Today's postings

  1. [Baren 35230] uk block prices etc (David Harrison)
  2. [Baren 35231] Re: composition (Annie Bissett)
  3. [Baren 35232] Re: Baren Digest (old) V42 #4259 ("Marilynn Smith")
  4. [Baren 35233] Re: composition (Barbara Mason)
  5. [Baren 35234] My Benjamin Franklin Project ("Imin Yeh")
  6. [Baren 35235] composition ("Lee Churchill")
  7. [Baren 35236] Re: composition (Kris Shanks)
  8. [Baren 35237] [After Five 6738] [After Five 6738] Birthday preparations etc (peart #
  9. [Baren 35238] Re: composition (L Cass)
  10. [Baren 35239] Re: composition (Charlie overshoe)
  11. [Baren 35240] Re: composition (David Harrison)
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Message 4
From: David Harrison
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2008 13:19:53 +0000
Subject: [Baren 35230] uk block prices etc
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Hi all,

I've started researching costs and facilities to produce cherry blocks in the
UK. If anyone's interested, please could you contact me off-list to let me
know what size of block you'd prefer, and any other details you think would be

If prices aren't prohibitive I will have samples made up for UK Bareners to


David H
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Message 1
From: Annie Bissett
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2008 09:14:33 -0500
Subject: [Baren 35231] Re: composition
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Not having gone to art school, I don't know any theories about
composition, but I became very curious about it when I started
working with collage. As I would move various collage elements around
on the page, I became aware that there was some editing function
inside me that would know when an object was in the correct place.
There was a very clear sensation, a visceral feeling of "rightness",
when I got to a point where the composition pleased me. The rightness
wasn't based on trying to replicate some inner vision -- I wasn't
working with a preconceived idea. It just seemed that some
arrangements felt right and some (most) felt not-right.

So what is that sense of rightness? I can't say I ever figured it
out. Given how difficult it is to identify and articulate what's
going on there, I'd guess that a lot of the guiding principles of
composition are subconscious. Interesting topic!

I'm happy to report that like Sharri I'm now getting my Digests again.

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Message 2
From: "Marilynn Smith"
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2008 06:32:20 -0800
Subject: [Baren 35232] Re: Baren Digest (old) V42 #4259
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Barbara, I think you are right on about composition and its importance. I
remember experimenting with some weird stuff in art school and how bad it
turned out. As artists I think it becomes a natural thing the more we
create, the more compositions just fall together for us. As for, viewing,
some folks just think abstract is not art. As an artist I think abstract
is the bare bones of art. (you have stripped away subject and are left with
composition and color, and perhaps surface texture) Yes, artists are more
open to abstraction than folks who have not studied composition in a formal
setting, we see differently than most. No matter what your subject is,
without a pleasing arrangement the work is not as good. I have, however,
seen a few things that grab regardless of composition because the message
they send is so strong.

I am not using akua kolor and I am not unhappy with the results of press
printing my prints. It is just different and more touchy with water based
than oil based because it is more apparent when it is off even just a
little. This series is not perfect, but human, hand pulled and I am pleased
so far. The biggest problem I have is my work space. My back and shoulders
have been starting to hurt. I did not relate that to my work setup until
yesterday. I put the press on the kitchen counter and my paper on the lower
table. It is the height of the press and the reach and bend over that is
killing my back. I am glad to discover this before either of my studio
spaces are built. This coming summer my studio up north will go together.
Counter height will be an issue there and in my kitchen. Down here next
winter we will build our workshop space, now I know what counter height I
need and have a better grasp of a good work space. Interesting how the body
when working needs to have the right height and arrangement or it poops out!

Marilynn in sunny but windy Baja Sur, Mexico
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Message 3
From: Barbara Mason
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2008 07:45:28 -0800 (PST)
Subject: [Baren 35233] Re: composition
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Yes, Annie, this is sort of what I meant...
Often I find the "right" spot and move things so they
are a little uncomfortable because it makes it a lot
more interesting for me. I wonder if others do that as
And I agree with Sharri that we unlearn and learn over
again...I seem to be doing that all the time.
Best to all
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Message 4
From: "Imin Yeh"
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2008 07:52:35 -0800
Subject: [Baren 35234] My Benjamin Franklin Project
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Hello Bareners,I wanted to share with all of you a project I am starting
during my MFA time at CCA in Printmaking.

We all know how powerful the multiple is and how great it is to be able to
participate in exchanges and sell our work reasonable as Printmakers.

I am trying out a project I call the Ben-Jammin Project.

Check it out here:

Essentially I have made the same number of prints ( valued at $100 dollars
each, since they feature benjamin franklin just like the 100 dollar bill)
for my entire Stafford Loan I took out to be able to attend this MFA
program. I am hoping to sell them off (which would mean I am debt free for
one year doing what I am paying to learn) or have some great trades with
other artists. I am using the blog to highlight my progress and show off my
fellow artists and their websites and their trades which should be works
valued at $100 !

Anyways, I thought it would be a great way to use the printmaking multiple
to illustrate just how much work one much sell at a reasonable price to pay
for education in our country. I hope bareners will check it out and comment
and trade etc. Also, I wanted to show how many ways Printmaking is a great
medium and continues to evolve!


Imin S. Yeh
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Message 5
From: "Lee Churchill"
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2008 09:40:41 -0700
Subject: [Baren 35235] composition
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>good morning Baren,
>I am starting a new body of work for an exhibition
>next year and want to focus this work on composition
>and how our mind sees things. I have ordered a bunch
>of books to read about it but think input from artists
>will be very important.

There is some very fascinating work in psychology about how the mind
interprets visual stimuli. There were great experiments where people
were asked to look at random shapes moving around the inside of a
square. Even though the shapes and movements were random people created
whole stories to explain what they were seeing, usually
anthropomorphizing the shapes! I can't remember the details right now
but if you can find the studies they might be of interest.



The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator
brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and
interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to
the creative act. (Marcel Duchamp)
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Message 6
From: Kris Shanks
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2008 09:04:48 -0800
Subject: [Baren 35236] Re: composition
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This is a great question, and my hunch is there's no difference
between how artists and non-artists react to composition, it's just
that artists have developed cognitive tools for analyzing why some
compositions work better than others. I think composition is what
makes or breaks a piece of art. For me, good composition leads the
eye around the artwork so that I don't get fixated on one thing, or
have some distracting element that sends me off the page. There's
some sort of dynamic balance. An exercise I still indulge is cutting
up art magazines. I find paintings that I like and then try and
figure out why the composition works for me, or find paintings I
think don't work as well and think about how I would fix the
composition. I have a little notebook that I paste the pictures into
where I can make little compositional sketches and diagrams. It's
great practice.

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Message 7
From: peart #
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2008 17:10:14 +0000
Subject: [Baren 35237] [After Five 6738] Birthday preparations etc
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Thank you for the grand tour of St Marys. We have nothing like that on the young (west) side of the U.S. (I'm in Seattle).
I was fascinated by the Viking ship graffitti. Being that I genuinely hate the graffitti around here, messing up our beautiful parks, streets and sometimes even art, I wonder how the townsfolks of Stow felt in the 9th century when some big, galoot of a Viking marked up their church.
Now, I see the marks as interesting and historical.

Will someone see our comtemporary 'tag-marks' as interesting several centuries from now?

West Seattle
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Message 8
From: L Cass
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2008 12:14:55 -0500
Subject: [Baren 35238] Re: composition
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Annie has hit the nail on the head with her observations re the
'visceral feeling' of 'rightness.'
Art schools can attempt to teach all the 'rules' they like but they
won't work for insensitive students -
I attended 2 schools with no rules but first class artists were on
the staff who simply
pointed students to look, feel and experiment. I believe it's a
mysterious thing called an aesthetic
sense which guides one to compose, change and DESPAIR! We often
believe that a composition weighted
to read from left to right (according to how we read) is good but
then there are examples of the opposite
working. People new to 'making art' are always asking for rules
instead of just freeing their minds to experiment
and evaluate .... a funny thing came up recently where my 8yr old
grandson in Grade 3 suffered an attempt
by his unimaginative teacher to familiarize the class with
'perspective' asking for small pencil drawings
to illustrate... oh-chaos and disaster! it did make for some
interesting runoff conversation tho'.

With children doing art I've always noticed that when they're given
paints and at least an 18" x 24" paper
they 'compose' beautifully whereas small 'exercise' type books tend
to stymie and constipate their efforts??
Space seems to be necessary for the arm and hand to respond to the
brain...........certainly what we term
composition is what we hang colour on.. and from there you can get
into a discussion of colour's very
crucial role in 'composition' - and we're talking about 2
dimensional work only right now what about
'composition' for 3D work - installations e.g. ?

Re size of canvas or work surface has anyone noticed that many well
known and reputable artists appear
to produce their best work often on a certain size scale. It does
seem to have a lot to do with individual
sensibilities again, mysteriously developed by much looking,
analyzing and experimenting...

Oh dear,one's touched only the tip of the iceberg - I could go on
forever - such an interesting topic, Barbara!
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Message 9
From: Charlie overshoe
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2008 12:19:01 -0800
Subject: [Baren 35239] Re: composition
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Very interesting about the straight line ...... it really is nowhere in nature.

As to symmetry .... years ago the U. of Chicago did a psychological study using the human face to evoke responses. Their finding was that everyone deemed sane ... regardless of age,race, sex, or culture chose a symmetrical face over the assymmetrical....attributing good rather than negative characteristics to the balanced face and attributing negative capabilities to those with an uneven visage.. ..I kinda think this works for art as well ... we just use line, space, shape, and color in place of eyes, ears, nose, etc.

Barbara P.
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Message 10
From: David Harrison
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2008 20:28:23 +0000
Subject: [Baren 35240] Re: composition
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I'd suggest that there *are* a few straight lines in nature, or at least some
straight enough that it's hard to perceive the difference: the edge of a
sunbeam through a gap in clouds, the horizon viewed straight on, a spider's
thread if the spider is dangling on the end of it, and the track of a lit drop
of water as it falls from a tree or rock.

Just to be awkward :-)


David H