Martha's Blog

economy of form

I've been thinking a lot about the idea of economy of form that I wrote about in my last blog posting.  It is an important aspect of design.  Economy in design simply means keeping it simple.  If you can remove an element from a composition  and it still works, then leave that element out.  You don’t want to include more than is needed, but be sure to include all that is needed to create an intelligent composition.  This idea is worth pursuing.

Some of the paintings from my last show embrace that concept.  They also happen to be some of my favorites from that show.  Here are a few:

And this one that captures the essence of a sunset, titled "End of Day":


I remember a writing teacher of mine who taught us to free write, and then take what we wrote and remove unnecessary words.  And then remove more.  And then more.  When we finally got to where we couldn't remove any more words without making it unintelligible, only then was our piece of writing finished.  It is the essence of what you are trying to say that counts, not all the useless words that surround it.  Here is a painting titled "Bonfire".  It is a simple abstraction of the idea of a large, outdoor fire.  For me it exemplifies the best of what I am hoping to achieve more of: basic shapes with an intriguing and mysterious feeling, beautiful and yet limited use of color, and seductive textures.


I have a tendancy to make my work visually complicated.  It is easy to compose this covers up the weaknesses in my composition.  Working with simple shapes, minimal color, and lots of space between things is HARD!  I vow to challenge myself to do just that in the coming year.

Does this idea resonate with you?