An Intended Message

Cheif Logan embedded in the sky and clouds stares down as history continues.
Chief Logan

“Thus the task is not so much to see what no one has seen, but to think what nobody yet has thought about that which everybody sees.” Schopenhauer

Inspiration for artistic creation often begins with an intended message from the artist.

Imparting their message strives to invoke a response from each viewer. Often this may be accompanied with an equivalence message intending to derive alternative meanings of the artwork.

The earliest artists most often used their creations as a vehicle for religious ritual or commemoration of an important event.

Though the ages art developed additional messages including social commentary, recording visual data such as the natural landscape, storytelling and to convey emotion.

Many artists begin a new creation with a primary function to interpret their story, message or emotion into the subject matter of their creation.

Each viewer visually receives the artist’s intention filtered through their personal internal triggers within their consciousness, developed over the course of their life, of places, people, things, of an experience, a feeling, possibly an emotion. These internal mental triggers develop the artists intention into the viewers realm of consciousness, often quite different than the artists’ original intention.

What elements does one use to make their work stronger, to maintain the viewer’s attention as the creation develops in the viewers consciousness holding onto their attention as the message is developed via their mental precepts?

As the artist develops his intention they conceive an idea about how they are going to interpret it and then translate this into the artwork, often using a visual diary where their concepts, notes and inspiration are kept while evolving thoughts towards new creations.

Questions are posed in the artist’s mind on achieving the intended perspective, how to extract this meaning and how can this be depicted in a way that develops this message for their audience. With intuition and imagination their message can be advanced and, from this, methods are devised that invoke this intention into the artwork and often an additional objective such that the artwork conveys a message of equivalence of the visual aspects of the creation that invokes in the viewer a completely different message that transcends the art, again, based on the individual viewing it and their life’s particular method of development that triggers thoughts and feelings from this conveyance.

Just what processes are available that can be used to distill these messages into an artwork?

Last month’s blog discussed how human visual systems interpret and define our perception of reality.

Developing on these insights we will review a number of visual language constructs that an artist might use to instill their intentions into a creation as well as develop the complete artwork to their level of finality.

Old Chevy Truck sits in plantation in Mississippi
Pickup Truck

Artists often think of the following and the implications of each on the intended result:

Evaluate the luminance throughout the composition – This may be one of the highest priority elements in devising a successful creation. With careful development the viewers’ attention is grasped and, if effective, maintain this attention as the other elements of the artist message become more engaged in the viewers’ perception.

Analyze the structures of the global composition and the localized structures within – Often, the juxtaposition creates key elements within the composition that continues the engagement the artist has with the viewer and maintains their mental perception of the creation allowing more in depth constructive thoughts to develop as well as the beginnings of emotional attachments.

The following are additional potential elements utilized that each, both individually and collectively, continue to advance the artist’s delivery and message.

Execution of the composition (sharpness, exposure, lighting)

Emotional Impact – Visual gestures within the composition that impart emotional values.

Advanced Evaluation:

  • Distribution, position, and relationship of shapes, forms, lines, and points.
  • Visual Pathways that suggest movement and motion within the frame
  • Visual Balance, or lack thereof: symmetry, space, negative space;
  • Color Palette, distribution, saturation, and harmony;
  • Distribution weight and balance of tones;
  • Textures and how they are lit for intended viewing;
  • Effect of extraneous elements on the Image;
  • Influence of weather and atmospheric conditions on the image;
  • Equipment used, settings, accessories and their effects;
  • Sharpness, and/or blurring techniques, including shutter speed, aperture, and Depth-of-Field;
  • These are just a few of the considerable choices available to an artist that are elements and techniques that can be used to develop your message in your art.

    All of these possibilities plus finding an “honesty” in the representation of the subject and faithfulness to one’s self helps the artist in searching and developing for themselves and finding satisfaction that their creations reflect their intentions and, hopefully, express this to the viewers of their art.

    Often experimentation, trying a lot of different things that over time, as the elements, style and techniques become more intuitive for the artist; particular methods, sequencing and prioritization leads to a style that define the artist. This style will typically progress over the course of each artists’ career.

    First, we learn to “speak” the visual language, to allow ourselves the skills to communicate our intended message and continually increase our understanding and then apply what we have learned.

    Creating art is akin to when you learned to write. First you learned your A, B, Cs and were given a pencil and taught how to manage it, Then, over and over, you drew each letter and number and practiced forming each of these many, many times. At last, you are able to write your name fluently. Eventually you do this so often that your signature becomes uniquely yours. Yet it all started when you first clumsily grasped that first pencil.

    You work to interpret through your eyes, intellect, and emotions and your individuality and this gives rise to your “voice”. Maturity of this takes time so be patient.

    “Life is the art of drawing without an eraser” Anon

    Back Soon…..


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