Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Week 4 - Designing Darks

Ay-yi-yi........week 4 was about designing darks....not when you are drawing, but when you are doing the set up. It sounds so easy, but in practice something I need to really think hard about when I'm in the middle of it.

So this week's artwork looks woefully sparse but the learning was more in the setup. The idea is to have the light travel from the left to the right and create your focal point in the Golden Mean.

The Golden Mean is a math principle which is found everywhere in nature, and rather than me butcher it completely, check out Wikipedia's definition:

What does this all mean for an artist? It means that if you divide your picture plane into thirds, your focal point should fall somewhere a little less than 2/3's of the way across your plane. Based on the principles of the Golden Mean it is an ever-present ratio found in our bodies, in seashells, etc. Therefore, it is a pleasing aesthetic to our eyes as a viewer of artwork.

The focal point is where you should find your sharpest edges, your lightest lights and your darkest darks. So in my exercise above the jar falls vertically along the Golden Mean (approximately), and the lights and darks should be more intense in that area.

A couple of things I learned:
- Do not set up a still life with a piece of glass when you have a short time to draw.
- Use a harder pastel, like NuPastel, to get your darks down. The sanded paper eats up your really wonderful soft Ludwigs. Save those for the top layers.
- Creating masterpieces in a classroom setting just doesn't happen.
- You can never learn too much about art.

Cross your fingers that I survive week 5. We are working on a completed piece.


hbedrosian said...

I like how you have arranged the objects to create a focal point in the Golden Mean. Even though you say this is just a classroom exercise, I think that the darks and lights you have established makes for a very powerful piece. Thank you for posting what you have learned in class - it's very helpful and interesting!

Cindy said...

Thank you Holly! I'm glad that it's helpful to you.

One of the reasons I am posting is that it helps me to internalize what I am learning by trying to describe it to someone else.

It does feel somewhat like running around in your underwear,letting people see how vulnerable you and your artwork are.