Project Four – Design

Here is my initial work for this project looking at making space move. I was interested with how the orientation of each black square affected the appearance of the space as well as their relationships to one another and their position within the space. I found that a composition was more tense where the placements appeared more random, unpredictable and pushing the boundaries, teetering on the edge of falling out of the composition. In my dynamic arrangement of lines, I have tried to keep the eye moving around the composition, with as much variation in the shape and size of resulting shapes as possible. In contrast the restful composition as quite still and there is a calming predictability in the placement of each line. The viewer would be able to add their own lines without disturbing the composition.

For the next stage, I have used yet more pictures from our month in Canada. I took so many photos of shapes and textures they could keep me busy and inspired for years! My initial reaction to this project was that I was already doing a lot of the things that we are working towards. I thought this would mean that I wouldn’t struggle at all, but conversely I have found it more challenging to pick apart things that I am tending to do at the initial sketching stage. I hadn’t realised how much I edit out and focus on various aspects whilst sketching, altering relative proportions and colour to fit the ideas the subject had inspired.

I really enjoyed working from the reflections photo here, and by coincidence I had already been working and reworking a similar photograph in various media. I tried to select areas that I found visually interesting and arrange them in the frame for maximum impact. The ice sketch on the left looked quite quilterly to me. I liked the mathematical arrangement of the paving lines against the irregular patches of ice. The area sketched on the right was interesting in the context of the original photographic composition, but cluttered when taken in isolation.

From the reflection photo I made some initial studies of the marks, colours and shapes. I was particularly pleased with the collage and found this the most pleasing. I like the contrast of the shapes cut out by the windows and the irregular marks bound by each window. The colour study was done in soft pastels, and gives a lighter more airy study than watercolour or gouache could.

My final piece was a collage to emphasise the shapes, and keeping the marks implied rather than drawn. It is difficult to see in the photo, but I took strips of patterned card with properties similar to my marks study, and glued them between two sheets of gold tissue paper. This was then recut into strips in the opposite direction and collaged with strips of blue tissue paper. In places blue was glued over the gold and rubbed back whilst wet. Oil pastels were rubbed over the top in selected areas and the whole collage varnished with Modpodge to portray the glass.

I tried reworking this in different media and using different techniques. From left to right we have combed ink, sponged and brushwork ink, oil pastel rubbings over a woodblock I bought at the Stitch and Craft Show this week, and oil pastel with watercolour wash worked in the opposite direction. Although some of these gave interesting results, none of them captured the original idea as well as the mixed media collage. If I wanted to take this further, I would take some of the ideas from these paintings to redo the collage above.

At this stage I had my first uncomfortable experience of being blocked. Art to a timetable doesn’t always go to plan. I was really stuck for ideas on what to paint, and whilst thinking I started arranging my ink bottles.

I did the preliminary sketches and whilst painting my first interpretation taking into account marks, colour and shapes, I became more interested in the relationship between the bottles and the light. The oil pastel drawing isolating the light was the most successful here. Unfortunately the soft pastel drawing was overworked and not as effective.

In addition to the exercises I have been doing some general reading on theory of composition and design for artists, and have been trying to put some ideas into practice. In this sketch today of rooftops on Portland, I concentrated on the shapes and their relation to each other. The marks were kept sparse, concentrating on areas I wanted the eye to be drawn to. Their is rough observation of the rule of thirds and the house on the far left and marks at the lower edge act as stoppers, keeping the eye on the page. The main correlation of marks is top left to bottom right, although most lines are drawn perpendicular to this. When I stood back from this sketch, my fondness for Klee seemed wuite obvious!

I am starting to research Bauhaus, as well as reading Zandra Rhodes’ book and ‘Colour Moves: Art and Fashion’ by Sonia Delaunay. This project is taking quite a while as I am putting more time into my sketchbook work, reading, and have been a little sidetracked by looking at heat tools and other techniques for altering and distressing fabrics. Having read two of Kim Thittichai’s books and ‘Fusing Fabrics’ by Margaret Beal, I have invested in a heat gun, Fabric master with extra pyrography tips, tyvek, lutrador, kunin felt and other bits. I can’t wait to get going with it!



One comment on “Project Four – Design

  1. Janet D says:

    I can’t wait to see your experiments with heat and unsual media! :O

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