Wednesday, 30 June 2010

A Little Perspective

I wanted to share a little trick with you today, something which, if you haven't already tried it, may well surprise you with its usefulness.

A long time ago, when I first began to make quilts, I discovered that it was nigh on impossible to get a good view of how work on my design wall looked. My studio, although spacious by some standards, is still a small room in a small house and I found that I couldn't get enough physical distance between me and the quilt to tell if the colour placement was balanced or if any areas needed obvious correction. Then one day I found one of those little spyhole devices - you know, the ones you put in your front door so you can see who's there - and I realised that by looking through it at my wall I could miraculously see the whole quilt as if from a good distance away!

Nowadays I use my digital camera for the same purpose and not only for textile work but also for collage and paintings. Maybe you've had experience of staring so long at something you're working on that you can no longer 'see' it? Well, I find it very worthwhile to stop and take a few pictures at such moments so that I can look at them on the computer and get my sense of 'distance' back. Often this will be enough to decide what needs doing next or to isolate things which I feel aren't working. It can also show me that sometimes a painting I've been fussing with is actually finished.

So, here is a canvas I'm working on at the moment. It's not quite there yet but I thought you might enjoy seeing the process.


  1. This really makes sense.. I think I could try the photographing then looking at on my computer thing..This would help.. I'm often to 'in' my work to see it properly. Thanks for this!

  2. Thanks, thats a really good idea! :)

  3. Yes! Exactly!! I've said the same thing many times..and, I can't see the mistakes until I've taken photographs. It is from working too closely, isn't it?

    I've also started to video record almost every painting I do. It is more for me than anyone watching it on YouTube. I use it as a tool, and I can see where I make mistakes..over painting instead of leaving it alone, sometimes.

    I think I need to step back more often, instead of being so hyper-focused..but, I get so obsessed. lol

  4. It is a brilliant idea - it always amazes me why you see the colour balance better through a lens.

    Love how your painting is developing the depth is amazing in the top picture.

  5. Thank you Judy :)

    miz katie, I like your reasoning with the videos, it would be useful to see what you could do differently next time.