Today I’m continuing my series on the elements and principles of design….and today’s element is SHAPE
If you Remember my first post in this series I defined all the elements and Principals.
Shape: A shape is a self-contained defined area of geometric or organic form. A positive shape in a painting automatically creates a negative shape.
This is probably the simplest of all the elements…as it is EXACTLY what it says….however….I believe the many people get confused by the term negative shape. To better explain this…..again…I’ll use some of my work to explain…and yet the negative space in a piece of art can be the most interesting aspect of the art. Many times the negative space….IS the intended art.
Take my logo for instance…..the fleur de lis would be the shape….it in itself is interesting….but the space around it….the black…is the negative space….and it also has an interesting shape. The negative space….or area left by the focal point shape….is as important sometimes as the shape itself. The fluer de lis is pretty….but would not look as interesting if I had placed it dead center. Now…truth be known….I did. But with digital your photographs are so large that you can play. The actual picture of the piece is about 30×40 inches….so there is tons of room to play. If you know that you’re gonna have that freedom….get plenty…because then you can put it in your editing software…and move it around…..now this is one of the beautiful qualities of digital. I must admit that you don’t have to feel the artistic pressure with digital like with film…because with film….this print would have….at the MOST been about 16×20. This is with a 35mm. Now I do have a medium format camera that will go bigger…but the film for it is proportionately larger. Admittedly though, I miss film! The PUSH for creativity forced me to take time when looking through the veiwfinder….I guess NO ONE feels they have that luxury of time anymore! I digress…….
Here’s another fleur de lis….(hmmm….do we have a fetish revealing itself?) I actually think I might like this one better….and I’m starting to use this one in a lot of my online trademarks. Now….This shot….although placement is very similar to the first….has more shadows and highlights that create their own shapes. I actually think the shapes….are really MORE interesting than the object itself. When making abstract art….shape is VITAL!!!! It’s an important part of ALL art…but it’s the KEY in abstract.
Okay….let’s see if we can find something else where shape IS the art!!!!
Here….I photographed a small bird I have sitting in a bowl of potpourri. If I hadn’t told you what it was….you might not know….the shape of the ceramic feathers and wing is what drew me to this picture. the shape of the head in relationship with the wing. I LOVE the curve with the straight wing. It’s just drawing to the eye…or my eye anyway.
Okay….one more….I hope I’m getting the point across…the elements are really hard to explain alone….=\
I just LOVE the shapes of the sections of this lime….the curves of the tiny membranes running through it. Isn’t nature amazing? Although the light shining through it adds to the interest….the shapes of the sections….is really THE main interest of the shot.
Okay….now go back to the art you found LINE in….and look for the shape. See if you can tell what the SHAPE contributes to the interest of the art. What would it lose if it had a DIFFERENT shape? How could the SHAPE change to make it better?