the darker elements. I personally find that the mid value fabric takes away from/tones down the lovely effect of the darker fabrics. But that's just my opinion.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks, Olga. I'd forgotten about viewing in different orientations - I'll give that a try. I must admit that when viewing the photos, I'm leaning towards #4 also but am not as sure when viewing that variation on the wall. I guess I'm worried about it being too bland while using the mid-value brown adds an unexpected element just like in the actual fountain wall. See? I'm being pulled by intellectual arguments!

The Inside Stori said...

It's really coming together.....one thing I noticed, comparing the original photo to version 4. The actual water feature appears to have a bit of a vertical shadow on the very left edge of the marble pieces at each 'step-down' section. That seems to help define depth (think tumbling block)....maybe you could try that to provide a little more depth?

Wil said...

My preference goes to # 4 as well. It is more cohesive than the ones which have the more midbrown values in them.

June said...

Sheila, initially I was drawn to Variation 2; I liked the lighter fabric on the bottom and thought it drew the eye toward the front more. I see what your hesitation is, pulling the eye back to the wrong side.

So you want to focus on the stepping down and you want the fabric to indicate that the front of the fountain is in the foreground -- or at least that's what I think I read (I wish I could scroll back up and look again, but alas......._)

Given these "wants" then, #4 seems to work pretty well. To emphasize the stepping down, you might want to try out a wider darker grout (putting it in Paint to try it) in the stepping rhythm (now does that make sense?) I didn't see any there and I thought that that might be useful.
I think the contrast is very important, although looking at the web images can perhaps level what you can see in person. But don't get seduced by the fabric and forget the basics -- in this case, I'd say the rhythm of the stepping down, the pulling the eye to the front with lighter fabrics, and the spreading of the values from very dark to very light.
Now -- looks like I've overstepped and I shall quit. Holler if I've been obtuse. And I will go back and see if I need to emend any of these statements. June

The Idaho Beauty said...

No overstepping at all, June, and not obtuse either. You are falling in line with what others are saying, and the rationale is solid. Yes, you understand my intent, and I had not thought about the effect that dark recedes, light brings forward. Yes, could sense the seduction of the fabric which is probably why I called for help.

What you cannot see yet is the fact that there will be a physical overlapping of sections, with edges that will not be sewn down to the layer underneath. I'm hoping this will add a depth that stitching alone could not and will accentuate how the water flows from one level to the next. Hoping hoping... I think I see the area where you suggest adding wider grout lines, will have to think on that.

Mary, I too have noticed that shadow along the vertical edges and am pondering how I might incorporate that. Originally, I thought I might stitch along that edge, but once I wrapped the fabric around the interfacing to the back, that beautiful edge was so realistic I didn't want to mess with it. Perhaps I can do a little shading with colored pencil? I may get some natural shadowing by virtue of the "floating" overlaps - one should be able to slide a finger under those edges about 3/4 of an inch. Crossing fingers...

Wil, thanks for your input too. With my aesthetic, you'd think I'd go straight for the cohesive design, but I wasn't thinking in those terms I guess. Perhaps over-thinking it by considering something a bit more radical, or seduced by the original photo? ;-)

Thanks everyone for your opinions and help. Time to act!