Posts Tagged ‘center’

It’s a privilege to look at this drawing. It’s exquisite in the purest sense, serene and composed. There’s no excess, no fussing, no posturing or wrangling for effect. It seems to have flown out of the artist’s hand.
Notice that the center pot is not shaded while the flanking two pots are shaded. The center pot is large and holds its own by virtue of contour alone. If it were shaded, it would be too heavy and insistent; it would dominate the drawing as if didn’t want to get along and it would have too much pull, too much weight. As is, it’s big and still harmonious. How did the artist make this decision, to lighten up in the middle? Did we have a lecture about this, a statement of principle, before the drawing started? No, not at all. This sort of thing happens when you’re focused on the drawing, without critical chatter in your brain, in a purely visual mode. You can’t force this. It’s a state that can occur after a couple of hours of drawing. It happens. Drawing comes from drawing.

(Drawing by Barbara Heaton, graphite)
BarbaraPhotoAll contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »


Could the artist/student, Patty Cohen, add more paint, scrape some off, glue raw canvas onto the surface, punch a hole….?  Of course, all sorts of things can be done to this image at any stage of its development.  But, it was declared finished in the last class of Spring term.  “Finished” means “resolved.”   Nobody can explain exactly what “resolved” means, but the artist knows—and feels the resolution.
The rich texture cannot be duplicated here.  I just want to point to the dynamic of its composition:  zigzag plus stability.


The three black areas (connected by yellow lines in my analysis) move the eye to read a triangle firmly planted on a 13PattyCohenRedBlackFinalLside that is parallel to the bottom edge of the canvas.  That imparts a feeling of stability, which makes for a solid context in which the zigzags can go wild (blue, green).  Notice also that the upper left section is not as tame as it may at first appear.  It’s in muted tones, but is sectioned (pink) in such a way that its forms converge towards the middle.  This subtle focus also adds to the sense of stability—we like looking at the center of a painting.

Y13PattyCohenRedBlackFinalRou would think that such a turbulent composition would work in another orientation.  If you rotate the canvas, however, you’ll see that the other three orientations don’t work.  My sense is that this is due to the three black areas, which we prefer in the form a triangle (yellow) that’s firmly grounded.

Congratulations, Patty!

A13PattyCohenRedBlackFinalFlipll contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.




Read Full Post »