Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Exploration 6 -- Linework & the Importance of "Unbalanced Balance" in the Value Range

 Linework!  It can really transform artwork!

Below is a project that at first struck me as blah -- so I got out some Sharpie pens.

All four Abstract Composition Backbones Masks were used in this 4-layer piece ....

layer 1 -- Mask 4
layer 2 -- Mask 1
layer 3 -- Masks 2 and 4
layer 4 -- Mask 3

Above:  My background was a sheet of computer photo paper on which I'd printed a photo years ago.  My first three layers were made using acrylic paints.  My top layer, created with a Sharpie pen, was a combination of outlined masks.

Below:  This is the finished artwork.  I've added a thick white line with a refillable marker and Titanium White (opaque) acrylic ink.  My goal in drawing the white line was to lead the viewer's eye thru the piece; in so doing, I connected the thick white line with white areas had been part of the originally printed photo, and that remain visible despite layers of acrylic paints. 


More explorations in linework --

Above:  All four Abstract Composition Backbones Masks were used in this 5-layer piece ....

layer 1 -- Mask 1
layer 2 -- Mask 1
layer 3 -- Mask 2 
layer 4 -- Mask 4
layer 5 -- Mask 3

In adding the linework with a marker, I established a visual path to bring a viewer's attention down thru the entire piece.  My final touch was to spatter matching ink on the left side of the art.

Below:  A single line added pizzazz to what would have been a simple art sample created with Abstract Composition Backbones 2.

Above:  On the edges of the central image, I used cotton swabs and Gelato to slightly highlight earlier prints that had been made to the left and the right of the central image.  The earlier prints left enough of an imprint so that it could be made more clearly visible when highlighted.  (The substrate was a sheet of Yupo, a slippery synthetic that comes in sheets of assorted sizes.)

Above:  Linework in a very dark color definitely enhances this art sample which otherwise is nearly dominated by middle-range values.

What is the value of values?

Picture a foot-long ruler with very dark markings on one end and white or near-white markings on the opposite end.  This represents an overall value-range, which goes from very dark to white or near-white.  Between the two opposites there is a progression of values, starting at the dark end and getting lighter as they move toward the white or near-white end.

For an artwork to succeed, it's a big advantage for its range of values to fall into three categories -- Large-sized Area; Medium-sized Area and Small-sized area.

Considering the entire area of the artwork above, you can see that only a small part of that space is used to establish the presence of a very dark value.  This makes very dark the Small-sized value.

The Medium-sized value in this particular painting happens to be white and near-white, because these areas take up more physical space than what is used for the very dark value.

Most of the values across the body of the artwork fall into the category of Medium-sized Area. 

This three-part approach keeps an "unbalanced-balance" that pleases the viewer's eye, because it avoids having all one value across the whole area.  

As a general rule, sticking to just one value makes an artwork less exciting in the viewer's eye.  Of course, exceptions exist, but it helps to first know the rules or guidelines, before going against them.

The three categories are completely flexible.  In the example above, if dark areas had taken up the majority of the physical space, they would become the Large-sized Area.  If the linework had been white or near-white, it would have become the Small-sized Area.  If the medium values would have been placed in the areas that are now white and near-white, the medium values would fall into the category of Medium-sized Area.  

If it helps, you can think of the Large as the Maxi-Van; the Medium as the Mini-Van; and the Small as the Sedan.

Range of values has importance in all artworks and photos, whether representational or abstract.  But in abstract art-making, the value range has even more importance.  It's a guideline that gives an artist a tool for catching and holding the attention of viewers.

Much of the above art-making advice was learned from a wonderful teacher of abstract art-making, Jeanette Goulart.

Abstract Composition Backbones Masks 1, 2, 3 and 4 look like this --






My sincere thank you for checking out my blog today!  To scroll thru the pages of my StencilGirl stencils and masks, please start here.

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