Moving from Sketch to Color

My design class with Elizabeth Barton, Abstract Art for Quiltmakers, is into its final weeks. We moved from simple black/white sketches into the world of values. I really enjoyed this phase and came up with several designs that I intend to follow through on in the next months. Here is a glimpse at my design wall filled with some of my favorite images:


You might recognize the bottom right images. That was my favorite from my earlier efforts. In exploring different value choices, I came up with these two. Elizabeth favors the top one for its Necker Cube effect – a new term for me which refers to an image where there is an ambiguous line effect which allows each viewer to interpret differently. I still like the lower of the two images but, the longer I keep that upper image on my wall, the more I can see Elizabeth’s point. I may just have to make both!

From value studies we moved into color studies. It involved a bit of computer play: selecting colorful images and then reducing the pixels down into the 10 per inch range. Here are two of my favorites:



Elizabeth did have a follow-up to this exercise as well as some additional exercises around color and composition. Unfortunately, I found the instructions for the follow-up exercise  confusing and couldn’t come up with the right questions to gain some clarity, nor did illustrations from other students seem to help me either. That could always change but I am out of my studio the first half of May so any further work based on these grids or other exercises from the class will probably be on my own after the class ends.

All-in-all I am happy with the class. I definitely learned a good deal, had a great deal of fun creating designs, and have a wonderful resource  on modern abstract artists in the handouts. I also learned that many areas of abstract art design still do not hold a major attraction for me.

As always, linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.


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  1. Really great, honest and interesting post.I have never heard of the Necker effect – intriguing concept. Sometimes I have to take a class to know that’s not my thing!

  2. these colour blocks are inspirational Judy and I love your mark making

  3. WOW! I like the black and yellow one as well.

  4. Interesting process… glad you enjoyed the class.

  5. I like your bottom right design the best with those values that you added. Interesting color studies, too. Classes are great for finding new viewpoints. Even if you don’t end up using them. It helps you appreciate (not necessarily like) others’ artworks.

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