Friday, May 17, 2019

Tension on Off the Wall Friday

So you know I've been a bit lost creatively in the last year and it seems like I'm just starting to find myself again.  In that vain, I, on an impulse, signed up for an Elizabeth Barton's class on Abstract Design.  I had taken the first one at Arrowmont and I thought it was time to get back to the basics with her help.  So as in most cases with Elizabeth, we started with paper and scissors and glue composing simple abstract compositions using one shape.

Doing them I felt I still felt creatively lost.  It was like walking  through mud trying to come up with interesting compositions.  Finally in the end I handed the best ones in.


#1 and  #2 are too symmetrical and there for a bit predictable.  #3 is the strongest because it has movement and its not  so symmetrical.  Elizabeth suggested I go back to the drawing board and create tension in the compositions by using asymmetry.

No Problem.  wait.....

What's tension????

Apparently, tension in art isn't that much difference then tension in your love life.  Its the  balance maintained in the composition between opposing forces.  So its the give and pull between elements in your design.  So what about asymmetry??  Well just like your love life it seems like there is always one element that is stronger pulling harder - taking more space than the other element.

For instance in Wassily Kandinsky, Delicate Tension, you can see how the lower element is dominates the design with the diagonal line moving up to the smaller element and taking your eye with it.  (By the way, this piece was done in 1923 so it is now in public domain!)
Delicate Tension #85, Wassily Kandinsky, 1923

In this photo you can see where dark beach shack holds a lot weight in the composition due to its size and value.  Your eye is bounces to the next most interesting - the barrel to the left - the lighter background adds interest without interfering with the tension between the two darkest values.

Okay, so now I get it!!  All I have to do is create it.  I'll work on them later and hopefully will post them here.

P.S.  Here are my new  pieces that should show some tension!!

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Marianne said...

Ce cours d'Elisabeth m'a beaucoup apporté. Il m'a fallu une année pour le digérer et faire des exercices mais j'ai fait 9 quilts que j'ai présenté dans ma dernière exposition. Alors persévérez :))))

For the love of geese said...

I've never heard tension used in art or to refer to contrast. I love the beach photo.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting idea about creating tension. I wasn’t familiar with the concept in relation to art. And I do see the difference between your initial pieces and last ones. Thanks for introducing this concept!

Claire said...

Thanks for looking into "tension." I was going to ask . . . Didn't do my exercises in time to post and link; maybe next week.