Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Composition Book

You may remember that at the beginning of this year I showed you all a big stack of journals that I have in my studio and that I wanted to start using this year. Slowly but steadily most of them are being used right now and today I'd like to introduce you to one that's been fascinating me for the last few weeks. I call it the Composition Book.

Now I know that for a lot of you a composition book is this big lined hardcover notebook, but what I mean by it is simply 'a book of compositions', so it has nothing to do with what you might expect if you are of the english speaking variety. ;-) By the way, this is a ringbound Hahnemuhle A5 sized sketchbook.

See, I just wanted to do very simple collaged compositions with decorative papers in basic shapes. It's a kind of practice to see what works and what doesn't and trying to figure out why that is. When is something in harmony and when is it overdone? By using simple shapes like circles and rectangles I get to play around with different layouts and colours without making it all too complicated. Here are some pages to give you an idea of what I mean.

At first I just took some basic shapes on a background of some gouache. Very straightforward.

I really liked the contrasts and bright colours, but I also felt something was missing, so I started adding some simple pen work in a black drawing pen in my next two compositions. 

In the last one there were also some letter templates used and I wanted to continue on that theme. I also wanted to see how it would look if the colours were less contrasting to each other. So I made these two:

I don't hate those, but I feel I went overboard with them. Too many additions to a simple composition. It's a bit of overkill for me.

So in a next sitting I decided to use the same papers but go for a simpler approach: 

Much more calming indeed. But you know me, I crave colour and contrast, and maybe it was just a little too sedate or something, because in the next few I decided to make the background a bit more lively: 

Ooh, I loved those! But forever challenging myself I wondered if I could do something with more white in the background. One of my major challenges after all is that I can never seem to leave anything untouched by colour, so some more white spaces might be an interesting change. Again the same paper, but 'emptier' backgrounds. 

It's very tempting for me to add more to these last two pages, but I can see that they are okay in their own right. I feel they are calming and balanced.

Those are all I've done so far and I loved playing with them. I think though my next pages in this book might be filled with more contrast  and brighter colours again, because...well....I just can't help myself!

All in all this is just another good practice to get a feel for how to arrange items on a page. Even with such simple shapes the variety could be endless. I'd like to figure out where this will take me. I'll keep you posted!

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy Wednesday!