As we were working on the quilts and text for Transparency Quilts, Bill kept saying, “I just want to make sure that they realize that blue plus yellow doesn’t have to equal green.” If you look at the colorwork in Bunglaow, you’ll notice that a pale yellow strip is overlaid on a blue rectangle. In theory, the resulting transparency should be green. However, we wanted to show readers that they needn’t be literal in constructing their transparencies. All that really matter is that the overlay is darker suggesting that the result of laying on fabric on another is that it becomes darker.
Note also that the pale, desaturated yellow becomes more vibrant when paired with the more saturated blue. Not only did the color in the overlay become darker in value but it also became more saturated, recognizing that a good transparency isn’t just about value but can also be about the relative saturation of two colors.
Some Craft Nectar readers have asked me to show more examples of transparencies that do and don’t work. So here are three; two that work and one that doesn’t. Bill kindly found the Kona equivalencies which might be useful for you if you have a Kona color card or if you order online and use virtual design walls.
The top example is about subtlety. Both the green and the yellow are muted. When they overlap, the resulting color is lighter and more clear, so the transparency is convincing.
The middle example shows a more saturated palette but the overlay fabric is halfway between the other two fabrics. This example demonstrates that it’s not about light or dark, muted or saturated. It’s about finding the midpoint between two colors, two saturations or two values.
The bottom example shows the intense yellow band combined with a muted green rectangle. The value and saturation difference between the overlay fabric and the green rectangle is too small. So from a distance, the two fabrics fade into one another, making the transparency too hard to see.
I’d love to hear if these examples are helpful.