Friday, August 26, 2011

Design Focus Friday - Proportion and Scale

 As I was thinking about proportion and scale, I started thinking about three dimensional work and the importance of getting the scale correct in a sculptural piece. One of the hardest things when I first started needle felting was getting the scale correct in a figure.

 This is from the class that I took over a year ago and you can see that the proportions of a figure make a difference on the outcome. What size is the head as compared to the body? Are both arms or legs the same size. It is fairly easy for us to see if something is out of proportion because we compare it in our minds to the human figure.
Even if you don't do three dimensional work, you can still compare what you are representing in your work to the human scale. If there is a very large person in the foreground and the landscape in the distance is small, then the scale of the human figure will indicate how far distant the landscape is in comparison.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back in September when I start discussing Rhythm. September will be the last month in the Design Focus Friday series. I can't believe it's been a year since I started Design Focus Fridays.  I hope you've enjoyed the discussions and learned a bit about design.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Design Focus Friday - Scale and Proportion

Whoops! It isn't Friday, I seem to have missed that but here's a short post about scale and proportion. Both of the pieces that I show here are based on leaves. The one above has a different scale than the one below. What do you think the difference in scale in the two pieces makes?

Both pieces have multiple leaves, but the top piece is completely covered with "large" leaves in comparison to the size of the work. This second piece to me is more about the placement of the leaves and is entitled "Balance". Do you use different proportions in your work? I'd love to hear about it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Design Focus Friday - Scale/Proportion

I was thinking about the size of work that I usually produce in relation to scale. Probably the smallest pieces I do are postcard (4"x 6") size. Smaller scale pieces have to be designed carefully so that the small piece isn't overwhelmed by too many elements.

I have found that the concept of "keep it simple" works best for me. Every time that I try something elaborate in a small scale piece, it ends up being very difficult to get all that detail in such a small space. I haven't really done any of the "inchies" but those are definitely small enough that they really only need one element to fill up an inch of space.

How do you approach working in a small scale? Do you do any miniature type of work? Do you think working small helps to refine your design skills? How does working small affect how you then approach a large piece? Leave a comment and let me know how you approach working small. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Design Focus Friday - Scale/Proportion

 Scale and proportion basically refer to size. Scale means size i.e. large scale means big. However, unless you have a standard of reference, the term “big” is meaningless. Proportion means relative size as in size measured against other elements or against some mental norm or standard.

Scale and proportion are closely tied to emphasis and focal point. Large scale makes for an obvious emphasis especially in proportion to other elements of the composition.

 The scale of art can be considered in several ways:

• Human scale – consider the scale of the work itself in relation to human size; Unusual or unexpected scale is attention getting. Sheer size does impress us.

• Context – consider the surroundings and the circumstances in which the art is displayed – does the scale of the work affect the meaning in that particular context?

• Internal proportions – scale and size are relative to the overall area of the format of the work; changes in scale within a design change the total effect of the design. The choice of scale and proportion should help to achieve the artist’s intentions.

• Contrast of scale – scale can be used to draw our notice to the unexpected or exaggerated, as when small objects are magnified or large ones reduced. A sudden change in scale draws attention.

• Scale confusion – deliberate change of natural scale to intrigue or mystify the viewer rather than to clarify the focal point – surrealism often uses this technique.

Proportion is linked to ratio. The proportion is judged to be correct if the ratio of one element to another is correct. The ancient Greeks sought to discover perfect proportion and developed the golden rectangle. This has influenced art and design throughout history and is found in growth patterns in nature. (click on the illustration above to enlarge)

Questions to get you started:

Do you usually make pieces that are small or do you always work in a large format? How does switching to a different size format affect your work? Can you make three separate works about the same subject but vary the scale and proportion in the work? How do you think the viewer will feel about the change in scale/proportion and it’s affect on the meaning of the work?

Can you use contrast of scale or scale confusion in your composition? How does this exaggeration make you see your work differently? Do you use the “golden rectangle” in your proportions? What happens if you deliberately make a piece based on the “golden rectangle”?