|I began with collage, using lots of contrasting papers.|
|I added some pattern, scribbling, more papers, and bright paint, just to give myself a lot to work with.|
|Painting Over, adding more, subduing more...|
|Here is the piece, provisionally finished.|
In this format, the active areas form a cross shape, each arm reaching to the edge of the page. A cruciform format can be used in anything from a simple cross-on-background, to a figure, still-life, or landscape. As an abstract format it poses interesting challenges, and I use it in my Keys To Dynamic Composition online class.
The contrast, or balance, of busy areas with quiet (but not boring) space is an interesting lens through which to view abstract pieces. We tackle this in my class "Balancing Opposites: The Yin and Yang of Abstract Composition". My next offering of this is at AVA Gallery in Lebanon, New Hampshire. I also address this issue in Big Fat Art, which I am offering at Art and Soul in Virginia Beach on October 3. I have a Pinterest board where I collect examples of art that I find interesting in this respect. Take a look. When you look at art this way, it's interesting to see how relative the terms "busy" and "quiet" are. An area that looks quiet in one context may be the most active area in another.
Often a workshop participant will come to me and say "I know, my piece is too busy. I overworked it." To which my response is often: you haven't worked it enough. Most of my pieces are "too busy" before they even begin to take shape. I tend to throw a lot at a piece, let it get a bit chaotic, and then paint over sections selectively and gradually until a direction emerges.
I'd be interested in your thoughts on this.