Wednesday, December 30, 2009

design contemplations


( I resume reflection on an early piece in an effort to see if I can discern whether my work has an overall articulable style...)

Artists differ in their delineation of the principles of design. This list is as good as any:  balance, emphasis, movement, pattern, repetition, proportion, rhythm, variety and unity.

Here's a full view of the piece (repeated from previous blog entries for convenience of reference):

A discussion of balance can be an extended one, and includes examining some of those elements of art discussed in the last post -- color, texture, space -- and considering how those elements are distributed throughout the piece.

This seems pretty straightforward -- the circular shapes are warm colors, and the space surrounding them has predominantly cool colors. The circular shapes are distributed asymetrically, which is the most common symmetry in art. There is an odd number of them (7), also preferred by the art-viewer's-eye.

The texture, provided by the myriad bells and whistles (buttons, beads, yarn, ribbon) is all over the piece, except for one area which I see must have eluded my embellishing eye:

The whole piece could be dubbed Extreme Embellishments (and not in the good sense), so this little lonely space perhaps serves as a place for the eye to rest...but it seems neglected, since my busy little hands seemed to have encrusted other cool-colored areas to the max.  Out of balance it could be, in this sense.

To catch the viewer's attention, one area usually gets emphasis -- usually achieved with contrast in size, color, texture, shape, all those kinda elements.  As mentioned before, the warm colored circle shapes come forward, always adjacent to the cool-colored negative space surrounding them.

Aha, movement. In my pea-brained perception of how I work, a paramount goal has always been to create movement -- directing the viewer's eye through the piece -- with line.  Many include a consideration of the principle of rhythm with movement, and that seems appropriate. Rhythm  is achieved when one or more elements of the design are used repeatedly to create a feeling of organized movement.

Here, one can travel from one warm-hued circle to the other in a curved path.

Good good good.  Movement and rhythm there, check.

Let's consider pattern  and repetition together. Repetition works with pattern to make the work seem active -- here , the circles all have interior arcs of a contrasting warm color. However, my circles bother me. They're wonky. This is distracting. In hindsight, I should have worked on eliminating the wonk.

Okay, let's get back to repetition. Since this whole exercise is the beginning of a self examination in search of an articulable style in my work, it is now appropriate for me to articulate what I think my style might be.

Well, for sure, for sure, repetition reigns supreme.

[This is not to be confused with redundancy, which is a bad thing. Bad thing.]

So, the curves of the circles are repeated in most of the beadwork, and one repetitive element is my fav-o-rite of the whole piece -- those buttons!

It was my hope that those buttons would serve as the focal point of the piece -- thus achieving...unity -- a feeling of harmony between all parts of the artwork, creating a sense of completeness.

The circles and buttons serve as variety --the use of several elements of design to hold the viewer's attention and to guide the viewer through the artwork.

Phew, that was a lot to consider for one little piece. And what do I think of it? It's just okay. It's certainly not one of my favorites. It's a little (or a lot) busy, almost exhaustingly so, and that doesn't please me. However, it is whimsical, which is good. It's a good enough piece, and I'll leave it at that.

Next, I'll have to revisit some other work in my quest for self-knowledge.  This is fun for me, and, gentle reader, I thank you for coming along so far.

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