The importance of movement through the picture plane cannot be over-emphasized. Shape and other pictorial elements help us to create movement. The artist can engage the eye of the viewer so that it moves across the picture plane, stop the eye at a certain point and then move it back into space, bring the eye forward again, and at the same time across the picture space, and then take the eye right out of the picture to the end of its journey. Most viewers are unaware of this visual encounter, which tends to occur within a few seconds of looking at a picture.
There are, of course, many ways other than the use of movement by which artists can - either consciously or subconsciously -enable us to read and understand their work. As well as creating these ordered harmonies and movements through and across the picture plane, the opposite effect can be created, especially if we want to achieve an expressive effect.
As beginners we tend to draw objects in isolation and in a void, so they look as though they are floating in space. For an object to have an identity, and speak to us as viewers, it must have a context. The artist does this by drawing the space around objects rather than by trying to capture the shapes of individual objects in isolation.
This very simple composition is made out of a shape that repeats itself, and yet it is imbued with a sense of time. We can see there is order and balance and that our eye is allowed to move freely through and across the composition. There is no ambiguity interrupting the flow. Movement is created by the illusion of the overlapping shapes moving across, down and back into the picture plane and our sense of the decreasing scale of the shape (perspective). The way the shapes fall injects a feeling of rhythm suggestive of the ticking of the second hand of a clock.
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