Expanding Awareness

Here is today’s playful “shape picture”. Its title is “Expanding”, and I feel that my morning “Kindergarten time” is definitely helping me expand my knowledge of art and the fundamental principles of good design.



Can you guess what design principle this illustration is based upon?

Before I get out my shapes each day, I spend a little time reading about “good design”. This morning I came across a simple, straighforward definition I really liked.

Design is the act of planning and arranging the elements of art.

Yes. How simple! How obvious, really. So often, though, we overlook the obvious as we search for deeper meanings and highly-sophisticated methods.

So when I sat down with my shapes, I approached my illustration today from that very simple starting point. How could I best arrange the elements I was working with? What would be my plan?

Hopefully you’ve been able to guess that today’s design illustrates the principle of rhythm in art. Rhythm is similar to movement, and one important challenge is to create art that has both balance and rhythm. In many respects, rhythm can disrupt static balance, and too much balance can bring rhythm to a halt. How do we put them together?

I’ve puzzled over that question in the past, but as my knowledge grows and expands, I can see ways to incorporate both rhythm and balance, and I hope I’ve done that with my illustration today.

My plan was to base the design on a spiral theme — more or less. I wanted to create a visual pathway for the eye to follow. I knew, too, that I needed to use repitition — a strong aspect of rhythm. I chose two basic shapes — circles and triangles — and selected a variety of pieces from each group. One I had arranged those, I added two squares and a small rectangle to provide a bit of “stability” to the design.

The intention was to have a design that would invite the viewer to step inside, to travel around the design, and to offer several entrance points and exit points for viewing. I wanted the viewer to be able to “stop and start” at different points, to feel comfortable in exploring the different shapes, and all the while I hoped to bring a sense of “expanding awareness” to the experience.

All of that from a simple little design from cut out shapes! All of that from an exercise so easy that a pre-school child could put it together.

I’m happy with this design, and I feel that I achieved my objectives. I’ve definitely expanded my own awareness today, and that alone makes this little illustration its own sort of masterpiece.


  1. I have found your exploration of design using cut outs interesting. It reminds me of the work of Matisse when he was no longer able to paint. We visited the exhibition of his Cut-Outs at the Tate Modern in 2014 and it was one of the best exhibitions we have ever seen. So don’t put your attempts down, they are great examples of how the same thing can give very different messages and I am sure great fun to do too.

    Liked by 3 people

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