In my interview with Lisa Chin, I touched on my idea of “push-ups” for artists. Briefly, it is based on the idea that an athlete strengthens himself many different ways that are not directly related to their particular sport. For instance, he may never compete at push-ups, but he does them regularly because he knows it will strengthen his arms. Why should we, as artists, expect to be different? Why do we expect that everything we do should be a masterpiece? Some quilts are just ways of learning about color or design or piecing techniques. They may not even be worth quilting when we are finished with the quilt top, but the things we learn along the way are necessary and invaluable.
We also need to realize that we are not “wasting” supplies when we do this. A child is not wasting paper and pencil when he is practicing his spelling words. When I use my supplies to practice and experiment, it is worth every penny I spent on them because of the important things I learn. The real waste is letting those supplies sit on my shelf forever and to not use them at all.
With those ideas in mind, I have decided to spend some time exploring color. My first “push-up” was a way to consider gradations, both gradations through actual color and gradation due to weight of line.
One drawback I had with this piece is that I was only working with commercial solids. As a result, I am limited to the number of gradations available to me. In this piece, I was not particularly pleased that I had a difficult time getting a number of gradations that were fairly evenly distributed between black and white. Some of the steps are too close, and some are too far apart. I was also surprised at the lack of availability of very light grays. The very lightest values were too beige and after sewing all the blocks, I decided to exclude them. They just didn’t work at all with any of the other grays.
Nevertheless, I am content with what I’ve learned, and I’m thrilled to have it done. I’m calling this “Push-up # 1: Missed connections.”
Now I’m ready to move on to my second push-up.