Monday, November 18, 2013


I have for several decades attempted to understand BEAUTY and how to successfully create it in the field of visual arts.  All through art school we learned over and over about the "principles and elements of art".  It was drummed into every fiber of our brains and our mind's eye.  However, when it came to the topic of "beauty", what it was and how to create it, little was said, and much less was understood.

The phrase, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" was always used (and abused) to skirt the issue.  That phrase has more to do with personal taste and preference than it has to do with real beauty.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder to the degree the beholder is unaware of and or tolerates defect.  For beauty is perfection in the assembly of the visual aspects of FUNCTION, PRINCIPLE and ELEMENT.

This leads me to reveal the third realm of the CREATION FORMULA, that being FUNCTION.  Function is intrenched in architectural and product design, and it's hinted at in the visual arts but it is never quite tied together with the "principles" and "elements" and further more it's never pointed out that the  proper integration and understanding of this, along with hard work, skill and talent, will undoubtably enable the artist to reliably and predictably create works of never ending beauty.   In fact so sound and stable is this formula that it can be applied to every aspect of life.  Whatever one wants to create, that will be at the center of the formula.  All that needs to be done is to replace the "elements" with the things and materials that are needed for assembly into whatever that final outcome's ingredients are.  For instance, if a "good relation" is the goal then you simply come up with the elements of a good relation such as various things relating to behavior.  If it's a great song that is wanted then the elements would be something on the lines of, tone, pitch, volume, and length.  It can applied to anything that could be created.

Through much tribulation, hard work and a lot of discussion with a colleague and my wife, here, for the win, and the first time ever, is the CREATION FORMULA:
(click the image for a larger version)

"Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose."
-Charles Eames

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Gamble House, 1908. The birth of the California Bungalow style.



The Gamble House, also known as David B. Gamble House, is a National Historic Landmark, a California Historical Landmark, and museum in Pasadena, California, USA.
It was designed by brothers Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene of the architectural firm Greene and Greene and constructed 1908–09 as a home for David B. Gamble of the Procter & Gamble company. 
Originally intended as a winter residence for David and Mary Gamble, the three-story Gamble House is commonly described as America's Arts and Crafts masterpiece. Its style shows influence from traditional Japanese aesthetics and a certain California spaciousness born of available land and a permissive climate. The Arts and Crafts Movement in American Craftsman style architecture was focused on the use of natural materials, attention to detail, aesthetics, and craftsmanship. (Wikipedia)

(photo: Charles and Henry Green)
(photo: Martin Green)


On a beauty scale of 1-100 (100 being 100% beautiful) this house is about 70% beautiful.  It is more utilitarian in style and nature.  It's more like a Jeep than a Cadillac or Ferrari in its appearance of beauty.    It is still very neat and the amount and quality of variety, interest and construction are some of the highest of any residential home.  The style is a rugged mash of Swiss and Japanese styling.
The repeating (the house is big enough to enable the, normally low-interest, wood elements to become decorative as the quantity of use increased) wood elements in the rafters, the shingle siding, the windows and its many and varied roofs, give it a decorative quality, which is where this home gets most of its beauty from.  It has a nice symmetrical balance to the gestalt using asymmetry in the particle modules, the right side being two covered porches and the opposite being two stories of rooms.
Besides its inherent beauty, it gets a lot of its value from being the first home of the American Craftsman style, from which the California Bungalow rose.  Many of the later homes of the Bungalow style were imbued with more beauty.

See the link below for more images:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A quest for beauty in visual and physical designs.

Behold and beware, ugliness not only doesn't sell (Raymond Loewy), it kills, just not as quickly as poor engineering, bad science or corrupt leaders. It is the result of either a careless, lazy, untrained and unskilled people or irresponsible, reckless and malicious people more concerned with Salesmanship-and-Marketing than Responsibility and Stewardship. People either don't know or they are destructive in their creations which lack beauty.

"Nothing is too beautiful" (Ettore Bugatti) reveals a truth that beauty can be measured, quantified and calculated.  It transcends environment, culture, religion, race, gender, personal preference and taste.  It is universal.

That "Form follows function" (Louis Sullivan) leads to beauty in design. "All things that function well are visually harmonious, or if the function is respected, then the harmony of forms will materialize automatically.
"In fact it seems that there cannot be beauty without order. The threshing machine performs in a marvelous fashion, each of its parts designed perfectly, though the whole isn't much to look at. Why? Because a machine gives the impression of being complicated.
"That is, I believe, the true response to the theories of the industrial designer. It seems that, more than the aesthetic Function itself, Simplicity is the deciding factor in the aesthetic equation. Beauty from Function and from Simplification.
"Moreover, in its tribute to beauty, industrial design pays in another way as well. It constitutes a wise investment because it favors what will sell." (Raymond Loewy).

Beauty brings, promises and is a visual and mechanical manifestation of performance, durability, frugality, value, hope, happiness and life.