Space is a very important Element of Art. As beginners, some of us will not really be aware of space and don’t know how to make this illusion happen as we work our artwork. Art is an illusion and how we use the Elements to make that artwork not only visible, but believable matters a lot. 


Let’s start at the beginning. Space – The area of an art piece around, above, below and within an object. This definition fits most art media, but the application is specific depending on the medium you are working in. As a sculptor you have to worry about all of those areas of the definition: around, above, below, and within the object. 


To be more precise, these issues will be even more specific if you are working in clay versus stone as an example. Clay being sometimes both additive AND subtractive, and stone subtractive. In visual art you begin with a flat piece of paper or canvas, or perhaps even a wall if it is a mural. ALL of the precepts of space have to be used to create art. As with the sculptor, you are beginning with nothing. 


In art, there is positive space and negative space. Positive space is the object or objects of interest and focus on the art piece. Negative space is the unfilled empty space around and between the shapes. 2-D Space can be best described as an illusion. It only has height and width, no depth. 3-D Space can be defined as the space over, under, through, behind, and around a form. We perceive depth by creating an illusion of 3-D space on a 2-D surface.


Architecture, sculpture, weaving, ceramics, and jewelry are three-dimensional art forms by the nature of the medium. It is just as important to be aware of the space around, over and under an object in a drawing as it is for the object itself. This negative space actually has a shape which must be considered with the shape of the object(s). A little beginning thought about space as an art element. More to continue tomorrow.

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