Ask the Painting!!

How  do you know what to do next when you are painting?

How can you tell if something is good or or bad, effective or not,  in a painting.

A critique is in order!

In other words, ask the painting what it wants you to do next!

After all, the painting has a being, that which you created.  It knows what it wants to be.
Even if you don't.

The questions that you can ask the painting are called "The Principles of Design".

They are a universal set of ideas about the design of visual art.

My list of them to ask the painting are as follows:

Contrast, "Do you have contrast?
Is there a difference between, light and dark, rough and smooth, dull and bright?

Do you have a "Focus Point"?   A"Center of Interest"? Or are there many competing, confusing areas? 

Do you have a "Dominance"?  A color dominance?   A pattern dominance?  A dominant style of brush stroke?

Do you have "Repetition and Rhythm"?  Do shapes, lines, colors repeat?  Is there a feeling of a beat or of a rhythm?

Do you have "Movement"?  Can my eye travel easily around the painting?  Is it blocked or stuck in one place with no where to go?  

Is there "Unity" in the composition?  Does all work together as a whole?  Does something "stick out" or seen as if it does not belong there?  

More questions can arise and the painting will be able to reply to them all.

Perhaps at times it will reply, "Let me think about this for a while!"

Bonnie Lou Prouty  

Our Personal Visual Language

Our Personal Visual Language

We store up everything we see and do in our brains as images.  As artists this becomes our visual language.

We develop this visual language through the concious observation of what we encounter in daily living. And the "seeing" we learn to do when we draw, paint and photograph.

Each of these activities require us to select, observe with intent and connect emotionally
with the situation in which we are involved.
We collect these images in our brains and arrange and rearrange them in a very personal manner.

It is our task as creative persons to continually expand and develop our visual language.

Writers and poets use words, musicians use sounds, dancers their movements, actors and actresess use their voices, but painters communicate with their marks.

Expanding these is our "job"!

Seeing with intentional observation. Looking for shapes, shadows, lines, edges, and colors in every thing!

The colors in a fall field, the effect of the purple asters against the yellow goldenrod, and that against a muted grey sky.

The pattern of a fence repeating itself in shadows on the grass and the grass creating yet another pattern.

A group of shoppers together making a shape, persons on a bench with a light effect behind them.

A fleeting thought of how light brings out a certian color and looks brighter than when there is no light.

Textures in old wood, the ripped sign on a wall, the brick in an old building with it's cracks and repairs.

A pile of old stumps with fungi growing out of it and a mosic of leaves surounding the edges.

Beginning to see everything as pattern and design.  Making note of this seeing.  A small sketch book to
make notes or scribbles or drawings of your observing.

Writing ideas as well, with the realization that ideas are fleeting!   The abstract painter is wittness to all of this with the result of meaning in the design of shapes and color.

When confronted by a blank canvas or paper, these stored images begin to come forth almost as bats at sundown flying from their caves.

At other times the door seems stuck and cannot be opened, you think!

But there they are, all of them, ready to emerge as our very own. Personal as a fingerprint.  Images unlike anyone in this whole world that has ever lived.

Our personal visual language!