Friday, November 2, 2012

Part Four: Project 8 - Interlude

Analysing Colour, Texture and Proportion

Analysing how colour and texture have been composed in a painting or other image.

I have to choose a postcard that I like because of the colour and texture in the image; then reproduce accurately all the colours that I can see in the postcard.
Once that is completed I must look for yarns that interpret the texture and surface qualities, as well as the colours found, in the source material; then I must make a yarn wrap.

I have a collection of yarns that I have been given, or bought over the years - I know that this collection takes up quite a bit of space in my storage cupboards.
What I am worried about is that I will have the textures, but not the colours of yarn for this project; or the right colours but not the texture required.
Although I am really happy at the thought of recycling garments, papers, wires etc for yarn.

While starting the 'Interlude' to Project 8 I am also working on Stage 1 at the same time.
Stage one requires you to sort out the yarns you have - the ones that are currently in bags, boxes, drawers around the house.
As the interlude requires you to make a yarn wrap - to match the colour and texture of the picture you have chosen - it made sense to work on both at the same time.

The image that I have chosen is by Kurt Jackson (link to an earlier post featuring his work is here) "For Bruce Chatwin, Aug 2005" - created using mixed media and collage on hessian.
This picture is from Kurt Jackson: A New Genre of Landscape Painting p81.
Kurt Jackson: For Bruce Chatwin Aug 2005

The image is full of texture, from the hessian it is painted on, to the textured marks scratched through the layers of paint.
I love the colours that are in this picture, you can feel the heat, see the sunshine.
The painting is part of Kurt Jackson's 'Kardamili' series - these were created in Kardamili, which is a small village on the coast of the Mani Peninsular in Greece.

I started, as the course book suggested, by reproducing the colours that I could see in the painting.
This had to be done in daylight, as soon as artificial lights go on, the colours seem to magically change.

This was the part of the paper where I tried out the colours - some worked, some didn't.
I made notes showing which colours were mixed together to get the sample.
Sampling the colours

The colours that worked were painted in a larger block - again, notes were made regarding the composition of each mixed colour.
Swatches of colours that 'worked'
With my picture and my paint swatches in hand I moved on to the next stage.
A yarn wrap - I had to search through my yarns to find ones which not only had the right colour, but also the right texture and finish.

Although I enjoyed doing this part, I still find it hard to find materials that cover all the above - I have a wide range of yarns - but not in every colour; I have textured yarns - but not in all colours; I have a limited quantity of different finishes in the yarns I own - this may be where I start to make yarns from fabrics etc to fill in this gap.

This is my finished yarn wrap:

Yarn Wrap

This is the yarn wrap 'in situ' - next to the source material
Yarn wrap next to the image

Studying the finished wrap next to the paint swatches and image, I can see that some parts worked well, and other parts may need some work.
  • the yarns are too similar in thickness - although I did manage to find some thicker yarns and some finer yarns to break it up.
  • The shades of greens are limited - green yarn is not something I have a lot of, but it was amazing how 'brown' some of the greens were.
  • The textured yarns I have are mostly soft and fluffy, having a range of textures would have been better - some raffia would have worked well. I did find some really nice coarse, thick twine to add in though.
  • I was able to find a yellow yarn with a shiny finish to it - It would have been nice if I had more of this type of yarn - the shine on the yarn brought it forward to the eye.
  • The reds in the image were almost a browny orange in colour - the only yarns that I had that worked colourwise, was a Kidsilk Haze, this was very fine; or the hand-dyed Noro yarn, a thicker yarn. All the other red yarns I had were too 'red'
I know that there will always be issues when trying to match yarn to paint - one has a naturally textured finish, the yarn; the other is flatter and can be made up of layers of colour, the paint.
This exercise really makes you think about how a piece is constructed, how the colours work together and in what kind of proportion.

I hope that the more I practice this the better my colour choices and design planning will become.

I have repeated the exercise with another Kurt Jackson image from the same book (link earlier in the post)
This image is "Who's Watching Who?" by Kurt Jackson 2001
Kurt Jackson: Who's Watching Who? 2001
This is an image with beautiful colours. It seems so peaceful, yet has an ominous sky hovering above the foxgloves.

I skipped the painting part of this exercise and just pulled out balls and balls of yarn.
Having narrowed my choices down I made a yarn wrap, again looking at colour, texture and finish.
The finished yarn wrap:
yarn wrap

The yarn wrap next to the image it was inspired by:
Yarn wrap next to the image

Again I am happy(ish) with the finished result:
  • I like the shades of greens/yellows that I had in my collection - but feel a little more texture in the yarns towards the bottom would have been good, they would have 'come forward' more.
  • There is quite a lot of light on the photo which makes the pinks/purples seem more lilac in the image above - if you go back to the scanned image (the first one for this picture) above you can see the oranges and pinks that I chose for this yarn wrap. Here the colours at the bottom seem almost too strong - maybe a slightly paler shade of some of the colours might have been better.
  • The colours of the sky match well - but some more texture towards the top would help with the perspective conveyed in the painting.
  • Looking at my yarn wrap now I am wondering how 'proportionate' my yarns are in comparison to the picture, I may have got carried away with the wrapping towards the end - I do like the fluffy yarns though.
I will try to introduce this technique to my sketchbook work - it really makes you start to examine your work closely.


  1. I like the image you chose - although complex and challenging for this exercise.
    An extra complication is how hard it is to photograph our work. The wrapping looks entirely different in the two photos (on my monitor at least). I think you found a couple of good things for the spikey white/pale near the bottom.

    1. The photo's do look different - thank goodness the assessors see them for real. There is so much sun here - hard to find a place where there are no shadows, but the image isn't bleached out. Shouldn't complain about that though :)