Saturday, January 20, 2007

Ed Terpening: Observations on Plein Air Painting #2

Ed focuses on working in abstractions in his second Observation of his new series of observations on plein air painting. He provides images of notan sketches he makes and provides some tips - see below. I like the way he's providing both structure and images for these posts to communicate the points being made.
Here are some tips for designing a painting in effective abstractions.

* 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!
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1 comment:

  1. As we say here, your massive amount of good content lately is "off the hook"! Which means that I can't even keep up with it all.
    Ed's site is some of the best plein air there is to see, and thanks for the reminder to put him on my blogfeeds.
    I fully agree with the concept of dividing one's surface into three(or more)major areas...I try to get my linear compositions to achieve this.
    His points on value study are right on.
    And, finally, I was inspired by your article on sketching, or beginning to sketch. Now, where am I going to go for a good moleskin book, and which of my empty cigar boxes will I be transforming into a sketching kit?x


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