Friday, April 29, 2011

Photoless Friday (12): More Owen Jones

Friday, again, already. VERY busy with special dinner preparations (if desired, follow the progress on my blog dedicated to Milan:

Can't linger, but couldn't turn up the opportunity to share another gem from Owen Jones with you, either. This one is his "Proposition 9":...More......

"PROPOSITION 9: As in every perfect work of Architecture a true proportion will be found to reign between all the members which compose it, so throughout the Decorative Arts every assemblage of forms should be arranged on certain definite proportions; the whole and each particular member should be a multiple of some simple unit. Those proportions will be the most beautiful which it will be most difficult for the eye to detect. Thus the proportion of a double square, or 4 to 8, will be less beautiful than the more subtle ration of 5 to 8; 3 to 6; than 3 to 7; 3 to 9; 3 to 4; than 3 to 5."

Hey, mathematicians out he talking about the Golden Mean (approximately 2/3 to the whole)?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Milan Monday (28): a beautiful "mask"

Milan Monday, again, and already up to number 28.

Here's a lovely female "mask" that I've admired for years. Got a good photo, today, which I turned into a StitchPainter diagram and then a BMP file for your personal non-commercial fun!


If you'd like to know more about the original image, go to my blog on Milan, "My Milan (Italy)":

Monday, April 18, 2011

Milan Monday 27: a beautiful classicizing acanthus border

A beautiful classicizing 15th century acanthus border on the principal portal of Santa Maria delle Grazie (the church to which the refectory, where Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper is found, belongs) to brighten your Monday.

I transformed my photograph into a StitchPainter diagram, then saved it as a BMP image, in order to share it with you.

If you want to know more about the relief and the church, go to the blog post on my blog dedicated to Milan, "My Milan (Italy)":

Friday, April 15, 2011

Photoless Friday (11): A promise is a promise: Owen Jones, The Grammar of Ornament

I may not have the memory of an elephant, but my sense of guilt does. I had promised, when I first opened this blog, to finish reading Owen Jones' Grammar of Ornament, and share his wise and still fresh design principles, despite the fact that more than 150 years have passed since it was first published in 1856. Yes, 1856. What could he have said way back then that could still be so inspiring? You'll be pleasantly surprised....More......

Just think for a minute what someone born in London in 1809 saw and felt and experienced. A positive and negative whirlwind of cultural, political and economic developments, including the Grand Tour and the Industrial Revolution, which bring us right back to our architect Owen, who--and he wasn't alone--looked around him in England, and didn't like the buildings and things he saw, so he wrote up cures for the ills, and published them--a list of general principles, then examples drawn from art of all ages and places the world over--for the benefit of artists, architects, industrialists and the general public.

Putting his words into today's language, his self-declared goals were to explain and illustrate his idea of good architectural decoration, which he believed derived from following the general principles of design found in nature, not copying either it, or past styles, slavishly.

Some of his comments ring literally through the centuries, if not millennia, in occidental art: harmony and appropriateness of design, proportion and color; in good art, nothing can be added, or taken away, and leave the design equally good, or even improve it; study nature, then idealize it, and so on and so forth.

Good start, but not so very helpful until the components are defined, so, on this Photoless Friday, let's jump over these generics, and get straight to my first summary of his thoughts I personally find helpful for designing, and I hope that they'll be helpful for you, too.

This one comes from his Proposition n. 6: Beauty of form is produced by lines growing out one from the other in gradual undulations.

Jones' comment on ancient Greek art takes it one helpful step further: the three great laws which we find everywhere in nature—radiation from the parent stem, proportionate distribution of the areas, and the tangential curvature of the lines—are always obeyed.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Milan Monday 26: acanthus

Monday, already! It seems to arrive faster and faster.

Here's a lovely classicizing acanthus pattern, which will work beautifully for borders, a table runner, or a bell pull.

I created the design out of one of my own photos using StitchPainter, then turned it into a BMP for your personal non-commercial use.

If you'd like to know more about the inspiring architectural decoration, see my blog on Milan, "My Milan (Italy)":

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Slow, but sure progress

Slow, but sure, progress on that other "Thank You" gift I mentioned quite awhile ago. (I'm pretty sure the intended recipient isn't sneaking a peek at her gift, because she doesn't read English, so I should be pretty safe!)

The design went through various mutations,...More......

...beginning with something much more detailed and realistic, maybe interesting in and of itself, but the desired impact, message, wasn't there, so, like any sef-respecting modern artist (I do live in my own time, after all, as much as I am not comfortable in it quite often), I pared down, and pared down, and pared down til I got to the essence of what I was wanting to express.

Whether I succeed, or not, in your opinion, you'll be able to see for yourself at the journey's end.

For now, here's another snapshot of the work-in-progress, which I designed with my StitchPainter program.

Can you tell, yet, what it's going to be?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday links (01)

Some of the bloggers I follow post interesting links on Sunday, so I thought I'd give it a try, but nothing inspired me much 'til this popped up on Facebook.

An exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on 18th century girls' "homework" embroideries:


(P.S., "tent stitch" and "continental stitch" are two kinds of needlepoint, so it is relevant to this blog!)
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