Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Purposeful Imagery: Composing a Visual Language

Notan 1, Variation 2
© 2010 Fannie Narte


Invaluable, serendipity, magic, meditative, spiritual, engaging, inspiring, freedom, generosity, friendship, honest, raw, work, non-judgmental, fun, funny, a feast for the heart . . . art changing . . . these are some of the words that describe my experience at the "Purposeful Imagery: Composing a Visual Language" workshop with Jane Dunnewold this past weekend.  The Mona Lisa belongs to Leonardo da Vinci; Starry Night belongs to Vincent Van Gogh.

What belongs to Fannie Narte?

Finding a style that is unique makes my work recognizably mine.  I think my use of Neocolors makes my work recognizable to a certain degree.  On the other hand, there are other elements that make my work similar to others' work.  When we take classes from a certain teacher, it is oftentimes difficult to walk away with our own unique art.  The art we create is partly ours and partly the teacher's.

How do I walk away from instruction with art that is uniquely me? 


The search for answers to any of life's questions is a personal journey.  Because each person's quest is uniquely different, there isn't a clear-cut process to finding answers.  But there are ideas we can consider while searching.  If we approach each question with an open heart and be ready to receive all that is before us, we can receive valuable information that will move us in life changing directions.  If we place the past, the habit to judge and label, the need to understand the what, why and how before taking a step and allow ourselves to be guided by our carefully selected teacher . . . and wait . . . and see . . . and listen . . . and ponder . . . and practice . . . and continually take steps here and there, sometimes moving forward, sometimes moving backward--but only in the sense of direction . . . and when we have done the work of preparation, the answers will appear.  And when that happens . . . it is life changing--and in my situation, taking Jane's workshop was "art changing."

Notan 1
© 2010 Fannie Narte


I think we all understand that we need to work to get what we want, but sometimes we don't quite know what the work looks like.  We know what we want, we know where we want to go, we know what we want to be, but how do we get what we want?  How do we get to where we want to be?  How do we get what we want?  I don't know all the answers, but I do know what worked for me.

I did the work by starting right where I am.

Notan 1, Variation 2

I began at my beginning.  All the study and practice and creating I've done up to this point in my life is where I am at this moment in time--my beginning. 

"How do I create unique art?" is my question.  My process to find the answer is:  Study, Practice, Review, Choose--SPRC--that sounds like "Spark."

SPRC--Study, Practice, Review, Choose

STUDY--Classes, books, visit galleries and museums, etc.

PRACTICE--Journal ideas, create pieces, etc.

REVIEW--Journal experiences, determine what worked and why, determine what didn't work and why, etc.

CHOOSE--This is an important step.  Choose the techniques, the ideas, the colors, the design elements that made my heart sing.  Those that didn't are put in an invisible holding space.

By repeating SPRC, I eliminate the noise, the elements that don't appeal to me, which won't make me feel like dancing, and keep the elements and ideas that make me dance.  SPRC, SPRC, SPRC . . . eventually, when you've done the work, your art will surface. 

I consider myself a self-taught artist.  I have also taken classes and workshops that have filled my bucket of techniques.  If you want help from an excellent guide/teacher, consider Jane Dunnewold's workshops.  If you do the work and are prepared, she can help you move onto the next rung on your ladder.

One way of creating your own art is discovering your unique marks and turn them into tools
(stamps, stencils, etc.).  This book by Bothwell and Mayfield will help you find your marks by using the dark-light principle of design.

Notan is a Japanese word meaning "dark-light."  A simple definition of Notan would be the "interaction between positive (light) and negative (dark) space."

The authors state:  "In Notan, opposites complement, they do not conflict.  Neither seeks to negate or dominate the other, only to relate in harmony.  It is the interaction of the light and the dark, therefore, that is most essential." (Notan, p. 6.)

My Notan images in this post were created using black paper cut outs and glued to white paper.  See how one image looks interesting, but when you combine them into different units and repeat those units, the results are endless.  Now it's your turn.

Turn your marks into a tool that's uniquely you and make your art "SPRC."  ♥♫♥

1 comment:

Kuulei said...

You definitely do have a lot you came back with from that trip! :) I was thinking...SPRC works for every day life too! :D