"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" My quilts need to be beautiful, if they are not pleasing to the eye, then I am not happy with them. This need can reflect color, balance, texture, subject matter, contrast etc...I don't work as hard as I do to end up with an ugly quilt!
As I look through books and magazines, I occasionally see an ugly quilt, one that evokes the "Oh yuck" response from me. Some artists would be happy to know they have stirred up that response and poked my emotions. But to me that is a quilt I will never like. Lots of people like to play in puddles and create mud pies, but to me a muddy quilt is an absence of color, contrast, motion and life. Don't get me wrong, brown can be a beautiful color, rich, deep and warm, satisfying, connecting you to the earth, holding up a tree, adding shadows and meaning behind a door, the complex textures of wood grain. A whole quilt of brown without colors for contrast is not going to appeal to my eye.
My quilts sing with color! I love deep rich purples, perky pinks, turquoise and teal, vibrant reds, and mouth watering oranges. I use a lot of chartreuse, accents of chartreuse bring dark green leaves to life. In a magazine an Australian quilt shop owner said "Lime green is the new neutral." I was drooling over the photo of shelf after shelf of light, bright almost fluorescent limes greens.
I am not afraid of yellow!! Say it loud and proud! Yellow daisies, sunshine and lemons, sometimes you just have to have yellow for a flower center or a butterfly. Just remember a little bit goes a long way, don't over do it, unless you are making a quilt celebrating yellow.
Finding a pleasing ascetic is my goal in quilt making. Add a little pink to brighten and balance the red, so it's not over whelming, replace the medium blue with a light blue for more value contrast. This add and subtract is mostly intuitive, your own values of what is beautiful or what is not. However I have taken classes and read books on color and principles of design, drawing and perspective. So now I have the knowledge to check the balance of values, contrast, shapes, adjust the curves, and keep the correct perspective, but each decision is my own personal belief of what is beautiful.
Trust your choices, does the quilt work, does it need something? Maybe a little dash of color for more pizazz, a larger object in the corner for balance, adjust the curves on a shape to add more action and motion, change fabric to add texture and depth. The decision making process is endless, myriad tiny details to consider, but each one adding to the beauty of the art, in the eye of the beholder.
Then you need to know when to stop, sometimes it is an "Ah ha! Moment" it's perfect! Sometimes it is more subtle, just nothing more to change, or add or subtract. The quilt finally fits your ideal of beauty. You have done it! Created Beauty!