Saturday, April 18, 2015

Design Class Update

Design class has continued, with mixed results in terms of project enjoyment and loveliness of final pieces.
Vines, ink on paper on board, 12" x 12"
Vines was created by carving two 1-inch linoleum squares with different patterns, and then using them to print squares on various colored paper (white, gray, black) with black and white ink. The squares were designed so that the patterns would hook together no matter how they were placed next to each other, lending some order to chaos.  I remain a slob, and got inky fingerprints everywhere (which were fortunately trimmed off of the edges of the individual squares).  There's something I don't quite like about the final project, aside from my questionable printing technique.  If I were to do it again, I think I might limit the number of colors further, which might highlight the pattern, or do a less random arrangement. Still, having never worked with linoleum or printing at all, it was a fun project and contained some interesting revelations on symmetry and repetition.

Ain't That a Kick in the Head
acrylic paint on paper
10" x 15"
Ain't That a Kick in the Head has four elements included - a piece of Renaissance art (the woman's head), a piece of non-Western art (the foot of, in the larger piece, a Persian goddess), a logo (the Apple logo) and a pattern from an animal (the apple pieces are actually part of a feather pattern from an eagle wing).  Color scheme had to include a primary with complementary to either side, so mine ranges from purple through red to orange.  The design had to have the illusion of transparency too, that is, areas where shapes overlap and the color changes. And, the design also had to use the golden ratio -- which was where I ran into a lot of difficulty.  I'm still not sure that the nautilus spiral is in there with quite the emphasis I'd like, but so it goes.  I knew before going into this class that shape and composition are my weak points, while color comes somewhat more naturally.  And in fact, the illusion of transparency is no problem for me to figure out. Compositionally, I probably could have done with less of it in order to highlight shape elements more. I also probably could have done more with the gray background, which is a little flat.  I continue to have a tendency to wash out contrast.  

On this one, I also realized that I can't actually do design for design's sake without having some kind of idea behind it...and so there is a story behind this, which could be variously the hostility between east and west, conflicting ideas of womanhood, a reference to Eve and that darn apple, or simply my own frustration in composing the project (kicking my own teeth in).  I didn't need to decide on any of those ideas, or flesh them out at all, but I somehow had to have *something* to play around with to motivate where to put pieces (beyond the golden ratio, which never felt all that delicious to me).  I suppose the writer in me needs to put story into everything.

Clouds of Joan
acrylic on canvas board
12" x 16"
Clouds of Joan is, to be honest, evidence of not following the directions.  I needed to come to class with a person, an animal, and a word in a specific font to work with on this project, and while I did, the morphing between those in five steps each simply went beyond me that day in messing with graph paper and thumbnails (hey, I'm auditing for a reason).  So I took a break, and played with the image of the person (writer Joan Didion) and with paint and color. Composition was not considered, and I'm not crazy about her being squat in the middle there, but I do like the fun with color, and it was relaxing which, after all, is a part of my motivation in messing around with art.

It's been an interesting class.  It's not what I expected -- I'd envisioned more conversation, lecture, discussions, and largely, it's just assignments, silence and studio time -- but I have accumulated a few new ideas, and a few new tubes of paint, so I'm pleased with that.  

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