Friday, April 13, 2012

Dominance, Contrast, Harmony, Unity, Variety..and all that

Rising Mist    9x12    oil
Here's one I actually feel pretty good about!  You study, you paint, you paint some more, you keep studying trying to internalize the things you know you're lacking, you paint some more, and then you get one that tells you you may be starting to get it!  I know there's so much wrong with the painting, but there are signs that I may be making progress.  Part of painting is learning to live with a continual sense of dissatisfaction with your results.  You're faced with either quitting or keeping on keeping on.  For me, I just have no idea what I'd do if I didn't keep on!

I'm not going to bore you with my own back-patting, but you've got to give yourself some of that now and then or it all just gets to be too much. Really, there's so much to manage if you're trying to get better, that you wonder how you're supposed to groc it all!  Well, you can't consciously get it all.  I think you have to keep working on the things you're aware of that could make it better, and one day it starts to creep into what you're doing when you least expect it.

Contrary to what we hear, practice does not make perfect!  You can make a lot of paintings without improvement, unless you're consciously trying to get hold of the things that go into a "good" painting.  The principles and elements of design are your best friends as you fight this battle.  If you have no idea where you're trying to go, you'll probably get nowhere you want to be.

Do you think about line, shape, direction, size, value, color, and texture in your paintings?  Each of these things can be manipulated by dominance, contrast, gradation, variety, harmony, unity and balance.  If you think about it, that makes 56 possible manipulations you could use to improve what you're trying to do.  Who can consciously manage all that, and still be spontaneous?!  I'm working on a few at a time, and hoping to see them work their way into my unconscious skill set.  Some of these things make this painting a satisfying step for me, and I want to go out and try again!


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