One of my favorite resource books. I decided to take it off the shelf and have the Studio Artists do some of the exercises recommended, for the month of March.
We've only touched on the Principles and Elements of Design.
It's not that we don't understand it but I am of the persuasion that the more you come at a topic from different directions, the more you understand about it and retain the information.
Much of what we already know instinctively, as a group we have observed from nature and simply living with an artist eye.
The exercises in this book when done over and over in our sketchbooks will help us develop BRAIN MUSCLE MEMORY.
We started with SHAPE and LINE.
Back in our 101 class on these principles and elements we did an exercise where we painted three different shapes onto our paper. A large shape "Papa Bear shape, Mama Bear and Baby Bear".
Remember when we did that?
By creating three different shapes we created interest and movement to our piece.
Next we attached them or anchored them to the paper with line, an entrance and exit.
Now, we have moved on to a shape or series of shapes. Again using different sizes and anchoring them to the page or their "environment".
I found this a fascinating exercise. First drawing the shape of an object with my eyes, then putting that image to paper and finding ways to tie it to two edges. The use of lines or enlarging the shape all increased my exploration of this subject.
Cobb challenges us to change the feel of our art work with lines, energetic lines and calming lines.
She shows examples of writing a word like energetic, quickly in your sketchbook and then using the outline of the word, the shape or lines to create movement or energy in your piece.
Writing your name on the diagonal and then using that outline or shape and exploring what happens when you divide it in half, add pattern, extend it to the edges.
All of these exercises, done in your sketchbook on just this topic are enough for a series.
Add in experimentation with color theory and you have an exciting series.
I have to say that lately I've been taking pictures, without really being conscious of it, of shapes, lines and patterns. I've been doing it with buildings, carpets, furniture, you name it and I seem to be snapping away.
I'm having fun turning some of these photos into black and white, too. I'm just interested in the patterns.
Now, this was cool just for the symbols on it.
You can borrow the book from your local library or perhaps find it on Amazon or in a local bookstore. I consider it worth having in my reference library but you should check it out first.
Then give some of the exercises a whirl. Look around you, find an interesting shape, hold it up with your hand and trace the shape with your eyes.
Then draw that remembered shape in your sketckbook. Draw it a number of times, putting it in different places on a piece of paper. Make it larger, have it somehow touch two sides of the paper with line or shape. Add additional shapes, same size, bigger, smaller see where this takes you.
Does the shape have a pattern? What happens when the pattern extends outside the shape? Off the page? What if the shape itself extends off the page?
When you are sitting having that cup of coffee or tea instead of burying yourself in your cell phone or IPad, get out your sketchbook, look around and play with a shape.
While you are looking around your environment notice color combinations. Do you like them, how do they make you feel? Are they unusual or right off the color wheel?
We may not be able to return to our child like bodies but we can train ourselves to start looking at the world again, with child like eyes.
I sat with a four and a half year old the other day as she carefully, took each valentine she had received at pre-K, out of her valentine bag. She examined the little cards, the handwriting and sometimes exclaimed, "I think her Mommy wrote that!" She discussed the different kinds of hearts and of course, the candy that might have been attached.
She gave a lot of attention to things that many of us would have simply seen and passed over.
It's all filed away, in her brain. It's that kind of attention that builds the base the foundation for what we later think of as intuitive. We look around at nature, we observe color, pattern, line and design and file it away or we simply see it and it doesn't register.
I have always said that we need to find new ways to look at the world through the eyes of a child.
It is so easy to slip the blinders back on.
To take in only so much of our surroundings.
To filter out.