Project 4 Stage 1

This project is Developing design ideas – developing visual awareness, working from drawings to develop visual ideas. At this point we stay in two dimensions (moving to 3 in a later project, I think).
Stage 1 is introductory, some experiments with visual energy and tension.
First up is placing black squares to create different effects.
Top left would be a static, centred design, but one square is tipping out of place. It is a bit jarring, unsettling. The falling piece demands attention, but my eye keeps moving back to the centre.
Top right is the most flowing and dynamic of the set, the blocks seeming to be falling out of the frame. The effect is more movement rather than tension. I think it would not be very effective as a final design as it leads the viewer’s eyes out of the image.
Bottom left has an empty space at the centre. The overall shape formed by the blocks is quite static and stable, but I find my eyes circling around the design then pulled back to the empty centre, never moving to the edges.
Bottom right I was trying to create a symmetrical, stable design with a little more interest. The central diamond is the focus, flanked and stabilised by the two squares. The band of blocks is slightly above centre of the frame, which gives a very slight nudge away from stability.
I’m getting a bit better at managing cutting and glueing without ending in a sticky mess, but found it annoying and hard to be precise – and somehow the black squares, outline and suggestions of a grid called for precision. After playing for a while with the paper forms I decided to try electronically, using gimp. I wanted to see how much effect, if any, small changes can have. Unfortunately this led into some technical issues (my main computer has had some issues, gimp wasn’t loaded on my netbook, etc).

Looking at things side by side gives a different impression than one standing alone, still the collection illustrates that what is basically the same row of squares, the same balance of light and dark, can give quite different visual effects. To my eyes the ones closer to the edge or closer together look crowded and less stable. Tilting the black squares definitely adds some energy. Breaking the boundary provides movement and tension. Which to use would depend on the particular purpose, but for something calm but not totally static I like the squares slightly below centre, and for something more lively I like angles and breaking boundaries.

Next up was dividing space with lines. This time I started on the computer, since it was more difficult to try out ideas without going through a lot of pages.

The version on the left is peaceful, although the asymmetry gives a little interest. It’s also a pretty classic weaving look. On the right the lines have been shoved over a bit, producing some tension and movement.

On paper the horizontal lines are peaceful. The variation in spacing top right is reminiscent of a calm ocean and big sky. Breaking the boundary immediately adds tension – where is that line going? Plus I’ve noticed I tend to see lines and square above centre as less peaceful. Tilting the lines also produces more tension and movement.

My sketchbook count is now 11 days in a row, although a number of them are pretty much just going through the motions, and I muddled up the dates I wrote on the pages. There’s a video on the OCA blog where a textiles assessor discusses one student’s sketchbook (click here – “How to tempt Pat into a bodice”, Pat Hudson talking about Jackie Ward’s work, November 14). Pat was clearly very impressed by Jackie’s work – very free drawing, sometimes messy, “not to any end and purpose, just to explore everything around her visually”, works with “the object of understanding” (that part I think where Jackie was focusing on particular artists). It seems an interesting switch. At the moment I’m still focused on the how – how to use different media, how to make marks, texture, selecting colours – rather than recording and thinking about what I am seeing. Something to consider.

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December 2011

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