If we are ever to begin to design our own art, we need an understanding of the various elements and principles of design, and how they combine to create an overall pleasing visual effect. So far, in previous posts, we have looked at Line and Shape, and how they contribute to art forms. This week, we focus on the element of ‘SPACE’ and find how it can assist to create a better design.
Week 3 – Space
Space as an element of art that refers to the area around objects: either Positive Space: that is areas occupied by an object or form and, Negative Space: the area in, between, around, or within objects. Every positive shape is surrounded by negative space.
You can further divide Negative spaces into: –
– Passive negative space – this separates visual elements, and includes things like margins and the spacing between letters, words, or lines.
-Active negative space – this draws the viewer’s eye to something, or help viewers focus on the objects that they should see, instead of making their eyes look all over the place.
Blind or Contour drawing is a favourite with drawing teachers to develop hand-eye communication. It is essentially outline drawing, and blind contour drawing means drawing the outline of the subject without looking at the paper.
A Blind drawing hand using the right side of brain
The end result doesn’t matter. What is important is carefully observing the subject in order to follow contours and space, with your hand and eye. This trains your brain to tap into its right hemisphere, which aids us in drawing shapes, lines and angles, positive and negative space, instead of objects that we can “name.” Naming objects is the domain of the left brain, logical, realistic but also one that shackles our drawing ability to that of a ten year old.
Above you can see my first blind drawing. My vegetable patch in the back yard. One can just make out the garden edging and the tomato plants, and stakes. I used a soft B pencil which made a nice effect when I drew on the rough Gesso finish of a hard cardboard backed frame. I painted a little colour in a pen and wash technique and then soaked it in tea overnight. I added a little outlining in pen. I was surprised by how much my right brain could do without the dominant left hemisphere taking over.
Rosemaling is an art form that evolved in Norway post Renaissance. It is a stylized form that is highly parochial due to the relative isolation of the valleys in Norway. Consequently, each valley developed their own particular style adapting what the influences brought to them via itinerant artists roaming the countryside.
Some of us don’t feel very artistic, but I believe we can learn to tap into that side of us. We can start by coloring in Rosemaling designs. This develops muscle memory and our brains learn the forms, shapes and lines used in this style of art. That makes it easier when we come to reproduce our own.
These designs are for your personal use in coloring in, or to paint, in practising Rosemaling design
A simple Rosemaling flower with Telemark Scroll like leave
You can also find more images to colour on the net, like this one: