Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Semester, New Class

Principles of Design

I'm taking a class this semester titled Composition for Abstract Art. The paper making class I wanted was canceled. I'm hoping a little bit of paint slinging will help loosen me up. The Tarot project is so process driven and complex in subject matter. Some non-objective creation will do my tired brain some good. Anyway the first homework assignments were to paint three 6x6" pen and ink drawings demonstrating three of 13 principles of design. the three we were supposed to express were balance, contrast and focal point...(descriptions were taken from: Wikipedia; Design Elements and Principles The ink drawings were to be objective and we were to submit photos of the subject matter. The photos are above, my drawings are below. I executed the drawings in black magic marker and Japanese brush/calligraphy pen (like a fountain pen except the writing/drawing tip is paintbrush like).

Can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical depending on if the right or left side is identical or not. Also refers to a sense that dominant focal points are balanced and don't give a feeling of being pulled too much to any part of the artwork. Balance can be balance by location of objects such as windows on a house, balance by volume or sizes of objects, balance by color (like desired brightness in a room).

Contrast is the occurrence of contrasting elements, such as colour, value, size, etc. It creates interest and pulls the attention toward the focal point.

Focal Point
Areas of interest. Guides the eye into through and out of the image through the use of sequence of various levels of focal points, primary focal point, secondary, tertiary, etc. Emphasis hierarchy may give direction and organization to a design, and avoid subconscious confusion to sometimes improve the design's (like a house) visual appeal and style. Emphasis hierarchy or focus is not giving each object (like a bed or curtain) in a project (like a bedroom decor) equal dominance. Emphasis or dominance of an object can be increased by making the object larger, more sophisticated, more ornate, by placing it in the foreground, or standout visually more than other objects in a project. Avoid style confusion.

I had fun doing these drawings. I struggled with the image for contrast and re-did it three times. Getting the light values just right for that setting sun and the halo that illuminated only a small sliver of the log was very tricky. This photo was taken by my husband on a recent bird watching expedition in Lodi. He also got some beautiful pics of the January full moon over the marshes where the sandhill cranes roost. Those pics will show up in later semester paintings.

The little doll my son bought for me in Japan; the burlap bags she sits on were given to us by my husband's friend Kevin. The string is just something I have in the studio. I thought the string would make a good contrast study but when I noticed the curve of the bottom of the sting spool repeated by the curve of the draping hankerchief I decided to make it a study in balance. Of course the little doll could have been a contrast study with the rough burlap juxtaposed with the sleek doll. And the sunset log could have been a focal point study...

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