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Here you will find adventures in painting. . . . Victories, absolute defeats, frustrations, highs, lows, lessons learned, commentary and thoughts from me and other artists.

As an art instructor, I don't wish to hide the fact that I crash and burn often. I will always be learning. So, it all gets shown here . . .good and bad. Every painting we do counts in the learning and experience process. The failures actually are much better teachers than successes. Every piece made is a teacher. That's the fun of it: the challenge to learn.


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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Designing Compositions

"Pop's Corner"
Watercolor, 22" x 30"

A favorite pastime of mine is to create something from absolutely NOTHING. That is, make well designed, non objective paintings. This does not mean just sliming on the paint and hoping for a great outcome or waiting for a happy a accident to happen. It means carefully designing overall light shapes (groupings of light values) and placing that or those groupings into a context of other dark and medium valued shapes. Shape design (making appealing shapes) is at the center of this as is the consideration of the relative sizes of lights, darks and mediums. One value must dominate and the others be subordinate. (This is a huge factor in successful paintings). The character (e.g. organic, geometric, linear) of the shapes in context with others also is a consideration. Then direction / movement plays in as well. Once that is established, color and texture come into the scheme and must play out with the shapes and values to set an overall mood. In keeping with the mood, the artist must also decide how to hold the viewer's attention with contrasts of various kinds . . .and where to put them in the composition.

Now that it has been mentioned, the exact same ideas and principles apply in making an objective painting of a subjet. EXACTLY the same! Abstract / Non objective / Realistic are all the same in the eyes of the basic structure of a painting. Surprisingly, subject has no bearing on the actual attractiveness (or repulsiveness) of the piece. It all lies in how the artist structured the underlying design and composition.

This piece is going to be featured at my open studio and not offerred for sale, since I plan to enter it into various watercolor competitions. Squint and you can see a great abstraction of values in this piece . . . .and you can feel the musty, dark corner of an old, neglected workshop.

(I post this because I am so darned busy framing and organizing the house and the show. Hopefully, I will have something to show in the next day or so. And besides, "Opa" is waiting to be painted too!}


Nava said...

Mike, that's a cool one - all about design and shapes and mood!

And a reminder that it's time to clean the garage...

Myrna Wacknov said...

This is one of my alll time favorites of yours. Enter it into AWS! I think it is a winner. Maybe we can both get into AWS this year. Hope to make it to the open studio.

Mike said...

Hi Myrna and Nava . .!

That is precisely what I am doing with this one. It is AWS Bound!

Nava said...

OK then, I'll keep my fingers crossed (or star-of-Davided!) for both of you getting into AWS!

Ambara said...

I squinted as per your advice and I see what you mean..the light and the dark.
This is a true MASTERPIECE.

Mike said...

Ambara . . .maybe you and Myrna should be the judges for AWS this year!! Thanks for the encouragement. It would be truly great to make the cut at AWS this year.

Robin Weiss said...

This is certainly a well designed composition and worthy of an award. Takes me right back to my dads workshop.He had a worktable like this one we hid under during lightning storms.

Mike said...

Yeah, Rob. My Dad, too. That's why the title is what it is.

It wasn't from his shop, but it sure does look like it did!

Frank Gardner said...

O.K., found it. Really like this piece. I had read this post before. Did not realize that this was the one.