Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Ed Emberley- a Lesson in Simplicity

During the past month I’ve been pursuing ideas to begin the school year for my students, looking for just the right concept to help me introduce our theme for the semester.  The idea had to be something that would appeal to young people and I wanted the "great idea" to be simple.  Easy, right?  Except it turns out it wasn’t so easy.  Most people complicate things, including me, to the point that simplicity goes out the window.  It has been a long search.
Emberley in front of some of his designs- don't they just make you happy??

However, I finally found the inspiration I was looking for in the work of Ed Emberley. His ideas are perfect for my purposes at school, but more than that they reminded me of something important- simple motifs and shapes can be very effective subjects for art.  And Emberley’s creations express delightful emotions in amazingly spartan designs.  I’m hooked.
One of the pieces I did the first time I learned the lesson of simplicity.  I seem to need to repeat this lesson..
Pastel on board, 16" x 20" painted in 2011

The joy of the simple is not a new lesson to me.  I get reminded of it every now and then.  Panoramic landscape scenes, a busy still life or a complex composition are all things I admire, but so are very simple subjects.  Limited palettes and emphasis on light make me happy, too.  There are so many ways to make art, to look at and think about it that one could create things for a whole lifetime and not even scratch the surface of the possibilities.  So, hoorah for Ed Emberley!  I’m so glad for the nudge.

Thanks for stopping by! Alice


Anna Lisa Leal said...

Yes - good lesson - and one we often have to do remedial work on :)

Alice Jo Webb said...

True that!