Artyfacts - - my own work and the works of others; teaching in pastels, oils, watercolours, mixed media, sketching, composition and design, colour, the magic of light, form, tone, the illusion of depth, creating mood, techniques and methods, musings on art, paintings for sale. ALSO working with glass, and working with enamel on copper.
Monday, 14 May 2012
Repetition - a force to be reckoned with
A good composition is one in which the artist has considered
NOT ONLY THE SUBJECT MATTER, but also the placement of the main elements
(shapes, lines etc) of the work to give
clarity and order to his or her ideas (the subject), and to help the view find
their VISUAL way around the painting.
One of the most powerful ways to strengthen the composition
of a painting is to use REPETITION –
it truly is a force to be reckoned with.
Deliberate repetition of colours, patterns, shapes may not be immediately
obvious to a non-painter viewer of your work– but they will, for sure, somehow
appreciate that there is something special going on in the work they are
viewing – their attention will be held, and interest piqued.
Repetition can also be linked to Rhythm - because the eye automatically moves from one similar element to another, in the way that the ear will pick up regular rhythms in music.
To warm you up, I'd like you to look at the work of GUNILA KLINGBERG. Her works of the early 2000's were based on repeated patterns which were, of course, very obvious:
silk-screen printed lino tiles
piece is basically a pattern composed of ordinary supermarket logotypes in
black and white. It exists as a tapestry and as linoleum flooring - and as a
total environment where the pattern is spread on the wall, the floor and onto
various cubic shapes, which seem to mushroom up from the floor.
Here is another, window piece, where the pattern
repeats, and repeats again onto the floor in its own shadow:
Admittedly, these patterns are not being used in paintings - but you can see their power nevertheless. Now let's look at a couple of paintings.
Here is a Degas painting The Millinery
Shop–and now that your mind has been alerted to repeating patterns by the pictures above, I am sure you will be able to see beyond the hats, and will notice now how the shapes repeat in
this image. The painting is a whole design of circles
broken by a few verticals (the hat stand, the ribbons, the back draperies) and
a triangle or two (the table, the woman's arm, and the front hat's ribbons).
And now look at this gorgeous
piece, so modern somehow even today, despite the fact that Degas died in 1917!
Repetition has been used in several ways in this image. Not just in the repeating SHAPES and ANGLES
of the arms and legs, perhaps the most obvious;
look again……..notice how he has used varieties of warm orange on the dancer’s heads
time and again? And how this colour, albeit modified to be more subtle, repeats and flows right across the top of the picture?And there it is again, in the warm light tones in the floor. And notice how he has
repeated the lightest cool tones in the painting, those delicious soft blues, greys greens and whites, using them again and again
throughout. And this is not just because the dresses happened
to be white. The use of these pale, icy tones on the dancers’
skirts, backs, arms and legs is masterful - those tones, coupled with the warm
contrast of the girls’ heads, are there
to move our eye across the image. They
serve to unify the shapes and visually satisfy.
Repetition. Let me say it again........
Just for fun now, I thought I would wheel out one of my own dancer paintings. (Pretty daft really to put my own piece here, when I have been showing you Degas! Well, I did try to learn something from him.) Unusually, this piece is still in my own collection, unframed, it was done for a gallery show but the gallery closed down before the show took place, so I still have it. It is a large piece... 21"x21" unframed. I will send it out in a cardboard roll, fully protected with Glassine, and then it can be framed on arrival. Buying unframed means you will get one of my originals at a bargain price! With no gallery commission to pay either (my originals generally sell, framed, for at least $1000) 10% of all proceeds from this sale will go to CHILDREN IN NEED, an official charity here in the UK. If you would like to bid for it, please click here:BENDING DANCERS ( The starting price is £100, which is about the same as many "painting a day" artists sell their tiny 6x4" works for; if it sells for this, then so be it! At least some money will go to the charity.)