W.I.P: Layering and Choice

1) Finished W.I.P: Cut off gloves

This was actually my second crochet project. The idea was to practice the turns and create a product that is neat. My first product was a tea cosy which came out very wiggly. I hope to make a beanie or beret next.  It is just turning the corner into autumn here and I am looking forward to wearing them in winter.

2) W.I.P. Pastel Sunflowers.

I want to talk about layering and choice.

I am working in soft pastels at the moment, and using tones and intensities. I normally do very bland boring backgrounds and tables. This time I have decided to add patterning to the one vase and table cloth. The roses and gypsophila are meant to be tones of very dark and light (chiaroscuro) while the sunflowers have dark and medium tones. So I want to try the table cloth and background in medium tones. This is my plan and my choice is to experiment with tracing layers so that I can get a feel for it before making my final decision.

I traced the table cloth pattern so that I would learn about and observe the pattern. This is how I get familiar with it. I then used another layer over it to play with the colours. I tried to see what sort of impact it makes? I decided I definitely wanted the pattern to be smaller and to become smaller as it moves into the background to convey perspective. I also decided that my colours were still too bright and the tone too contrasting still. I still need to work these final details into my image.  

In art one can use layers of colours to build up an image; be it a drawing, painting, collage or a mixed media process. Some artists start with dark and work to light; some work from light to dark. For me, I think it depends on what I want to shine through. In a future post I will show you a technique that makes quite a nice effect but today I am just mentioning it generally because whether it is done unconsciously or consciously it is used in art.

It happens in life too. I think we are made up of many layers of experiences, choices and habitual patterns. Some layers are transparent and you can see what is beneath them but you might not see the actual layers well; while some are so dense or opaque that the layers underneath are hidden. The idea is to be aware of all the layers and how they are affecting you, what you allow to shine out, what you choose to remain hidden and to whom. Do you know all the layers you are made up of? Some layers might have been put in place to protect you or help you in some way. Are these layers still necessary? Can you remove any layers that do not serve you well now?

I can make choices when working with my art images about how loud or bright the colours are; or how muted or pastel they are: each choice makes a unique effect but I need to decide what effect I am looking for. Sometimes it is only through trial and error and that’s why I like to experiment in art making. This is true for life too. Sometimes we just don’t know what it will be like until we try it out. This can be dangerous if you try out things that are not good for you so they need to be done with care but still this is also an important part of being human.

Some layers we choose to add because they will add to our lives. Last year I chose to commit to writing in a more dedicated way; I have recently chosen to add another layer to my life: exploring my Afrikaans background and heritage (that’s a story all on its own). These choices add richness to my life or if I make undiscerning choices they might add clutter and stress to my life. It is also about the intensity and pacing of the activities; it is important to pace oneself and make choices about how much time it is going to take up.

After I have considered all the layers in my life: friendships, relationships, work, purpose, hobbies, self-care etc., it is easier to stand back and look at my life as a painting. Ask is it chaotic? Is it harmonious? Or to think of it as composing music (an orchestral piece or even rock music) which has layers: each instrument adds to the fullness of the piece or song. Thinking about it as a musical composition: is it a cacophony? Is it melodic, does it have rhythm? Do the lead singers sing out with strength? Can the (g)roundedness of the base notes be heard?

I like to think about these things when I create; I find it thought provoking: Is your creative project turning out the way you desire it to be? Is your life the way you desire it to be? Like an artist or composer you can choose to change things; or enhance things; add more or take away the layers that either add or detract.   The choice is yours.

Take care, enjoy your “layered” weekend.

17 thoughts on “W.I.P: Layering and Choice

  1. Your post start off quite light hearted with those lovely cut off gloves (which I really like – hands warm, but fingers still open to do something 👍🏻), but towards the end, you got me thinking a lot about layers in my own life.
    I think I use different layers to protect myself against getting hurt or even sometimes to not get involved too much in something that is not really my battle to fight … I’m currently doing a bible study about the book of Esther (and the theme is “It’s tough being a woman”) – I hope to find more balance in my life after completing this study 🌸.
    Thank you, your post made me think about all those layers in my own life …

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mmm gloves and tea pots, and then….. layers of life, Love this post, makes me think. been thinking about different layers of my life for quite a while actually (I called it compartments). But love how you compare life to art.. Very thoughtful!

    Liked by 1 person

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