How to Design your own Artwork – Week #2 Design Challenge

Rosemaling fabric

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.

This week we will examine LINE as an element in art.

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Week 2:   Line

As an element of visual art, line can be straight, swirly, wavy, jagged, dotted, dashed, broken, thick, thin, zig zag, diagonal, vertical, horizontal, curved, bold, parallel or perpendicular. It might outline a shape, form a pathway, (as in a curvy line), or a stroke. The line has width, or thickness, direction and length.

  • Lines can also convey movement and mood. Thick, straight lines convey order, stoicism and rigidity and this can sometimes be monotonous. Flowing wavy lines create softness, interest and melody.
  • In surface decoration, all lines should flow from a parent stem. No matter how distant, a line should be able to be traced all the way back to its branch and root.

Using Line in Rosemaling and Stylized Designs

A beautiful flowing design feels more natural and appealing to the eye, as the lines grow out from the other in gradual undulations. “If you have free movement in the lines and scrolls, you must have freedom in the flower and leaf forms to continue that feeling.” Nils Ellingsgaard said in his book,”Norwegian Folk art,”to “..beware of leaves painted at such an angle that they look as if they are falling off, or flowers that are way out on the end of a long stem.”

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The lines depicting the leaves on the flower on the left, are set too far apart and seem separate. The leaves on the design on the right, are implied as being part of the flower, and the base is hidden underneath the flower, thus, they have become an integral part of the design element.

Lines might be used as a border framing our design; lines might be cross hatching and even tangential lines can indicate a change in value, such as that which may simulate depth of an object, or a three dimensional quality.

 

Week 1 Sketch - Shape

 

Whilst our design ‘lines’ should aim for a cohesive design, it is okay to deliberately use broken lines in certain instances. In this case, our minds will fill in the gaps. Using deliberate, broken lines and varying their thickness and length, adds interest and moreover, is an excellent opportunity to add small details or embellishments, if you so wish.

Embellishments or liner work is another way to use ‘line’ to add vitality to a drawing or a Rosemaling design.  Nils Ellingsgaard said, “The skill of the Rosemaler is in direct proportion to the amount of variety he/she can get in his strokes.”

Nils Ellingsgaard liner work

 

Something Arty to Ponder About

Previous weeks:

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Tree Painting Tutorial from Zachary Rau

Blog – Reform School — Zachary Rau.

If you want to make your own Christmas decorative pieces for next year, here is a guide to painting a coniferous Christmas tree

Blog – Reform School — Zachary Rau.

Faux Finish – Marble DIY Tutorial

blog pictures 019Ever wanted marble but could not afford it?

You can with this simple faux finish.

 

 

This project was originally a Dutch traditional painting with a dark orange background and the colours I had chosen, just weren’t working. So I revamped the project and decided to opt for something very simple like this:

 

 

To create your own faux marble finish:

1. Timber or MDF piece, sealed and prepped with a dark orange brown background paint.

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2. Mix a light green colour with some cream yellow, dark green, and white if necessary.

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3. Base coat over the top with the *light grayish green, and while wet, wet a sponge and pat over the piece. Note that this picture does not really show the correct colour.

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4. Lay a piece of kitchen or Glad wrap over the top and stretch and move around, then scrunching in a ball and dab it over the surface. This will lift some of the light green coat, revealing some of the background underneath in a haphazard way, that looks natural.

5. Dab on some light yellow and dark green, and even a little  Prussian blue on different sections of the damp sponge and pat here and there over the surface.

6. Use the scrunched glad wrap ball to soften any harsh lines from the sponge. You want it to blend gradually.

 

5. Dab on some light yellow and dark green, and even a little  Prussian blue on different sections of the damp sponge and pat here and there over the surface.

6. Use the scrunched glad wrap ball to soften any harsh lines from the sponge. You want it to blend gradually.

7. Let dry

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8. Drag a feather through warm white acrylic colour and pull across surface in wavy lines to simulate the cracks of colour in marble.

I used one from my pet cockatoo. ( NOte: It had fallen out, I did not pull it out!!!)

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You can also use a fine liner brush if you don’t have a feather.blog pictures 013

 

9. Soften with a mop brush or scrunched wrap ball if necessary.

* I don’t use retarder, which extends the open time of the paint, but if you are having trouble with it drying before you can manipulate the finish with the glad wrap ball, then either mix retarder into the surface of the light green paint, use retarder on the sponge as you paint.

Now you can decorate the rest of the project. Varnish as desired in the usual way. I use either spray or brush on.

N. B. If you want to decorate on top of the marble faux finish, a protective coat of sealer/clear glaze medium is advised.

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The completed faux marble finish

I will continue a tutorial on decorating the outer rim next time. Any questions, don’t ponder,  just ask!