Wednesday, December 3, 2008


The Direct Approach
People who work regularly often find they work more naturally if they approach the process in a particular way. Some artists start with an idea of what the finished piece will look like, with the arrangement of the elements in the picture plane at least generally pictured in their mind. This can include more or less detail. It may entail working with a photograph to work from while creating their rendering.

A direct approach can be used to begin a piece, with the compositional elements reduced to basic shapes and reinterpreted as textures, color areas or abstract relationships to result in totally unrecognizable shapes. A gradual completion of the imagery can evolve into something completely different than the original concept. Often the way the medium and the ways the images affect each other influence the artist to let the work emerge. This almost feels like the “painting that paints itself.”

This is an add-to approach, applying more detail to what is already there.

The Indirect Approach
In a sense, the process of letting a painting happen in the way described in the previous paragraph is an indirect approach, or a combination of both direct and indirect approaches.

This approach often begins by using a series of experimental media, methods and/ or techniques to create uncontrolled effects. Then the artist takes a direction for the work from what is suggested by the accidental results obtained, and develops it according to the suggestions or cues seen there.

One type of indirect approach is to take away media or imagery rather than to add it, much in the way of carving away clay or stone to bring the image out of the material.

Think about what is natural for you… do you work better by adding information to an image, or do you find taking away imagery is easier? Is your best work done by a combination of both approaches, adding something here, taking something else away, until you like what finally emerges?

The Designed Approach
Basic shapes are used to define the major elements of the picture plane. In two dimensional art the format is divided by geometric or organic shapes, or both, and the direction of the piece uses either planned or indirect imagery which is subordinated to the overall design.

Images and Writing are the exclusive Copyright of Ruth Zachary.

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