There’s a “rule” of visual art composition called “The Rule of Thirds.” It’s about dividing an image into thirds to create a “pleasing” image. The first time I heard about a Rule of Thirds in the context of art I was when I read a book about photography many years ago. I remember laughing because my experience with a Rule of Thirds was through music. In so-called Western music, harmony is built on thirds to avoid the perceived “dissonance” of fourths and and sevenths. That’s a parochial view, of course, developed long before the world’s glorious variety of music was available to the entire world.
But it’s a “rule.”
Because my experience with composition originally came from music I think that by the time I picked up a camera I’d had my fill of “rules of composition” and have ignored them ever since. That’s probably a failing of mine; I don’t recommend it.
But I do recommend this abstract image. It’s a closeup of a lily. What an amazing structure! This one has a pistil trio that reminds me of piano keys.
There’s so much news! Some is good; most isn’t. Some is objectively important to how we navigate our days; most isn’t. But it arrives, wave after wave of words and images. There are times when it threatens to overwhelm, to swallow us in the information maelstrom.
When I composed this piece I deliberately restricted the news aspect of it and allowed the face to be prominent. Yes, the effects of the “tide” are there but they don’t overwhelm, not entirely. The image is a digital collage that incorporates three photographs and one layer of digital painting. If you think you see a paint palette in there (with acrylic paint smeared on it), you’re right.
The details won’t be interesting to anyone so I’ll just leave it at that except for the most recent mini-mess: the heater isn’t functioning this morning and it’s 59 degrees (F) in the house. Today was supposed to be a get-caught-up-online day but, instead, it’s a shivering-while-waiting-for-the-heater-tech-to-arrive day. I’ll reply to your lovely comments and be around to say “Hello!” to everyone as soon as I can.
The faces above are small sketches I made while testing the iPastels app on my iPad. The app is free, has a tiny footprint, and wonderful tools. There’s a desktop version, too. I’m sure that my goofy faces aren’t displaying the full power of the app so if you’re interested in checking it out for yourself, here:
What if no one even likes – or, maybe worse, no one cares – about your art?
You laugh if you can. You cry if you have to. Then you decide whether or not you need to have your work liked more than you need to create the work that no one likes or cares about.
If you can create what you want and aren’t crushed by the reception the work gets, then you make more. Otherwise? You find out what you need to do to please people and then make the work that will bring you the notice and/or approval you want.
Or maybe you fling yourself back and forth between these options? Trying not to care, trying to find out what people want, trying not to care…trying, trying, trying.
Or maybe you pack it all in and stop trying so you can stop caring, until you realize that won’t work because you reallyneed to make your art so you start all over again. Trying, caring.
Then, in one of those cosmic bursts of magic, someone loves your art. Not everyone. But someone.
“We Never Saw Eye to Eye” began its life (in 2011) as a casual sketch of Boris Karloff’s face from one of his movies. His expression wouldn’t leave my mind so I drew it.
The face doesn’t look like Boris Karloff but I did a decent job with the expression so I kept the sketch to incorporate in a digital compilation. The other components are a formerly-trashed acrylic painting and an acrylic ink drawing. I made it using a flatbed scanner and Photoshop Elements, several years ago.
This year I decided to make it available in my Redbubble shop on their “graphic” tee shirts – along with the usual prints/products – because the expression resembles mine too often these days. It has a strong “GRRRRRRRRRR!” vibe.
Several years ago I made “Politics Is Messy.” I knew there was something “off” about it (the nose, mostly) but it was a piece born of anxiety and anger. Once I let the feelings out through the image it was…ummmm…irrelevant. I filed it and walked away.
But its eyes are still worth doing something with. So is the graffiti-like overlay. The nose, though, needs help. It’s not horrible but it disrupts the composition.
Easy to fix! (I hope.)
In a day or so I’ll dig out the original digital file, open it in Photoshop Elements, and reshape the bridge of the nose. If all goes well I ought to be able to do that with a soft brush, “burning” lightly in the bridge area to create a shadow. Maybe I’ll work on the mouth, too, because right now those lips look like two amorous worms.
Wish me luck!
For those who are interested, “Politics Is Messy” is made from a pencil sketch, an acrylic painting, a digital painting, and scans of a magazine article and furious ink scribbling.
Are you wondering why she looked the way she did? She lost her hands and hair, and gained a headscarf. At the time I thought she had a sporty vibe…maybe she was on her way to the yacht club to go sailing?
Anyway: I found that photo this weekend, filed with this one:
That’s one of two sketches I did of her. Haaa! You can see how wildly enthusiastic I was about doing it. The hat’s from another of her outfits. I remember thinking that if I put enough clothing and accessories on her she’d be more interesting draw. Too bad that didn’t work. All I actually drew of her was her head, a missed opportunity given the fact that the reason I made her to begin with was to practice drawing bodies.