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.

Rainbows Falling

C Leonini Squares 430x726 - Rainbows FallingFor our color contemplation today we have a classic centered and graduated size drop design, although the treatment of the shapes and application of color is anything but classic.

Cecilia Leonini is this piece’s creator. Cecilia is extremely fond of color and seems to get most, if not all, the colors of the rainbow into the majority of her work.

So, what do you think? Does she depend too much on the riot of color here to carry the design? Or does she use it to spice up a classic composition of shapes alongside her other not-so-classic applications and design choices?

Perhaps you could be a better judge of her color sense if you see her body of work. Just jump on over to Cecilia’s  Flickr photostream for an eyeful of color as well as seeing what joyful work she has available for sale in her Etsy shop.


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Rainbow Color Contemplation

ChrisDamm Sea Cave earromgs 430x475 - Rainbow Color ContemplationI’ve talked a lot in the past about monochromatic and restricted palettes and, sure, I’ve had weeks with just explosions of color to cheer us up and to just drool over but we’ve not really talked about how to use a full spectrum of color. This week, I thought I’d delve into the idea of rainbow colors from a couple different perspectives.

For one, I notice that when I post super colorful art, our reads and view statistics shoot up. (Yeah, I have people who make me look at that boring stuff. Thank goodness they do!) Obviously, humans love color but isn’t it funny that very colorful work is often not respected the way similar work in more subdued or restricted color palettes is? Personally, I think that misconception likely stems from so many pieces that lean on color without consideration for other design elements. As I always try to drill into people’s heads, successful design considers all aspects of the work.

So, I thought I’d make it one of those weeks where I’m going to ask you all to do a little contemplation of the pieces presented this week. I’ve chosen some very colorful images and I’d like you to say whether you think the piece has more than color carrying its attractiveness. Does it look to you like the creator considered more than just color in the design?  If you are up for commenting, please go to the blog page (click the header of the post here to be sure you are on the web page where you can comment) or have a conversation with another willing soul or just yourself. Don’t worry about being right or wrong. I just want you to be considering the whole and then see what you come up with. It’s a good habit to have.

This first piece is by Christine Damm. It was a recent post I saw on Facebook and the colors just grabbed me. I know her style is not popular with everyone but I think her approach is one of the bravest in our community. Her rough, organic and thoroughly heartfelt work just sings with energy and with this rainbow of color here, it is singing quite loudly.

Now ask yourself about the design. What works, what doesn’t and can you see design decisions that support good design or do you think it’s the color that alone carries it? It’s a simple piece so don’t overthink it but do consider some of the basics of design including form, line, balance, rhythm, texture, and composition.


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A Sliver of Silver

margaret regan pinAs an illustration of how powerful the draw is when we catch just a mere glimpse, a hint, the sight of just a sliver of something, I thought I’d share this pin by Margaret Regan. This is not a new piece, but it has such a classic composition. And tell me that when you look at it, you aren’t drawn to the slim bit of silver shimmer in the center and find it really hard to look at the rest of the piece. That silver is barely there, just peeking out from between a simple textured side and a collection of cane slices on the other. The bit of silver is no more complex than the other sides, but it has three things going for it–it’s the center of the piece, it’s shiny, which will always catch our eye, and it’s recessed and slightly shadowed making it a harder surface to discern, making us want to look closer and clarify what we are seeing.

This whole piece is rather quiet and uncomplicated, but it’s gorgeous for it’s simplicity and eye-catching for using the barely-there sliver of silver. The fact is, when creating a piece with barely-there or peeking elements, simple is probably the best way to go. The mystery of what is in the shadows or recess will be the draw and can give it a quiet energy that doesn’t need to be complicated by a lot of other elements. Not that a more complex piece can’t be done well; you would just want to consider whether it would give it added impact or take away from the draw of the hidden element.

Margaret was one of the pioneers of polymer. Her website is sparse, but you can find little bits about her all over the Internet. Here is a nice article done on her work with a bit of her philosophy.


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Staging Simplicity

Pushing the construction or composition of a necklace doesn’t have to be overly complex. Simplicity is sometimes the best path to unusual pieces.

With this composition by Russian artist Oksana Aleksandrovna Vedernikova (she works under the name  Silverpepper), the rather stark presentation really helps us focus on the delicate details of these of the gorgeously crafted polymer beads. The uneven drop length keeps the composition from feeling stagnant and gives each bead a separate height from which to be admired.


Oksana rarely creates in typical or classical composition. If you enjoy the idea of pushing construction and presentation of your polymer within the art jewelry form, you will find further inspiration within her other creations. Just head on over to  her Flickr pages.



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Outside Inspiration: Beyond Design to Storytelling

Vicki Grant is a ceramicist creating wall sculpture that seems abstract and primarily design based, but taking some time to look over the elements, a story starts to emerge. Like in this piece here, the growth of flowers, the unusual sky and what looks to be tortured earth makes you start to wonder what is really going on in this scene.


Stories don’t have to be literally represented. I think the abstraction of imagery allows for more emotion to be coaxed from the viewer as their own experiences and memories fill in the spaces that are well defined or easily interpreted.

So if you’re looking for ways to change up your work, you can try pushing it to be more or less abstract than you usually work.  If your pieces are primarily composed of abstract design elements, you can work on creating more recognizable imagery or use abstract symbols to map out a story. Or if you use literal imagery, try adding a bit of abstraction to leave more open to the viewer’s interpretation.

For more ideas and eye candy, take a look at Vicki’s website,  Claytree Fine Art.


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