Compositional balance explores the placement of different elements in relation to each other. When a composition is more balanced, it is visually stable and pleasing to look at which makes this fundamental to making art. The concept of understanding when an artwork is balanced or not can determine if it is successful or needs adjustments.
After watching Mary Heilmann and Mark Bradford’s interviews, twenty first century artists, I drew inspiration from both of the artists. For my first ink wash, with the wine bottle, I was inspired by how Mary organizes her compositions. She had discussed Chinese and Japanese painting where there are a number of different kinds of space in the same painting. Visually there is a sense of deep space along with something else right on the surface. This inspired me to create the depth of a room into my ink wash while having the bottle and flowers front and center. Mark Bradford worked with much larger compositions along with a wider variety of material, but his technique of layering inspired me to layer different elements within my second project.
While working on this project, I was surprised by the difficulty I experienced only being able to use 7 shapes. It was a personal challenge figuring out how to express the same concept with less, but I was pleased with how it turned out. Below are images from my symmetrical composition. The left image is what I had originally created which was too complex. The right image is the final composition minimalized. Once I started creating the ink version, I realized how difficult it would have been had I chosen a complex route. While only working with 7 shapes frustrated me at the beginning, throughout the process I gradually accepted it and became thankful for this guideline!
Another frustration I experienced took place when I was inking. I found that the organically shaped, or curved lines were more complicated to create a consistent value throughout. I am still not entirely pleased with the inconsistency along the edges, but I adjusted the overall issue by adding texture.
With the edges that were straight I was able to use tape to make them clean and concise. This also allowed me to more freely experiment with values and texture in these areas because they were closed off to the rest of the composition. Below is a picture from my asymmetrical composition. I was surprised how clean and crisp the solid black ink turned out, and I thoroughly enjoy the concise and smooth look it created. Next to it is an area I was able to experiment with texture and I was pleased with how it turned out.
During the process of using ink and at the end of the project, I was surprised at how beneficial it was to utilize an extra piece of paper as scrap paper. With this, I would test out the water and ink combination consistency before I would apply it to the final. Not only did this save me from a lot of value errors, but also created a really neat piece of artwork in itself!