Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Using Inspiration Images to Develop Composition in Fabric Art and Collage

The fundamental aspect of good composition is identifying and working with your focal point. The
focal point captures a viewer's interest and brings them into your artwork. A focal point helps give perspective, sets borders, defines size, and often sets the mood of your work.

The general rule when positioning the focal point is that it should be off-center (both horizontally and vertically). To understand why, it helps to know the difference in balance and symmetry.

'Five Mailboxes' Painting by Artist Sally Bartos

Symmetry – regularity, geometrically centered. For whatever reason, we humans tend to find symmetry boring in art, fashion, color range, interior design, etc. A centered focal point doesn't engender interest. Why? When our vision is directed first to the center of a piece of art, our brains tend to say – that's everything – and we don't look further. But when the focal point is off center, it implies that there is more in this image that we haven't seen yet and we let our eye roam.

Balance – equal distribution. For an artist, balance is the distribution of the visual weight of objects, colors, texture, and space that give us a sense of stability and harmony. We like balance and strive to achieve it by composition and positioning.

Lynda's Fabric Art Version Inspired by
Artists Sally Bartos' Original Painting.
Example: How did the artist, Sally Bartos, achieve balance in the 'Five Mailboxes' painting? If we consider the weight and position of the painting's focal point alone, the five mailboxes, they would tend to tip the scene forward. But when viewed with the balancing elements of the houses and hill, everything settles equally in place. As humans we tend to love balance because of the emotional result it gives us – harmony.

On the other hand, too much symmetry frustrates us emotionally. Most of us don't even realize why we feel uneasy about a room that is too symmetrically furnished. Think about a dinner table set with perfectly arranged dinnerware. Every plate, fork, knife, napkin, and glass are in arranged symmetry. It should be finished at this point. But what do we do next? We balance all that symmetry with a centerpiece that gives us emotional harmony.

A lot of the technical aspects of composition are done for us when we're working from a guide image. In my fabric art workshops, you notice that I use no patterns. However, I do utilize a grid, why? The grid automatically places the balancing elements in their respective positions for us. We don't have to decide how high or low to place the horizon or where to place the focal point to achieve interest and balance. the artist or photographer has done that work for us.

Art and fabric go together as yummy as butter on toast. Why not join one of my workshops and learn to use this wonderful medium to create artwork uniquely your own, or, simply purchase the video illustrated tutorial and create at your leisure.

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