One of the aspects of the way I work gives me feelings of fresh excitement about every piece. It is to do with the time that stages take. I am just now about to embark on the first top quilting of a quilt form version of Trio. Some months ago I stitched an A4 digital transfer version (on which I still have not finished the reverse applique because of not currently being in a state to do all the particularly fiddly work). That's another aspect of my working processes which I enjoy: the differences in the scale of print versions of the design.
Some designs fall completely into place, with my mind sorting out the right drawing with the right background before I sit down at the computer, leaving me with only minor adjustments to make. In the case of this design, I started with a vague idea, which progressed through some throwing out of bathwater before arriving at a satisfactory conclusion.
I started with some blind drawings I'd done of cellists; the three I chose are at the top of this post.The idea I had was to derive the mood of the music from the form of the work - i.e. a quilt form, and therefore a lullaby. So, to that end I chose a peaceful photo for my background starting point.
Immediately I knew that the colours would be too restricted, that I needed an element of contrast, and so I chose the photo below.
So, with these two in mind I began to process the design. It was soon obvious, however, that the strength of the colour was causing me to lose the lines of the blind drawing. But I liked the tones, and the colours, and did not want to lose them completely.
But in the meantime I had to tweak the positions of the cellists within the whole composition, and relative to each other. That done, I could start thinking about the colours again. (The yellow marks show where I moved areas.)
I was still clinging to my initial ideas at this stage, trying a mix of the two photos, but to no avail. Drastic measures were needed: so off to one of my favourite background photos. This is a scan of a large chunk of stone I picked up years ago on the Welsh coast. I use it relatively often to provide an 'active neutral' to designs. It has a positive life of its own, but it also has the power to enhance elements appearing with it.
But, I still wanted green, and a statement more assertive than the elements I'd added to enhance the lines of the drawings. I wanted geometry: straight lines which would not fight with the stitching I needed to add. (It is sometimes difficult to design something which does not quite work on the screen, in order to accommodate the stitching element.) Well, this was a design concerned with music, so groups of five lines turned out to be just right. I laid them out by eye because I did not want the effect to look too exact.