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Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Space Between Makes Things Work

Thirty spokes converge on a hub
The space between them
Make the wheel work...
Translation of lines from Verse 11, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
No matter how technically well done a painting is, its intervals can make or break its dynamics. An interval is the distance between two or more edges. Those might be inside a shape, between shapes or from shape to the edge of a painting.  To illustrate, here's Albrecht Durer's etching, Hare
 Intervals are important because they give rhythm to our paintings.  It works the same as in music:  When a tune's rhythm lacks variation, we grow tired of it.  In visual art, if our spaces between edges are too much the same size, the work feels boring.
The boring factor is one reason why it's a good idea not to place an isolated or important image in dead center of a painting.  That's not a rule, but a factor of human perception that links into why it's the space in between that makes things work. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Rediscovering a Forgotten Tool

Are you able to guess what these three excerpts from a painting might be describing?
What if I told you they are all describing a white wall.  No way?  Well, take a look at this:

painting by Colin Page
The painting is by Colin Page, a painter adroit at working with temperatures of color.  In this painting, it is the alternation of warm and cool that creates the vibrancy and rhythm we feel in the piece. Here's a brief analysis of what we are seeing:
And that is alternating warm and cool.  
Alternation is somewhat a forgotten tool, a principle long used by master artists to give life and rhythm to their works.  It's a way of switching gears in between thoughts, of staggering where the temptation might be to repeat. We can use it with any of the visual elements as well as with our brushstrokes.  It's an exciting principle that can add just vigor in the most unexpected ways.