Thursday, July 2, 2009
Of course if something is 3-dimensional, it doesn't have to be human-crafted. But if it is two dimensional, as we are dealing with, it pretty much has to be human-crafted. This leads us to some interesting conclusions in the art world. One can construct sculpture and ceramic figures and vases, for example, and architectural edifices, or an automobile or an airplane or a ship, or a printing press, and these are clever and 3-dimensional, but most other things that are 3-dimensional are definitely not human crafted: nature and space, and humans, and flowers and trees and animals and fish, etc!
And so we have to be willing to focus ourselves on the art world, if we are limiting ourselves to the world of two dimensions. Here in two dimensions we will find the work of ALL the great painters, plus many skillful and ingenius graphic commercial artists, plus calligraphers and illustrators and photographers and printmakers and draftsmen and fabric designers, and all surface designers!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
"Paperworks Mission Statement"
"The...Collective for paper-artists provides educational and creative opportunities for all who work ...on paper, and promotes the appreciation and enjoyment of the paper....arts........"
The nature of paper is that it is, of course, two-dimensional, and thus fits into our study of the two-dimensional arts in this world. (I went to a paper-making class the other day, and while it was definitely not a two-dimensional process, the final product that I turned out, paper, was two-dimensional, and ready to be worked with, drawn on, used in collage, cut up or not, dyed, traced around, glued, scripted on, etc!)
I am excited to discover this local Collective, and since I have always been a paper-freak, since I was about 6 years old, I am looking forward to "join up" with them. Will keep you posted!
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Originally I had thought that such a crafts-person would simply place one pressed flower, complete with its foliage, in the center of the blank card, and then do the final touches by affixing it to the card with the provided clear contact paper. "Voila."
But no, these artisans often separate the petals and then press them, so that many more varieties of artwork are possible: many more slants on composition, color combination, and contrast are presented, as was evident to me today by their cards. They also press varieties of foliage from weeds, shrubs, flowers, bouquets in-a-vase, ferns, leaves, etc.
They even gave me a huge gazania flower-head from which to remove the petals and press in my very own telephone book at home, plus a likewise dissected chrysanthemum ! Here goes!
Friday, June 26, 2009
One type of photograph I like and even insist on in certain circumstances, is the photograph of the meal itself that accompanies the recipe in a cookbook! I don't know if it's that I'm dyslexic in this area, but the photograph adds so much to the whole idea of preparing the meal.
If I am looking for recipes of say, ways to cook chicken, I am already focused on a sound idea, and I may not need a photo, but if I am just browsing, seeking to be inspired, seeking to expand my cooking horizons, I need a photo. And these cooking photos are always a lovely close-up, suggestive, in mouth-watering color, with an interesting composition, good lines, nice background, etc......going right along with the artistic guidelines of a good photo....
And it makes one wonder who got to consume that luscious meal after it was photographed!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Now, this is no attempt at fine art.
However I have to expound on how I used to make greeting cards with pressed flowers some 40 years ago, all on my own. I remember during a drought in northern California I scavenged for lupines and wild sweet peas, because nothing much else was blossoming. Here and now in the desert we have the Mexican Firebird, which everyone knows, blooms all summer long and well into the fall. I am sneaking peeks already at these colorful shrubs in the wild, where I would hopefully not be apprehended for accosting the landscape.......these beautiful flowers must somehow find their way into the pages of my flower-pressing telephone book......
The result will be 2-dimensional pressed flower greeting cards, with matching envelopes, though I have yet to attend my first meeting! .....
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Its location is just south of Tucson on Interstate 19, off the road about a half-mile: you can easily see its inspiring spires from the Freeway.
From the outside San Xavier architecturally resembles any other gorgeous Spanish Mission (and very well kept up), all in white, with the arches and the domes, and the steeples, and the palm trees and cactuses, but it's the interior walls that present today's 2-dimensional subject.
All this artwork is like decoration, in the sense that all the painted lines run into each other, and all pictures, and designs, and borders are juxtaposed, one thing right next to another, from the interior top of the domes and steeples, down to the floor, and also on the walls from side to side. (It is a huge photo-op!) It actually reminds me of being inside a wedding cake, with all the cake decorations somehow projected onto the retinas of my eyes.....
Monday, June 22, 2009
Icons from the past were often painted with gold highlights and painted on wood, or wooden 2-part screens, or (3-part) triptychs. Many of these were only a few inches high, although many were depicted on large pieces. These were usually of a religious nature, and represented personages, or popes or saints or the Virgin Mary with Child, or represented an event or a story, like the "illuminations" of last entry, and many times from the Bible. These icons are usually placed in ancient churches, and cathedrals (we're talking Europe) or museums of modern times. They are not hard to find actually, and I have bought several from shops, quite reasonably, just to decorate the entertainment center in my home. They sit quite nicely on top of the TV, for example.
I have to report that the shops I have frequented for these purchases are often in Mexico.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
These illuminations never fill the entire page, but are simply inserted into the beginning of the chapter, up on the top left.
The illuminations often are very poorly drawn, though they are colorful and have nicely done borders (there's that word again) around them. It is painfully clear that those who rendered these illistrations were by no means artists, and were simply instructed to draw something out, according to the contents of the chapter.
I think the illuminations merely have an historical value, if sometimes grotesque and not truly "cultural" in quality, but they are worth noting for the sake of historical (hysterical?) drama.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
If we go the craft realm we could look at say, a round or oval shape; for example: a plate.
This morning in my ceramics studio I moved from my customary ceramic square tile, to a circular plate which I wanted to decorate by applying glazes, with brushes and sponges. It's really not fudging to say that it is virtually a 2-dimensional format.
Around the round edges, of course, a plate gives one the opportunity to choose from among a myriad of borders. Withe the help of a couple of artsy-craftsy stencils I sponged patterns around the border of the plate, interspersed with the word "Believe", which is one of those current catchwords that seems to be popular at the moment, and it suited my fancy. And in the center of the plate one can paint a vignette, or a landscape, or perhaps a sunshine face, which is what I did. Now it's ready for the fire, and here's hoping it turns out sunshiney!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
One of the things I like about wallpaper is the huge variety that is available out there, and one can see them in so many sample books, in the various "home box" stores. Not only do you see the endless variety of color schemes, but same for the designs, and the sizes of the designs. Some people like tiny teeny little vignettes - eg. carefully spaced moss roses - and some people like expansive and wonderful stripes - Coco cabana! - and some people even like still life's. I have to admit, grapes and grapevines are very popular.
Then there's the textured look, where the whole wall is simply an exercise in texture, often a reproduction of a pattern applied with a sea-sponge or a "rag," and in one color, or two colors, or sometimes in three colors, carefully selected of course, with a certain color-scheme in mind. And sometimes, the homeowner skips the store entirely and uses her own paints and sponges!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Posters are of course a 2-dimensional medium, and rarely is it, that a poster has not been reproduced in multiple numbers. This is not a one-of-a-kind art form.
Posters have a particular beauty in that they 'most always combine a picture, an illustration, a painting, or a photograph, with text of some description. Script. A Font. A Hand. An Alphabet. Calligraphy. This text can run right across the picture, or placed at the top, or there at the bottom, and in various sizes and/or colors, depending on the impact desired. This is not a medium that is rarely seen, nor which requires the viewer to enter a museum to see.
However the most charming posters - the originals - are only visible in the museums, and were done by Toulouse LaTrec during the middle of the 19th century, I believe it was in France: all his lettering was filled in and done by hand, and has a lovely elegant quality.
Monday, June 15, 2009
"Such plants as jute, sisal, flax, and raffia....are being noticed for their aesthetic qualities as they take center stage in a new breed of grasscloth wallcoverings." Grasscloth offers such designs as screen-printed florals, embroidered patterns, and solid colors in flag-like "flavors", apparently available in 29 colors!
Wallpaper is of course susceptible to repetitive patterns, and vignettes, both of which I have always thought of as quite charming, as can be fabric design or surface design.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Even today one will see an etching that has been rendered in "crosshatch", and thus an artist can apply tons of shading, and to many and various degrees, unlike the woodcut.
Historically speaking many etchings were done, even for rough sketches, by some of the finest and most famous artists, say back in the Middle Ages; send me a comment and let me know if you have some of those famous names!
Sometimes the "ground" can be a SOFT ground, which means a person can "draw" through it with say, a match, from a book of matches - as I have done - instead of scratching through a hard ground on the plate. This can represent a much more casual or "free" mode of drawing.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Or course one can render any subject matter that one pleases in woodcuts, but whatever it is, it will have that characteristic of being only in dark black, and white. (Or red, and white, or navy and white, or turquoise and white, you get the idea.)
An orange, for instance - the fruit - might possibly only work in a woodcut as a solid shape of an orange, or as the shape cut out from the middle with only a black outline. (More difficult to do.) A cut-out white crescent moon would work, for instance, but only if there is black left all around it.
Linoleum cuts are also made, using woodcut tools, and printed out exactly the same way. What is fun is to study different artists' renditions - or different illustrators or commercial artists - done in this graphic medium of black and white.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
One way to address black and white art is to think of etchings, and of woodcuts in particular, for now. Woodcuts are often implemented in a soft pine board, (medium-size, for the sake of handling) with special woodcutting knives, or tools. Sometimes people draw on the board first, to indicate where they want to cut, or remove, material. To remove material (wood) creates the area(s) which will become white, in the print-out. Sometimes people paint first - usually black - onto the pine board, and this will become the indication of where to leave the wood alone, as it represents where the artist wants the black to remain.
Other times, a person will simply start cutting, with one or more tools, and after a while, will take a print, to see how it's coming along: sort of a "from the gut" approach, for black and white.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Comes to mind the memorable illustrations from my childhood, in Mother Goose: so many poems, and most of them had a skillful and charming line-illustration in accompaniment. There were long, puffy skirts, ruffly, broad-brimmed bonnets, excellent animals, some of whom who talked, pretty English-style trees on the horizon, and of course to top it all off, Mother, with her ringlets, riding on the bridled Goose.
Illustrations can also come in novels, to mark the onset of certain chapters, and can be simple but well-designed graphics in a woodcut style print, in black and white only. This spring I've enjoyed reading the novel "Cross Creek," from the '30's if I remember right, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, (she was the author of "The Yearling"). This book contained a lovely bunch of these black-and-white illustrations, picturing the "swamp" country in Florida, and which additionally kept me enthralled the whole time!
Monday, June 8, 2009
Actually it is my rendition of plagiarized art from two different magazine pictures......and yes, it is 2-dimensional: a 2-dimensional quail in two-dimensional high-top sneakers.....
(Oh, the fun you can have applying art to a square ceramic tile!)
This tile was rendered by myself, with colored glazes, and then placed in an "06" cone kiln, to be fired to perfection.
For my next 6-inch tile I am going to apply three borders in a row, as is often done on a woven Indian rug (Native American). These borders will stretch right across the middle of the tile instead of being found only at the edges of the square. Thus one can think in only two dimensions, and turn out a nice little piece of glazed art!
Thursday, June 4, 2009
That's because every other movie is 2-dimensional!
No matter how big or how bright or how dramatic or how impressive or how 2-star or how 5-star or how "blockbuster" or how "old time", how gory or how excellent or how much action or how sentimental, or how loud, or how wonderful the sound track music, that movie is 2- dimensional. It just seems that the more I research, the more 2-dimensional projections (pardon the movie term) I see.
I guess it's time to expose the fact that this computer screen, whether it's a laptop or a phone or a PC or a Mac or a ........? that everything - every single thing - you see on it, whether it's text or pictures, is two-dimensional, and same with all the TV's in our communities and homes.
I say, if you think two dimensions is limiting, think again!
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Borders can be geometrical, or picturesque, colorful, or simply graphic in one or two colors, representational or abstract, or from a certain culture, or historical, or thematic, or simply technical and whimsical.
The borders I saw were done in fused glass, and they hung in a window, so the light could flow through the colors. In a rectangular shape about 8" by 4", they seemed to be a series of stripes interspersed with bubbles; definitely whimsical and evoking a certain mood. The whole piece was stripes, in fact, (see a previous entry) but they were obviously borders, placed all in a row, one on top of the other, as in a sheet of paper: definitely two dimensions!
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Murals are, for the most part, huge, and hugely two-dimensional. They can be indoors or outdoors. They can be painted on with a brush or with spray paint. They can have subjects that are realistic, or decorative, or abstract. Some murals are historic in theme, some seem to be dream-like fantasies (Maxfield Parrish), some are incredible in size and stature (Michaelangelo). They can be advertisements. They can incorporate lettering or calligraphy, or they can consist entirely of such lettering.
If it is an outdoor mural, the artist would want to use non-fading outdoor paint. If it is an indoor mural the artist might want to use non-smelly types of paint!
But in any case only paint is used; no glue-ons, no paste-ons, and nothing that will not last. A mural is meant to "last forever," no matter to what kind of lighting or weather (or kids!) it is exposed.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Because I've moved down here to the American Southwest, I've discovered that the huge tall saguaro cactus (pron. sah-wah-ro) is a visual concept that is very easy to draw, or represent in two dimensions (I'll get to the tile in a minute). And this is proved by all the hundreds of published photographs of same: picturesque saguaros throughout the media-realms, in so many magazines and newspapers and ads and TV shows, and paintings and decorative themes!
And in the ceramics studio, there are some glazes that you might call "randomly explosive"glazes: there's one that turns out to look exactly like the Milky Way galaxy, and it's a perfect background for my doodled saguaro cactus in the foreground! Point is, a person can juxtapose one simple shape in the center, or foreground of, say, a 6" tile, with a crazy pattern in the background, and it works!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Think about a repeating pattern of your own choice. It will wind up looking like a repeating pattern on a surface design, or on a piece of fabric. Connecting-tiles comes to mind, or even the lowly linoleum patterns. Design one pattern, or simply pick a very basic design like a music staff, or a simple logo that you are familiar with, or a triangle within a circle, or vice versa, etc.
Now decide how big a rectangle or square you want to use on your graph paper for this repeating design. For example a one-inch square, or a two-inch square, or a rectangle 1"by 2".
Soon you will see, with repeating your "design-logo" throughout the squares or the rectangles you have chosen, what your two-dimensional grid looks like, or your "linoleum," or your surface design on your fabric.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Straight lines are parallel to the top edge of a piece of fabric, or, they are parallel to the side edge of a piece of fabric. You can imagine that: parallel lines that are vertical or parallel lines that are horizontal on a piece of fabric, and in varying colors. You can have navy on white, or white on navy, for instance, or any number of other color combinations ad infinitum, and of any size of stripes: any sizes or colors that come to your imagination. It's an easy experiment, to try different colors and sizes along these lines, on your sketch paper. (You can use a ruler: I do.)
Now consider a piece of fabric that has straight lines going vertically and also straight lines that form the horizontal pattern. Together they mesh, along the expanse of the 2-dimensional fabric, criss-crossing endlessly, "up-and-down" along with "left-to-right". This has often been called "plaid", and, though it is not limited to this, men's shirts from time immemorial have been made from plaid flannel. These particular plaids come in "manly" colors such as shades of brown and tan and black and cream, blues and greens and yellows, and especially shades of red, with some brown and white. All with lines that are straight as an arrow, going in "two dimensions"!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
The other day I came across a fabric line called "Eco-chic". This is a fabric full of small, circular holes, and they described it as a "punched-out holey grid pattern" which says it all, except for the "ecological" part. It actually consists of holes; I would call it a "tweaked sheer" in a systematic grid. Definitely something you can see right through.
It was hanging in a looped curtain, like an aurora borealis seen in the sky during the Northern Lights-Show, and my imagination envisioned it, not just only in a beauty salon, but in a young girl's bedroom, and as a party decoration, and as part of a theatre set or a TV set, or by the pool, or as department store or retail decor, etc. Pieces of it, or scraps, could also be used effectively in design collage......
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Now make some doodles that you feel like making, or even try a one-letter image, like a lower case "a", not letting the pen-angle change (see my last entry) as you "make your marks". Feel free to go back afterwards with a single implement to correct things: bring loose ends together as you want them. (Nobody is perfect the first time.)
Now the fun part is filling in the spaces you that you have made with your calligraphy: you can go to another media altogether, like a colored pencil or a marker, or a ball point, or watercolor, and you can make stripes, or polka dots, or wiggly lines or solid color, or whatever your heart desires, fear not! If you feel like attacking a whole word, or your name, or the name of a loved one, or a logo, you'll have even more fun.
Friday, May 22, 2009
One easy way to talk about this is if you take two pencils and rubber-band them together so they come to two points. Kind of like chopsticks, but with one or two rubber bands. Hold them in your hand exactly as you would a regular pencil.
As you touch down on the paper with this double-pencil you will be dragging it along and drawing and experimenting with letters and doodles and of course you will quickly see the double line it makes.
If you lay the two points on the paper and turn them, that's when you are making different pen angles. This term only refers to the angle of the pen-tips in relation to the top edge of the paper. This is not a reference to your wrist movement, or to the angle of the pen itself in relation to ANYTHING. Only in reference to the angle of the pen-tips to the top edge of the paper: thus you can have a 30 degree pen angle or a 45 degree pen angle - the most common beginning pen angles in calligraphy. Try it!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
It may have not been as easy to read, or to decipher, as the typeset that shows up today, but it was much more beautiful. Beautiful and flowery and impressive.
Today such qualities are some of the main reasons why calligraphy is used in the various ways and places it is used: to decorate, to impact, to glorify, to draw the attention, to beautify!
Saturday, May 16, 2009
I have always been interested in calligraphy, even as a child, and I played around with some experiments, but about 5 years ago I joined a Guild, since it was only $18 a year, and they only met (in Salem, Oregon) once a month. I never, ever, told them that I had never taken even the most basic calligraphy class, and so I faked my way through several years of business-meetings, potlucks and art projects. One day I had the nerve to reveal, to one of the most accomplished prize-winning calligraphers, that I had never "taken Italic" and she actually gasped. I have since remedied this situation, taking an Italic class which cost a fortune and which was taught by a friend of mine. It is always so rewarding to take a calligraphy class, no matter which font. (My friend, herself, was busy taking a watercolor class!)
Friday, May 15, 2009
One time I made a postage stamp "design collage" on a tray. I applied many coates of Mod Podge afterwards, to give it a finished surface.
Another time I collected pix of pretty angels' wings from all different sources, put them all in their own folder (we're talkin hard copy, of course) and when the time was right I assembled them all into one "design collage"; I believe it was on a decoupage plaque I picked up at a thrift store.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I wanted to talk about glue......I spend half my life researching glue and taking glue-polls, and shopping for, and "asking around" about glue! I find that glue is like technology - blink once and there's a new, more updated, stickier, more user-friendly glue out there. It's either transparent or it dries transparent, or it's blue because you want to see where it is, or it comes out of a tiny tip, or it has its own brush, or it's like a jar of jelly.....But I'll tell you: the easiest way I've found to do collages is to paint the whole page with Mod Podge glue, and then go for it. Needless to say, you might want to make a generalized and loose "placement map" first, on your work table next to the collage, with your cut-outs and items and pix, but you will find that you and the glue will make the final and most artistic decision!..........Paint the page with Mod Podge and then start with the biggest pieces that you want to put on there, placing them for posterity - but you can do this, once again, in the blink of an eye, and be sure you get it all down and as smoothly as possible - because the glue will begin to dry if you take too long! Then, if you feel the glue is no longer tacky, paint the whole page again with the Mod Podge and go for the next smaller size, and so on, to the smallest size. Remember ModPodge dries transparent, which is one of its wonderful, wonderful qualities.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I advise that the first thought be of a BACKGROUND. In my experience this takes care of any last-minute quandaries in your collaging. A background can be painted on in sort of a solid color, or a more-or-less uniform treatment, OR it can be a background of something pasted on, like a map, or a sheet of newspaper, or some wrapping paper, or a piece of stationery, or a magazine page, or any kind of print-out or reproduction that you'd like to use in a background mindset.
After that you get to your main concerns, thinking bits and pieces, parts or photos, cut-outs, rip-outs, borders, old things, new things, with a color scheme or not, think stylized scissors or not, and if "scrap-booking" is a word that comes to mind, I admit I am aware of it: if anyone has had fun scrapbooking, think about how we can move on in our journey from there......
Sunday, May 10, 2009
I appreciate the possibilities: the flourish, the centering (not required in painting and photography), the sentiment (whichever type or quantity), and, repetition of image is acceptable; so we're talking pattern. Usually the greeting card comes in vignette style, (but certainly not always,) which to me means an image which dominates towards the center and fades off to the sides, a charming if old-fashioned mode of expression, and always effective.
Greeting cards are of course usually of a constricted size, but then again, they are not planned for the wall: but do very well on the monitor-screen! I would urge you not to feel that you are limiting yourself if you express yourself in this realm. I do it often.
Friday, May 8, 2009
How can a person ignore the fact that with a camera (and thanks to my oldest son for the gift of a camera several years ago) you can transform any form of reality into two dimensions in an instant. This is not why it's nice, of course. What's nice is the focus, the composition, the emotion, the event, the contrast possible, the color, the location, the timeof day, the memory preserved, etc.
And I love magazines, especially fancy ones, glossy ones, ones filled with advertising using photography. There I see such beautiful handling of everything: the human form, fashion, landscapes and landscaping, furniture, architecture; even close-ups of products for sale are dealt with artistically and graphically. I see again, composition, fonts and scripts and lay-out, montage, beautiful natural lighting, beautiful artificial lighting, etc., etc., etc.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
I switched from some 60 years of watercolors, to acrylics a couple years ago, still sticking always to 2 dimensions.
And when I reached an impasse with the larger canvases last fall, I got involved with yes, more 2-dimensional stuff: ceramic tiles, 6" by 6". Joined a ceramics club with their own ceramics studio, and their own kilns, and their own glazes, and since clay was one of my majors in college! - I kind of took ahold : began to even get into abstract ceramic tiles: still 2 dimensions, and still only 6" by 6".