Dutch landscapes

View over a Flat Landscape: Jan Josefsz van Goyen (oil on panel 1642) a moody painting of a completely flat landscape with cows, where the top two thirds of the frame is occupied by the grey clouds, but with subtle sunlight breaking through on the horizon line in the far distance.

Landscape with a River Bank : Jan Josefsz van Goyen (oil on panel 1635-1640) a very muted colour painting of the far back of the river with a church – very much like the view over the Cam to Fen Ditton

Flat Landscape with a Broad River: Philips Koninck (oil on canvas c 1648) again very muted colours, dominated by the sky. The sky is now looming overhead with nearer clouds larger and again subtle lighting on the horizon and the river.

Polder Landscape: Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël (watercolour 1828-1903) simple monochrome image of two barges. Here the focus is on the water and some birds in the foreground. The horizon to a featureless sky is in the middle of the frame.

Landscape: Adriaen van Ostade (oil on panel 1639) a summer image with a very dramatic stormy sky with bright patches of light on the ground from breaks in the cloud. The horizon line is again low just above the bottom third of the frame.

Snowy Landscape with fences in the foreground: Charles Donker etching 1988 a misty simple monochrome print with large featureless sky, a row of skeletal trees of different types silhouetted against it and fences lines through the snow.

Van Ruysdale

Van Goyen

Design Principles

Design elements may be explored in their own right, but are generally considered in terms of relationships between one or more element. The following are just some things to think about, taken from a range of sources and experience/thoughts on previous courses in art and photography.

Key Sources:

  • Michael Freeman:The Photographer’s Eye 
  • Alan Pipes: Foundations of Art and Design
  • de Sausmarez
  • Ian Roberts ‘Mastering Composition’
  • Theories of Paul Klee, Arthur Wesley Dow and Henry Rankin Poore

Principles of relationship

Unity/harmony:When all elements are in agreement, a design is considered unified. No individual part is viewed as more important than the whole design.

  • Symmetry
  • Asymmetrical produces an informal balance that is attention attracting and dynamic.
  • Balance: It is a state of equalized tension and equilibrium, which may not always be calm.
  • Radial balance is arranged around a central element. The elements placed in a radial balance seem to ‘radiate’ out from a central point in a circular fashion.
  • Mosaic form of balance which normally arises from many elements being put on a page. Due to the lack of hierarchy and contrast, this form of balance can look noisy but sometimes quiet.

Hierarchy: A good design contains elements that lead the reader through each element in order of its significance. The type and images should be expressed starting from most important to the least important.

Scale/proportion: Using the relative size of elements against each other can attract attention to a focal point. When elements are designed larger than life, scale is being used to show drama.A subject can be rendered more dramatic when it fills the frame. There exists a tendency to perceive things as larger than they actually are, and filling the frame full fills this psychological mechanism. This can be used to eliminate distractions from the background.

  • Cropping
  • distant cropping, close cropping
  • boundary  relationships

Dominance/emphasis: Dominance is created by contrasting size, positioning, colour, style, or shape. The focal point should dominate the design with scale and contrast without sacrificing the unity of the whole.

Similarity and contrast: Planning a consistent and similar design is an important aspect of a designer’s work to make their focal point visible. Too much similarity is boring but without similarity important elements will not exist and an image without contrast is uneventful so the key is to find the balance between similarity and contrast.

Similar environment: There are several ways to develop a similar environment:

  • Build a unique internal organization structure.
  • Manipulate shapes of images and text to correlate together.

Perspective: sense of distance between elements.
Similarity: ability to seem repeatable with other elements.
Continuation: the sense of having a line or pattern extend.
Repetition: elements being copied or mimicked numerous times.
Rhythm: is achieved when recurring position, size, color, and use of a graphic element has a focal point interruption.

Negative space: Give the eye somewhere to rest

Color: Contrast: the value, or degree of lightness and darkness, used within the picture.

Repetition

Repetition has a peculiar but generally very strong appeal, particularly when it is unfamiliar to the viewer:

  • rhythm or dynamic repetition: the movement across a picture (or more properly, the movement of the eye through a picture). Rhythm can be made more dynamic by encouraging a figure or point to break the rhythm. As the eye in Western culture naturally follows a rhythmical structure from right to left to right, it is often best to place a point on the right so that the eye has time to establish the rhythm before noticing it.
  • pattern or spatial repetition: essentially static and concerned with area. Ordered rows of large numbers of things produce regular patterns, but the slight variations in detail maintain interest. If the placing is irregular, the framing needs to be tight on the objects if they are to form a pattern.
    Perspective

Viewpoint (leading the eye): The position of the viewer can strongly influence the aesthetics of an image, even if the subject is entirely imaginary and viewed “within the mind’s eye”. Not only does it influence the elements within the picture, but it also influences the viewer’s interpretation of the subject.

Division of space

informal subdivision

high low horizons

Rule of thirds, golden mean, rebatement of the rectangle: The objective is to stop the subject(s) and areas of interest (such as the horizon) from bisecting the image, by placing them near one of the lines that would divide the image into three equal columns and rows, ideally near the intersection of those lines. The rule of thirds is thought to be a simplification of the golden mean. The golden mean is a ratio that has been used by visual artists for centuries as an aid to composition. When two things are in the proportion of 1:1.618 (approximately 3 to 5), they are said to be in the golden mean. Dividing the parts of an image according to this proportion helps to create a pleasing, balanced composition. The intersection points on a golden mean grid appear at 3/8 in and 3/8 down/up, rather than at 1/3 in and 1/3 down/up on the grid of thirds.

Rule of odds: The “rule of odds” states that by framing the object of interest with an even number of surrounding objects, it becomes more comforting to the eye, thus creates a feeling of ease and pleasure. The “rule of odds” suggests that an odd number of subjects in an image is more interesting than an even number. An even number of subjects produces symmetries in the image, which can appear less natural for a naturalistic, informal composition. Related to the rule of odds is the observation that triangles are an aesthetically pleasing implied shape within an image.

Baselines and ground contour: foreground, middle ground and background division.ensure that you indicate the contours of the land, even if it appears flat. Use variations such as differences in soil colour, texture, vegetation, wind in grass etc. Light and shadow on land.

Overlapping forms: overlapping forms give a feeling of depth to space. If forms do not overlap there is no depth.

Tie together: If you have a distinct division of space that extends from one side of the painting to the other, tie the two divisions together by crossing the division with something in the foreground.

Simplification

Images with clutter can distract from the main elements within the picture and make it difficult to identify the subject. By decreasing the extraneous content, the viewer is more likely to focus on the primary objects. Clutter can also be reduced through the use of lighting, as the brighter areas of the image tend to draw the eye, as do lines, squares and colour. In painting, the artist may use less detailed and defined brushwork towards the edges of the picture. Removing the elements to the focus of the object, taking only the needed components.Merge shapes that have similar values into larger shapes of one value.

Creating movement

Movement is the path the viewer’s eye takes through the artwork, often to focal areas. Such movement can be directed along lines edges, shape and colour within the artwork.

Shape

  • turbulent shape arrangements.
  • variety in division of space.
  • repetition with variety: pattern, rhythm
  • active, passive mix. Need place for the eye to rest. But depends on overall aim of picture.
  • odd number groups – maybe we like to see things in pairs, so we look for completion? Variety in threes.

Rule of space: The rule of space aims to give the illusion of movement, or which is supposed to create a contextual bubble in the viewer’s mind. This can be achieved, for instance, by leaving white space in the direction the eyes of a portrayed person are looking, or, when picturing a runner, adding white space in front of them rather than behind them to indicate movement.

Other techniques that can act together:

  • There should be a centre of interest or focus in the work, to prevent it becoming a pattern in itself;
  • The direction followed by the viewer’s eye should lead the viewer’s gaze around all elements in the work before leading out of the picture;
  • The subject should not be facing out of the image;
  • Exact bisections of the picture space should be avoided;
  • Small, high contrast, elements have as much impact as larger, duller elements;
  • The prominent subject should be off-centre, unless a symmetrical or formal composition is desired, and can be balanced by smaller satellite elements
    the horizon line should not divide the art work in two equal parts but be positioned to emphasize either the sky or ground; showing more sky if painting is of clouds, sun rise/set, and more ground if a landscape
  • Variety: no spaces between the objects should be the same. They should vary in shape and size. That creates a much more interesting image.

Focal point:

  • staccato focal point: a small point or line that the viewer’s eye gravitates to
  • focal area: a specific area of colour or value

focus may be achieved by:

  • directing lines,/intersection of lines or implied lines,
  • contrast in colour, saturation, temperature,
  • texture, moves to areas of high density and detail.
  • shape or relation of shape to boundary, value. Isolation. rule of thirds.

A composition may have primary and secondary focus of interest. Not all images have to have a focal point or focal area. Or focal area may be large. Or there can be more than one and the interest is in the relationship between the two.

Eye movement

the aim is to keep the interest of the viewer and keep their attention in the frame.

  • types of path: C forms, S forms, I forms.
  • entry point, often in bottom left . Avoid splitting painting in two.
  • avoid leading eye into a corner, take it back in and around.
  • avoid trapping the eye in one part of the frame.
  • repeat colour spots. Linking lights, guiding darks and lights
  • let the brain fill the gaps.

 

 

David Carson

David Carson (born September 8, 1954) is an American graphic designer, art director and surfer. He is best known for his innovative magazine design, and use of experimental typography.

He worked as a sociology teacher and professional surfer in the late 1970s. From 1982 to 1987, Carson worked as a teacher in Torrey Pines High School in San Diego, California. In 1983, Carson started to experiment with graphic design and found himself immersed in the artistic and bohemian culture of Southern California. He art directed various music, skateboarding, and surfing magazines through the 1980/90s, including twSkateboarding, twSnowboarding, Surfer, Beach Culture and the music magazine Ray Gun. By the late 1980s he had developed his signature style, using “dirty” type and non-mainstream photographic techniques.

As art director of Ray Gun (1992-5) he employed much of the typographic and layout style for which he is known. In particular, his widely imitated aesthetic defined the so-called “grunge typography” era.  In one issue he used Dingbat as the font for what he considered a rather dull interview with Bryan Ferry. In a feature story, NEWSWEEK magazine said he “changed the public face of graphic design”.

He takes photography and type and manipulates and twists them together and on some level confusing the message but in reality he was drawing the eyes of the viewer deeper within the composition itself. His layouts feature distortions or mixes of ‘vernacular’ typefaces and fractured imagery, rendering them almost illegible. Indeed, his maxim of the ‘end of print’ questioned the role of type in the emergent age of digital design, following on from California New Wave and coinciding with experiments at the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

In the later 1990s he added corporate clients to his list of clients, including Microsoft, Armani, Nike, Levi’s, British Airways, Quiksilver, Sony, Pepsi, Citibank, Yale University, Toyota and many others. When Graphic Design USA Magazine (NYC) listed the “most influential graphic designers of the era” David was listed as one of the all time 5 most influential designers, with Milton Glaser, Paul Rand, Saul Bass and Massimo Vignelli.

He named and designed the first issue of the adventure lifestyle magazine Blue, in 1997. David designed the first issue and the first three covers, after which his assistant Christa Smith art directed and designed the magazine until its demise. Carson’s cover design for the first issue was selected as one of the “top 40 magazine covers of all time” by the American Society of Magazine Editors.

In 2000, Carson closed his New York City studio and followed his children, Luke and Luci, to Charleston, South Carolina where their mother had relocated them. In 2004, Carson became the Creative Director of Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, designed the special “Exploration” edition of Surfing Magazine, and directed a television commercial for UMPQUA Bank in Seattle, Washington.

Carson claims that his work is “subjective, personal and very self indulgent”.

Bibliography

Carson, David (1995). The End of Print: The Graphic Design of David Carson. Chronicle Books. ISBN 0-8118-1199-9.

Carson, David (1997). David Carson: 2nd Sight: Grafik Design After the End of Print. Universe Publishing. ISBN 0-7893-0128-8.

Meggs, Phillip B.; David Carson (1999). Fotografiks: An Equilibrium Between Photography and Design Through Graphic Expression That Evolves from Content. Laurence King. ISBN 1-85669-171-3.

Stecyk, Craig; David Carson (2002). Surf Culture: The Art History of Surfing. Laguna Art Museum in association with Gingko Press. ISBN 1-58423-113-0.

Mcluhan, Marshall; David Carson, Eric McLuhan, Terrance Gordon (2003). The Book of Probes. Gingko Press. ISBN 1-58423-056-8.

Carson, David (2004). Trek: David Carson, Recent Werk. Gingko Press. ISBN 1-58423-046-0.

Mayne, Thom; David Carson (2005). Ortlos: Architecture of the Networks. Hatje Cantz Publishers. ISBN 3-7757-1652-1.