two storey log house norway
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Numedal Valley in Norway

Numedal Valley

medieval stabbur in norway

Since medieval times, one of the main routes Traders and Pilgrims used to traverse Norway between Oslo and Bergen, was via the Numedal Valley, which stretches from Kongsberg in the south, to Geilo and the Hardangervidda Plateau, in the North west.

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Hardangervidda

Due to this long history, Numedal has one of Norway’s most concentrated collections of medieval buildings and artefacts, comprising over 40 heritage timber buildings dating from the Middle Ages. www.visitmiddelalderdalen.no

norwegian stabbur

The Norwegian Stabbur

By necessity, Norwegians had to find an effective way to store food over a long harsh winter and designed a uniquely shaped log ‘Stabbur’, or food storage house, that would prevent food from spoiling, or being eaten by mice and rats.

In latter times however, the visitor to the Numedal Valley will find that most of these historic Log buildings have been converted into authentic and traditional guest lodgings.

numedal valley norway
Nordli farm Stabbur, where I spent a night

You can sleep the night in one of these beautiful Stabburs, some which contain walls and everyday objects that have been decorated with the traditional Norwegian Art known as Rosemaling, in a style peculiar to the Numedal Valley.

medieval buildings on norwegian farm
A medieval Stabbur in the Numedal Valley

The highest number of Stabburs of any Norwegian valley are located in Numedal. And if that is not enough medieval history for you, the Valley also is home to no less than four Stave churches.

Rollag Stave Church

The Rollag Stave church is one of the better known Stave Churches in Numedal, but as all are off the main highways, they are a little hard to find. ‘Rollag Stavkirken‘ is located a few kilometres north of the village Rollag, in the Numedal Valley. It was probably originally built in the second half of the 12th century, though not all of it is original.

Initially, the church has been a simple church with a rectangular nave. First mentioned in 1425, it was rebuilt around 1660 into a cruciform church. Around 1760, the church was extended to the west.

Early Rosemaling and Hanseatic Art

The walls of Rollag Stave Church are adorned with fruit and biblical motives, which were painted in 1683, and the forerunner to the more traditional forms of Rosemaling. This was following on from the reformation. The close ties with the Hanseatic countries is exemplified in the religious figures of Mary with child, which originated in the German city of Lubeck, around the 1500’s.

Rollag Stave Kirke

The baptismal font dates from the middle ages whilst the altar dates from 1670. The blue lattice like structure in the left of the above photo is known by the archaic term which translates as: Wife’s or Widow’s ‘cage.’

Shocking as it may seem, women were seen as property in medieval times and as such, if a married Priest passed away, the next Priest assigned to that Parish, would inherit not only the Church and its land, but the Widow and any children as well! Times have changed!

Forestwood Rosemaling
My logo for my art

This was a logo I painted and tweaked in a photo editor for my artwork. One of the reasons for visiting Norway in such depth was to study the Norwegian Rosemaling first hand, as inspiration for further artwork and fabric designs.

Forestwood is the name of my website and online shops.

Rosemaling
Painting, Traditional Art

How to Design your Own Artwork – Space

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.

kornaehren

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.

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-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.

Notan negative and positive space

 

Continue reading “How to Design your Own Artwork – Space”

Forestwood
Community

How to Design your own Artwork – Week #1 Design Challenge

I love art but I don’t feel I am artistic; I love to draw, but don’t feel I am adept; I love to design but don’t have any technical training. What to do about it?   Thanks to the World wide web, we can learn a lot more about design techniques and apply them to our art.

Rosemaling

Every artistic piece contains some, or all, elements of design. These elements are then combined with a number of design ‘principles,’ in order to bring together an eye-pleasing, cohesive visual unit. Knowing these elements  and how to use them, can make all the difference between being able to produce an eye pleasing piece of art, or a disjointed, unattractive one.

 

Elements and Principles of Design*

Every visual piece is comprised of certain design elements or parts which may include Line, Direction, Shape, Size, Texture, Value and Colour – in that order. Design Principles, (which I will talk about later), are applied to the elements in order to bring them together into a cohesive unit. How the principles are applied, determines the overall effectiveness of a design.

Week 1 – SHAPE

Firstly, let’s look at the element: ‘shape’ and its role in design.

“A shape is defined as a two or more dimensional area that stands out from the space next to, or around it, due to a defined or implied boundary, or because of differences of value, color, or texture. All objects are composed of shapes and all other ‘Elements of Design’ are shapes in some way.”[Kovalik and King]

  • Mechanical Shapes or Geometric Shapes might be the shapes drawn i,n a design, using a ruler, compass or drawing template or tool. Mechanical shapes, whether simple or complex, produce a feeling of control or order.

geometric border
Geometric border using a ruler to space the mechanical shapes

  • Organic Shapes are freehand drawn shapes that are complex and normally found in nature. Organic shapes produce a natural freer feel.

dnikias.wordpress.com
Rangoli design using a combination of mechanical and free form shapes

Rangoli is a traditional and transient form of art drawn in chalk by Hindu women, in southern India, on the front steps and entrances of buildings as part of a daily devotional practice.  The decorations use ‘shape’ in a variety of styles and motifs which vary according to different tribal groups and festivals. There is more information about Rangoli here.

Rosemaling Styles

The Acanthus leaves is an organic shape used prolifically in Norwegian Rosemaling: particularly Gudbrandsdal style. Os Rosemaling frequently uses mechanical shapes such as circles and diamonds.

Rosemaling
Acanthus leaves in Gudbrandsdalen Style of Rosemaling

Norwegian Rosemaling
Os Rosemaling

Design Challenge

I am currently running a Design Sketching Challenge in a Facebook group I admin, and I’d love to extend this invitation to you, to join a blogging version of this challenge here, on our blogs. The challenge is a great way to encourage those who would like to sketch, but don’t yet have the confidence or motivation, to try.

Seeing others strive for, and share, their artistic journey can increase inspiration and awareness of one’s design skills. You never know what you are capable of, unless you try! You can opt in and out as you wish. See more about joining in below.

Here are my sketches based on the first prompt: Shape

Using organic shapes of leaves and flowers I found,  in my garden, I created this sketch:

Week 1 Rosemaling design challenge.jpg

It needs further adjustment and improvement, so I try another.

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Still not satisfied, my final sketch for this first prompt, comprises circles, semi-circular arches, some natural elements in the leaf like scrolls and the heart-shaped flowers. I used a simple border to frame and hold together the design in one cohesive unit.

Week 1 Sketch - Shape

Would you like to join me in the Design Challenge?

What you Need to Do:

  1. Draw a 15-20 minute sketch or sketches using your own idea, or the prompt ‘shape.’
  2. Write a post about titled Design Challenge Week 1, upload your sketch and include a link back here to Something to Ponder About
  3. Next week I will post links to those blogs that participated.
  4. Leave a comment here on this post, so others can find their way to your blog.
  5. Follow me to view each week’s prompt posted on a Sunday.

Something Creative to Ponder About

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* N.B. I am not a tertiary qualified Art teacher and don’t purport to be one. I have based this information on my own research and experience. I am happy to take on board further input and or any corrections, deemed necessary, by way of comments on this post.