Tag Archives: abstract

In the Beginning…

Standard

Cotton application of ink onto newsprint
was the method of shading used in this studio art project.

Now that I have finally made it to the end of this summer semester, it is time to return to my domestic responsibilities in full force.  Our garage is still stacked high with boxes from our recent move and my [somewhat] freshly painted studio is buried in the basement by bins filled with supplies begging to be organized.  Do you ever find yourself vowing to purge stored forgotten treasures only to become entranced by volumes of unboxed memories?  Well, as I meandered through this maze of sketch pads and easels, I came across my cardboard, poorly duct taped college art portfolio from a time that predates vector graphics – at least before they were commercialized to the general public.  Yes, I realize that maps my post secondary education on a timeline, but it also serves as a disclaimer for coloring outside of the lines in these projects… in the spirit of ‘We just didn’t know any better’… That was the season when “Def Leppard” played in the Ratskellar, Dana Carvey & Mike Myers were dabombdiggity on “Saturday Night Live” and cell phones looked more like walkie talkies… Good times, good times… So just for the fun of it, I thought I would post a few of my earlier projects that I unearthed in the process of declutterization… okay, who am I kidding… this is just a great excuse to get out of that mess downstairs!  Enjoy!…

An early ink graphic designed for my studio art class at the university.

This design was created with cut Canson paper.

The visual transformation of a sketch into an abstracted non-objective rendering.

Advertisements

It was the Best of Times, it was the Worst of Times…

Standard

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.

Project 2, Part B… okay, this is where it gets good!  This is what I came to do!  My first crack at Illustrator, or any vector graphics program for that matter.  My closest interaction with this type of software, was back in the day when I was singing with a band, and we decided to put out a CD. That was my first fun with logo design, and I got to be the backseat driver for the graphic designer we hired to ‘pretty up’ the insert and get it printer ready. I’m sure he loved it ~ “hmm, that’s a nice idea, but, um – no… okay, slide that over there… no, more purple and make it gradient… oOoh, and marbly!… hey, what does that do?”… yeah, good times…

I diligently watched the tutorials, getting more and more excited about the possibilities.  Ideas were flowing out of my head on how it could be incorporated as an invaluable, production multiplying, time saving tool!  I couldn’t wait to download the application!!!… All set up, I started with what seemed to be the easiest image to trace, placed it on the artboard, cut the opacity so I wouldn’t confuse the new black traced lines with the original image, locked the layer and opened a new layer to get started.  Hmmm… where do I start?  Elliptical tool, line tool, pen tool… *!@#!!!… CMD+Z, CMD+Z, CMD+Z… okay, we’ll go back to that later… fill… polygon tool… pen tool… anchor points… handle… Why isn’t this working???… This doesn’t make sense!!!  Maaaarrrrk (that’s my husband)… look at what this crazy thing is doing, have you ever seen anything so ridiculous? (rant, rant, rant)… I mean, you would think for the actual price of this software it would be functional!  (he sits down, click, click, click)  “Is that what you were trying to select?”  Okay, psh… well, YOU didn’t watch the tutorials, so they must have confused me somehow from the obvious common sensical approach you just mustered there, whatever… okay, fine, I can do this… I CAN’T DO THIS!!!  What was I thinking?… Going back to school… and don’t even get me started on how to make a living as an artist!… Suddenly, I imagine Tom Hanks in a baseball cap yelling, “There’s no crying in Illustrator!!!”  No time for tears, project is due tomorrow… push through the pain…  After, a few more hours & just past pumpkin time, I collapsed into bed feeling completely defeated from my first and most simplified image.

I did not get a lot of sleep.  In fact, I tossed and turned most of the night.  The next morning, and for some unexplained reason, the image of Richard Simmon’s face danced around in my mind, while he beamed, “Come on, Honey!!!  Hop out of bed and get this day started!!!”  I moaned.  Then something snapped and a determination swept over me to figure this out.  I got dressed, dropped the kids off at school, poured my coffee (THAT”S a given!), grabbed a CD of Celine Dion to have at the ready… yeah, the FRENCH Album…  Okay, let’s DO this!!!

It wasn’t pretty at first, but time was of the essence, and I needed to get creative to get the effects I wanted.  I’m not proud of it, but I became one with the blob brush and the warp tool.  I still manipulated the paths and formed a few compound shapes, but I focused on cleaning up the lines and maintaining the integrity of the original images.

Save… Attach… POST… done!

Project 2: Less is More, More or Less…

Standard

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…

Standard

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…