Monday, August 11, 2014

Asymmetry Rules!

 "Library Creek" (9x12)

Nature is chaotic, yet there is "design"...I know, it's an oxymoron of sorts; creation exists within certain laws and conditions, but there seems to be little oversight from an artists perspective...and I like that.  I like asymmetry too. I also like random patterns (another slight contradiction in terms) where your eye can wander throughout a scene of similar yet slightly different directional shapes, find interest and still have a way of escape...

"Oblique Floaters" (6x8)

A lot of times, painters are concerned with a focal point -- this is good, but it's not the entire goal of a good composition. The best landscapes have a focal point, or maybe even two or more that are arranged in a hierarchical manner with one being dominant. However, I have found it beneficial to also balance those areas with passages of respite along with an exit strategy. 

Troubling compositions are those whose focal point ends in a cul-de-sac, trapping the viewer.  Better compositions have a balance of action (or focus), tranquility and a clear exit (a lead-in/ lead-out pathway). This can often be accomplished with a large mass of little detail that borders one side the picture plane. Asymmetry (an unbalanced divide of proportions or information) can often create this as a bi-product via an interesting visual arrangement of shapes. 

As children, we often start out drawing pictures that are symmetrically balanced (for comfort and security I suppose) but shaking things up a bit by shoving everything to one side or the other can be a lot of fun too...

As Ed "Big Daddy" Roth once said, "Asymmetry Rules!"

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