How to Art 101

Mar 04, 2019

Balance needs variation to be interesting, but variation needs balance to be coherent.” – Nathan Goldstein, Design and Composition

Balance, emphasis, and simplicity. Together, these three compositional occurrences are the foundation of creating effective artwork. I spent some time this week reading the first chapter of Design and Composition by Nathan Goldstein to learn the basics of art.

One time, I had four boba teas in less than 24 hours; balance really isn’t my thing. I’m going to have to learn though because, without balance, artwork just isn’t nice to look at. The visual weight of all the elements in the composition needs to be even, adding a sense of overall stability to the work. While symmetrical balance commands significant impact, asymmetrical balance adds the energy and dynamism I want to create in my mural.

As for emphasis, a variation in the visual weight of an object(s) can serve to create a more fluid image. I will need to keep in mind where I concentrate the string and which colors I use to create balanced points of emphasis.

Goldstein discusses the idea of simplicity; adding elegance to the piece by only using as many strokes as are needed. Just like in literature, concision will be key to making my mural as impactful as possible.

After taking these first small steps into the world of art, I feel a bit more comfortable with designing the mural. I’ve still got a lot more to learn and I’m excited to keep reading!

I also spent part of my week conducting a focus group with BISV high school students. I hoped to take a more formalized approach to recreate the Kaya and Epps study, which analyzed which colors were most likely to elicit happiness. Based on the responses of 10 students in the focus group, I essentially confirmed both what Kaya and Epps found and the results of my survey. Principle hues like yellow and green were generally associated with positive emotions. “Tropical” and “happy” were terms commonly associated with those colors. Gray, an achromatic hue, was referred to as “lifeless” and “soulless.” However, I found a large deviation with the colors red and black. Black was frequently called “mysterious” and red was described as “alarm.” In the Kaya and Epps study, black was almost always elicited a negative emotion. Mysterious, not so much. Red was often associated with love and excitement among participants in the Kaya and Epps study. My study showed red as eliciting largely negative emotions. When deciding which colors to incorporate into my mural, I will have to keep these findings in mind.

On an unrelated note, I had a TON of fun at my last state conference for DECA, a business program. Anaheim has a lot of fantastic food (try the Anaheim packing district, it’s super Instagram-worthy). I will miss my DECA family so much, but I’m excited to be heading to Orlando for the international competition next month!

That’s all for this week – thanks for reading!

10 Replies to “How to Art 101”

  1. Abby W. says:

    I love that the basis colors earned such “positive” responses from the basis students 😉 and congrats a million on deca! I can’t wait to see your mural and how you incorporate design elements into it

    1. Samrit M. says:

      Thank you!! And yeah, I guess the basis kids are just used to it 😉

  2. Serina K. says:

    I love how you’re doing so much research on positive and negative colors! I know you’re going to make a great mural Samrit! 🙂

    1. Samrit M. says:

      Thank you :))

  3. Christina Charuhas says:

    Hi Samrit! This was an interesting post, but I noticed there isn’t a Week 3 entry 🙁 Hopefully you’ll be able to submit that soon (and Week 4)? It would be great to hear more of what you’re learning during your time at Facebook.

    Dr. Charuhas

    1. Samrit M. says:

      Hey Dr. Charuhas,

      I took Week 2 off for President’s Week, which is why I’ve only got 3 entries :). I will be sure to include what I’ve been doing at Facebook in further posts – thus far, it’s mostly just been planning out the studies and engaging with the digital design tools.

      Thank you!

  4. Vivian L. says:

    I think black and red are too frequently seen by basis students that their meanings have distorted… Great project and I can’t wait to see you start painting! Happy to help!

    1. Samrit M. says:

      Yes!! Thanks :))

  5. Mr. A says:

    From your initial focus group of 10, how many students do you plan on surveying? As someone who teaches both 5th and 9th-11th grade, I’d be happy to pass out surveys during a Bell Work.

    1. Samrit M. says:

      So far, I’ve surveyed 53 people aside from the focus group – the results are very consistent!

      My plan was to get between 30-60 responses, but I would love to survey your students as well to add to the data set! Thank you!

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