Saturday, March 2, 2013

Learning and Growing

It's been quite a while since my last blog post.  For me, my art journey ebbs and flows like the waters of our beaches here in Florida.  After months of daily painting, I felt a need to refresh myself with new information and strengthening my skills and knowledge.  This usually produces a different daily routine with little actual creation of new gallery quality work.  Even my writing goes on hiatus.  So what have I been up to?

Let me begin by saying that as a painter I am always evaluating my strengths and weaknesses and setting goals to move in a direction that I have deemed worthy.  Basically, I look at what I am good at and determine what needs to be improved in order to create paintings that say what I want them to say.  Upon close examination of my work, I felt I could improve on composition and design.    My studio is filled with paintings that are basically painted well but lack a strong composition that pulls you in from a distance.  Any professional, seasoned painter will tell you design/composition is critical.  My background on composition is not what I would like it to be and so I set out on a journey to fill that educational void.

By accident, I came across a school that offered intensive instruction in drawing, design, and color.  The Barnstone Studio seemed to fit the bill.  With further investigation, I discovered Juliette Aristides was a student of Myron Barnstone, the master teacher of this Pennsylvania school.  One of my students purchased some of the DVDs and from that I decided to invest in the experience.  As some of you may know I don't take workshops anymore because I believe we are our own best teacher and have to seek out the information we need.  The Barnstone Studio DVDs are intensive and require hours of work outside of just watching the many hours of instruction.  I'm excited by what I have learned so far, but I am a long way off from finishing the course. 

One element of the design portion of this course is the Golden Rectangle.  Now I knew that many of the old masters used the Golden Rectangle as an armature in design their paintings, and that putting your focal area in one of the four "eyes" make a more pleasing picture design.  That's about all I knew.  After watching, and watching again (four and five times) and taking copious notes, I have gained a better understanding of how to apply this concept - plus the other route rectangles - to compose the elements of my paintings.  Here is an example of some of these rectangles.

Looking at the diagrams above, you can see why it is taking me some time to become proficient at using this designing system, and why I have been so silent online. Is it worth the effort?  In one word, YES! More later, but for now it's back to the books and the DVD's.

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