Thursday, 23 February 2017

It's getting hard!!

For some time now I have talked about looking at composition and it always seemed so hard. Now I have always believed that any of us on our artistic journeys become receptive to more complex information as our knowledge and skill sets grow but some aspects of composition still seemed to elude me namely that of creating pathways for the eye to follow.

Compositional tools like using the rule of thirds, focal points, contrast, variety are all becoming clearer but I have know that if I want to move on I need to understand more about creating better design and pathways in my work. I have read that pathways are created whether we are aware or not but they are not always good pathways so for example we may create a line which leads the eye out of the composition without realising we have done it. The other problem is we don't all see direction in the same way and I struggle to see it at all in a finished painting!!

So...I was chatting with my lovely friend Beverley Wells (click on the link to take you to her website) who is a formidable woman and known for her forthright approach (which suits me perfectly as I need to know exactly how it is!!) but an exceedingly generous, knowledgeable and hugely talented (and I rarely the word talented!!) woman too, and we were discussing composition and I aired my inadequacies.

Well as fast as I could say value plan she had me working!! And over the last few days she has mentored me unreservedly and given me so much guidance that I have to say (very quietly confidently) that the penny is dropping!! I am now beginning to understand how to actually create a path for the eye to follow and I have to say it is how I have wanted to paint for a long time but I have been winging the composition part of it and not really following any plan, relying on a very unreliable eye to guide me. Bev uses the phrase "Fail to prepare... prepare to fail!" something I used to drum into my 2 sons when they were younger. But in my case I was at a bit of a loss as to what to prepare... well now I know!!!

So I have to start with a value plan and that is first the hard bit creating a pleasing sort of pattern from scratch with values of 1-9. Once you have a plan, any subject can be placed on it but for the time being I will be sticking to flowers. Then the next heard bit transposing the value plan into a painting!! I thought that would be fairly easy... wrong!!!  I realised I need to at least start fairly closely to the plan but it can be tweaked as the painting progresses but not as easy to rub out paint as pencil!!

Anyway here is the first effort which I knew wasn't right but didn't know what else to do

I felt I had gone in too heavy with the darks and though I could see the plan was reasonable there was something missing.....Bev knew immediately and here is the finished piece

Just the addition of some lighter values above the roses has given it an extra dimension....thank you so much Bev!!

BTW Bev runs workshops and classes and I am sure they would be fabulous if you get chance to attend!!