September 11, 2018

Composition Series: 2. Focal Point

A focal point grabs your attention, it tells your eye where to begin and what the artist wants you to notice. If these are important to you then know how to manipulate the viewers’ eye with these tips.

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Boy with Orange Pail, 2018, Neil O. Lawner photographer,
A focal point is created with contrast.

Like a sentence that is highlighted with underlining or bold type will jump off a white page, a focal point sticks out from the rest of the work.

To create a focal point that is in contrast to its surroundings, use one or more of these techniques.

shift the value- make it lighter, or darker than its background,

or more colorful or saturated in hue,

or Larger,

or more detailed and in focus as in the face in Matisse's, Woman with a Hat.

Henri Matisse Femme au chapeau (Woman with a Hat), 1905 article by Masterworks Fine Art Gallery

A position in the sweet spot in the "rule of thirds", like the orange pail above, 
or dead center or near center where Christ sits in The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci.
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It may have leading lines and "arrows" pointing to it. Picture in your mind, the chorus girls in a Ziegfeld Follies review in top hats and tails, standing in a line on both sides of the main dancer/singer, pointing their walking sticks to him. 

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 Zigfield Follies Lucille Ball, 1945 
Or leading lines could be like petals of a flower, or train tracks leading your eye to the center.  This is called convergence.Image result for examples of convergence in art

A focal point may be emphasized because it is in isolation- Think John Travolta dancing in the center of the floor in Saturday Night Fever
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A Focal points purpose  
Image result for piet mondrian compositionis to feed information to your brain  
It grabs attention and 
creates a starting place 
for the eye. Go back over the images in this article and notice that often an artist will use more than one way to bring attention to a spot.

Work that is without a strong 
focal point has an overall pattern like wallpaper. 
Think Pollock, or Mondrian.
As an artist, it is your choice. 

If you learned something, please leave a comment! Thank you for reading, and happy creating!
Image result for Jackson Pollock
Conversation with Jackson Pollock No. 37 by George Sanen 

July 28, 2018

Composition Series: 1. Evaluating My Own Work

The process of evaluating my own work begins at the moment my idea arrives and continues with what is more commonly regarded as critique of composition.

This means that I am analyzing, not judging. Especially in the beginning of an idea I want to take care to invite all ideas and possibilities and not cramp myself with criticism.

Before anything has landed in a sketchbook my thoughts having been buzzing, sometimes for weeks connecting past to present experience. Then thoughts will zigzag between defining a concept I want to bring into physical form, techniques that I currently use or can potentially learn, and which materials will be instrumental in carrying the message. If a deadline is involved, I consider the time required to complete each idea. I also consider costs in terms of money and involvement. After all, not every idea is worth the investment. Not every idea is a good match to make for where I am now in my life.  Some ideas involve research or education to bring forth.

Once the work has taken form, there are two main junctures when I feel the need to pause for an in-depth critique.  The first is when I have finally created something and brought it into reality, and inevitably, it doesn’t quite meet the vision in my head.
The second is when it feels as though the work is nearing completion. Of course I am always making choices and tweaking along the way. 

I keep the following note on the design wall in my studio which guides the process. I will be exploring each in more detail in future posts.

June 24, 2018

Fiber Art at the International Art Scene; Armory, Volta, NADA shows, NYC, 2018

Fiber, textiles, weaving, beading and sewing techniques  continue to be more prevalent at the big art shows every year. Here is what I saw in 2018. 

Certainly he didn't want the binding to be this way! Oh how I wish I could have helped him out.

this is essentially a rag rug construction

retroreflective material on top of denim and vintage quilts

laying threads in the paper making process to create image

a powerful steel rod pushes into the center of a wood post. It groans and splinters and cracks. Man against nature. 

the new wood posts to the left, the snapped ones on the right.

the highlight for me- Rauschenberg was a fiber artist!

soft sculpture decor, no attribution given

seed beads


Look at the dimensions, this is a box capturing a dress in a web of thread.

sorry no attribution.

free motion machine embroidery on a substrate and independent of one

at the Volta show things were a bit more strange