Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rx2; Shapes, Measure, Value Remedy

No workshop or book will instantly turn you into a better painter.  No secrets.  Only through hours on the brush will you come to see, internalize, and be able to apply these principles as you deem them necessary.  After such practice these concepts will become second nature and you will not have to think about them when you paint.  Just like breathing.   These exercises are derived from experience, teaching, and mentors.  They are aimed at mastering the fundamentals of painting.  They form a set of problem solving tools to be used when a painting isn't working.

Shapes - Measure - Value
After Value, I find people struggle with getting the Shapes to be in proportion and in the right location.  This really a drawing problem.  Here, measuring is a good assist in training the eye.  This skill is at the root of drawing.  Putting marks in the right place with the right size.  Shapes and Value are linked.

The Exercise
Building on the Rx1 remedy, find a simple set of 3 or 4 shapes of different values and unique proportion.  In doors use a simple still life set up, not a photo.  Out doors, use a simple set of shapes, say field, rock, and sky.  Note; photos have incorrect values, colours etc.  You have to learn how to use them for reference.

The Site - Choose a Part of It

Look at the shapes through a viewfinder.  My viewfinder has marks both up and across dividing the space into quarters.

Viewfinder Set at 9x12 Proportion

This will assist you in finding an interesting simple composition.  The proportion will tell you what canvas size to use.  Here a 9x12 inch, or an 18x24, or a 12x16 work.

Hold a brush handle or ruler at arms length aiming at the shapes you have identified.  Notice the length of the handle that the shape represents.  Compare that to the next shape.  It might be twice as long as the first shape.  We are looking at relative shape sizes.  

Brush End Covering Vertical Dimension of Shape

Referring to the viewfinder, the first shape might be one quarter of the height in the viewfinder.  The second shape then might be one half the height of the area in the viewfinder.  The first shape might start at the base of the are being viewed, and the second shape might begin at the end of the first shape.  By this means you can stitch together the shapes being viewed.  The same goes for horizontal shape measures and angles.

The Image, Quartered, Shapes Measured

If you mark the canvas or sketch you are going to draw on into quarters, then you can transpose what you have measured onto the drawing of the shapes.  Check the measurements to make sure they are relatively correct.  Errors generally occur when the arm with the measuring stick (brush or ruler) is not held out straight, locked - in at a constant distance from the eye.

To get to the next step, use a mixed grey to fill in each of the drawn shapes with the right value (as in Rx1).  Review Rx1.  Remember to squint to see relative value and eliminate detail.

Make as many starts as possible to internalize this skill.  After a while you will be able to eliminate many of the steps.  Your "seeing eye" will allow this as it develops.

This works well with a small thumbnail of the shapes as in Rx1.  Here is a sample.

Thumbnail of Image, Quartered, Shapes as Measured

Practice this exercise without proceeding to a finished painting.  The more starts the better.  

This exercise will also help with;
Judging relative shape sizes with correct values,
Drawing (thumbnails) - shapes and values

This is the type of thing that should be taught in a continuing painting class.  No quick fix, practice, practice, practice.  Patience.......

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