Thursday, December 27, 2007

2008 Year Long Challenge

"Closures" is the theme for the 2008 Year Long Challenge.

Each participant is to create three pieces relating to this them based on the Principles of Design.

Bring your First piece to the WAV meeting in March
Bring your Second piece to the WAV meeting in June
Bring your Third piece to the WAV meeting in October.


The principles of art are a set of rules or guidelines to keep in mind when considering the impact of a piece of artwork. They are combined with the elements of art in the production of art.

* 1 Movement
* 2 Unity
* 3 Variety
* 4 Balance
* 5 Emphasis
* 6 Contrast
* 7 Proportion
* 8 Pattern

Movement: Movement refers to the illusion of activity or speed in a composition or design. It is a way of combining elements to cause the viewers eye to move over the artwork in a specific direction.

Unity: Unity is the perception of the parts of a piece and their relationship with the dominant or unifying element. Compositional similarity, oneness, togetherness, or cohesion.

Variety: Variety is the quality or state of having different forms or types.
The differences which give a design visual and conceptual interest: notably use of contrast, emphasis, difference in size, and so forth.

Balance: Balance is stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis. Like nature, balance is essential.

Emphasis: Focal Point (also called emphasis) is where the focus is concentrated through design principles or meaning. To do this one develops points of interest to pull the viewer's eye to important parts of the body of the work

Contrast: Contrast usually describes characteristics of art elements in opposition from subtle to extreme or intense. For example, light areas in contrast to dark, highly textured areas vs smooth and contrast between complementary colors (those opposite on the color wheel).

Proportion: Proportion (sometimes called scale) describes the relative sizes and locations of objects in the artwork. It refers to the relationships of the size of objects in a body of work. Proportion gives a sense of size seen as a relationship of objects, such as smallness or largeness.

Pattern: Showing consistency with colors or lines.
The ELEMENTS of art are a set of techniques which describe ways of presenting artwork. They are combined with the principles of art in the production of art.
The elements of art can include some or all of the following: color, value, line, shape, form, texture, and space.

Color refers to the hue (ex. red vs. orange) and intensity or brightness (ex. neon green vs. yellow-green) of the colors used. It may also refer to the value, or the darkness, of the color. [2] Color is arguably the most effective element of art.

Space-The use of space and room in a piece of art. This also includes negative space.

Value-Sometimes combined with color, value describes the lightness or darkness of a color.

Line is the movement of dots. In art we say there is no line in nature it's only a color difference. There are three types of line:
1. Actual line: Its a form of line we draw by pen, pencil or color etc, it may be straight or curved;
2. Implied line: It is not a proper line but helps eye to travel on it as a line e.g. dotted line on road;
3. Psychic line: This form of line has no physical value it is a psychologically created line e.g. when we are pointing something out, our eye travels from our hand to that object as if on a line.

Shapes are formed from the meeting of lines and the enclosing (or perceived enclosing) of areas in two-dimensional space. There are two types of shape:

1. Geometric-shapes that can be made by using a drawing/and or measuring tool.
2. Organic or Free Form-irregular or uneven shapes {Used in architecture to give feelings to the structure}

Shapes may take on the appearance of two-dimensional or three-dimensional objects.

Form is the three-dimensional counterpart to shape. There are two types of form. Illusionary form is the form created through use of concepts such as perspective in order to show form on a two dimensional work, whereas real form is the form seen in sculpture and other three dimensional art.

Texture can be either real or perceived. Real texture is how a work of art actually feels, while perceived texture is how an artwork appears to feel.


(contributed by Kathy Lichtendahl)





Form and Shape (Volume)








Emphasis/Focal Point


Elements are the basic tools - the components that make up a design.

Texture: Surface quality. Appeals to our sense of touch. Texture can be experienced visually in a 2-D piece because it can not only be seen and touched, it can also be sensed in memory. Trompe l’oeil is an extreme example of visual texture. The basic textures are soft, smooth, shiny, dull and rough.

Texture affects light refraction. It is one of the primary considerations in textile art. Visual distance can be a factor in texture - distant objects often appear smooth; the closer we get to something, the more the texture is visible. Texture is closely tied to pattern. Every texture makes a sort of pattern but not every pattern creates a texture.

Pattern: A decorative design, figure or motif created through use of line, form, space, light and color. It is usually a repetitive design with the same motif appearing again and again.

Line: A line can create a feeling of motion or repose. Use of line can seemingly alter proportion.

Line is artistic shorthand - we see a line drawing and our brains fill in the rest. Lines are critical to control movement.

Vertical = height, strength, clarity

Horizontal = repose, solidity

Diagonal = action, movement

Curved = graceful, delicate

The art definition of a line is a moving dot. Every line is created by movement. Line can be used to create value as in quilting lines. Line can be used to define shapes and by shapes we recognize objects. Line can vary greatly in weight, character and quality.

Form/Shape: Basic forms and shapes are:

Rectangle/Square = unity, stability

Triangle = dynamic

Circle/curve = natural

Design is basically the arrangement of shapes. In designing you must develop the ability to look beyond interesting subject matter to the basic element of shape. Shape is usually 2 dimensional while volume is 3 dimensional. 3D works change as you move around them and view them from different angles. Naturalism refers to the shape of things in nature while distortion is when the artist disregards the shapes of nature; purposely changing or exaggerating them. Abstraction is basically a simplification of natural shapes to their essential basic character.

Space: The opposite of form or mass. The illusion of space can be created by using line, form, color, light, pattern and texture.

Devices to show depth include:

Size: Things diminish in size as they are further away. This holds true even in abstract images. It works best if the shapes are the same. Relative size is particularly effective.

Overlapping: Things in the front appear closer.

Vertical location: The higher on the page, the further back things appear.

Aerial or Atmospheric Perspective: Especially used in landscapes. It uses color and/or value to show depth.

Linear Perspective: Such as a drawing of a railroad.

Open form vs closed form - Is the image enclosed within the frame? Closed forms are generally more formal, structured. Open forms are casual, momentary, informal.

Color: This is a huge topic. There are whole semester courses on color theory. One of the easiest ways to differentiate color groups is to breakk them down into warm, cool or neutral.

Warm = Red - Yellow-green on the color wheel. Engaging, active, positive, cheery, cozy, stimulating, informal. Objects tend to blend together and to close in space.

Cool = Green - Blue-violet. Especially in tints they tend to be relaxing, restful, soothing, receding, formal. Tends to reinforce outlines and expand space.

Neutrals = Gray, Black, White. Can still be warm neutrals or cool neutrals.

There are a number of systems for color - the best known is the Brewster Color Wheel which breaks colors down into three primaries: red, blue and yellow, then from there into secondary and tertiary colors.

Hue = color name. The single characteristic that sets each color apart from others.

Value = degree of luminousity or lightness or darkness of a hue in relation to black and white.

When dark is added to a hue the value is lowered and the result is a shade. When white is added the value is raised and the result is a tint. Tone is when both black and white, or a color’s complement is added to a hue.

Intensity = the degree of saturation of pure color. A color may be made to appear more intense by placing it next to its complement.

Monochromatic = Single hue with a range of value and intensity (may also include black and white).

Neutral or Achromatic = Black and white and grays.

Analogous = adjacent colors on the standard color wheel.

Complementary = 6 types

Direct Split Triad Double Alternate Tetrad

Light, texture, distance as well as the other colors around all affect how we view color.


This is an element which is given much more consideration in interior design as it is a tangible in that setting. In 2D design it is no less important but it is treated more as a subset of color.

The Principles of Design

Proportion/Scale: Proportion is linked to ratio. We judge the correctness of proportion by the ratio of one thing to another. For example an adult is about 7 1/2 heads high. The “Golden Rectangle” came from the ancient Greeks and can be expressed in the ratio of parts to the whole. The ratio, or “golden mean” says that width is to length as length is to width plus length (W:L as L:W+L). The “Golden Section” is the division of a line or form in such a way that the ratio of the smaller to the larger is the same as that of the larger to the whole. A good way to remember the ratios is to think of the sequence of numbers 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 ... where each subsequent number is the total of the two previous numbers. That is to say 2/3 = 3/5 = 5/8 etc. This applies to quilts in several ways: in calculating good overall size ratio and in deciding placement of elements within a quilt. Scale refers to the overall size of an object and its parts compared with other objects and their parts regardless of shape. Something is large or small scale only when compared to another object.

Balance: is the quality that gives a sense of equilibrium and repose. We tend to feel uneasy with imbalance.

Bisymmetrical = Arranged equally on either side of an imaginary line. Traditional, formal, restful.

Asymmetrical = More subtle; if achieved, usually more interesting. Two small objects may balance one larger one; a small, shiny shape may balance a larger, dull one; a spot of bright color may balance a large neutral area. It tends to shift focus from the center. Informal, active, more compatible with nature.

Radial = radiates from a central point like spokes on a wheel. Often visually appealing and combines well with the other two.

Crystallographic = Ofetn called “overall pattern”. Very common in quilts - no beginning, no end, no focal point.

Sometimes simple placement of an object can give it a feeling of being stronger within a piece. Usually the higher an object, the more visual weight it is given. Likewise, just as on a seesaw, a larger object near the center can be balanced by a smaller object near the edge. In art balance is often assumed vertically. There is a place for purposeful imbalance in a piece. The artist may want to create tension.

Rhythm: An intangible component. It assists the eye in flowing over a piece; in moving easily from one area to another. It can be achieved in numerous ways. The design principle is based on repetition of color, pattern, texture, line, light or form.

Opposition = Where lines come together at right angles.

Transition = The eye is carried by a curved line.

Gradation or Progression = Large to small; dark to light. Like cannisters lined up on a counter.

Radiation = Central axis.

Contrast = Opposites in close proximity. White against black, smooth against rough.

Alternation = Various elements alternate in repetition.

Emphasis: This refers to the dominant and subordinate components or to the focal point and supportive elements. A focal point is meant to capture the attention and invite further inspection. A lack of emphasis can lead to boredom. Too much emphasis can lead to chaos, busy-ness and unrest. As a general rule a focal point results when one element differs from the rest. You can create a focal point through the use of color, form, texture, lighting, pattern and size.

Emphasis by Contrast means something is standing out because of being different from the other elements of a piece. For example, All elements are vertical and one is horizontal; most elements are linear and one is curved.

Emphasis by Isolation refers to creation of a focal point by having some element detached from the rest.

Emphasis by Placement occurs when lines or elements within the work lead the eyes to the focal point. A radial design is the best example of this.

A focal point, however strong, should remain related to and part of the overall design. Sometimes a focal point is not required and the absence of one may even be part of the message. (eg Andy Warhol soup cans)

Harmony/Unity: Two goals are combined to create harmony: unity and variety. Unity means having a congruity or agreement existing among the elements of a design. An important aspect of visual unity is that the whole must be predominant over the parts. Just because elements have a common theme does not automatically mena they are visually harmonious. (Visual unity vs intellectual unity. eg a scrapbook). How to achieve unity:

Proximity = eg the constellations in the sky. The Gestalt theory of visual psychology says that our brain will tend to relate and group objects of similar shape.

Repetition = Color, shape, texture, direction, angle.

Continuation = eg a line, a direction, an edge.

Continuity = eg in graphic design; the same layout throughout a brochure.

Unity with variety: unity without variety tends to be boring. Variety can be subtle such as in a line of tulips where all the flowers are the same type yet each one is different from the other. As a rule, the more variety, the more movement and excitement. Too much variety, however, can lead to disarray and confusion.

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