The Illusion of Transparency

It is, of course, impossible to create true transparency without using transparent materials.  But you can create the optical illusion of transparency using opaque materials such as paper and fabric.  At our August NTAQ meeting we tried to create the illusion of transparency in our paper collages.

It is logically very simple.  If a red square overlaps a blue square, the area of overlap will be a mix of both colors, purple.  If a yellow circle overlaps a blue square, the area of overlap will be green.  And so on.
If you are working in white, black and shades of gray, as we were, the overlap will be the middle value of the two pieces.  So if a light gray rectangle overlaps a black square, the resulting overlap will be medium gray.
The success of the illusion depends on finding a middle color that convinces us of its authenticity.  To do so, it should look like a mixture of its parents.

This was my paper collage:
So, if I clip out a bit of the picture, I hope you can see a light rectangle is laying across the darker strips, and a darker rectangle is overlapping the lighter rectangle in the lower right.
Instead of our usual monthly artist challenge we decided to each piece a quilt using one of our paper collages as inspiration.  It is due at our September meeting.

As logical as this concept may seem to me in theory, I found it difficult to execute.  It was rather confusing to piece.  I had to lay things out carefully, and still managed to sew things together incorrectly more than once.  Sheesh!
Gray study, 12"w x 30"h
But it was a fun exercise.  You really have to think.  I highly recommend it.

Here are the collage and the piece side by side:
I can't wait to see what everyone else has done!


piecefulwendy said…
I can see how that would be challenging, but also fun. I think you captured your paper block in fabric well! What a fun group you must have! I'm a bit envious!
Maria Shell said…
That is a very cool exercise!
Colleen Kole said…
I agree- great exercise. Thanks for sharing.
Jenny K Lyon said…
That's a pretty challenging exercise. I'll be very interested to see the final product.
Marianne said…
Joli exercice et la réalisation est bien bravo.
Sophie Zaugg said…
Very interesting post and result!