design

Elements and Principles

By knowing and absorbing the elements and principles of design you attain a valuable intuitive resource. As with the layouts, experimentation is the best way to gain familiarity with these pesky but important precepts.

Elements 

Line – a mark with greater length than width which can be thick, thin, diagonal, straight, vertical, horizontal or curved; defines contours; indicates movement and direction; can suggest a mood.
Working with line can be enlightening. It can turn what starts out as a little dot into a beautiful work of art. Paul Klee is one of the artists who took line to a spiritual plane in my view. Check out some of his work if you want to learn about the art of line.

Shape – a closed line that can be organic (my favorite–for now), geometric or flat expressing length and width.

Form – 3-D shapes that express length, width and depth; conveys volume.

Space – the area between and around objects; referred to as negative when around the object and has shape; can refer to the feeling or illusion of depth; real space is 3-D.

Texture – the surface quality that can be seen, imagined or felt; can be rough, smooth, hard or soft.

Color – the light reflected off of objects; hue (blue, green, etc.), value (the lightness or darkness), intensity (how bright or how dull).
Color is my utopia. I am eternally, desperately in love with color. Although, a blank canvas can make quite a statement.

Principles

Balance – the distribution of visual weight; concerning the heaviness or lightness of objects, color, texture and space; balance can make a design feel stable or chaotic.

Emphasis – the part of the design that catches the attention of the viewer; usually a focal area that stands out due to contrast; a difference in size, color, texture, shape, etc.

Movement – the route the viewer’s eye travels while observing the work; usually along line edges, shape and color planes.

Pattern – repeating of an object or symbol all over the artwork.

Repetition – creates unity within the work.

Proportion – brings the feeling of unity through the appropriate use of size, amount and number.

Rhythm – when one or more elements of design is used repetitiously in order to create a feeling of organized action; creates a mood.

Variety – the use of several elements of design to hold the attention of the viewer; guides the viewer’s eye throughout the work.

Unity – the feeling of harmony; all parts of the work create a sense of integrity; completeness.

I will attempt to create some good examples of each in my next post. Wish me luck!

design

Compositional Layouts

Compositional layouts are the standard ways in which elements are organized in a design. They help bring a sense of purpose and organization to a piece. Thank goodness for collage! The basic nature of the method is for it to be ad hoc and you don’t necessarily need to use any of these plans. On the other hand, if you are trying to send a message or convey a specific feeling, experimenting with and learning about composition will be a beneficial part of your art trek.

The following is a list of twelve layouts and their representations:

Horizontal – calm

Vertical – growth

Diagonal – dynamic

Radiating – explosive

Circular – eternal

Triangular – uplifting

Framed – contained

Vanishing – depth

Grid – architectural

Overall – chaotic

Asymmetrical – off balance

Symmetrical – balanced

I used wallpaper scraps and cardstock to make some examples:

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So Happy to Be Blogging Again!

I am starting over in blogville. Since accidentally deleting old artsy notions and philosophical musings (due to my being indecisive and impatient) I have been so anxious to get back to sharing what I know about one of my biggest passions–collage. I will delve into many techniques that will help bring this expressive art to life. My intent is to learn as well as teach.

Collage has several technical definitions but I like how the thesaurus explains it: a mixture of pictures, an abstract composition, found art, photomontage. This is what I attempt to do with fabric. I adore “material.” That’s what my Grandma used to call the sweetly patterned light blue  dotted swiss, the beautifully sheer organdy and all of the other meticulously cared for fabric she owned. The vast variety of textures and colors that make up today’s delightful choices make me swoon. I love it all. From the flimsiest georgette to the heaviest canvas, it all thrills me to the core. Walking into a fabric shop is like finding new money. So when something as liberating as collage is available to be toyed with in relation to the textile realm, I am all in! The general principles and elements of composition and design do come into play with collage in order to help a piece of work make art sense but many times instinct takes over. Doing exercises in order to learn and absorb those principles have helped to bring cohesiveness and order to my work which is sort of a weird concept when talking about collage which most of the time is without any order at all at first glance. I guess the challenge is to produce a sort of jumbled harmony. I like to work fast without much conscious consideration and I want my designs to adhere to that jumbled harmony notion. That is exactly why I have put those pesky rules safely in my subconscious where they silently come to my aid whenever necessary.

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My next post will be a brief overview of composition and the principles and elements of design.