Improve your Design Skills by Making Mini Abstracts.

Diagonal, high horizon format

A.K.A Making Art-note Cards!

Offcuts from several old watercolor paintings or unsuccessful paintings were further edited by moving a small 3″x4″ view finder around (see earlier blog) to find interesting beginning mini paintings. The area was marked with pencil lines (using view finder as a stencil) and cut with an Xacto knife (or scissors then trimmed on the paper trimmer/guillotine). I was thinking about design formats (and shapes, small, medium and large) while I was selecting these areas.
The 3×4″ crops were then embellished with collage material (using the excess trimmings). Now the FUN begins, moving around smaller shapes to produce a pleasing image. I tear, cut with scissors/Xacto or use basic-shaped punches. I usually create or exaggerate a “focal point” on the 3×4″ crops, (see first image), 3 triangle “trees” were added on hill to capture our attention!

Vertical Strata format

Very little collage was added to this 3×4″ crop that has a vertical strata format. The large 2″ circle shape at the top was almost 50% of the image so I broke into the circle with the ultramarine blue rectangle. This created a contrasting horizontal against the rest of the other vertical lines/shapes. Your eye naturally is drawn to intense blue (don’t ask me why) and even more so when its complement (orange) is added as a little square. Most of the shapes are geometric with straight lines, only one organic shape (circle) exists and it is light in value. But it is too close to the halfway point of the image so the little orange square was added to pull the eye to the top right area where all the warm colors are! This helps the eye travel around the painting creating interest!

Cruciform with horizontal strata 
I was think sea and beach when I created this last night. A cross/cruciform was formed with the 2 very long blue strips.
The horizontal strata/stripes was broken up with a mid-tone brown “rock” trapezoid. The blue crescent moon becomes the focal point by contrast (a dark shape on a lighter area),  by shape (round against rectangular), and by temperature (a cool against a warm color). The lighter full moon was added (as the top left corner felt empty), and it is the opposite of the crescent moon (that is, a light shape on a darker area).
Modified cruciform
This 3×4″ crop was a little more difficult to design as it was too “busy”-lots of little shapes! The 2 large blue rectangles were added to provide the missing large shape and anchor the image (by acting as a dark shape too)! The cruciform (modified) is askew (tipped to 11 O’Clock). Where the lines intersect the focal point is formed, the bigger orange shape is too close to the middle of the image so 2 small orange rectangles were added (top-left). Predominantly cool painting with warm (orange) contrasts. Probably not the strongest design but I liked all the range of blues (values)! Again I was thinking of the coast!
Low horizon format 
Simple horizontal format, emphasized by adding 2 small thin strips near the bottom of the image (maybe a fence). A cool focal point (“trees”) added against a backdrop of mostly warm colors. 3 trees were added as odd numbers are always more interesting than even. 2 trees would have been boring! 1 tree would have been lonely! Rule of thirds was applied for placing the focal point. (this focal point is 2/3 down the image and 2/3 across).
Enjoy creating some mini abstracts too mount on cards and give as thank yous! or sell them!
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