Exercise 4.4 – Patchwork

Brief:- Make a series of photographs of textures and colours, objects and forms. These can be close or wide shots of essential things like clothes, bricks, bark, grass, sky, etc. Try to render everything ‘abstract’ or not entirely recognisable by altering your viewpoint. Reduce the file size of the images. Save As…JPEG. Image Size > 1500 pixels. Place the photographs together in a grid. Aim to make a composition of at least nine rectangle or square images. Consider how the colours and textures, objects and forms work together and as a whole. Which pictures seem closer and which appear further away? Which colours stand out and which colours (or tones) recede? Save the arrangement with a different file name; call it Patchwork_1. Now remove one of the photographs that appeared distant. Put in its place a photograph of a distant person. Remove one of the photographs that is close, a near detail. Put in its place a photograph depicting a close-up of the same person. Save it as Patchwork_2. What has happened to your interpretation of the finished picture?


The pictures which feel the closest are the banana’s, and then the lower two on the right, with the stairwell and plate at bottom centre feeling furthest away. Colour-wise I would have to say that the banana, the wall centre left and the wicker on the centre right stand out the most, with the mirror at top left and diamond at bottom left less so. I find it harder to pick with the colours, because I find that they all have an impact upon me, other than the diamond at the lower left hand corner.


The second part of the brief requires to replace near and far photos with a close-up and distant portrait. I’m quite surprised by my reaction. I don’t find that the mosaic works with the near shot image of the man in it. Perhaps it has to do with the cooler colour temperatures, or maybe it feels to impersonal by using a photo in which he is looking away from the camera. There is a positive aspect as well though, and that’s that he ties the objects/scenes together. They could easily be seen as aspects of his life, and I have seen patchwork presentations which have that sole purpose.

The course material that I am using doesn’t make mention of including a portrait to replace near or receding parts of the patchwork, I only discovered this whilst copying and pasting from an earlier word version. So I had already messed around with the photos that I had chosen, trying a few arrangements. Here’s one that I also liked.



10 Replies to “Exercise 4.4 – Patchwork”

  1. A great exercise. For me your first set works the best, although the amethyst is soft in texture compared to the distinct patterns of the other objects. I agree that inserting a person breaks the composition. I didn’t have this in my notes so I was slightly thrown here! I love some of the textures in your final set. Great images.

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  2. I like your first grid very much Richard and agree that the bananas stand out but for me so does the 6th image in the grid which is a light brown cane chair (?) against the floor, probably because the tone is a bit like the bananas. I also like the sweeping shape which is quite striking and strong. I think the first arrangement works best with the crystal in the middle contrasting with the other tones, textures and shapes that surround it. I don’t think that the grids with the portraits work so well, I think this is because these are complete pictures or scenes in themselves rather than a texture or a shape.

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    1. Maybe that’s why they haven’t included it from 2017 onwards. There isn’t an obvious link between that exercise and still life. I think the consensus is that the first patchwork is the best. I love the lilac that comes with the banana, and yes the 6th is part of a cane chair.

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  3. I really like the results you’ve achieved, the first grid is very visually appealing as a set, with the contrasts in colour and texture working so well together. The final set is very soothing with the consistent tones but I’m not drawn to look at it for as long. I also agree that inserting a person doesn’t really work.

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    1. Thankyou Michelle. The interesting thing is that final set is the one that I produced first but then altered to produce the first. The exercise was certainly of benefit just for honing the essence of what “feels right”.


  4. The bananas are wonderful and like others I am drawn more to the first than the second image grid.

    But I like the third set too very much. The colours, tones and textures work so well. It is both full of interest and is also calming. This is the one i would hang on my wall. Great stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Richard. I would say for me the third grid seems to work the best in terms of it tonalities and the fact that the color palette is similar throughout. The first one also works because everything else is in monotones and the banana image stands out due to the color in it and how strikingly different it is to the rest of the images, setting off an effective contrast. Design usually work well when we can add an impact to our work by- this impact or effect can be incorporated into our work by adding a powerful element of design within the frame – this can be achieved by a strong shape, leading lines, colors, a strong texture and so on. The third one also works well because of the obscurity that exists within this grid to a certain extent. I would play with the placements of my images to see which arrangement will fit together well. Am sure you have already done that. As always great experimentation and results.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback Archna. I know little to nothing of design theory, so I go by what feels right – although the course and peer feedback helps hugely with that. I’m going to take a look at your comments more fully side by side with the pictures shortly. Must eat first.

      Liked by 1 person

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