Living Celtic Knotwork Jul15

Living Celtic Knotwork...

Celtic knots are magical. The complexity of the most ancient Celtic art works seems to fly in the very face of what I posted about in my article on focus; there seems to be nothing to focus on at all. The sheer number of knots, changes, patterns were said to have been so intricate that only angels could have possibly carved them into stone or illuminated the pages of ancient manuscripts. But the focus is there. The focus is not on the knot, but on the piece itself as a contained system. When I finally took the plunge into the artistic construction of Celtic knots it was through the help of George Bain’s book Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction. Mr. Bain has spent his life studying the artwork of the ancient Celts in an attempt to understand them and recreate a lost art form. No small task, I set out to follow his guidance and started tentatively into a journey that ultimately began to transform me. Even as I learned how to weave together a simple dirk knot and began to move into more ornate borders and spirals, I soon learned that if I was going to continue I was lacking skills that I had forsaken long ago; mathematics. I suddenly had a reason to care about geometry and ratios in order to plan out spaces that would meet very tangible space requirements in order to be properly filled with the design I desired. I had to teach myself old compass and straight-rule tricks for the making of geometric objects. My spatial awareness began to blossom to a mantra of “over, under, over, under” as I wove three-dimensional lines into a two-dimensional medium. Knot construction is ultimately a meditation similar to the care...

Understanding Art as Art Jul01

Understanding Art as Art...

How does one define art? Merriam Webster defines art as “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination, especially in the production of aesthetic objects”, yet who determines what is visually pleasing to the eye? Art is subjective. What one would consider beautiful, another might feel horribly offended by. So how do we determine what is art and what is not? We look to the basic elements and principles of art. Knowing these, help us understand the criteria by which art is judged. Art Elements The elements of art are the basic components. These elements are line, shape, form, value, space, color, and texture. Art is not art without at least one of these elements. Let’s look at each element and define it. Line Line is the most basic element of drawing. Line can be thin or thick, horizontal, vertical or diagonal. It can be zigzag or curvy, long or short, rough or smooth. Line is defined as the mark that spans between two points. Shape/Form Shape or form is defined as the space created by edges that set one space apart from another. Shapes can be geometric or organic. Value Value is lightness versus darkness; shadows versus highlights. Is there a full range of value in the piece? Space Space refers to the areas around, below, above, or between the objects. There is positive space; the shapes of the objects and negative space; the areas created in the empty space between the objects. Color Color is one of the more intricate elements and needs a whole article of its own to define. To keep this article brief, I will just say that color is the use of hue in a work of art. Color has three properties, hue being the first and referring...