Thursday, November 12, 2009

Week 6 Final Project and Artist's Statement

Mom, I hope this blesses and inspires you to continue doing great things.
- Matt

What follows is my artist's statement and the final project.

My mother has been drawing for years. She creates images of people, trees, flowers, birds, etc but also deeply spiritual pieces that really speak to your soul if you are a Christian. A while back I prompted her to expand her horizons; I asked her to move past her monochromatic works done in pencil, charcoal and ink into color. Ever since I completed FND110 Drawing, where I worked entirely with pencil and charcoal, she has been asking me to draw something in color.

For this assignment, I wanted to create a work that would be pleasing to her as well as show some of what I have learned in this class: using variations in hue, saturation and value to imply depth and transparency as appropriate; and choosing a color scheme that results in a pleasant viewing experience through harmony of color while limiting vibration. I chose to work on a religious theme using easily recognizable symbols: a bible, an empty cross and a fiery dove in flight.

During the thumbnail phase, I created for designs that symbolized Christianity: "The Word of God," a bible illuminated from the top-right by divine light; "The Empty Cross," an empty cross, light from above, atop a small hill; "The Inspired Word of God," a bible inside a ray of light coming from a fiery dove at the top-right of the frame; and "The Holy Spirit Descends," a fiery dove flies down inside a shaft of light. This was my first real project using Adobe Photoshop for drawing. A better choice would have been to use Adobe Illustrator but I do know it as well as I do Photoshop and time was running out. I learned how to use the pen tool more effectively along the way. In the end, I surprised myself with what I was able to produce in such a limited amount of time.

While working up the color harmony studies, I started with what I felt was the strongest thumbnail: "The Inspired Work of God." I chose to study monochromatic, complementary, split complementary and analogous harmonies. Monochromatic is probably the hardest harmony to work with for a design such as this one because it just screams out for multiple colors. In the end, I went with a nice orange hue. In the complementary study, I wanted a color duo that would work well for the light as well as the surrounding areas. I decided upon yellow and blue which I think works out well. The split-complementary harmony was a little easier because I already knew that I wanted a nice shade of red for the fiery aura around the dove shape, symbolizing the Holy Spirit. I had already seen how well the blue and yellow combination worked in the complementary study so I went with red, yellow and a different hue of blue. When I got to the analogous harmony, I knew that I wanted to work with warm colors: reds, oranges, and yellows. I put the colors in place and it looked nice. Then I got to looking at it a little more. I felt that I could do better, so I went to work again using the same palette but altered the shades a bit.

For the final project, I decided to ignore the suggestion that the split-complementary harmony would work better and stayed with the warm colors of my second analogous study. The analogous harmony provided more freedom to choose hues that express a spiritual passion that simply was not present in the other color studies. I started with a brand new file that was quite a bit larger. I drew everything over resulting in much smoother rays of light. I added a glow effect to the fiery dove which introduced some new tints. I redesigned the bible as well and shifted the yellow light over top of it resulting in faux gilded edges. There is no noticable vibration but the light appears transparent.

The design is a complete success. The eye is immediately drawn to the dove and then it shoots down the shaft of light to the golden bible. The light and dark areas are balanced and the contrast is gradual. The dove and bible introduce a bit of variety. The composition and layout is extremely pleasing. I feel that I was able to accomplish the stated goals and more; I have attained unity... The viewer is left feeling that this piece is complete.

Week 6 Final Project
"The Inspired Word of God"


  1. Beautifully done! I'll be using this on my blog for Pentecost - please let me know if you'd prefer I don't do that. Thank you!

  2. Thank you very much. I would be honored to have you use it but you will probably want to pull down the original size from Flickr though.

  3. Thanks! I just posted it at:
    Does it look ok to you?