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.

Creatures Redesigned

AGarrod animalsI think we’ll stick with inspiring creatures this week. And what creatures are more inspiring to us than those we share our life with? Dogs, cats, birds, fish …we find something in them that we connect with so it’s not surprising that they make their way into our art.

Recently Angela Garrod posted these kindred creatures of hers on Facebook. With a beautifully stylized approach, she captures the look, and even a few good expressions of some of people’s favorite animals, and this while playing with geometric designs. The hand scratched texture keeps the geometric shapes from feeling too stiff and sterile and adds quite a bit to what would otherwise be just simple shapes and lines through which we, somehow, recognize the variety of animals. I don’t know how our brains see that but more so, it is always a wonder how cartoonists and other artists create images with just a few simple lines and shapes and know we’ll see it. The brain is just pretty darn nifty.

Angela has been up to all kinds of cool and curious geometric designs of late. You can see her explorations through her shared photos on Flickr, her Facebook page, and the gallery on her website.


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Mandalas Well Used

il_570xN.564448729_bhgyI think part of the draw to old and well-used (or abused) items is that the scars and wear give us a peek into a hidden past. The object may have been many places, been handled by many hands and may have taken part in a an adventure or two. It’s hard, especially for those of us with wild imaginations, not to consider and maybe even fill out some of the secret pasts of an object. It can be rather thrilling to imagine actually.

That is what drew me to Danna Gussman’s piece here. The pendant seems somewhat like an ancient compass, clock or just a talisman for a secret organization that has been in existence for hundreds of years. Their leader would wear this during their ceremonies, but it would remain hidden in a stone box otherwise. It got those scrapes and scratches from its travels in that box and from the handling of it over so many years. Or so my imagination decided. But that’s just me. What do you see?

Danna refers to this as a geometric mandala. Her pieces are highly geometric and so very precise, and yet they do feel spiritual rather than being simply decorative. You can see what I mean by taking a look at other piece she has in her Etsy shop.

On a very un-polymer related note, there is an amazing book by Anne Proulx called Accordion Crimes that is about the journey of a single accordion and all that happens in the lives that surrounded it for a century. It was a mesmerizing tale, but, moreso, I think it made me see old objects a bit differently because it made me more fully consider what any one object may ‘see’ in its journeys. Being able to imagine the stories can help you develop your designs by creating the narrative behind them. Imagining a piece having a story can help steer the design choices you make. And it’s also quite fun!


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