Wednesday, July 18, 2012

X's and O's

My third post on my most recent painting- sorry but I have more to say.

"Ok boys, get out there and design the hell out of them!"
I will offer some thoughts on composition and how it affected the design of my latest picture. Composition is by far the toughest part of picture making. I think that is why you see so many paintings today that are very well painted technically but have not even give composition a thought. I think the art world is just now coming out of the "dark ages" caused by the lawlessness of modernism were there were no rules. While the realists have started to wade through the technical part of painting and rendering, composition still seems to be a mystery to many "classical painters". I will say, I see an good effort by illustrators, for whom picture making seems to more than just realism.
Just so you know, taking a still life object and placing it on a table is not composing- even if you look at it through a viewfinder- or better yet if you look at through that double L thing you can do with your hands. I mean it looks cool, but composing takes more work than that. There have been times were it seems as if I have spent more time setting up a still life than painting the picture.
One of the great benefits of studying with Paul Ingbretson was his insistence on studied composition.  Composing with Paul was not like what you find in books on the subject with with all the tiny lines drawn in to show you how the "picture moves".  It looks like a chalk board analysis of a football coach. Paul talked about bigger things and in a way it about understanding the "game"- the Main Line or general movement of a painting. That with the big abstraction of lights and darks
Interestingly, the act of composing a still life or any picture for that matter still terrifies and mystifies me. Though the more I do it the less excruciating it is, though it still seems mysterious to me. 

Now I will act as if I have some idea as to what I am talking about.
What do I see as the main line of the painting?
Main Line
Basically a big visual movement though the picture like this (big red arrow).
Once that is observed you have to make sure any lines work with the main line in a pleasant way. That there is some variety and interest in those lines. It is a game and once you know the system you have to play.
As I stated before I found some lines that were fighting it or interacting in an unpleasant way.

Making corrections
 I had some lines that repeated over and over to monotony. They also were all pointing in exactly the same direction, so I moved the spoon. The table was in an awkward spot so I moved it up as well.

Repeating lines.
So with the main line I made sure the lines in the painting worked with the main line. Many of the lines radiate out from the scone. By moving the spoon over, it worked with the system while not repeating it exactly. So when I faked the steam from the spout I made sure it worked with that system. With you main line and all repeating lines, there are of course counter lines- the movement from the cup through the spout for instance. Those counter-lines should work with, or even refer to the center of interest.

Of course now that I have written this I am breaking out in a sweat thinking about what Paul will say about my compositional ramblings.

1 comment:

Sandra Galda said...

Sounds very good to me! Thanks for posting! I agree with you about the terror and mystery aspect of composition. Paul's lessons in class on the subject are very interesting! Lovely painting you have created here!