Last time, we discussed LINE as a basis for creating art. In this lesson, we'll look at SHAPES.
Note that one traditional way of using shape in painting is to depict the shape of the shadows and light. This is essentially the use of VALUES and will be discussed in a different lesson. Here, we'll look at capturing the simple SHAPE of the subject (the circles, squares and triangles) and particularly at the process of "massing in" the shapes to create the art.
A good rule of thumb is to limit the number of shapes in a composition to 5 or 7, to keep it simple and strong.
In the painting below, I tackled a daisy again, as in the first lesson. But rather than emphasizing the lines, the shapes were massed in, in colors, to convey the flower. The palette is soft and the brushstrokes are loose and expressive, there is little effort to render the actual flower, it's just the essence of the floral shape. You might notice that the petals resemble a series of triangles, the leaves are round and organic, and the stem is rectangular. Note also that the "air" around the flower is important, and those irregular shapes are part of the artwork.
5 x 7 inch acrylic
SUGGESTION: Try this! Grab some paper and colored pencils, markers, or paint and create your own version , your own interpretation of a simple flower using simple SHAPES. You can use a live or artificial bloom nearby, or search online for an image.
REAL LIFE APPLICATION: Art Appreciation 101: Shapes-- The next time you come across ANY artwork in a lobby, a restaurant, a gallery crawl, pause, look, and consider the artist's use of SHAPE. How do they feature the contrasts of angles and curves, of circles, squares, triangles? Do they love shapes? Or is there something else that they are featuring in their interpretation. Food for thought.
Next Month we'll tackle the simple daisy using light and dark VALUES.