Midterm Summary Lessons Learned

Figure and Ground

Figure and ground are two basic yet critical aspects of art. Many times there is a clear separation between the figure and ground, at other times, different parts of the piece can be both figure and ground depending on how it is viewed. Below are three examples.

From left to right, the first image is the full view of my painting. The second is a painting by Franz Marc titled "Animals in Landscape" which exemplifies how the boundary between figure and ground can be blurred. The last image is Claire Wending, and the figure is clearly set apart form the background where her skin shows, although her "dress" is a continuation of the ground.

Frame and Surface

"Frame" is often refers to how the different aspects or pieces of an image and/or piece are arranged to each other. In the image above is an example of the fibonacci spiral overlaid on a photo my friend and I took this summer. As you can see, many different parts of the image, including the person holding the camera within the reflection of the sunglasses on the right side, and the curve of the hair on the left fall upon the lines of the spiral. Another way objects are often arranged or framed within an image is the "rule of thirds", which this image also follows slightly. Both lenses are on or near two imaginary vertical "lines" that would divide the image into three columns.
These two images are from a project I recently started, and demonstrates the concept of "surface". Although the markings are very nearly the same, the image on the right was a practice I did on a hard canvas before painting the design onto a sweater, which is pictured on the left. Although a simple concept, you can still see the difference in the lines and paint strokes on the two slightly different materials.

Mark and Line

Mark making is a critical component of art, especially in terms of 2 dimensional pieces such as drawing and painting. There are many different kinds of art media out there, and each one provides its own distinctive markings. For simplicity's sake, I created the drawing above entirely with ink. Three black pens were used, one ball point for the 'trees', one small felt pen for the thin lines around the trees creating the 'sky' and a third marker-esque for the water/muddy ground. Using the different pens and their distinctive markings allowed me to create the three separate elements, while the different markings using the same pen in the trees creates the difference between the imaginary leaves and the wooden trunk and branches.

The Grid

Grids can be used in a variety of ways, from its use as an aid in perspective or in replicating something to being the base or incorporated as a creative part of a piece in a more raw form.

The image on left is "Self Portrait" by Chuck Close. A series of gridded squares are filled with colors which from a distance are read/seen as a human face/portrait. On the right is "Perspective Study For The Background Of The Adoration Of The Magi" by Leonardo da Vinci The lines show how the perspective grid was used to help lay out and create an 'accurate' image.


"Pattern" within art, in its simplest definition is a repeating aspect within a piece. This piece I created displays a pattern in one of its simplest forms, with the repeating pattern of the abstract "leaf" I created and duplicated across the silhouette of the raven and the background. In real life patterns surround us everywhere, from floor and wall tiles to textiles used in the creation of clothing or as a piece of art.


There are two kinds of texture, implied and real. Implied texture is the illusion of texture created within a drawing, such as the top left and the bottom right images above. Although your mind may perceive and easily imagine how the different textures in both images may feel if you ran your hand over them in real life, if you actually tried you would feel nothing. The painting on the bottom right is an example of real texture. The way the thick paint has been layered and built up upon the canvas will actually be felt if you were to try and touch it. Still applicable, although technically not falling under either category in my opinion, but is closer to real texture, is the surface of the sculpture on the top right. Texture is important not only with 2 dimensional pieces of art, but all kinds. In order from top right to bottom left: "Just a Sip" by Aaron Blaise, Dylan Lewis "Cheetah Chasing Buck", "Impasto thick paint visible brushstrokes eye painting" by Unknown Artist, "Material Studies" - by Mell

Transparency and Opacity

Opacity and transparency are real life effects and aspects that are often replicated in art. Smoke, glass, mist, among many others. The image above I created in photoshop using multiple layers of varying opacity to create it. Varying transparency with layers allows for the creation of a variety of moods and allow the use of symbolism associated with different aspects.

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