Hidden Design Elements in Artwork
My latest commission finally completed. “Beauty on Aberdeen, Medicine Hat”, 42 x 30 inches. Medicine Hat Commission.
When my husband came home from work last night and looked at the painting, he commented on how he liked the work and also mentioned he saw a large “X” on the bottom of the right-hand corner. I looked at the artwork again in complete surprise. “Well that’s the reflection of the light hitting the door,” I said.
In truth, I never noticed the strong “X” in the art piece before. To me, it was just part of the overall design of the initial photograph taken in early fall. The later I find that I am so engrossed in the painting process that some of these compositional elements go unnoticed later on and then when someone comments about them, I’m completely taken aback! Am I looking at the same image? How can I be painting an image for weeks and not notice?
My husband’s comments got me thinking this morning about those elements I think about in the initial phase of the project….it’s just that later on I forget them as the project moves along its journey. If I were to say that everything at the end of the artwork is calculated and planned, I’d plainly be lying. I do plan, think about the composition and have an initial idea in my mind’s eye of what I’d like to paint. But really the guts of the design of the artwork comes in taking the photo reference. This part of the planning is essential. I find that if the first image reference translates well in the photography, then the painting will work. I will often take numerous shots with two camera’s, look at the images on my computer at home and if unsatisfied, will shoot another set of images until I’m pleased with the results. Even with all of this pre-work before painting, unexpected design elements still go unnoticed.
In this case, I like the crisscrossing of the angles of light in the artwork. The bright light in the geographical region of Medicine Hat is one of the things I love about southern-Alberta and often spurs my creativity. The light is crisp, sharp and creates interesting shapes in the long shadows. One element I like to dramatize in my paintings of trees, and especially local buildings.
What design elements do you like to capture in photography of Medicine Hat or in your own city or countryside?
Go to the blog and share your comments!
Thanks for reading,
ArtWorks in RED Studio
Artist | Contemporary Painter