• Bonnie Langenfeld from Landscapes in Fabric

Working from Photos

I often work from photos, they give me lot of information about the scene which I probably wouldn't remember on my own. I recommend that my students work from photographs, too. And in honor of our Veterans on this Memorial Day, I am posting a photo of a field of poppies.

I have been making on a fabric picture from a photograph. It's a very beautiful and complicated shot of a water lily and some underwater greenery. At our recent little art quilt group meeting I presented my work so far, and the problems I had going forward. I also brought along a huge enlargement of the photo from which I was working. I got lots of good suggestions from the talented friends in the group but there were three suggestions which hit me like a ton of bricks: #1 leave some things out, like the big flower bud which looked like a shark fin, it wasn't necessary to the picture, it was confusing and just didn't work; #2 darken or mute one of the bright areas which competed with the focal point (the flower) and #3 "QUIT USING THE PHOTO". All those comments were right on and gave me new energy to finish the picture as I wanted to rather than trying to force things that weren't working, to work.

So, if you were to use the poppy field photo for a fabric picture, what would you change about it? What would you leave out? What are you working on that could use a reality check with sincere and honest friends? Remember that you don't have to agree with suggestions, or do them, but they may just change how you finish the piece and make it your own. As one of my friends said, if you want to make it exactly like the picture, take another picture! I knew that, but it sure was good to hear someone tell me again. We are artists, after all.

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