Can you see what's really going on in this painting?
From the initial artwork plan, to the final painting layers, three weeks later, all the various strokes, textures, splatters, complimentary colour pallet, line-work, negative spaces and movement come together to accomplish my latest artwork, 'Isolated Power'. In this blog post I’ve written up some of my hidden thought processes that go into my work; what I've drawn and the reasons why.
Composition: Composition is one of the most important principals in Visual Art and Design since it determines how the viewer absorbs the detail in the work. In this painting I’ve attempted to harness the subjects composition to cultivate the space into creating a natural eye flow for the viewer to visually transition into the area of detail. I set out to accomplish this using the players stretched out body starting with the bat at the top left of the page where the viewer would naturally begin reading, flowing downward towards the focal point around the hands, arms and inner body. This is where I’ve painted the most detail in the 'area of action', causing the viewer to absorb the movement, the power of the swing, the twisting of the body, and the intense gaze on the batter’s face. This 'area of action' draws attention to the power of the player’s swing as he lands his hit.
Negative Space & Unity: From the ‘area of action‘ the viewer finishes looking on the outer body following the clothing painting strokes out into the negative space where the viewer ends on the signature. Using the space I’ve attempted to fix the players composition into the triangularity of the paper texture in order to better frame the figure into the space, emphasising the movement, bringing greater visual interest to the splatters, while also introducing an gritty feeling into the atmosphere. Uniting the artwork into the space can be a problem at times, and if not carefully thought through the figure will begin to "float", breaking the spatial context. I've attempted to overcome this by deliberately painting a 'body shot' as well as introducing the negative space to flow back into the figure in order to unify the subject matter to the background. Harnessing the negative space into an artwork is considered by most visual artists a very sensitive task. (A typical rule for where the negative space needs to be incorporated is where the light hits the subject). Despite the fact that the player is technically missing detail, the artwork is still considered complete in the minds-eye, stimulating further interest and intrigue, while also maintaining the rule of simplicity (less is more).
The Law of Simplicity: Simplicity is the key to success in the world of Design. For this reason I must be precise in how much detail I draw and where the detail is located. For this reason I have kept the area surrounding my figure to a minimum as not to draw too much attention away from the focal area. The locations which I kept exclusively simple are the surrounding strokes, splatters, the bat, grit and paper texture. Furthermore the areas of space between the splatters plays a big part in the overall visual equilibrium. Too many splatters, too close together will misplace the way the bat and body moves and detract from the moment.
Colour: Colour has an important part to play here too. I decided to paint using the sports clubs branded colours, their iconic deep blues, reds and greys. The clothing red’s and blues needs to pop especially in the ‘area of detail’ drawing greater visual emphasis into the action, while also working with visual ease into the grey tones, a complimentary neutrally contrasting colour.
Name: Choosing a suitable name for the artwork is usually a challenge and needs to be carefully considered. I decided to name this artwork ‘Isolated Power’, a baseball term that describes the measurement of the batter’s raw power. Choosing an effective name is like metaphorically putting the a bow on top of an expensive present. The name ultimately brands the artwork and causes the viewer to emotionally engage with the artwork in a deeper, more meaningful way.
Summary: I've put this post together so you might have a better understanding on what goes on behind the scenes. Each and everyone of my works takes hours of research, planning, and testing before I begin the long hours of detailing. I wish I could just simply paint and be done with it, but for me creativity it is far deeper process as I pursue my goal of becoming a Master Visual Artist & Designer. What I've articulated in this post is standard for my work. I hope this post inspires you to go deeper into Visual Art and Design and to consider more deeply as to how and why an artwork is visually engaging.
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