Sunday, May 23, 2010

Beth/Lyric Project Week 11 (Illusion of Depth through Overlap, Size, Placement, Color, and Value)

As a reminder to those of you that don’t normally keep up with my blog (if you do, skip to the next paragraph), I have started a project that I’m calling the Beth/Lyric Project. In the spirit of the movie “Julie/Julia,” (i.e. Julie working through Julia Child’s cookbook) I have decided to work through the exercises in Lyric Kinard’s “Art + Quilt, Design Principles and Creativity Exercises” book. My goal is to get at least one of the exercises done each week. I’ll be posting my progress on Sundays. I’d love for you to work along with me. If you decide to do that, please post and let me know how you’re doing—send pictures too! If you have trouble leaving a comment on my blog, email me at

This week’s topic is “Illusion of Depth through Overlap, Size, Placement, Color, and Value.” According to the reading I have done, there are five basic ways to create a sense of depth.
  • Size—This is the easiest way to create an illusion of space or distance. As objects get further away, they appear to become smaller.
  • Overlapping—If one shape hides parts of another, our brain reads it as on top of or in front of the other establishing a sense of depth.
  • Vertical location or placement—The higher an object on a page or format, the farther back it is assumed to be.
  • Value (dark and light)—The value contrast between distant objects gradually lessens, and contours become less distinct. Greater contrast advances, diminished contrast retreats.
  • Color--Objects that are far away appear more neutral in color and take on a bluish character.
For this exercise, the instructions said to “choose several fabrics to work with. Cut out one shape in a variety of sizes, overlap the shapes to achieve the maximum illusion of depth placing shapes near the lower portion of your work, then add more, moving toward the top to imply distance.” Here is what I came up with.
I think this does illustrate the concept of depth by using size, overlapping, and placement; however, I should have used a darker color for the third circle from the top. If I had it to do over again, I'd also switch the last two little circles. I think the illusion of depth would have been more successful had the objects continued from light to dark. Also, I think the reddish brown circle is too dominant.

Ask Yourself…
  1. “Which colors and sizes look the farthest away?”
  2. “What happens when you use bright colors in your foreground?”
  3. “What happens if you change the value of the colors in the background.”
  4. “What happens if none of the shapes are overlapping each other?”
  5. “What stitching lines could add to the illusion of depth in this piece?”
  6. “Can embellishments add to the illusion of depth? (Sometimes the answer is no.)”
Next week's exercise topic is "Open Form vs Closed Form." It is on Page 72 in the "Art + Quilt" book by Lyric Kinard. Come on join'll learn something you can use.


Becky said...

Hi Beth,

I found your blog one day as I was reading Lyric's blog. I love what you are doing with her book. I ordered it and it has arrived so it will be even more enjoyable following along with you! I think this piece does a wonderful job showing depth. I am finishing up a class at Quilt U with Lily Kerns. It's the Fractal Fragments class, so I have fractals on my brain. I can clearly see you making a beautiful fractals quilt as I see all of the examples you are sharing with us as you make your design journey with Lyric's book. You are very, very talented!

Quilter Beth said...

Becky, thanks so much for your kind words. I wish you had gotten the book earlier; I would have loved to have someone work through the exercises along with me. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I have.