Sunday, January 16, 2011

Creating Depth - VII -- It's in the Blues

We have examined a number of ways of creating depth that artists use to create dimensionality on a flat surface. Some other techniques for creating depth were not needed in Rose Has Got Some Hips. So I will use other examples to illustrate.

Here is a detail shot of a new piece where I challenged myself to create layers of depth with greens. It is easy to see the use of warmer greens and cooler greens. But I also moved the greens in the back to blue-green to push them further back. There is also shading and it also goes to the blue-green end of the spectrum.

One spike needed to be forward of the blue-green back spike and behind some of the more forward yellow-green spikes, so I reduced its intensity by using some gray over the blue-green. Less intense (grayed or shaded) colors will also recede.

My friend, Holly, does tapestries of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and often uses these blue-greens and blue-grays to move the mountains back layer by layer on the visual plane. As we look through the air towards a distant object, the most distant ones will tend to go more blue and blue gray so the phenomena is called "atmospheric" perception.

Another element of depth we have looked at already is relative warmth and coolness of colors. Normally the reddish purple of the background around these spikes would be considered warm, but next to the yellow-orange background and stem areas, it is a cool color and recedes behind the stems and spikes.

Color is a lot fun, and provides lots of challenges. Part of the reason I love working with Heidi Stoll-Weber hand-dyed fabrics, is that the existing colors will always give some challenges in creating my designs on top of the fabric. It is more of a challenge, because the Tsukineko inks are basically transparent, so the background of the fabric will come through.

Happy quilting and thanks for reading,



  1. Nancy, Thought you might like to know about a couple of "color analysis" sites: -- evaluates an image for its primary and complementary colors -- in addition to showing colors in an image, this site has many, many color themes to be inspired by

  2. PJ, these links are terrific. Loved playing with them. Tried out my latest piece and found it really fun to see the analysis. I will use this one. Thanks so much for sharing.


  3. Vivika, what a lovely comment. Made my day.