Beth Markel

New Line Study

Posted on July 21, 2012 by Beth Markel

I’ve been busy working on a new line study – it’s number 11, and I’ve discovered I like very much working in a series.  It teaches me patience, looking at the same thing from different angles, exploring the different possibilities while working in the same parameters, and pushing my eye to create something new while still honoring the topic – lines. 

        How do I see lines?  Do I focus on light and dark, figures and backgrounds, or opposite colors?  Are the lines a pathway that I can take with my eye, or as a viewer, make you take it too?  Do some lines act like doors which are closed, stopping the eye, while other lines form a rectangular shape and appear as a window?  Can I manipulate lines to form fences or hurdles?  A stand of pines in the wilderness?  The endless horizon on the waves as the sun rises or sets?  If I have 2 vertical lines and connect them with an arch at the top, have I created a doorway or a tombstone?

        More than 20 years ago I was taking a photography class and the assignment was to photograph “ambiguous space,” or things that could potentially fool the eye.  Of course, this was a LONG time before digital photography, so after shooting about 2-3 rolls of film, I spent time in the dark room developing and printing my choices for critique.  I still think about that assignment when I’m working on a quilt, especially the highly restructured lines like this one.  I don’t want to fool the eye (reflections, etc.) but I do want to make anyone who sees my quilts look more and more closely – each time you look closer, you see something more, or different, or new, or fascinating… because I’ve created layers of interest.


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