As part of preparing for this course I went through my boxes of craft supplies looking for materials to use. I hit gold when I opened my box full of sketch books (both full and in progress), working samples from past projects and tidbits from the many many workshops I've taken. What a great time going through it all. It includes examples of this exercise I had done in a workshop several years ago.
Showing the assignment to my husband and what I had done previously and the basic rules to be followed, he pointed out that I didn't have an example that followed all the rules. Hmmm. Aaaand after doing this exercise again, I still don't.
In working through this exercise this week, I challenged it on different fronts:
- base colour combinations - using other colour combinations, red on white. Strong colours work well; you sacrifice impact when you use pastels.
- what about reversing it and using white on black. An interesting result with a different energy flow in the piece.
- shifting rather than reflecting pieces. A combination of both gives a more pleasing composition.
- exploding pieces - cutting slices and adding space between each slice
- using shapes other than square. What is the result using a circle or an oval? (this still to be explored)
I tried to covering the image with transfer paper and doing rubbings with chalk pastels then layering these over the original (or not). I quite like the results. The images coming from this exercise also make great patterns for screen prints.
Working through this exercise has been personally informative. I don't have a problem with asking "why?". My work life has been to ask why, both to understand the reason behind the many rules we worked under (the "spirit of the law") and to know what can be changed to meet the challenges of today's reality. In my craft, I have always pursued the different. The artists I've admired and followed have always pushed the limits of the media and I have followed suit. I don't have a strong background in art or design. I don't know the rules I'm not supposed to break. This is both a handicap and a strength. Without knowing what rules I am supposed to be breaking, I feel a bit like a "rebel without a cause".
As I was journaling about this exercise I started to ponder the questions "why" and "what if". I find they are complimentary and both essential to growing your personal voice. "Why" is important to challenging the status quo and rules we function under (per Jane's lesson notes), and also for understanding what works and does not work. The question 'what if' is essential to finding new directions to explore. For me at this time, "what if" is what my artist rebel is asking.