Monday, 24 March 2014

"Envelope Encouragement"

What can you do when you know that a dear friend of yours is having a hard time? Send her something bright and colourful to cheer her up of course ;)

I only recently (and rather accidentally) stumbled upon Roben-Marie Smith, a wonderful artist who creates the most adorable and artful "mess" I have seen in a long time! She also combines own photography with her lovely I didn't hesitate a sec and took one of her adorable online classes.

The result of my first attempt on approaching her style is this "cheer up"-envelope as I love to call it.

It holds an ATC size card with an encouraging sentiment on it, kept safely underneath a lot of folded in wings.

I did some slight adaptions but with the colour scheme and shapes I mainly followed her style - using the striking black circles and doodleing. For a start I always find it good to stick to the shown project closely so you can focus on things like composition, shapes and how they work and how to blend it all together instead of just creating a smudgy mess because you have added too much or combined too many colours.

"Mark making" is one of Roben-Marie Smiths main "ingredient" and as she used this expression a lot with her tutorial it made me think about mark-making in general and what it is to "us humans"....just think of Graffity or lovers' initials carved into old trees. Even the antique Romans used to leave their engraved marks with the Egypt pyramids and temples a lot of centuries ago - simply saying "I was here!" as we still find it today with a lot of places.

What is it that makes us "mark" the places we have been to or objects we don't really own but use (like school desks for example). I guess sometimes we have to make places and things "our own" to feel in control and at other times we leave marks simply to prove (and make sure for ourselves) that we still can ;)

Creating "some thing" out of plain paper...just with the use of simple materials and our imagination is one of the most rewarding things to do for us humans. Some write on paper (or print their thoughts and knowledge on it), some use it to build something dimensional and really many of us love to draw on it, doodle, paint, scribble...fill the white "empty" space with our very own traces. Just because it feels good.

You will see a lot of circles on this make. So let's talk about circles.

Circles (or any other shapes close to them) are one of the most dominant shapes in art, because they draw the focus to them a lot easier and faster than any other geometrical shape. They lead our view towards the spot they sit on and are the most static elements to use. Simply because a circle does not have any other direction to lead our view to. Triangles for example lead our view along their sides and into their surrounding space and create a lot of motion, squares help "fixing" horizontal and vertical elements in a design. Both include their surroundings in image composition. But circles don't. So they have to be used with care but also help a lot when you need to balance abstract paintings.

Ever noticed that groups of similar elements only look good when they come in odd numbers? ;) This has to do with symmetry...which to our cognition is rather boring.

And why are so many of us attracted so much more to the less symmetrical and evenly done shapes than to the perfect circles, perfectly centered focal elements? Yes - for the same reason. Symmetry is boring because it looks very static compared to dynamical irregular shapes. On the other hand symmetry is necessary with a lot of our environmental it helps read "information" (on how to use, where to go, where to press a button,...) really fast. And it is one thing that we all have on us - because our bodies and faces are symmetrical. So we feel "safe" and at ease with symmetrie too. But when it comes to art we don't need and want to feel safe and at ease, right?

Art is expected to be "adventurous" for the eyes. (Well, there are exceptions with certain art genres, but these are rather conceptional). So we love to see the uneven, the unexpected and the contrasting or even "fighting" shapes or colours.

Art is all about cognition, personal taste and our very personal historic and educational background. Everyone "reads" art differently and the more abstract a painting is the more open space it provides to fill in some of one's own ideas, dreams, preferences and wishes on what we want to see.

Art is "mark making". Expressing ourselves through working with a piece of "white" (plain) space to create to our liking. So we can say "Look! I was here. I did this. This is "me". "

Materials used: watercolour paper, white Gesso, acrylic colours, artists pencil, watercolour pencil, vellum, whiteout marker, rubber stamping, black stamping ink, palette knife