The other day I was thinking about Art History after I finalized my Judith slaying Holofernes paper for the art committee review.
I decided to take famous pieces of art and try to simplify them into shapes, colors and compositions. I started with a quick Da Vinci study.
The idea I had was that this painting is so familiar to people, so ingrained that you would be able to recognize it using only shape and dominating colors, not necessarily finer details/features.
I didn't bother looking at the original painting while I was working on my interpretation. I figured that by doing so I'd be defeating the purpose of my own devices - We remember a specific painting based on shape and color. It wouldn't do to compare what I was working on with Da Vinci until the final product.
This is the finished piece after critique today. The green really brings out the figures. The black background didn't work insomuch the way Da Vinci's does, because I did not use highlights or shades with my shape. So another color is necessary.
Next, I moved onto Van Gogh / Picasso.
I have always been fascinated by Van Gogh's brush strokes, but never have I ever noticed the way Picasso uses invisible shapes, lines, and directions to create a visually complicated and yet excessively simple image. Like the Da Vinci image, after I gathered my sources, I refused to look at either painting as I worked on the piece.
I combined Gogh's brush strokes and Picasso's shapes. I also used Gogh's love for bright contrasting colors. After I finished it, I never had a chance to look at Gogh or Picasso's piece in comparison to mine since I was tired and needed sleep.
I don't know why, but earlier today I was unsatisfied so I tried to make the image my own. Probably because I felt like I was cheating the original composition. That and I wanted to experiment.
Its not nearly as strong as the former and too all over the place. For that, I prefer the former.
For my final piece, I decided to take my personal studies and apply them to an original work. The Vanguard recently had me illustrate the construction of PSU's new Recreational center. So I took the rough sketches and final inks from that picture, and reinterpreted them based on their structure. I chose to use color in my own way, borrowing the scheme from the Da Vinci picture.
I loathed the triangles, so I removed them and heightened the color levels.
It still feels so damn incomplete to me. I don't feel satisfied at all. Probably because I'm not used to working in a simple way. But it is a challenge, and I do enjoy tackling challenges.
Next, I may continue to do studies based on Art History so I have a stronger foundation for composition and how it applies to abstract. My final challenge will be to free hand something without using reference.
Well. Here we go!
Next Project: Magazine Spreads
8 years ago