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Friday, August 8, 2008

Isolation as a Tool, But Be Careful

It's always fascinated me how some artists have a knack for making paintings that stop you in your tracks. Sometimes it's the nature of the subject, other times it's the way the subject was handled, but most likely what caught our attention is both. To make us look twice and hold our attention, one tool used by many clever artists is isolation.

To isolate is to set a thing apart, detach it, give it solitude. In painting, we isolate by...

...closing a shape off with hard edges..
Edward Hopper "The Long Leg" 1935

...placing a light or bright shape among dark surroundings
or a dark shape among bright surroundings...
Edward H0pper "Pennsylvania Coal Town" 1947

...locating a small shape in a large area of a different nature...
Edward Hopper "Sunday" 1926

...surrounding a shape with vast space...
Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World" Go HERE to see
(permission is required to reproduce a Wyeth work)

...planting a shape among shapes different from itself...
Pat Weaver Watercolor

...giving psychological solitude...
Pat Weaver "Man on Bench" Watercolor

Notice in most of these paintings, several isolation strategies are used at once. No matter which scheme is used, one thing is for certain: the isolated shapes must be strategically placed, thoughtfully handled. If not, it can throw the whole painting out of kilter and cause the image to stick out like a sore thumb.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your post on Edward Hooper As I consider him one of my favourite painters,
As a Artist he appears to be very much on the outside looking in,

Sharon Wright said...

Superb blog! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I need as much help as I can get, so I will be back. Couldn't digest all this in one go.