It was a perfect day at my favorite painting spot.
Sharon Weaver and I finally got a chance to get out and paint together.
We were both pleased to be back at Leo Carrillo on such a gorgeous day.
I found my "place" and began to settle in when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a shape glide past.
What a thrill! A couple of adults and a mother and youngster pair -- They were so close to shore.
I sat and watched as several of these beautiful creatures made their way north.
A few weeks ago I decided to sign up for some time in David Gallup's Thursday design class. I have been studying with David in his weekly class for most of 5+ years now. Since I started with almost no knowledge about artists and art history, I consider that part of my journey's growth almost as valuable as the continued supportive practice and patient demonstration he provides. occasionally he'll over special workshops which have enhanced and solidified weekly lessons. Design class is almost like that, but it's not really a workshop. It is definitely a skill set I can improve upon and I've found my head exploding now for a few weeks.
Since I started the class after most of the others for the first week or so I was doing 2 value designs -- that's it. Try to develop a design and then watch and listen as he goes over the effort and explains how to strengthen it. Now I'm doing 3 value designs. These are just designs out of our heads -- not looking at "things". I think it will be a real mind-exploder trying to fit the design to a landscape or floral or some other "thing" based something -- maybe even a good abstract! I've seen David and others do it, but I haven't tried it yet.
But there a Leo after I had sat in joyful silence (well... I did let out little squeals of excitement now and then) watching the whales, I settled in to paint there at Leo while still trying to keep some of those lessons about design in my head.
- Think about a center of interest
- Think about having different masses value of different sizes and shapes filling the canvas so that no quadrant is like any other
- Think about varying lines -- fast lines and slow lines -- lines of varying thicknesses
- Think about calligraphy of line and shape
- Remember not to repeat shapes
- The specifics of the shape define the narrative of the painting -- the specifics of the edges tell the story
- What are the weights of the shapes and what is their "direction"?
- Think about what makes a good abstract shape -- varying edges, etc
- Think about subtly leading the eye -- not obviously -- possibly more than one path to lead the eye
- Where are the points of highest tension
- Asymmetry is a good thing
It's pretty hard to train myself not to think about the "thing" that is in front of me. A good artist will arrange a scene to make an appealing design -- not just try to paint the scene in front of her. So here is what I ended up with. I was pretty happy with my efforts: