Thursday, November 27, 2014

Challenge 99: Ambience

Challenge Hostess: Susan Slesinger
Title: Ambience
Theme: Creating atmosphere
Technique: Use of color to achieve atmosphere/ambiance
Due Date: Dec. 6, 2014

Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary provides five definitions of the noun “atmosphere.”  The fifth definition is pertinent to this challenge:
                        5a “the overall aesthetic effect of a work of art”
                        5b “a dominant emotional aesthetic or emotional effect or appeal”
It defines “ambience” as “a surrounding or pervading atmosphere”

This month’s challenge is to try to create an “atmosphere” or ambience using color to suggest a season, time of day, or mood without making obvious references to it.  You may want to give yourself a “sub” challenge to use a palette which is different to your normal repertoire.  For example, if you usually use bright, bold colors, try using a pastel, soft palette instead.  If you want an analogy for what you are trying to create, think about film scores.  Music is often used to create the scene in a non-verbal manner, such as the shower scene in Hitchcock’s Psycho.  I encourage you to try to listen to some instrumental film music without watching the film.

To get yourself in the mood for creating an atmospheric piece, you might choose to listen to some “classical” music which is trying to set a scene through non-representational means.  If you have access to a streaming music site you will get much better recordings, but if not, these You-tube videos will give you a taste of atmospheric/descriptive music.  (I recommend listening without watching the picture!)


How painters have created ambience:
Marc Chagall
·          Over Vitebsk

JMW Turner watercolors:
Willard Leroy Metcalf Winter’s Festival

This article from the Chicago Art Institute illustrates how Monet created different atmospheres in his  Stack of Wheat series through subtle changes in color and style.

In the quilt world, these are some examples of different ways of expressing ambience:

Barbara Oliver Hartman:  

Ruth Powers
·          Konza Prairie Spring
·          In the Bleak Midwinter

Patty Hawkins
·          Colorado Gold  (part way down page).  Also At Dusk and At Sunrise (nearer bottom of page)

Cat Larrea

Sue Benner
·          Prairie Wall Series and Walking in Time

Get out of your comfort zone and have some fun with this -- even if you have to work small!

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