Friday, May 10, 2013

Beginning Watercolor Homework 5/10/13 The Illusion of Space

From our elevated viewpoint in the park, it was easy to tell which of the overlapping landforms was farthest away, and which was closest. To translate that sense of depth into the language of watercolor, we can practice seeing the scene in terms of the basic formal variables that are the tools of the medium. We can manipulate relative value, color, edge quality and composition to create a relationship of the major shapes that describes their placement in space. How many variables and what degree of intensity we employ for each determines the impact of the illusion.

Joseph Zbukvic
If you look at Joseph Zbukvic's scene of Venice in terms of foreground, middle and background, the shapes resolve into far fewer than there seem to be at first. Consider how he has used value to separate them from the adjacent shapes. Where has he used both value and color? How about edge quality? Overlapping composition?

The awning stands out more boldly against the sky than the domes do. The shoulders of the man on the left reveal his position relative to the base of the statue more obviously than his arms. What has the artist chosen to do with the variables to show us where everything is?

For homework, try turning up and down the degree to which you use the basic variables to separate shapes. For example, make a sketch of a shape overlapping another of the same color, but a different value. Then make another where the same shapes are closer in value. Try varying the number of variables you use at one time. Let your shapes be different in color, as well as value, for instance.
Your shapes can be based on a realist image, or entirely abstract. The idea is to practice fine tuning the extent of the feeling of space between the shapes. 
If you want to, and you have time, try applying what you observe to a simple scene, or an arrangement of shapes on a page.

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