The Elements of Art and Principles of Design

It was a packed house at our July meeting, as members flocked to participate in a program featuring special guest Durinda Cheek. Durinda is a prominent local painter who teaches across the Southeast, and she gave us a overview of the elements of art and principles of design during an engaging, interactive program.

 Artist Durinda Cheek outlines the elements of art and the principles of design

Artist Durinda Cheek outlines the elements of art and the principles of design

Elements of Art

These are the building blocks of any artistic endeavor. They include:

  • Line - a path made by a moving point through space
  • Shape - flat, enclosed areas that are two-dimensional
  • Color - perceived by the way light reflects off a surface; three properties include hue, intensity, and value
  • Value - the lightness or darkness of a surface
  • Texture - the surface quality of an object; this can be actual or implied
  • Space - creates the illusion of depth within an artwork
  • Form - these have volume and take up space; they are three-dimensional

Principles of Design

Building upon the elements of art, the principles of design are the tools you use to plan and organize your quilt or artwork. They include:

  • Balance - distribution of visual weight in a composition
  • Rhythm - regular repetition of elements such as line, shape, and form
  • Movement - how the eye travels across an artwork
  • Pattern - regularly repeated elements such as shapes or color
  • Contrast - the difference between elements in a composition
  • Emphasis - the creation of a focal point

Quilts and other works that incorporate the E's and P's listed above achieve unity and harmony. That creates a pleasant viewing experience—that feeling you get when you look at something like Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night.

Members can access the handout provided by Durinda during the meeting by visiting the Member Resources page.

Identifying E's and P's in Artworks

After the overview, Durinda led us through an interactive challenge to identify elements of art and principles of design in well-known artworks. We were thrilled to see a quilt from Gee's Bend and an Amish quilt among her examples! 

 ChattMQG members identify elements of art and principles of design used in well-known artworks

ChattMQG members identify elements of art and principles of design used in well-known artworks

Afterwards, a drawing exercise helped reinforce what we learned. Thank you, Durinda!

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge

As many of you know, the MQG hosts a charity quilt challenge every year in conjunction with QuiltCon. Since QuiltCon is coming to Nashville in 2019, our entry will have a special Tennessee connection!

Last month, the Knoxville Modern Quilt Guild invited Tennessee MQGs to join them in creating a modern quilt design inspired by an antique quilt from the book The Quilts of Tennessee. Merikay Waldvogel, a Knoxville MQG member and quilt historian, co-wrote the book with Bets Ramsey in the 1980s.

 Our 2019 QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge entry will be inspired by an antique quilt in this book

Our 2019 QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge entry will be inspired by an antique quilt in this book

They started the Tennessee Quilt Project in 1983, during which they surveyed and documented nearly 1,500 quilts in Tennessee made prior to the 1930s. The book features more than 30 quilts from the project, some of which will be exhibited at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville in conjunction with QuiltCon. We hope the quilts made by the Tennessee MQGs will hang together at QuiltCon and help promote the off-site exhibition.

Four guild members volunteered to create the design for our charity quilt, and several others donated fabric to the cause. The design will be unveiled at our Aug. 11 meeting, and we will distribute kits to members in September. Stay tuned for more details!

The Quilter's Planner Group Order

Audrey Workman and Patricia Steadman are organizing a group order of the 2019 Quilter's Planner. If five or more members commit to purchase, everyone will receive a 30 percent discount. Prepayment is required. Members, check your email or contact Audrey for more information.

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