12" x 16" acrylic and painted paper on wc paper
This piece was finished on Friday. It's a spin off of the last piece that I did and blogged about here. I wanted to continue the idea of the original sketch, hopefully getting a little closer to that layout but also leaving my options open. I wanted to see what else might develop, if that makes sense.
I had several ideas in mind while making the piece. I live in Northern CA so Southern CA is foreign territory to me. We have a two state mentality here though, that much I do know. We have a lot of resources here and everyone everywhere wants them regardless of where they are located. It's almost a feeling of possession and I imagined the state splitting in two (which will never happen). With that in mind, I thought about those divisions, and money flowing through the state, water, mountains and crops of oranges. California was a dream for so many during the 1800's and 1900's. A great marketing plan.
Design wise, I followed shapes and sizes and placement more closely this time, using some tracing paper on top of my background to draw my shapes where I thought they should go. I turned the tracing paper over and used that reverse image to cut my painted shapes. I have cut things freehand often enough which produces good (and sometimes unexpected) results. This time though I tried to be more precise. It took me awhile to arrange and glue the various parts. Lots of trial and error and reassessments. I did learn some things. Maybe they will be helpful.
***Many small pieces together can act as one big shape, particularly if they are similar in size and color. I tried to use this idea with some areas.
***Balance and weight: There are lots of rules about these things which I do think about but have trouble fully understanding. Colors that are dark in value seem heavier to me; they seem to have a greater presence. I tried to put those on the bottom, using them as a kind of anchor.
***Negative shapes: using the leftover bits was a good way to learn about what I call "continuity". (I don't know what it is actually called in design-speak.) I also tried to continue the same hues throughout the piece but also to vary those values and temperatures.
***Surprises: The best part though, for me anyway, was deciding to make the green shapes in the middle. I knew that I was going to use green to represent the flow of money in California. Straight lines seemed like a good idea but didn't look right. Then I thought about dollar signs and how to arrange the idea of that along a straight line. I came up with the circles, suing the negative and positive pieces of each cutout.
Lastly, I added the yellow shapes as a kind of "buttress" or mitigating shape to those right angles. And I loved using the thin blue lines to connect the aqua squares in the upper left corner. That's an example I think of connecting shapes and lines to get a larger overall shape rather than little bits and pieces.
I will also say that the whole deal with these pieces started with the idea of the larger white circle. Could that big white circle be balanced somehow? That was my original challenge. I have one more piece planned which is to be a duplicate of my original sketch (famous last words as my Mom would have said). We will see how that goes.
Thanks for reading. Please leave a comment if you can.