ART 2 Branches Due 9/25


1. Look at the student studies of branches using cross contours:


2. Look at the discussion of positive and negative shapes in the composition of these photographs by Art Wolfe:


3. Look at the Almond branches by Van Gogh and read the commentary about the context and the composition:


4. Read the biography of  and comments on Patricia Tobacco Forrester:


5. Look at all the images and compositions by Forrester at this site, and others if you want. Consider how she usesuse positive and negative space in the compositions:


6. Comment on the visual and emotional effect of the branches by Van Gogh and Forrester in terms of both their symbolic significance and  the visual effect.  Which image is most impressive to you and why? How does this contribute to your understanding of  and sensitivity to what you are working on in class?


15 responses »

  1. The biggest difference between the works of Forrester and Van Gogh’s Almond Branches is the overall harshness. I think the Almond branches have a lot of smooth movement and don’t necessarily smack you in the face with their color, etc. Forrester’s branches are very interesting and both technically and visually different, however I prefer Van Gogh’s painting. It really makes me want to accentuate the crookedness of the branch.

  2. 1. I like how they look so simple, and that makes them graceful.
    2. I like how the positive-negitive spaces make interesting shapes, and are almost always contrasting colors. It makes them very interesting.
    3. I think a work of art is more beautiful and more interesting when there is a story behind it. After I read about it, I looked at the Van Gogh piece very differently.
    4. I like how Forester ‘paints from life. I also like how she does different things landscapes, like making seem large powerful.
    5. I think she uses positive-negative to make them vibrant.
    6. Van Gogh’s piece was very graceful, and the branch looked fragile, while Forester’s pieces are rough, and the branches look strong.

  3. I’ll start with the quote from Art Wolfe: “When the positive and negative spaces become co-equal in your imagination as you compose the shot, you have seized control as an artist and are not merely grabbing images but creating them. You are thinking in terms of form and line, not of things.” The reference is from the artistic choice to draw the shape/form OR to draw the space first…both are valid and decisive ways to control the picture plane. When I view the Van Gogh (Almond Branches) I can see this happening with more facility than the Forester paintings. I am not trying to make a clear comparison since both artists are amazing in their interpretations of nature….the Van Gogh is a part of a bigger view of nature; the Forester is a wider view of what she wants to include in her picture and it appears very complex with a lot of spatial depth. The Van Gogh uses a flatter picture plane with expressive brush work; the Forester paintings of trees uses the shape and form of the branches throughout the composition as an expressive force. Both are wonderful interpretations of what they see, how they see, and choose to express in their works.

  4. I liked the painting by Van Gogh a lot. The branches looked real because of the varying shades of brown and grey used to create them. The buds just beginning to open indicate early spring, as does the grey/blue sky behind them. I found the pictures by Forrester to be too busy. It was hard to focus on something because so much was crammed into them. I liked the photo by Art Wolfe with the snowy branches and the orange door behind them. I find it to be a striking image that draws my eyes towards it. Although the project in class is just going to be black and white, I guess the way that the photo would contribute to my understanding of what we are going in class would be to have the background a bright color.

  5. 1. I like how simple yet complex the branches can be. It kind of makes drawing trees and branches seem less intimidating
    2. From looking at this, I personally don’t like Art Wolfe’s photographs and don’t think they show positive and negative space well. But I do like when he says “…blurred antelopes become brushstrokes, a foggy ridge becomes a Sumi painting, or leaves blowing in a snowstorm are a Seurat come to life.” I think it describes positive and negative space well.
    3. I really like this painting, and reading about how it can to be makes it more interesting
    4. I like how Forrester’s way of thinking about art and painting translates into her work.
    5. I like that in her paintings, the subject tends to be darker and catches your eye more than the background.

  6. Van Gogh’s representation of the almond branches emanates softness and delicacy while still proving to make a lasting impression on the viewer. The picture’s outward simplicity invites the viewer to look closer and notice the painting’s complexity. Van Gogh’s use of negative space compliments his use of positive space and visa versa. I also like Van Gogh’s use of color; he adds dashes of pink accentuate the flowers, he creates an appealing contrast between the white of the flowers and the blue of the background, and he uses dark and light shades to create an excellent sense of depth. Although I admire Forrester’s devotion and approach to art, I feel that in most of her paintings there is too much going on and I do not know what to focus on. In contrast to the calming effect of Van Gogh’s painting, Forrester’s paintings are overwhelming. In their own way, looking at the works of both artists reminds me of the importance of composition, depth, negative and positive space, and the captivating shapes and contours of the branches.

  7. In terms of Van Goghs almond branches, i noticed that he was able to convey more space by clustering the branches together so that each group of small branches and buds went in a different direction than the one in front or behind it. Then he was able to convey more space by making the branches farther back appear llighter and the lines less sharp. I don’t see much Symbolic significance, but the painting makes me feel relaxed and calm. I think this is because of the pastels and also the indecisive lines that are less violent to the viewer. Foresters paintings seems like they have somewhat of a center point. they all feel al little more harsh to the viewer. Like they all have bright very dark colors and sharp decisive lines. I personally like Van Goghs because i enjoy his style and colors he uses.

  8. van gogh used gestural brushstrokes and simple colors with little blending to create a placid feel, i personally am not drawn into van gogh’s canvas, the work seems simplistic and lacks depth. his picture is calm and peaceful. forrester’s piece on the other hand captures my eye. it’s an explosion of color and lines, layered over white space to create depth. her works are tempestuous and vibrant, lively, especially when compared to the almond blossoms of van gogh. in my own work, i would look to forrester for inspiration and implementation of vibrant colors and gestural drawing.

  9. Van Gogh’s branches seem a lot more delicate and use a lot more empty space. Forrester’s branches are much more close together, and there is very little empty space, which makes the piece feel a lot more chaotic as opposed to Van Gogh’s painting. Personally, I prefer Van Gogh’s work because I love the use of color (the blues, whites, and different shades of green go together beautifully), and the delicate brushstrokes. Looking at Van Gogh’s painting definitely gives me a relaxed and peaceful feeling. Forrester’s, on the other hand, has so much intense detail and different colors that I don’t find it appealing to look at. Looking at these works illustrates how shading and negative space can affect the way a painting or drawing appears.

  10. When comparing Van Gogh and Forrester’s pieces, I see a huge difference. Van Gogh’s branches are very simple, but still convey a very interesting picture and have a meaning. I see Forrester’s pieces and they just seem to collide with color and shapes. This comes off as chaotic and confusing. I personally like Van Gogh’s design a lot more, because of how simply it portrays the meaning and it is much more my style. This definitely will affect my work by bringing the simplicity in.

  11. Van Gogh’s work seemed to be more free form and less intricately detailed than Forrester’s whose art work seems to be very clustered and clumped up…and heavily detailed along the branches. As much as I appreciated the detailed elements of Forrester’s work, I found a sort of serenity lay deep within the work of Van Gogh. I prefer his colour schemes in particular and the way he is able to exaggerate negative space in order to leave the painting feel refreshing, whereas I felt like Forrester’s paintings felt a bit clumped up and induced visual claustrophobia within me because I barely noted any negative space (it was all taken up by the branches). I also admired Van Gogh’s use of simple (often sometimes thick) line markings in contrast to Forrester’s thinner and more detailed ones (it gave the piece an overall natural feel) This definitely makes me want to make sure that I do leave a solid, good amount of negative space in my piece. I don’t want it to feel too clustered and give the impression of a claustrophobic-inducive drawing!

  12. Comparing with Von Gogh’s work and those students’ work, we can see a lot difference. The student’s branch seems with less line but it is clear to see all different parts of branches. It is easy but active. Von Gogh’s work is more close to real branches. He uses grey and brown to creat the alive
    feeling of branches. But I think Von Gogh’s work contains more emotion by himself. Although it is colorful and vivid. But it gives me the feeling that Von Gogh’s confusion of the complex world and he
    felt hazy about it.

  13. I really like the art piece of Forrester. Forrester’s branch is really interesting, look still life and it has obvious particular. there are different between Forrest’s branch and Van Gogh’branch. Both technically and visually different.

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