Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Negative & Positive space in design Part 2

This article is intended to demonstrate how to use negative and positive spacial relationships in design. The example I am using actually composes an image in the negative space, creating quite a treat for the viewer.
The example is from a fireplace screen, Fire Dancers, and was designed by Smyth Boone and Robin Boone. All of the drawings are by Robin Boone. The drawings are all full-scale.
Here is the first line drawing that shows the connection of the eight positive "figures"(only two in this photo) which form a circle when laid out. Notice the suggestion of a figure in between the two positive figures.

The line drawing above is not visually clear on the negative and positive attributes that will become the highlight of the design. So... here is a drawing that has been shaded to show the positive(solid) compared to the negative(spaces in between the positive aspects).The negative and positive spacial relationships jump out at the viewer. Now, it appears that the heads and hands of the positive "figures" face each other with their hands extended above their heads forming a suggested circle. This is an example of using positive space to suggest a form in the negative space. The circle in the middle is simply suggested.
An artist has the ability to force the viewer to look in the direction that he/she intends. In this example, your eyes automatically follow the lines of the positive forms leading you to the center of the design.
Another form that has now shown up is the negative space "figure" in the space between the positive "figures" which is facing away from the middle circle.
So.. not only does this design draw the viewers' eye to the suggested circle in the center, but it also, by using the negative space "figures", draws the viewers' eye back out of the center circle simultaneously. This combination of moving one's eyes in and out simultaneously is a very active, fun, and successful design characteristic.
The drawing below illustrates this point.

Now to show one more cool feature highlighting the negative and positive spacial relationships and the actual function of the piece. Lets add fire to the mix...
The fire constantly changes and moves highlighting the positive and negative spacial relationships.
The use of positive and negative spacial relationships is quite an asset to the artist and can make very interesting and intriguing art that pleases both the viewer and the artist.

Smyth Boone

1 comment:

Alison Du Bois said...

Great blog, Smyth! This post is fantastic ~ best wishes on your new catalog, too :)