Friday, May 07, 2010

Contemporary Storytelling in Collage

I've posted this, because this is where we are going to start today in class... the hardest parts of art is to get the simple rules down pat and then run with it, one area an artist can never get enough of, but the best thing that we can do is practice, practice practice and play. Then we learn to hone in on our skills. Well I've been putting the elements and principles of design in my students palette or faces for sometime now but it's also time to step up and really put some action behind all this.. we are going to do some simple observing of there artist's work and then do some exercise/small collages rapidly and see what we have learned.

hand out I'll be passing out in class today.

Emphasis/Focal Point

As artists your job is to catch the attention and provide a pattern that stimulates the viewer by offering some visual satisfaction.

Even in purely abstract or nonobjective patterns, a focal point will attract the viewer’s eye and give some contrast and visual emphasis. Among geometric shapes, a rounded curve will be give a focal point or center of interests, providing contrast.

There can be more then one focal points. How ever the artist must be careful. Several focal pints of equal emphasis can turn the design into a three ring circus in which the viewer does not know where to look first. Interest is replaced by confusion: When everything is emphasized, nothing is emphasized.

Emphasis by Contrast

With a portrait the focal point is obvious. But the more complicated the patterns the more necessary and helpful a focal pint may become in organizing the design.

General rule- Focal point result when one element differs from the others.
All vertical and a few horizontal forms breaks in a pattern
Small busy is broken by large solid area
Large smooth areas to a small detailed element
Sizes of shapes differ
Mainly abstract forms to a recognizable image becomes the focal point.
Color is an element used to create contrast, change in color or change in brightness, immediately attracts our attentions.

Why to achieve Emphasis

Emphasis by isolation- grouping elements and then leaving one element solely out in the open alone.

Centering an image, design into the center is not advised neither is placement to close to the edge. Be aware of how your design is leading you into the design or out of the design.

Emphasis by placement-Placement of element in a design may function in another way to create emphasis. If a lot of elements point to one item, our attention is directed there and a focal point results…Invisible line, example is the Radial designs are more common in architecture.

In life when we see some one staring or pointing a certain way, we have an almost uncontrollable urge to look there. It happens in our art too. The effect may not be obvious, however once your focal point is decided upon it is wise to avoid having other major or visually important elements point or lead the eye away from it. Confusion of emphasis can result.

Degree of Emphasis
Introducing a new contrasting element need to be created gently and with a sense of restriction. The focal point must remain a part of the overall design, rather than become an alien element that looks totally out of place.
A specific theme may, at times, call for a very dominant, even overwhelming, focal point. But in general, the principle of unity and the creation of a harmonious pattern with related elements is more important than the injection of a focal point if this point would jeopardize the design’s unity.

Absence of Focal Point

A definite focal point is not a necessity in creating a successful design. It is a tool artist may or may not use, depending on their aims. Sometimes the artist’s theme might suggest the absence of a focal point like Andy Warhol’s paintings. No change, no contrast, not point of emphasis. But the repetitive, unrelieved quality is the basic point and dictated the design. The design reflects life today, where we are bombarded with insistent and strident repetition of the same commercial images over and over.

Woven patterns in textiles
Printed fabrics
In clothes the focal point is provide by the design of the garment.

Question to ask as we look at other artist’s work

What seems to be the focal point or center of interest?

How has the artists made this so?

What elements do you see? Name them?

What direction is your eye moving?

Are there any invisible lines that lead you around the composition?

How is that done?

What is the color palette?

How is color used?

How has the artist keep in the design?

Would you do anything differently to the piece of art you see?

What kind of art appeals to you?


  1. Alright then, I've exhausted my brain already this morning!

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Laura. I was just reading about focal points in an art magazine and your words here reinforce it. Appreciate this info for those of us who can't attend your class. Sometimes I just do one image on a page and don't think much about focus then. But with a number of objects, I can see its value.
    Just posted a sailboat on my blog, will have to see if it has focus!
    Have a wonderful creative day!!!


Thank you for stopping by and viewing my collage chatter, many creative blessings and peace to you and yours