Wednesday, June 17, 2009

B&B and Examining Color Theory

Bead and Button is an experience on many levels. It’s eye opening. First, we cue in on the notable eye candy. The venerable competitions; Bead Dreams, The Collaboration, and the spectacular Asian bead displays. We wander about Milwaukee, the MAC (convention center), and adjacent hotels, the designs are everywhere. It’s on clothing walking by, in buildings, on buildings….color, texture, shadow, hue, tone.

Most of us are armed with cameras. We look for whatever is striking our visual fancy. Often we are journaling photographically for blogs or recording ideas to re-stimulate the mind at a later date. There just isn’t as much time for sketching as there used to be.

While watching people and enjoying the obvious artistic stimulation the camera frame in my mind’s eye kept running. Compositions were everywhere I looked. I wondered if the crowd was seeing what I was seeing. Were they interpreting it the same way? – that thought is doubtful since we all experience what we see differently. If we didn’t then the competitions would have been a groan. They were anything but boring.

I pondered quickly why each composition was intriguing. Several of the classes I took loosely contained components of color theory. A full color theory curriculum would take a semester. Been there/ done that. What I revisited was wonderful and once again had impact on how I was “seeing”. Why was one jewelry piece, building window, or bead more pleasing (to me) than another….and how could I capture this feeling for my own work.

“It is the designers business to create a visual experience which is pleasing to the eye. The elements of visual harmony are simple to explain, yet much more difficult to practice. Harmony engages the viewer and creates an inner sense of order, a balance. Combinations fail to harmonize if they are so bland as to bore the viewer. At the other extreme, chaotic, overdone combinations will be rejected as something which the mind can not organize or understand. Simply put, the designer must strive to achieve the balance between under-stimulation and over-stimulation. This is harmony, a dynamic equilibrium.” (Basic Color Theory for Designers by Sharon Housley).

That’s wordy but correct. It’s my job to capture people’s interest with my work. If I want everyone to purchase my art, rather than it being just an exercise in self-pleasure, I have to apply the principles of art and design to every focal bead and piece I display for sale.

Ahhhh… that’s what I was searching out in Milwaukee’s eye candy, The Principles of Art and Design (this exert abbreviated from Write Design Online – Design Rules of Thumb). These were the reasons a particular piece appealed to me – or not.

Balance – Having an artistic balance, symmetry, approximate symmetry, asymmetry, and radial symmetry.
Contrast – The use of variations in patterns, edges, intensity, temperature, size and shape to show visual relationships.
Emphasis – How are you using that frame, color dominance, value, visual movement, difference, and shape to provide the viewer with context and content?
Rhythm and Pattern – How do you create Rhythm and patterns within your artwork – is it cohesive.

I love this stuff – can you tell? One of the bead magazines had a wonderful multi month spread by Diane Fitzgerald on designing. If you haven’t caught it yet go back and read through it. It’s great.

So what did I learn from this little self exploration while going to Bead and Button? Let’s quote the Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” Keep those design elements in check and there’ll be no stopping you.

I Googled color theory and the usual millions of resources appeared. Two of the sites I liked were: Colors on the Web and The Aviva Directory (this had a plethora of additional resources). From the Aviva Directory I found the lessons on Write Design Online. Write Design had great visuals to explain the Principles of Design.

Every written thing should have an opening statement, body, and conclusion. I think our conclusion has been reached. The challenge is to be the next Picasso – prolific design masters with lots of lovers…….well, maybe not that part! Tomorrow I will post some of the other designs that caught my eye while in Milwaukee.


rosebud101 said...

Great blog, Sharon! I don't think I saw what you saw. You are very analytical and precise. Those visual qualities show in your work! amazing!

Right Turn ArtWerks said...

You did, just differently - and besides - you covered more territory than I did!