Today's image is the third draft of "He Heard My Cry". I have done a considerable amount of adjusting the values with additional rice papers and a lot of pastel work. Today I will be viewing the piece on my iPhone which allows me to see it in a whole new perspective. There is something about viewing your work as a flat image and simply getting away from it physically that will show you what else needs to be done. So if you don't blog, at least take a photo of it and study it during the day.
At this point, everything is adhered to the support except the handmade paper and glass inclusion. Today I will adhere it to the 11" x 14" flat gessobord panel and weight it down to dry. I also will be considering any other adjustments. I have already set the stage for white lettering at the bottom and because I have subdued the background considerably, I will probably opt for gestural writing and white bleedproof white. I am also considering a bit of pencil lettering in that area before the white lettering is written.
Since yesterday, I have cropped the piece to its finished size and then positioned and repositioned the large bible page, handmade paper, and glass inclusion about a million times. I was very careful not to adhere anything until I determined where I needed some more marbled paper and plain rice paper. But even before all of that, I brushed on a lot of soft pastels to create some darker areas and integrate the piece with my frame. The frame has a brownish red and black color with a gold trim around the opening. The gold looks very good with all of the aged yellowish tones in the piece. So when you are creating a piece that will be framed, I strongly encourage you to select your frame before finishing the piece so you can adjust any of the values and colors for a better integration.
My frame also has a historical look to it which lends itself to this type of presentation. (In the past, I have referred to these type of pieces as my library pieces.) And if you think about it, all of the elements give a nod to the book arts and books are found in libraries. As time goes on, books may become obsolete so I definitely want to do my part in preserving the written word.
In this third draft, my entire focus was on shapes, edges, and values. And you do need some kind of focus and a goal as to what you are trying to achieve when creating layers. If you simply place paint or elements wherever you feel like it, you might succeed part of the time, but eventually it is important to have a focus on what you're doing.
One of the most important things I've learned to focus on is the fact that artwork is made up of shapes. All over backgrounds created with sponges and a dab here and there does not create shapes. That is precisely why the "edge to edge " concept is important. The minute you extend a line, shape, or connecting shapes from edge to edge, you have created several shapes by dividing the design space into two or more parts. That's exactly why the cruciform format (vertical and horizontal from edge to edge) is so effective.
In this piece, that thought of extending shapes from edge to edge played a role in deciding where to add my additional marbled papers. The placement of those papers connecting the handmade paper and old bible page to the top and bottom edge keep the focal point from floating in space. It's not that vignettes are wrong....they just cannot compete with the dynamic pieces that have well designed shapes and depth. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.