Tuesday, February 20, 2007

activity #3 Principles of design

Aside from the visual elements, art is built on principles of design. These two concepts support each other and examples of them can be found in “Baby at Play” and “The Shipwreck”. One principle of design is emphasis. This is the area of the artwork that commands attention. The baby is emphasized by the elements of shape, because it is the biggest shape and is placed in the center of the work. It is also emphasized by the color. It is the brightest area of the painting. Unity filtrates this piece while using green that complements the orange and red tones. There is a little variety in color with the small black doll to the side. The child’s building blocks create a rhythm because of their repetitive shapes and scattered positions. The picture is considered asymmetrical because the picture does not have the same size shapes on either side. The green vegetation in the background is subordinate in the painting. This is a part of the artwork that complements the emphasis to make it stand out more.
In “The Shipwreck” there is no clear emphasis. There is a lot of action going on throughout the whole scene: the storm in the sky, the waves crashing, the skip sinking, and the people. Unlike “Baby at Play”, this picture shows a lot of variety among the colors. The sharp contrast between the cool, blue sky and the warm orange sky is the best way to show variety. This is also an asymmetrical picture because the shapes are not equally balanced on each side. The subordinate areas are the rocks that frame the whole scene because it gives more emphasis to the shipwreck. There is rhythm among the waves because of their horizontal, contour lines which gives some balance to a chaotic scene.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

activity # 2- visual elements

“The Shipwreck” and “Baby at Play” are two pieces that caught my eye right away. The choice colors are the first thing I noticed. In “The Shipwreck” the artist used cool colors: the water, rocks, and most of the sky. He also added contrasting colors with the warm, orange and red tones on the people. The most drastic example of this is the blue hole in the clouds right next to the red lightning bolt. He takes advantage of implied shape and light. Implied light is when the observer cannot see the source of the light. The waves crashing against the rocks are highlighted assuming that a ray of sunlight is coming through the clouds. The tilted line of the mast take the eyes all the way from the bottom right to the upper left of the scene, allowing one to take in the surrounding detail. This is called a directional line: A line in which directs attention to certain parts of the work. Implied shape is when several objects in the painting form a greater shape. In this piece a triangle stands out, forming from the ship’s mast, to the vertical rocks to the far left, and ending at the rocks in the far right bottom.
There is also use of implied light on “Baby at Play”. The child’s outfit is such a bright light, it can be assumed that there is a ray of light on it. Unlike “The Shipwreck”, the warm tones on the color wheel dominate “Baby at Play”. Red-orange and red is used for about half of the painting while, on contrast, the green plants take up the rest of the background. The child also stands out due to direction of the contour lines. Contour lines are the lines that represent the boundaries that aren’t visible in real-life. The contour lines of the baby are diagonal. This is in contrast to the building blocks that are going vertical, therefore enhancing the shape of the baby.

Activity # 1

Claude-Joseph Vernet, "The Shipwreck", 1772, Oil on Canvas, N.G.A.

Thomas Eakins, "Baby at Play", 1876, oil on canvas, N.G.A.