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Friday, November 28, 2014

Balance and Harmony Keep a Composition or a Design in Check

"Victims of War" acrylic on canvas
I know an art teacher who also owns an art store. One day he showed me his paintings that were hung around the entire shop near the ceiling. He used these in classes for examples and demonstration.

“My paintings used to go so fast, I couldn’t keep any hanging,” he said. “Now I can’t sell any of them.”

The paintings were stunning landscapes of Florida scenes and of the Gulf; traditional compositions that once “brought a hefty price,” he complained.

Today “wild is in.” Even the works of amateurs are being bought up if they are unusual, colorful, and a tad weird. Perhaps it’s a reflection of the times and our confused and undisciplined society. Anything goes as long as it entertains and dazzles the eye; fads that may in time become the new “norm.”

Finding the right balance is a real dilemma every artist grapples with. Keeping one foot in the real world and the other in the solid traditions of the past is a struggle. When you allow yourself to push against the outer limits, or by way of contrast show restraint, a judgment call must be made based on each artist’s level of experience and training.

"Prayer Circles"  mixed media on canvas
I enjoy the humor that many artists use to invite people into their perspective. There are so many fearful and chaotic events happening at home and around the globe to cause anxiety. Some “comic relief” is healthy and relieves stress. Conversation pieces that cause laughter rather than thoughtful reflection may be just what the doctor ordered.

Tactile paintings: pop art, half art and half craft invite us to touch and examine. Critics lament that this practice degrades and gives real works of art a tawdry and cheap appeal. But they are selling none-the-less because they’re affordable and fun.

Trends come and go. What is in fashion today may be gone tomorrow. Artists must learn to adapt to the changing scene and create a unique and appealing style that sets them apart from the rest; keeping in mind that the classics, the centuries old tried and true methods of the past have weathered the test of time and will endure.

"Moody Blues" mixed media on canvas
Vibrant color is a significant part of this new genre. From the book: “Color Design Workbook” by Adams Morioka and Terey Stone, the authors’ state: “Color is a visual language in and of itself; it can attract the eye and focus attention on the intended message in the work. Color can be used to irritate or relax, encourage participation or alienate.

Advertiser Josef Albers remarked that “Whether bright or dull, singular or complex, physiological or psychological, theoretical or experiential, the persuasive power of color attracts and motivates.”

Also from the book: “As humans, we seek balance, especially in terms of color. For example, when exposed to a particular hue, our brains seem to expect the complementary color. If it is present, the combination looks vibrant. If it is absent, our brains tend to produce it to form a balance.” 

These very reasons alone explain why one painting is chosen over another. Although people see colors in different ways, they almost always choose that which is pleasing to the senses. With knowledge and experimentation, you too can be a part of those who sell on a regular basis.

"Cafe' Costa Rica" acrylic on canvas