Today began with Shapes--positive and negative. Shapes don't necessarily mean an apple or a cast shadow. Think about a contained shadow on the apple merging with the apple's cast shadow. Shapes should have interest, aesthetic value. Positive and negative shapes should fit like a jigsaw puzzle. Watch out for small, fussy shapes. Look to Vermeer for good examples.
Lost and found edges, weaving in and out. Cast shadows and contained shadows or local darks presenting and hiding edges.
Watch for straight lines; there are often many to be found. Watch out for averaging out small straights into larger curves. Be careful not to have lines sunken in.
A good test for design is one that holds beauty as it moves from color to black and white to line only.
Decorative patterns. Notice them juxtaposed with flat or volumetric areas. Keep the pattern values close together. Can be stenciled right on top--that is, not necessarily following form.
Perspective. Oftentimes, portraits are elevated in relation to the horizon line. The horizon line is the artist's eye level.
This evening I have presented a rather capsulated and non-illustrated reflection. There were exercises with line based with take home as well as workshop material so it would be less than illustrative.
What is really going on with me, though, is that I am beginning to see how all these design principles are interlocked. It's not just warm/cool, or light, mid, dark, or cast shadow, or cool/warm/cool/warm of form, or interesting shapes, or any other principles. There is no taking away that the analysis is important, but the cohesive event that one experiences in an instant, the gestalt, is where it's at. It's a tool that one can practice for a lifetime.