Breaking from the Oval

Over the past couple of years, I have been working extensively with oval shapes. I was originally inspired by its association with cameos when used in the context of jewelry, and its ability to garner a sense of preciousness. I have utilized the shape repeatedly in my work, particularly in my painting cutouts, which become reminiscent of stones when set in oval-shaped metal framework. The oval has become my default shape,  an easy and familiar starting point in many of my designs. I tossed around the idea of trying to use a different shape for quite a while, but always seemed to get stuck, and ended up reverting to the trusty oval. Recently, however, I felt like it was finally time to force myself outside my comfort zone, and made it a personal challenge to break away into unknown territory. Oval-free.

I had just finished a new painting, and was all set to start fresh. Looking at my painting, I sketched out a few simplified shapes on paper, trying to capture the gist of the painting’s composition, and cut out the shapes to make a template.

(I’ll admit that I was having issues with totally letting go of the oval, and it is still present in my initial design sketches….oops!)

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Acrylic painting on wood.

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Template

Using a template like this was a really interesting way of isolating areas of the painting. In the past, I usually located and isolated shapes individually. I made a color photocopy of the painting so I could test out removing different shapes and seeing how the colors and lines interact in various compositions. I played around with different paper mock-ups to come up with a composition.

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Test composition with paper photocopy.

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Test composition with paper photocopy.

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Sketches

When designing this piece, I was much more mindful of the interaction between the painted fragments, and how they worked together to create a nice visual rhythm. Rather that treating each fragment as separate, I was interested in trying to establish a connection or flow one piece to the next.

In the end, I was able to let go of the oval, and have begun to embrace a more angular and geometric form.

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“Echoes”- Wood, brass, steel, paint. 2013.

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Detail

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