Cobbles IV

by maggie

This post is a photo essay, exploring how I arrived at the design decisions for this series of prints.

Some times the images are copies of my notes and some times they are little illustrations of my decisions. As usual the organisation of the argument deserves far more preparation than I am prepared to give it.


Putting the focus of the picture on the red line makes the  image more interesting. you have to look into the picture rather than have it smack you in the face. Putting the focus on the crossing of 2 1/3rd builds more of a narrative. its interesting to see how the composition changes as you move the focus round the image.

The choice of a square for the format of these images is a conscious one. The are many reasons for the choice in addition to these listed below, these include consistency in out put and a measured level of artifice and removal from the pebble’s original ‘context’.


And what is ‘context’ i hear you cry.


There is a choice to have white paper or more than white paper behind the pebbles. To invoke an environment for the pebble, a contrasting rock type, a complex milieu. Once the decision to place the pebble(s) in a context there is the question of proportion between the three elements.

All these thumbnails are made from the same sized page 21 x21.

from what we’ve learnt about the rule of thirds where should we put the pebble so that it is…

I’ve spent quite a time thinking about where to put pebbles in this framework here are two pages of doodles. Having these sketches as line drawings doesn’t demonstrate the full measure of the composition as we saw in last week’s post.


basic arrangements


pebbles bigger than frame


Often in the pictures there is more than one thing going on [got to keep the interest up]. So here’s the context and the pebble.

Yes you can have more than one pebble in a picture. However the greater the number of pebbles the more tricky it is to make the composition work.

I arranged these pebbles on the glass of the scanner and probably should have taken more care. Scatterings work better with lots of careful positioning. I should have taken more time with ‘too many’ as the brain tends to make things into straight lines given half the chance. maybe, also ‘sufficient’ would  work better with a pair and a single of slightly different sizes.

Composing on the scanner has been an interesting way of recording my trials. I have all the parts of the image as seporate pieces and can arrange them as I see fit. Its been useful to work with solid colours, rather than just the very quick line drawing that you can see above. it doesn’t have to be exact, but produce the spirit of the image.



In this post I have tried to articulate some of the design decisions behind this series of prints. I’ve been working with the subject of pebbles for a long time now, sometimes it gets wild and out of hand and then I corral it back a bit. There have been choices made and stuck to, not always easily, so I’m pleased to have got as far as I have.

I am grudgingly conceding that spontaneity comes at the beginning of the process not the end. and that I need some low key plates to make backgrounds from.