ARTofficial Intelligence • MAY

ARTofficial Intelligence • Cindy Tafil

What was the secret of Claude Monet’s combination of color and light?

Monet had a preoccupation with the quality of different and varied lighting from careful observation of landscape to canvas in his garden at Giverny. Monet would set up as many as twenty canvases in close approximation switching from canvas to canvas as the day progressed with the light changes. He intentionally planted a rectangular mass of yellow, oranges and burgundy wallflowers with red columbines on the west side of the garden. The back lit lighting would create an explosion of color at sunset. The garden’s east side exposed a delicate contrast of pink lupines, blue columbines and other soft pastel colors along the sunrise border. His paintings rendered a beauty of color harmony visually pleasing for both artists and gardeners alike.

Does a well-designed garden help in understanding the basic elements of art?

Absolutely, the entire experience of composing a painting and the initial stages of planning a garden design require the same compositional rules, a defined balance of forms and shapes including masses (objects) and voids (empty spaces). Beauty emerges only when there is a proper relationship between color, texture, and balance of integrated spaces and forms. The feeling of both garden and art produce a pure emotion that’s extended from the artist to the viewer.

What is negative and positive space?

The simplest explanation is positive space is occupied by the subject and the negative space is not the subject. In a garden for instance, the positive space is the area of composition that is occupied by an object or mass such as rocks, trees, shrubs, plants and even land forms. The negative space is the area of the garden that isn’t occupied by an object. Negative space lends power to the silhouette of a tree. It also serves to balance the weight of the objects and subdues or increases the impact of forms and masses.

The Japanese were masters of negative garden space. Painters seek inspiration from the Zen quality of the compositional landscape in a Japanese garden. The garden’s reticence of beautifully defined negative spaces speaks an eloquent passage of simplicity within patterns producing an emotional reaction to garden enthusiasts and artists.

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”

from the words of Henry Ward Beecher