A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of watching the Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN) Symposium online. It was held this year in Sonoma County, California. I had a wonderful time two years ago attending the conference in Charleston, South Carolina but this year’s timing didn’t work to attend in person. Thankfully the wonderful website Houzz.com provided all seminars live online. It was fun to follow from a distance and learn about inspiring trends in running an architectural practice and custom home design.
One of the most interesting presentations was given by architect Jeremiah Eck, FAIA. It was entitled Why Art Matters: Painting in Architecture. He made eight points discussing the parallels between architecture and art primarily explaining painting. These eight points not only apply to my residential projects but also equally to my printmaking work. Even more exciting was the affirmation that he takes off Fridays to focus on his painting. His architecture practice and work have thrived in a remarkable way by taking time off to paint. I too believe every moment I spend printmaking only enhances my design work. I print with the Hand Print Press in the University of Missouri, Kansas City Studios. It is a break that recharges and invigorates me with every hour I spend in the printmaking studio.
The 8 principles as noted by Jeremiah Eck, FAIA
- All Great paintings have a moment
- Space & Light
- Over & Under
- All Great paintings are grey
- Keep your darks thin & your lights heavy
How do I interpret these ideas for Printmaking and home design?
- All Great paintings have a moment. Something that draws you in a drawing, painting or print as it triggers you to look closely. For a home, it can be spaces that feel so wonderful they make you smile. In my own home renovation, I enlarged the windows and removed an interior wall which allows the family room and kitchen to be one sunny central space which as a family we spend a great deal of time in.
- Composition easy enough for a print. How do all the elements/pieces work together? Is it pleasing to the eye? Does the exterior of a home appear pleasing? Does the plan work as in size of room and location?
- Space and Light. Is there depth in the print or is it flat? Is there contrast? Same for a home except the spaces are three dimensions and one can experience them. Is there a contrast: small spaces, transition in between spaces, large spaces? Ahhh light where is the light? Is there light is it all bright or there is a space that allows contrast a little darker or tucked away?
- Transparency in a print is there areas that allow the colors or shapes to be seen through one another? In a home how do the views work and align? How is the perspective, how is the alignment, is there any overlap that creates a between space?
- Over & Under recesses and overhangs. Spaces within spaces. Ceiling, floor, volume changes
- Edges * my favorite! I love when printmaking to work with the edges whether it is the beautiful decal on the edge of the paper or the line between object in a drawing or three dimensional in a embossed or collograph print. Contrast allows you to see one element from another as you can see the edge. For a home it means carefully understanding what defines a room. Are there six edges/eight corners : 4 walls, ceiling and floor or is hazy? If you had to change paint colors do you really have a wall between rooms even there is a large opening? I like distinct rooms with edges. No funky shaped “L” shaped or fuzzy vague rooms for me!
- All great paintings are grey..hmm easy for painting colors are based on the same palette with usually a unifying base color. A home it can be the same palette of colors or the same unifying attention to detail. Windows have a three pane design…match it with doors. Use all the same metal as in brushed nickel for example for door hardware, cabinet hardware, light fixtures etc. Small but very important attention to detail.
- Keep your darks thin & your lights heavy easy for printmaking let the paper show as in save the white! For a home I suggest not to overdo it. Keep it simple. It is tempting when building a dream house to try to include everything you have dreamed about for years! It is hard to be selective to allow the design to breathe. Editing is always the trickiest. Keep the palette simple as it helps to unify the home and add a sense of calmness with joy!