Last week we talked about Value which is one of the seven Elements of Design and this week we will focus on Shape. Shapes can be geometric - circle, square, rectangle, oval - or abstract shapes defined by a combination of straight and curved lines. Usually in our artwork, we use more abstract or organic shapes because they are more interesting than geometric ones.
How and where we place our shapes in a painting is what makes a composition more dynamic. One design philosophy is when you are working with similar shapes to always have a Papa, Mama and Baby shape in your painting. You can use this idea for the overall composition like I did in the Magnolia watercolor. I have my Papa flower at the bottom, then my Mama flower and the Baby one at the top.
When painting groups of similar shapes - trees, rocks, fence posts, fruit, boats - first organize the shapes in to papa, mama and baby size clusters and then within each cluster make three sizes of shapes.
The Creative Monday Challenge for this week is to use the design concept of three sizes of shapes - papa, mama and baby - in your own artwork.
In the example above, the original painting has trees that are all about the same size, spaced evenly across the paper. I first made three unequal size groups of trees (papa, mama, baby), then made the distance between the groups unequal and finally made the trees in each cluster different sizes. I also brought one group further in to the foreground and put the back trees on more of a hill. The final composition has the same number of trees as the first, but arranged in a much more interesting design.
The three sunflowers are almost the same size but the top one is the papa shape with a larger center and more interesting petals, the mama flower at the bottom and the smaller baby to the left.
Three main clusters of grapes, papa on the left, mama on the right and baby at the top. I also tried to vary the distance between the clusters.
Although there are quite a few sailboats in this painting the stark white ones are the focal shapes. I grouped the largest boat with another one behind it for the papa cluster, the three in the distance on the right for the mama and the single one on the left for the baby.
For the close up of the iris I tried to vary the shape of the petals and group the two at the top for the papa shape, the two on the lower left for the mama and the baby petal on the lower right.
The three koi are very similar in size but the one at the top is slightly smaller and the one at the bottom is a little fatter and has bolder shapes on his back to make him the papa fish.
In this southwestern landscape the two buttes in the foreground make up the papa shape, the left one in the distance is the mama and the one on the right is the baby. Looking at it now with fresh eyes, I probably should have made the baby butte a little smaller.
I hope these examples will help you apply the Papa Mama Baby design concept to your own painting. If you are new to Creative Monday I would love to have you join us. You can read more about it and get info on joining the free Facebook Group here.