Rainbow Redux

Heather moore 430x393 - Rainbow ReduxThis arresting little piece was created by Heather Moore. However, she was not designing but learning as she created this in a class by Claire Maunsell. I recognized the technique immediately but the application of it and the design was far more geometric than what Claire usually creates so I was intrigued. Color wise, she has a very successful piece here, but what about the rest of the design? Or can we even examine it based on design when it was part of a learning process?

Personally, I think design decisions should be part of everything you do when creating. This is not to say that we have to constantly pull ourselves out of the flow of creating to examine and critique the work but rather, we should make an effort to consider all the elements that go into the work.

Whenever we have a halting moment in the creative process, if we are stuck on something that doesn’t look right, or even when we get up to refill that coffee mug or water glass, we should check to see if we have intentionally considered and made specific choices in regards to design. Is this the right shape or shapes? Does the form convey the right feeling? What do the lines in the work do for it? Is there enough color or too much or do any of the colors not work together? Is there anything I can or should do with the texture to make the parts feel more integrated or finished looking?

That may seem overly analytical and I know a lot of you just want to go in and have fun, but if you regularly stop to really consider what choices you are making, after awhile it won’t even be a conscious consideration. You’ll just know what needs to be changed and won’t necessarily know it’s about the line or texture or color choices. You’ll just stop and contemplate how to work it out better and do it. And you’ll be so much happier for it.

So why not use that analytical muscle and see what you find here? I thought it could be interesting, for those of you who are so inclined, to compare Heather’s use of color with Claire’s. Just click on the names here to get to photos of their work and see what you think.

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Look through your work and determine what design element you seem most focused on when you create. Is it color? Form? Focal points? Do you possibly lean too heavily on one element to carry the design? Then with the next thing you create, try to focus on making unique or unusual choices for design elements that you don’t consider quite as often like form, shapes, surface texture or whatever seemed to be less considered in your past work.


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  2. I love the detail in this piece created by the combination of lines and colours. Knowing that it was a test piece means it probably all evolved randomly but there is a sense of design here. Perhaps Heather has an intuative sense that comes naturally or has been honed through experience.

  3. I love the effect that Heather created here and her colors are both muted and bold at the same time… Perhaps the darker lines that swirl through tone back the beautiful gradation of color, or perhaps the crackle helps to ‘age’ the piece. Either way (or both), the overall effect is stunning – what a wonderful ‘experiment’.

  4. Thanks so much for your observations and comments! I made this piece a few months after my workshop with Claire, who is an amazing teacher and truly, a woman who thinks with a wide open mind, teaches with great wisdom but will go elbow-deep in paint with the glee and joy of a child splashing in a mud puddle! I learned to get paint under my fingernails and not freak out, ha! Learning to allow color to peek through in a subtle way has been a challenge. As an abstract collage artist and painter in my “previous life,” my knee-jerk reaction is to go bright and bold. As part of the process, I approach with complete abandon, applying bright, vivid color which gives me joy. I take a big picture of the whole outrageous scene! After the pieces are cut and cured, I then watch the color die under the black or payne’s grey wash. It pains me to undo what I’ve already done. I sit and look at it sometimes asking, “what have I done!?” and then slowly, begin to add the color back, highlighting, intensifying or reducing. I feel it. What results has been an emotional investment when I finish. While it was a first foray into Claire’s workshop techniques on my own back home, the piece was an intentional one that I am proud to say I sold at my first craft fair last Saturday!

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