Number 1,Sunny Side Up #23, Pastel, 17″ x 12″
I can tell the artist is putting the focal point on the shadow of the bicycle. The bicycle itself is barely in the composition. There is also a secondary focus on the stone wall carving on the wall in the background. The positioning of this composition also meant she wanted to have a balance of negative space – the wall in the background to the right, and the pavement right in the foreground. The arrangement of positive space implies a leading line which helps to draw the eye from the shadow, then to the bicycle, and finally with the stone wall craving.
Number 2,The Wise Moves,Watercolor,12” x 17”
For a composition that seemingly was painted from a high angle, I could barely see a few of the people in that area. The focal point is without a doubt on the chess board and the white t-shirt man who is deep in thoughts. Another important feature of this composition is the way how this view is like from an on-looker’s perspective. In a way, the artist is cropping to remove detail which helps to narrow down which character in the composition is the focus.
Number 3,Club facelook #8,pastel,18” x24”
My first impression of this work is that can see two groups of people even though there are no lines separating anyone. On the left side I can see the group of girls going up the steps, on the left, there are 5 girls who are gathered together, seemingly checking their attire. This composition is fully filled with a bit of the background left seemingly dark, which is an occasional approach she took in the work. I noted how there is a hint of negative space in the background. There might be details there intentionally pulled away to draw the attention to the things ongoing in the mid-ground.
Number 4,Hong Kong Residents #11,pastel,12” x 18”
This work is of a unified composition by rhythm through repetition of the fish bags. There is a consistency because all of the elements in the composition are paid with equal attention. That is why to me there is no focal point. The artist seems to care the most about the texture and shape of the bag itself, the white pastels help create that fact those bags are round with many folds.
Number 5,Tibet #4,pastel,9” x 12”
In this frame, by not placing the person in this composition in the center, it allows an asymmetrical balance that is achieved due to the details in the background that carried equal visual weight. The space behind the subject to the right is also kept dark to confirm my position.
Number 6,Sunny Side Up #2, Pastel, 12” x 17”
The six groups of bowls are positioned in an orderly manner in this unified composition. The use of bright spots and dark shadows implies it is a strongly lit room/ it is outdoors. Majority of the space is taken by the 6 groups of bowls. The other groups of bowls are placed on the edges of the composition to show that there are plenty of bowls outside of this frame.
Number 7, A Journey West #8, Pastel, 20” x 15”
The attention to detail allowed me to see the texture in the still life objects. It is also implied that there is a flow of attention from the top to the bottom of the shoes. Those that are well within the view are strongly communicated. Those that are partially blocked, the reason might be those are not what the artist is trying to communicate.
Number 8, Street Vendor of Jaipur #3, Watercolor, 22” x 21”
There is the use of straight vertical lines to take up the space of the background even though rightfully so there should be elements in the background that the subject is situated at. What made me curious is the inconsistent use of stroke in this composition. The background, the sack, and the foreground are created with straight strokes. The subject, the equipment is painted in a photorealistic style.
Number 9,Tibet #6, Pastel, 21” x 18”
A trend in this composition is the use of sharpness and well-defined lines to create the sense of depth. Strong contrast of colours allows me to tell the two blue and yellow objects are the focus of the composition. The other items, the foreground and those in the background are painted in a blurry look.
Number 10, A Journey Ends #2, Watercolour,11” x 14”
A top-down perspective that draws focus to an object with contrasting colour. The details of the patterns took up some visual proportion of the composition. Personally, I feel there is the use of the golden ratio to achieve this look, albeit an upside down one. I could tell the artist used cropping to confuse the role of the maroon coloured textile. Like what is the context and purpose in relation to the two objects.
In her works, Isabell often chooses scenes that involve movement, like how the fishes in number 4 definitely would not keep still. There is also that focus on traditional subjects in almost all of her works that are not included here. The frequent use of cropping aid her to tell the stories that each frame contains. There is also the method of darkening/whitening out irrelevant subjects in her works that kept things simple to build that focal area of the works.