Figure and Ground
Sunkissed, by AlectorFencer on Deviant Art. Digital Work.
The concept of figure and ground embodies a fundamental principle in art of all forms. The relation between the subjects that the artist wishes for the viewer to focus on, and the negative space surrounding the subjects is one that must always be treated with care. Some pieces of work choose to maintain a clear separation between the positive space of the subject and the negative space around it, allowing for great clarity of the work. Others, like the above image by AlectorFencer, blend the two together in order to create a more natural flow to the image for the viewer. As a concept whose strength I was not aware of until the beginning of this semester, I intend to learn and push the extents of what I can do with the relation between figure and ground int he future.
Frame and Surface
Jormungandr, by cubehero on DeviantArt. Digital Work.
Though the importance of the Frame may be difficult to grasp conceptually at first, I have learned that it is quite vital in how the viewer sees the image. The path that a viewer's eyes will take as they travel across the image can be affected to an impressive degree for instance, by the aspect ratio of the image itself. This takes shape in the form of the fibonacci spiral, or the rule of thirds, as is common in photography. Artists such as cubehero utilize these natural mathematical patterns to help draw the viewer across the image to a particular focal point. In cubehero's image Jormungandr, the body of the serpent roughly follows the fibonacci spiral, leading the eye to the head of the serpent, or to the figure on the cliff on the other end. I am quite familiar with the importance of following the rule of thirds through my experience as a photographer, noting the impact it can have on emphasizing the focal point of an image.
Surface is a concept that can also lend a great deal of tone and depth to an image. Though I recognized that artists use a variety of canvases or other physical media to draw upon, I did not realize how those choices could intentionally play into a piece. More surprising, was the idea of an artist making it seem like an image was drawn upon a specific type of surface. The above image for example seems as though it was drawn on a canvas despite being a digital work, and it lends a new layer of tone to the image that would not have been their otherwise.
Mark and Line
Winter Wanderer, by Tristan Craddick. Digital Work.
While the principles of Mark and Line may seem self-explanatory in their importance to drawn art, the strength they carry should not be understated. The the sheer variety of utility provided by the use of multiple marks is something that I have come to understand throughout the semester thus far. Be it for construing different surface, a change in structure or subject, or even for use in shading, there are enormous capabilities in smart use of mark-making techniques. Currently my favorite types of drawn work to create are that of a sketching style like the above image. Even though the work is still limited in the marks that it uses, I was happy seeing the potential for what could be done in the future. As such, I would say that to me, Mark and Line represent the potential more than anything, because even in a finished work, there are always new variations that could be attempted with new marks to create something entirely different in meaning.
Illusory Grid, by Tristan Craddick. Digital Work.
Much like the power of the frame of an image, the Grid can be utilized to great effect in order to lead the eyes of the viewer across the painting. In drawings of 3-dimensional scenarios, grids can be used to help give a sense of perspective to the image, giving it a greater depth. Even in 2-dimensional drawings, the use of a grid can help to give a sense of size and scope to the image. Alternatively, a visible grid can help to draw the eyes along its lines as I attempt with the above image. I find that in the image on the right, it is much more difficult for the eyes to be lead to the center of the image than the one on the left as they are drawn away down the paths of the grid around the image instead. The ability to use a grid to play with a viewers expectations of how an image should look is something I am interested in experimenting with in the future.
Sentinel, by Rebecca Vincent. Giclée Print.
While not suited to every type of work, those that utilize Pattern can use it greatly impact how a viewer follows an image and interprets it. It can be viewed as an extension and evolution of Mark techniques, however patterns can compose a greater significance and meaning when paired together. These individual sections of colors and marks that make up patterns can be seen as art pieces in and of themselves through the meaning they can convey as a part of a whole. The patterns used in the above by Rebecca Vincent give both literal and metaphoric layers of meaning to the image. The earthy colors and the flowing nature of the patterns allow for an interesting calming effect on the viewer, an effect that is amplified by the break in the pattern that the tree creates against the sky. Though I previously thought it only used for more stylized pieces of work, I have grown to develop a greater understanding and appreciation for the use of Patterns in images now.
Morning Coffee, by Tristan Craddick. Digital Work.
I have found that texture has a great deal of power and potential in how a viewer can connect with an image. The ability to imagine the sensation of touching and feeling a surface based purely upon how it's drawn is a concept that I find astounding, and hope to someday develop more aptitude for myself. I fully acknowledge that my current skill level isn't enough to create a fully realistic texture capable of giving the viewer a sense of touching a painting, which is why I opted to use contrasting textures in the above image instead. My intent was to provide contrasting surfaces so that it is clear that they are composed of quite different textures, even if it is not quite clear what each individual texture would feel like. As I continue to work upon my drawing skills, and even my game design endeavors in the future, I hope to improve my skills enough so that I can create a strong sense of interaction between the subject and the viewer.
Transparency and Opacity
Calling Through the Glass, by Tristan Craddick. Pencil and Paper.
Transparency and its counterpart opacity are one of the more difficult techniques to pull off effectively as I found to my surprise. The ability of transparency to set the mood of an image or to play with how light can be distorted give it a great deal of potential. For instance, seeing a subject through a window gives an entirely different meaning to the image as opposed to just having an unobstructed view of the subject. I didn't have any expanded meaning in mind when I created the above image admittedly, so much as I was curious and wanted to play with how the distortions caused by some forms of transparency could be conveyed. While I did have partial success with showing the phone distorted behind the glass, more than anything the experience showed me the difficulty in conveying partial transparency in drawn works, especially when color is involved. With the capability it allows for changing the mood and interpretations of an image however, I look forward to learning how to better utilize the concept of transparency in the future.