Sunday, July 31, 2011

Shades of Gray

July 31, 2011
Summer is slipping by so quickly !  The best laid plans to get more studio time in and see some real progress on pieces I have already started have slipped by as well.  The commissions I have received kind of put everything else on hold.  Mind you....I am not complaining.
I was commissioned by an Interior Designer  to do a representation of  one of her client's  black and white photos taken in the early 60's.   The photo was  3" x 3" and was  to be a finished size of  24"  x  24".   I suggested doing it to look like a black and white photo with the date placed on the side of the piece just as it was on the white side margin of the original photo.

It was an interesting and challenging piece.  The first challenge I encountered was finding fabrics that looked like the blacks and whites of the photo.  There are really more grays than anything in the photo.  And so many fabrics that I thought might work ended up looking more sepia than b & w.   Turned out to be a really good exercise in finding the scale of values in fabrics I work with.   I usually do that anyway, but working with a gray scale was not something I did a lot of in the past.  Along the way, I have discovered that gray scale evaluation can be very helpful.
 Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether one color printed fabric has a lighter or darker value than another.  If I take my selection of fabrics for a color piece I am working on and photograph them in an overlapped row,

then change the photo to a black and white version,

 sometimes it will help me to order my fabric selection from lights to darks.

When they are reduced to shades of gray, it is easier to see the overall value of the fabric when compared to another.  So....some good lessons learned on this road !   My client was very happy with the result which made it even more rewarding !!

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