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Glasgow, United Kingdom
An illustrator and games artist living and working in Scotland. I have various hobbies: coding, travel, art and games; and I enjoy writing about them.

30 October 2012

A look into the aesthetic theory

The Halloween is approaching! Unlike some, I'm not looking forward to it. This year I'm swapping the parties, copious ammount of drinking and metric fuck tons of fake blood for the fun and games that ensue when you're a customer safety steward. So this year I'll be looking forward to three and a half thousand drunk students crammed into one building.

But not to panic. Uni work is also being produced, if at a slightly slower pace; and there is just not enough hours in the day to blog. So once I get a spare moment to scan things in, look out for a giant post backdating a few weeks.

In any case, the project proposal is well under way and my Evernote account is bursting with various notes and bookmarks.

I've talked about the question of appeal in the past, and my line of inquiry lead straight to the theory of art, or the aesthetic theory. An interesting book on the subject is written by one Henry G. Hartman in 1919 and is a broad over view of the key principles.

He, for example breaks down a painting into its basic elements. The presentative elements, such as line, form and colour; and the representative elements, such as conation, mood and symbolism. Hartman also analyses various elements of painting in an attempt to find the very basic and most important one. In the book he argues that colour is less important than light, because various colours have varied psychological effects on the viewer. I find that I disagree with that arguement, because a painting without colour is nothing but a black canvas.

Presentative Aesthetic Elements

  • Color
  • Light
  • Shadow
  • Atmosphere
  • Line
  • Drawing
  • Mass
  • Space
  • Modelling
  • Proportion
  • Harmony
  • Movement
  • Rhythm
  • Texture
  • Surfaces
  • Brush-work
  • Composition
Representative Elements
  • Design
  • Figures
  • Ideation
  • Affection
  • Conation
  • Craftsmanship

More about that in the lit review.

Having identified the gaps in my skill as an artist, I'm working hard to plug them. Currently I'm following a series of Youtube tutorials by Peter Han about dynamic sketching. This is the sort of thing he gives out as homework:

My sincere apologies for the hazy phone photo. One of these days I'll invest into a home scaner.
Anyway, I bet you're bored from all this critical analysis of complex theories (wink, wink). Let's see some pictures!

As a hobby and an excuse to make some awesome art I took on the Unreal Challenge project with a group of 3rd and 4th year students in the uni. Here is a little environment sketch I did for that.


Let's analyze. The colours in this piece are quite harmonius. The lighting is harsh and strong, which would suggest stronger contrast. However there ins't much contrast in the painting. The darkest tone is maybe a 60% blue/gray. A complimentary colour to make the composition less boring could be used. The forms tend to be blurry and merge into the background. Also, there is no clear foreground, middle ground and background separation, which makes the image a little flat. However the implied feeling of a desolate, almost sterile desert is conveyed quite well.