Using Form to Divide Space

studies of bottles in acrylic on paper

These are 2 little demos of bottles done in acrylic on paper. The point of the demo was to illustrate using form to divide compositional space without focusing on the objects as narrative subjects. In other words, using the geometric forms contained in the bottles themselves as well as sub-forms in the reflections to divide up the space. Sometimes this is a hard concept to grasp, students find it difficult to let go of “what” they are painting and just focus on the forms created by positive and negative spaces.

I try to emphasize values first and then apply color once there is a balance of dark and light in the composition, as well as a feeling of depth and dimension. Color can then be used expressively without fear of losing the forms. Sub-forms can be treated as part of the objects or to create brand new forms for a more abstract look. The choice is up to you as the artist, only you know how you want your piece to look–more representational or more abstract–your choices can stray as much or as little as you like from what is actually in front of you as the subject.


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