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Monday, June 2, 2008

Using Black & White In Artwork And Calligraphy

Black and white artwork is a whole subject onto itself, I simply love it, black and white are the true extreme colors, and they call for strong imagery and subject matter for them to unvail their true power. Art that is black and white seems to call for something from its viewer - calling for our input to add to its raw, blunt character. Black and white artwork impresses our retinas in such a direct way, our consciusness, our emotions...and our memories awaken in the most profound manner when we see these strikingly contrast colors.

There is one well known effect of using black and white in artwork, most of us know of this quality from its presence in photography. This effect is age, the past, black and white has always been used to relay the impression of the past - an earlier time. Most of this effect comes from the time when photography was only available in black and white, a fact most of us are aware of. Observe this effect in the following images:

Nostalgia, memories, the past, are definite qualities exuded by the color combination of black and white...the pictures above immediately sent you back to the past, to memories you haven’t recalled in quite some time. This is a secret that Madison Avenue has always use in its efforts to sentd our minds into the past - a secret it has used very successfully. But this effect has been known and used by many others as well. The contrasting elements of the two colors just catches the attention; we just can defend our mind from their definity; their directness, no other colors influence us so dramaticly.

There is another profound area where we see black and white reining supreme; it has been used for this purpose since ancient times - begining with the very creation of paper - it’s called “writing” - the most popular form of visual communication. Writing is also used as an art form - lettering - lettering is used constantly in advertising, design and other methods using visual media. But there is also another distingished means of utilizing print or the written word, its called “calligraphy”, calligraphy is a decorative form of writing, a complex style of writing that takes time and practice - not to mention artistic talent to master. And black ink on white paper is the tradition way of producing this so revered form of printing the human language. The use of black and white is the standard; gives this style of writing and art form its intense effect on the eyes; gives it its beauty. Below are examples of the art of calligraphy:

Being the most contrasting colors of all, black and white can present qualities that no other colors can. They can steer us into a loftier mind state, a delightful state of mind through use of lines, curves, etc., or by using the same throw ourselves into a dull, horrific mental state. Other colors can do the same thing but never in so striking a manner as these two fundamental colors.

To experience the effects of black and white, as with all colors, is to use them often - only in this way will the artist feel and know a chosen color. Start experimenting with black and white artwork, I’m sure you’ll be amazed by the results.

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