Have you ever played with Wordle? I first discovered Wordle years ago. and I’ve had a lot of fun playing with it. It’s a good way to pinpoint the important elements of a topic, or to focus on specific thoughts in our heads.
Write out a paragraph or two, copy and paste it into a Wordle, and see what comes out! You can have fun changing colors and fonts and even the shape of your “word cloud” — that’s what Wordle is all about, you see. I should have explained that at the start. It takes the words you enter and arranges them in a fanciful way, adding emphasis to words used more frequently, minimizing those of lesser importance.
As I study tonalism in art, I came across a beautiful list of the elements considered most essential in the style. Immediately I headed for Wordle and created this word cloud:
You’ll quickly see that with the exception of space, all words have equal weight in this cloud. Even from this first, very simple Wordle, I know that space is important, that one of my first considerations should be how I compose a scene.
But I didn’t stop there. I wanted to explore more of the qualities associated with tonalism, so I copied several paragraphs from The Secret of Tonalism, one of the sites I’m using for my research. I deleted the insignificant words — a, an, the, for example — so that I could get a better look at the qualities that are part of the tonalist art style.
Here is the resulting word cloud:
Again, space is prominent, but other qualities are emerging here, such as evocative, spiritual, and natural.
As I continue my 31-day index card project of tonalist-inspired oil paintings, I will be giving more thought to the ideas expressed in this word cloud. Day by day I’ll be taking a topic from the cloud and exploring it more at-depth in my studies and my art.
From time to time, I’ll probably make more word clouds, too. They are such fun to play with, and such a good way to visualize our thoughts and feelings. Clouds may seem like mere wisps of thoughts, but truly we can find a lot in the clouds!
For me, these simple word clouds are much like a road-map for me to follow as I explore the world of tonalist art. It’s a process that will continue for quite some time, and I’m happy to have each of you here to follow along with me as I learn and grow as an artist.