Wheaton High School

How to Develop Your Ideas
Ideas: Primary Breakup: The content of Pictures.

In the attempt to become more creative, the first consideration for you and me as  artists  is deciding what to do.
What will be subject of my work? The suggestions offered in this lesson describe how you can change your thinking and your ideas to make visual creations  more interesting and more creative.

 One of the tell-tale signs of unskilled and untrained artist is that their pictures often lack  creative Visual content.

Without Visual Content, pictures are not very interesting and do not engage the interest of viewers. Simply put, without cretive Visual content the picture is BORING!

Breaking up the Space is the beginning of developing visual content. I refer to this stage of development  as "primary breakup forms or objects".

You can think of this as part of the creative process. It is idea development. 
It is thinking through the image content in a  picture. 
A less creative, less interesting, picture will have a short list. 

Following is a sample of the idea building process where we actually think about what goes into a picture:

Sample of how to develope an  Idea List:

Selection: What will I choose for my theme?  You are now faced with an infinite set  of choices. You need to target one. What is current in your life? What do you like? What do you know something about? What is meaningful or expressive to an idea or attitude?  WHAT??  Here is one random example.
I choose "Watermellon Patch" as the subject or main idea of the picture.

Primary Breakup Form 1   A watermellon
(If we stop with that one watermellon it will be very boring.)

 Primary Breakup Form 2    another watermellon, watermellon 2
 Primary Breakup Form 3    another watermellon, watermellon 3

 Primary Breakup Form 4    another watermellon, watermellon 4

 Primary Breakup Form 5    another watermellon, watermellon 5

 Primary Breakup Form 6    ground or garden space

 Primary Breakup Form 7    vines and leaves (good detail here)

 Primary Breakup Form 8    a fence

 Primary Breakup Form 9    a tree, tree 1

 Primary Breakup Form 10  another tree, tree 2

 Primary Breakup Form 11  another tree, tree 3

 Primary Breakup Form 12  garden tools, rake, how, fork

 Primary Breakup Form 13  sky and clouds

After brainstorming list above we can think about how place and organize these forms in our picture. Each object listed will have its own space, size and qualities. The use of the space, the size and position of these objects, and detail.  This problem is focusing on PRIMARY BREAK UP. Therefore, do not worry too much about detail today.

EXCERCISE:  ON A TYPING SIZE PAGE  Make a list that is similar to the example above. List your main theme object, and then think of other objects which can fit in the environment of the theme object.

Art Ideas:
Good Ideas-Good Art: Great Ideas-Great Art.

Interpretation of Themes:

About ideas: Any idea when transformed through a medium can become art. But --No idea, no art. Ideas are not hard to find. They come from our reactions to life.

The following list came from a single brainstorming session. When one brainstorms you come up with a whole lot of ideas, some will be useful others may just be discarded.

Time: Seasons as time: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer; A season to --- (plant, harvest, build, grow, suffer, destroy, want, plenty, trials; Time as Age; age of innocence, golden age, in the prime, old age; Time the destroyer, victim of time, man's dilemma in the age of machines.

Love: Self absorbing love, brotherly love; Love as lust; Lust for --- (money, power, fame, blood)

Love unrequited love, unloving, love goddess; Love of --- (country, justice, peace, security, etc;

Realms: Realms as rooms; Old rooms, large rooms, small rooms, pool rooms, bar rooms, school rooms, light rooms, dark rooms; Realms as worlds; new world, old world, day world, night world, business world, other world, other worldly; Outer space, Fairy land, Mother Goose land, --- Sea places, air places, rocky places, sandy places, glassy places, grassy places; mountains and seas, animal homes, the realm of dreams;

Feelings: Joy, Sorrow, Loneliness, Longing, Longing for --- , Confusion, Frustration, Hatred of --

Social Concerns: Roles of people; Issues of life and death; Heaven and hell; Peace, Security, Being with people; Parties, Wild or interesting characters, Caricatures; Mothers, Fathers, Clergy, Human rights, Generation gap;

Institutions: Home scenes; Sport scenes; Entertainment industry; Hospitals, Politics, Religious themes;

Art Abstraction: Abstract art can be of several kinds, One kind is "expressionistic" a category of art that brings emotional expression through distortion and extreme colors. Color can become symbolic such as green for envy and red for passion or energy; At times expressionism appears distorted or chaotic and quite out of control. This kind frequently gets a response like, "My two year old kid could do better than that!" In cases like that the view is probably missing a lot of the visual content within the work. Another kind is intellectual abstraction that tries to develop a sense of relationship between lines, forms and color. Relationship can be such as small to large, dark to light, rough to smooth, curved to strait, etc. Sometimes this kind of art can be very precise but yet hard to interpret. Symbolism is another area for free interpretation. The actual content may use objects to represent other meanings than "reality."

Art Ideas: Viewing and Interpretation Reality

Real subjects taken from Nature provide an unlimited source for drawings, paintings and design. Human beings have interpreted the natural world since before the Egyptians. Approaches to interpreting reality can vary a lot. From photo realism to semi realism. Some artists use nature for a source of "motifs' which are then used in a decorative crafty way. Clay designs with fish on them for example or clothing printed with flower patterns.

Being able to draw or paint realistically is not the only basis for 'good work' from nature. It is an even more important to bring out a personal viewpoint or interpretation than to make it look like a photo. Ordinary sights from everyday life would be a great treasure if we only had them from some observer who lived hundreds or thousands of years ago. Likewise your own every day life and environment would be a treasure to anyone who might wonder what life was like when you went to school as a young person.

Human subjects:
Working, Playing, Studying, Working out, Playing a sport; The very fact that the action is so common place usually makes it a very good candidate for a picture. But at the same time, because it is so common we think it is not a good idea. Treasures from everyday life might include your mom in the kitchen with an apron, your father on the tractor with his cap. Your little brother sprawled in front of the TV, your sister styling her hair with a blow dryer.

Outdoor Subjects (landscape scenes)
Places in the wild, out of doors; Buildings, Fields, Trees, Fence Rows; Rivers or Lakes; Natural park; Townscapes or Cityscapes are details of buildings and streets; Views of the streets and store fronts.

Indoor Subjects, (Interiors)
Interesting places seen from the inside; Living rooms, dining rooms, ball rooms, bedrooms, basements, bathrooms, studios, deserted rooms, malls.

Still life Subjects,  all sorts of objects, flowers, fruit, vegetables, non living forms, displayed for composition for paintings or drawings.
  Updated: 4/22/2003


Wheaton Minnesota High School
 Return to Homepage