Archive for May, 2011

Pushing It a Step Further

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

I found the monochromatic push-pull study, which I wrote about last time, a surprisingly difficult challenge. So I decided to apply the same push-pull concept to a full-color study. The result was “Potted Patio” (#110304) in which I was able to explore the concept of bounced light as it played along the walls of a shaded enclosure.

110304 Potted Patio

Aside from the shadows and reflected light shimmying along the white stucco, I had to consider how the light, shadows, and shapes would be reflected in the semi-gloss of the tile floor. Even the birds’ nest in the rafters posed a challenge.

But I’ve found that the very act of creating artwork is an exercise in problem solving in which the artist is faced with a series of interconnected challenges to overcome. Call it a learning experience, if you wish. I call it fun.


Sunday, May 1st, 2011

110302 Ceiling Fan

I recently played with a value study in shades of gray (actually a blend of brown madder and indigo) to capture the push-pull of a white fan against a white ceiling in the dusky half-light of early morning.

What is “push-pull” in art? It is the use of color, value, intensity, and shape to fool the eye into perceiving an object as being farther or nearer than the actual surface on which it is depicted. By extension, we also perceive the object as being farther or nearer than other elements surrounding it.

The artist Hans Hofmann painted in abstracts to explore the concept of push-pull. His idea was that by applying a push-pull technique in non-representational art, visual tension could still be created, providing a sense of depth, movement, and spacial relationships on a flat canvas. He accomplished this through juxtaposition of various colors and shapes, allowing their relationships to provide a satisfying challenge to our senses.

We perceive certain values and intensities of color as being nearer or farther from us in relation to other values and intensities around them. Similarly, because of our life experiences in this multi-dimensional world, we come to perceive one shape as appearing to be in front of or behind another.

Although Hofmann painted in abstracts, the same push-full concept and techniques can be applied to representational work as well, as I have done in “Ceiling Fan” (#110302). My intent in this case was not to explore the push-pull of color or intensity but solely of value.

Next time I’ll show an example of push-pull in a full-color painting.