This posting appears on the International Quilt Challenge blog, and is reproduced here, as this, along with another Life piece, is what I'm working on at the moment. The blog is new and the idea is to set a challenge every 2-3months and work towards a finished piece. Being blog-mum, I set the first challenge of Light and Shadow.
When I set this challenge I had an immediate image in my mind, of what I would like to do, and whilst those thoughts have lead to something I intend to work on in the future, there's not enough time in the challenge for me to do such a complicated and involved piece. (well, perhaps not that complicated and involved, but it's summer, and I'm out and about a lot eating cake in various places and not paying enough attention to things artistic!) And someone said I was supposed to be having fun. Oh yes, me.
Light: The natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible. A source of illumination. Little weight, not heavy. Not strongly or heavily built, low in density, small in quantity, gentle or delicate, not bold, not solemn or unhappy, and this one, which I didn't know, promiscuous.
Shadow: Dark area or shape produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface. Used in reference to proximity, ominous, oppressive. Sadness and gloom. An inseparable attendant or companion. A person secretly following another. Envelop in shadow: cast a shadow over.
So, clearly, lots of fun to be had, and where on earth to start or what to choose. One of my first thoughts is for the way light plays in paintings, because I love the power painters have to play around with light.
My understanding is that the eye picks up refractions and reflections when light bounces off of things, and the brain interprets them.
We can only see because there is light bouncing around, and latest research suggest we might see things differently especially colour. Without light we are, of course, blind. We would be living in a shadow.
The way the light bounces off of things and reflects gives us colour as well as shape, leading to the well-known idea that black and white aren't colours. White is all of light with no refraction and therefore no colour, and black is absence of light and therefore can have no colour. (Thought: Light and shadow, therefore equate to black and white)
A circle turns into a ball. The ball can be given the illusion of all sorts of things by adding shadow.
There are such interesting shapes in buildings that cast shadows.
Using light and shadow gives a 2D piece of paper or cloth the illusion of 3D or of distance and size; it tricks the brain that the eye is seeing something it's not, and I love that; it's so clever.
Edward Hopper is known for using light and shadow to good effect. He creates emotional responses and feelings as well as illusions.
(slight pause, whilst sketch book found and coffee made)
Plenty of ideas emerged over my cup of coffee, but I'm still not madly enthused by anything yet; slightly liking the idea of a shadow being a degree of absence and not absence itself.
Thanks for reading!