Here are some tips for designing a painting in effective abstractions.Links:
* Design a value scheme with at least one dominant value, and others subordinate in unequal proportions.
* Divide your picture into at least 3 and no more than 7 shapes. Here’s a quick and easy exercise you can do anywhere: with a sketchpad, look at a scene, and decide where those 3-7 big shapes are, and draw them as interlocking shapes. You’ll almost certainly have to make compromises to abstract the scene, such as merging values together, but this is a necessary part of design (see notans above).
* Limit your values. Some of the strongest designs are just 3 values. it’s really difficult to keep to a solid, limited value structure, but well worth it.
* Here’s a tip to simplify your values: If–like me–you’re near-sighted and wear corrective lenses: slide your glasses down to look at the scene (blurring it) and view your work surface with your glasses as you look down. If you don’t wear glasses, blur your view by squinting (note this is less effective as squinting also darkens your view). I almost always paint most of my painting without my glasses on as I love focusing on accurate color and value first. It works!
- Ed Terpening: Observations on Plein Air Painting
- Life Plein Air: 10 Observations on Plein Air Painting - an Intro
- Life Plein Air: Observation 2: work in Abstractions