Monthly Archives: May 2012

Project 2: Less is More, More or Less…


Project #2 Objective: Complete a set of drawn studies of a simplified object using traditional drawing tools followed by vector production tools. Create a final study of 3 abstracted views of your object on a single page or composition.

So I poured my coffee, pulled the cobwebs off my sketchbook, sharpened my pencil and got into the zone… ahhh yes, welcome home…

I love the details… finding all of the curves and grooves to convey through a drawing… thinking about how I will be able to eventually simplify shapes and forms… okay, remember, no grayscale.  No worries, that should be easy enough. Just need to show the blurry reflection on the rubber handle… but no grayscale… um, okay, stick to the shapes… no that’s not right, maybe try this… I’ll come back to that, let’s go back to my happy place of details. Wow, there is a LOT of detail in this nozzle, why did I choose this thing anyway???  (insert deep cleansing breaths here)

“Hey, Mom, why did you draw our hose?!”

“Because it’s visually interesting, and because I LOVE A CHALLENGE!…”

(Breathing… relaxing… sigh)  “No GRAYscale!  AHHHHHH!!!…                                                                                                                 Okay, I’m already committed here, let’s turn up the music and move on… simplify the details and everyone’s happy…

So then I thought the easy part would be outlining and blackening.  That took a lot more planning than I initially imagined… what an eye-opening process this turned out to be!  I had to re-think how to conceptualize this nozzle. I had to look at it in a totally different way than I would in my normal sketching mode, and then I would start seeing double when I was working in just the black and white.  Experimenting with swapping the positive and negative  elements in each image proved to be much more difficult than originally anticipated, as well.  I had to un-think my visual cues and focus on the simple shapes.

In between my work sessions, I began to notice every day objects in a new and simplified way.  What were the prominent and identifiable shapes embedded in each object?  Logos take on more meaning to me in this perspective… fascinating.

So here are my 6 snippets up for review… Next up, learning Illustrator for Part B!


A Closer Look at Kandinsky…


After doing quite a bit of my own research in response to our 2nd class discussion of Kandinsky’s 1913 painting “Composition VII”, I became fascinated by this non-objective style of expression he developed.  I became more intrigued as I was reading all of the insightful comments throughout the discussion threads and thought I would share some of the pieces of the puzzle that I thought could shed more light on his message.   A bit of background… Wassily Kandinsky was born in 1866 in Moscow and painted this work when he was about 45 years old. At the age of 30, he moved to Munich where he began his career as an artist and eventually started his own school. In a writing by M.K Lacoste, he was considered the founder of abstract art, which you can see in the development of his styles below.

“Odessa Port”
Oil on canvas painted in 1898.

“Forested Edge”
Painted in 1903.

“Couple Riding”
Oil on canvas painted in 1906.

“Blue Mountain”
Oil of canvas painted in 1908 – 1909.

“A Mountain”
Oil on canvas painted in 1909.

In comparing some of his more identifiable paintings, I could see the abstraction of these objects in his more non-objective works:

“Angel of the Last Judgment”
Oil on cardboard painted in 1911.

“Angel of the Last Judgment”
Glass painting in 1911.

“The Last Judgment”
Painted in 1912.

“Small Pleasures”
Oil on canvas painted in 1913.

“Glass Painting with the Sun (Small Pleasures)”
Glass painting in 1910.

He had traveled extensively throughout Europe, and tensions were beginning to build as society was on the brink of its first World War.  I begin to see hints of this growing concern in some of the following works, which then seem to trickle into or out of (depending on the order in which these paintings emerged) the images we see in “Composition VII”…

“Improvisation 30 (Cannons)”
Oil on canvas painted in 1913.

“Improvisation 31(Sea Battle)”
Oil on canvas painted in 1913.

“Rider of the Apocalypse”
Tempura on glass painted in 1911.

In the bible, where you would find the prophecies of the Apocalypse, the Book of Revelation (Chapter 6) talks about the riders that Kandinsky painted in 1911.

Revelation 6:1-6

I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.   When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds[a] of wheat for a day’s wages,[b] and six pounds[c] of barley for a day’s wages,[d]and do not damage the oil and the wine!”.

So here it is once again, “Composition VII” in all of its 6 ft. x 10 ft. splendor.
Oil on canvas painted in 1913.

All of these elements combined, I look at “Composition VII”, and I can see the arrow across the middle of the painting. From some of his other abstractions, landscapes with trees and forests; battling shapes and colors; horses and faces, smoke and clouds all seem to emerge in areas throughout the piece. His use of color values ranging from somber dark areas that move diagonally into lighter and brighter regions remind me of that spiritual warfare possibly being depicted here.  The Book of Revelation is filled with imagery that could find its place in this painting if that is truly the path where Kandinsky is leading us.  It’s simply one theory of many, but what I love most is that the creativity in this work does not end with the artist signing his name.  It continues on through all of us in our impressions and possibly even inspirations in our own emerging works…

Talk about Textures!


So here we go… it’s my first college course in (cough, cough) FIVE years!  Better late than never, as they say… I am thrilled to be back in the virtual classroom studying the fundamentals of Digital Design! This is my debut as a blogger, and it will be my first time working in Photoshop, Illustrator and Premier Pro.  Just in this week of class, I am experiencing new revelations in design concepts through our discussion of Wassily Kandinsky’s “Composition VII”, and I love to see how one artist’s vision can provoke such varying impressions of his work.

Yesterday, I ventured out on a field trip to celebrate 100 artists who were honored by the Maryland State Arts Council.  The reception was held in Baltimore at the American Visionary Art Museum.  I have passed this building on the way to other museums and always wondered what dwelled within, so this was a terrific opportunity!  While  I was only able to survey the works within the walls of the Jim Rouse Visionary Center, I peeked into the main building which started my planning for a day trip with my kids once the school year ends.  I am posting some of the pictures I took last night for your viewing pleasure.  They are just too much fun to keep to myself!  This is my Fitztopia…  Enjoy!!!

Andrew Logan’s “Cosmic Galaxy Egg” (click on the photo to learn more about this artist’s work)

Richard Windley’s “Arkopter”

Peter Markey’s “Natural Wave Machine” in the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre (click here to see more examples of his creations)