Back in March I took a workshop involving collage and squares and circles at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center (on Zoom).
Our instructor, Lorrie Grainger Abdo, led us through the concept of making art with restrictions – of shape, of color, of format. And how freeing it can be to work within parameters. Your decisions are limited and therefore your mind is cleared of extraneous concerns.
All you are doing is working with circles, squares, paper, and color. But there is an infinite range of possibilities within that structure.
We then worked on our own first version of creating within these parameters. The idea was to set out the squares in a grid pattern and then add circles, however we liked and as many as we wanted.
I made two images. Here they are. One is in one of my ongoing large sketchbooks and the other is in a small one.
I used magazine papers, dictionary pages, and papers painted by me sometime in the past for another project.
Doing this kind of composition is like playing a game. There is the initial phase of squares only, and they make a unified whole. Then you add a layer of circles. That changes the balance and feel of the piece. Then you do it again. More shifts in focus, color, and the directions your eye goes as it looks at the page.
I find this process fascinating. I will be doing it again.
One thing our instructor suggested was that if we were needing more info to help us work our way through the composition, then to turn it black and white, and see what that told us. I tried it:
It gives me a whole new set of ideas to look at this version, and I like the mystery of the monochromatic arrangement. Without color, I focus on the shapes and the designs much more, as well as the lines. There is a sublety to these that I really like.
Well, as I said, I will be doing more with this idea!