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Sonni
07-30-2008, 04:39 PM
Last weekend I took a workshop from Kim Lordier. It was excellent for us who struggle with composition and value. Kim stressed notans using three values of Tombow pens. We did notan after notan the first day. After the notans (forget color, it didn't happen on day one), we referred to the notan to sketch in our design on Wallis paper with a dark gray nu pastel, then used turpenoid to create values. Day two in the field, more notans, more sketching in, and then painting. For anyone who hasn't gone through this process (don't think one time will do it, either :rolleyes: ), Kim's workshop is well worth the dollars. You go away knowing what to practice to make your work actually work. I figure between Marc Hanson's black and white studies, and Kim's notans, I may get the concept this year. Here's the plein air about 2 hours (with a little studio tweaking) from Sunday. 9x12 on wallis paper. One is desaturated to show the structure of the painting.

1-structure
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Jul-2008/111873-7-27_Lord_ws_desat.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Jul-2008/111873-7-27_Lordier_workshop_small.jpg

nana b
07-30-2008, 04:46 PM
Sonni, I want a good dose of Notan too! I would love to take a workshop with Kim but alas, she is too far away:crying:
Your painting is very beautiful and I can see her teachings in it! Aren't you the lucky one!! Happy painting!!:thumbsup:

nana

Deborah Secor
07-30-2008, 04:48 PM
BEAUTIFUL, Sonni! The composition is dramatic, the structure of the values is solid, your light touch with the pastels is pleasing and I like the colors. Very nice--obviously our Kim is a great teacher, but you're a very apt artist! Excellent. So glad you shared.

Deborah

backlash
07-30-2008, 05:27 PM
Sonni, this is awesome. I'm emberrassed to admit that I had never heard of the word "notan" and googled it to find out the exact meaning or the term. I've been reading a lot of threads here advocating the use of preliminary sketches and using vine charcoal to work in your values prior to putting in the actual pastels and after seeing this, I think I'll give it a stab. Weren't you lucky to be able to learn from Kim. I would die to take some lessons from her, and from Deborah (hint, hint... the offer is still open to come to the Vineyard - maybe next year??? I could house up to nine people or so!) Anyways, this painting is so full of motion, yet so simple. Bravo!!

Leslie

Colorix
07-30-2008, 05:45 PM
Gorgeous! And thanks for the 'scoop' on the workshop!

dvantuyl
07-30-2008, 06:01 PM
Thanks for the write-up on Kim's workshop. I just ordered some Towbow pens.

Sonni
07-30-2008, 07:21 PM
Thanks folks...Looking at the painting I can see where I was sidetracked from the notan I used. So I guess I'd better get better at notans--:wink2: .

Nana--you can dose yourself without a workshop. Keep white as the lightest, use a light value, middle value, then a good dark value pen. I had some sienna colored values and I don't recommend using them. Black to white keeps you on the value track. Block in 3-4 large shapes, tie the darkest ones together and don't make all the shapes the same size. Keep doing it until you get a good composition. That'll be 50 cents, please. :D

Thanks Deborah. I thought she was a very good and energetic instructor.

Thanks Leslie, I think notan is a Japanese term. Kim explained it and I can't remember exactly what she said. But it sure works. With each one I did (and I did several of the same scene) I could refine my idea more.

Thanks Charlie. It was a good workshop.:thumbsup:

Donna--Tombow pens are great. I've used them as underpaintings, dragging lines around by spritzing with water.

catrus
07-30-2008, 07:29 PM
I love this. The colors are wonderful!

chewie
07-30-2008, 07:54 PM
you did great, and thanks for the review! i would also love to take a kim workshop altho i too am just too far away:(

edencompton
07-30-2008, 08:10 PM
This is just beautiful Sonni -- I love the way you applied the pastel in the full version!

Tressa
07-30-2008, 09:09 PM
Your study shows in this Sonni, a very lovely solid painting!
Tres

IMaybe
07-31-2008, 12:29 AM
:clap: It was so nice of you to share this with us, and this is a great painting! Your color choices are very realistic----and the values are even better than that. Would also love to attend a clinic by KimL. You are working very hard, and it is paying off!

binkie
07-31-2008, 02:13 AM
Beautiful job on this, Sonni. Notons and Tombow pens?? I'll have to get busy and learn what they are all about.

binkie

CindyW
07-31-2008, 10:49 AM
Love it!! Very expressive and loose, full of emotion.

Adriana Meiss
07-31-2008, 11:29 AM
Sonni,
Your painting is lovely and the technique very interesting.
I would love to take a workshop with Kim someday!

You said,
...I can see where I was sidetracked from the notan I used.
Could you explain where you feel you got sidetracked?
Also, do you work on the notan or do you use it as a reference?

HarvestMoon
07-31-2008, 11:31 AM
wow this is fabulous....I can see that your value study really helped- it is terrific

Sonni
07-31-2008, 04:37 PM
Where's Kim when you need her? She could explain notan better than I, but I'll get my camera out and post a photo of the notans I did for this painting so you all can see what they are and how I veered away. Kim made a firm believer of me that these things work. I'm optimistic that I'll get better at it as I do more.

Thanks Sheila. I see in color and literally forced myself to see values first on this one. I still have trouble asigning the right color value to what I see in black and white. Marc Hanson was good at showing folks how to do this as well.

Thanks, Chewie. Contact Kim. Who knows, maybe she'd do one in your area.

IMaybe? maybe not...you are close to St. Mary's Art Center..a perfect venue for workshops. I've been to one there and would consider going back if Kim were to do a workshop.

Thanks Cindy, Binkie, Eden, Harvest Moon, and Tress.

Holy Kamoly, everyone wants a workshop with this gal....K I M M M...?

Sonni
07-31-2008, 08:04 PM
Notans

Source: Arthur Wesley Dow

Here’s what Dow, who was a mentor to Georgia O’Keefe, has to say about notans in his book: COMPOSITION, Understanding Line, Notan, & Color.. It will probably confuse you. It confused me.

The term “notan” a Japanese word meaning ‘dark-light,’ refers to the quality of light reflected or the massing of tones in different values… darks & lights in harmonic relations… At the outset a fundamental fact must be understood that synthetically related masses of dark & light convey an impression of beauty entirely independent of meaning.”( So forget that it’s a tree a rock or a house. Create notan based on the abstract shapes you see.).

Dow continues: "The study of light & shade has for its aim not the creation of a beautiful idea in terms of contrasting masses of light & dark, but merely the accurate rendering of certain facts of nature...

Landscape is a good subject for notan-composition, to be treated at first as a design, afterward as a picture… Notan in a landscape, a harmony of tone relations, must not be mistaken for light & shadow which is only one effect or accident… “

Here are two notans done from life for the painting I did & a couple other notans done from photos. Three values; three-four shapes, trying to create a harmonious composition (I think that’s the message).

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Jul-2008/111873-Notan_1.jpg


Where I strayed...the tree was really the darkest value in the composition. That dark kept spreading as I worked on the painting.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Jul-2008/111873-Notan_2.jpg

Notan from photo

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Jul-2008/111873-Notan_3.jpg

These are very sloppy notans. Some people had VERY neat notans, and I could tell they put their toys away in the proper place when they were kids. :D

nvcricket
07-31-2008, 11:02 PM
Sonni,

Thanks for sharing this valuable technique!

To help you a bit Sonni I did a little search here on WC... Here are a few finds on N O T A N

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=178472&highlight=notan

This next artist is "blondheim12" and she is in the process of devoting herself to a full year of notan study. I went to her blog and looked into her blog archive for 2007 - and got lost in her writings...she has tons of tips...this notan stuff is a valuable tool! Here is one of her threads here on WC...

I'm hooked!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=457463


Carol

Sonni
07-31-2008, 11:47 PM
Thanks Carol. I looked up both threads. The first explained it really well (much better than Dow) and the comments were pretty interesting, too. Kim referred to Barry John Raybould. I'm hooked as well. It's something I've been searching for.

nana b
08-01-2008, 12:40 AM
Kim mentioned Notan a few months ago and I purchased the Notan Study from an art institute and I believe it was Barry John Raybould. It came in the form of ...kind of like notes and frankly I was dissappointed that it wasn't put together better than it was. If Anyone else purchases it , I would appreciate your thoughts on it.
I'm very interested in the study of Notan though and will peusue it.
Thanks Sonny for bringing this to the forefront again and I'm glad it's working so well for you!

nana

Studio-1-F
08-01-2008, 09:34 AM
I'm very interested in the study of Notan though and will peusue it. Thanks Sonny for bringing this to the forefront again and I'm glad it's working so well for you! nana
Here's another book: Notan: The Dark-Light Principle of Design (http://books.google.com/books?id=RigJEMU4qyAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Notan%3Bthe+dark-light+principle+of+design&sig=ACfU3U1hrm5qfax28--SlrymUUxrBMzq_Q), by D Bothwell and M Mayfield (1991). Has anyone looked at this book? It appears to be a re-print of a 1968 pamphlet of about 80 pages.

Jan

rankamateur1
08-01-2008, 09:47 AM
Nana, I also purchased some instruction stuff from Barry John Raybould (his Beginner package). As a RANK AMATEUR, it was my first art instruction so I found the Notan exercises useful. I think if I were more experienced, as most of you are, I'd give his stuff a miss as there are probably more in-depth sources.

My understanding of Notan is that it's basically a values sketch for laying out the masses to come up with a pleasing composition before commiting yourself with paint. Have I got it right?

Raybould also recommends those TomBow markers. They have two ends - fine point and brush. I use them alot for practicing gesture drawing when I have the brat at the playground or swimming pool. I like them, but they do wash each other out (blend) if you overlay the different shades of gray, so they can be a bit tricky to use in combination.

Luana

nana b
08-01-2008, 10:19 AM
Jan, thank you so much! I will check it out!

Luana, I think you have it right, Sonni?

nana

Kathryn Wilson
08-01-2008, 10:33 AM
ummm .... if anyone wants to try this, PeggyB has a greyscale landscape in her Pastel Strokes for the month of August. I will alert her to the possibility that you all might want to try this.

Sonni
08-01-2008, 01:47 PM
According to Dow, and what I learned from Kim, Notan is more of a design element than a value sketch...because the object is to create a simple structure for your painting (which would include three-four values). If you think of it only as a value sketch, and not hooking up those values to create a strong simple design, then your painting will not have the structure it needs to attract the viewer from across the room. I made the mistake of isolating a mass in one of mine, and Kim suggested how to correct it...and bingo, it worked!

What annoyed me on one of the threads on Notan Carol suggested I read was that a couple comments inferred that Notan would take away from creativity. :rolleyes: Any one who has had a good design course, knows this is not true. Notan is a design tool (though it can be a work of art in itself) to use to enhance your creativity. Many, many years ago I had a very good design class that dealt with structure and pattern in both two and three dimension. It was probably based on Notan, though I didn't know it at the time. Nor did I know how to apply it to landscapes, as I had never done them. I went into clay sculpture and worked my way back to figurative painting. When Kim was explaining these Notans, little bells started tinkling in the back of whichever part of the brain those things happen. In mulling over what she said this past week, that old design class kept popping up.

Donna T
08-01-2008, 03:18 PM
Sonni, I was just looking through some art books in the book store and I came across one that was called Painting with Your Artist's Brain, or something like that. The author had a really good section about value and how a strong value pattern provides the structure for a painting. The one line I memorized was "if any shape cannot be connected to another shape of similar value it's better to eliminate it." Sounds like this notan stuff is really the basis for any good design. Thanks again for reminding us how important it is!

Donna

nvcricket
08-01-2008, 11:35 PM
Sonni, Thanks for mentioning those naysayers....I hesitated adding the url due to those comments, but as the first post was so informative, I thought just let everyone see and form their own opinions. I am really impressed with the perseverance that Blondheim12 has with devoting a full year to NOTAN development. From what I understand it is a vital part of Kim's process. You need to develop the eye. Just takes lots of practice!

CArol

Sonni
08-02-2008, 12:13 AM
Donna, re: "if any shape cannot be connected to another shape of similar value it's better to eliminate it."

This is what Kim brought up in her plein air demo.

Carol...You got it!

GO NOTAN :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

klord
08-02-2008, 01:32 AM
Hey Sonni, you don't need me, girl!! Great job on getting the idea of Notan across. You were a great addition to the workshop, and I so appreciated your hard work and perseverance with the process!

The Notan has been vital to my growth and understaning of design. And I credit Barry Raybould for teaching me this process with the Tombow pens during one of his workshops. THe best thing about these for me, is they take no more than a couple minutes to create a series before you commit to the paper/canvas. So it doesn't take away from the freshness or first creative spark. And it will force you to hone into what it is out there that is drawing your interest in the first place.

Thank you, Sonni, for the kind words.

Sincerely,

Kim

klord
08-02-2008, 01:49 AM
Sonni, I hope you don't mind, but I am going to post one of my Notans and completed painting from the Notan for people to see how loose these things can be. Hope this does not offend you....

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Aug-2008/104623-Sonomasmall.jpg
This is no larger than 2x3 inches

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Aug-2008/104623-Eucalyptus_Hazesmall.jpg

The finished painting desaturated. 24x30

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Aug-2008/104623-Eucalyptus_Haze_30x24_smallest.jpg

Color version.

maggie latham
08-02-2008, 01:50 AM
Sonni,

I always love looking at your work.

Very interesting discussion going on here from your workshop. Just as an aside, MASTERING COMPOSITION BY IAN ROBERTS (north light books) concentrates on design elements from nature to create black and white quick value studies before painting to work out design composition and value. Sounds like it’s similar to Norton? I think as artists it is important to find different ways to work out design, composition and value and find a method which works for us as individuals.

Thanks for sharing your workshop,
Maggie

maggie latham
08-02-2008, 01:52 AM
Kim,
We cross-posted! Thanks for jumping in and showing your examples.:)
Maggie

PainterMike
08-02-2008, 07:44 AM
Ooh! Oooooh! I love this!!!!!! Beautiful!
Mike

Sonni
08-02-2008, 11:40 AM
Kim...now how could that offend me? Of course I don't mind. Your notan is almost as sloppy as mine....:D

Maggie...a woman who looked at the painting I did after Marc Hanson's workshop, recommended Ian Roberts composition book and I got it along with his CREATIVE AUTHENTICITY (16 principles to clarify and deepen your artistic vision). Both were excellent. I get discouraged wading through the esoteric verbage in Henri's THE ART SPIRIT, and Arnheim's, ART AND VISUAL PERCEPTION. But I read Creative Authenticity cover to cover in one sitting. It's straight forward and easy to identify with.

nana b
08-03-2008, 12:11 AM
Sonni and Kim, I can't tell you how interesting this is! I'm following and taking notes. Great thread!

nana

nana b
08-03-2008, 12:20 AM
Oh, by the way, I was going to ask about the Tombow pens. Is that the double tipped pens from Dick Blick and would the values be like black, warm grey5 and the warm gray1?

nana

Paula Ford
08-03-2008, 09:47 AM
Excellent Sonni!

nana b
08-03-2008, 10:59 AM
It seems that I am talking to myself and asking questions that are at my fingertips in the study I bought:o Sorry, I need to get my head on straight and concentrate!!
The study I bought is yes indeed, from Barry John Raybould, Virtual Art Academy.
He suggests Tombow N75 Cool Gray, Tombow N55 Cool Gray 5 and Tombow N15 Black. They are ink brush pens. And the program looks a lot more than what I spoke of earlier. Now I'm going to study!:)

nana

Sonni
08-03-2008, 11:43 AM
Nana, you got it. If you go to Pastel Talk and the August painting challenge by Peggy B, you'll see where I dropped in the basics on how to do a notan and a couple of examples where I used photoshop to create them.

nana b
08-03-2008, 01:37 PM
Thanks again Sonni.

nana

klord
08-03-2008, 04:16 PM
It seems that I am talking to myself and asking questions that are at my fingertips in the study I bought:o Sorry, I need to get my head on straight and concentrate!!
The study I bought is yes indeed, from Barry John Raybould, Virtual Art Academy.
He suggests Tombow N75 Cool Gray, Tombow N55 Cool Gray 5 and Tombow N15 Black. They are ink brush pens. And the program looks a lot more than what I spoke of earlier. Now I'm going to study!:)

nana

nana, I am glad you went back to the lesson on Notan that you downloaded. I really think there is a ton of information there for people at any level in their process. The pens take a bit to get used to, and I recommend you take the caps off and place them on the ends of pens while you are doing the notans, so that you can see the value you are picking up. Another great excercise it to take one of your favorite artists books, and do notans of the paintings.

atelier_m
08-03-2008, 05:11 PM
Sonni ... this is a very interesting thread and I have enjoyed reading it and looking at the examples. I would like to add my two cents worth. :D

First, that while the notan or comp or study is about composition, the composition is made up of values. So, it does end up being about value in the end.

Second, while I find notan fascinating and perhaps some of the rules useful (connect shapes of the same value) ... the most important thing to remember is that there are no absolute rules. You can do whatever you want with a shape, but whatever you do, you have to compensate for it. Andrew Wyeth used some extremes of composition, with dark shapes on edges, widely separated, etc. He did everything you're not supposed to do and then pulled it off.

I believe that studying these different systems develops our eye for composition and balance, so that we can problem solve many different ways. By balance I don't mean symmetry. Rather, that what we have done is pleasing to the eye, not uncomfortable.

One thing I have noticed about doing B&W comps is that they are not the final answer. Once you add hue and chroma you really do have to rethink the situation. What looked good in your notan may not work when chroma is added because it has its own visual weight. So, you may have to adjust your notan or comp.

To quote Tim Gunn, you have to, "make it work!"

I'm glad you enjoyed Ian Robert's "Mastering Composition". I have been eyeballing "Creative Authenticity" on Amazon. Perhaps I need to get it, too!

Another great book on designing is Dan McCaw's "A Proven Strategy for Creating Great Art". It is OOP and exorbitantly priced these days. But, my advice is, if you see it somewhere cheap, SNAP IT UP!


atelier_m :)

AliciaS
08-03-2008, 05:20 PM
Ahh! atelier-m...! I have been lurking in this thread as well..and your post has made me put my two cents worth....I agree with you whole heartedly...
what "all this" has taught me throughout my learning is to detach myself from the elements..see everything as an abstract...design....and how true...once you start adding color it brings in a whole other ball game...you have to know your values of colors as well.....
I couldn't agree more with you about Wyeth breaking all the rules and pulling it off.....
I'm a believer in using any colors as long as you get the values right.....
I try to connect my large dark areas first then middle value areas then lighter
areas...however sometimes I don't....
I have seen some very successful paintings that go against these rules...
but paintings do read well when there is unity and a strong sense of design..

nana b
08-03-2008, 05:24 PM
nana, I am glad you went back to the lesson on Notan that you downloaded. I really think there is a ton of information there for people at any level in their process. The pens take a bit to get used to, and I recommend you take the caps off and place them on the ends of pens while you are doing the notans, so that you can see the value you are picking up. Another great excercise it to take one of your favorite artists books, and do notans of the paintings.

Kim,thanks for the tip on the pens, I'm going tomorrow and see if I can buy them locally.
What a great idea on doing the notans of paintings in my art books! I have some good books to use.
I was going to ask if you actually turned in the lessons you did thru the Institute or did you just work it out yourself? I'm wondering if I should follow thru and send in my lessons for them to check or not.

Thanks, nana

Jancee
08-03-2008, 05:31 PM
Thanks for this thread! Kim will be teaching at the Art Learning & Product Expo in Pasadena, CA in October. I signed up immediately. The title of her class is "Landscape painting in oil; getting off to a good start". So, I'm assuming the subject of notans will be stressed! I have to do some practice in oils between now and then as I usually work in pastel. I assumed that whatever she was teaching would be useful for pastel as well as oil.

Jancee
08-03-2008, 05:47 PM
Boy, is my face red! The class is not being taught by Kim! It's a class by Elizabeth Tolley.......maybe I should take a nap and come back later. Sorry, all.

atelier_m
08-03-2008, 06:09 PM
Boy, is my face red! The class is not being taught by Kim! It's a class by Elizabeth Tolley.......maybe I should take a nap and come back later. Sorry, all.

Go anyway! I took a five day workshop from Libby and ... :thumbsup:

atelier_m

klord
08-03-2008, 06:14 PM
Hi Alicia and atelier_ m,


I don't think anybody here is saying the "only" way to devolop a strong or good painting is by using a black and white thumbnails, or that one must follow certain rules. I believe this thread is about the process of understaning the strength and value of good design and simple value structures, and that by doing notans or thumbnails is a great excercise for learing to see. I did not have a good grasp of these concepts until I was presented with this particular process, and feel it has been a great tool in my "paint box" and have enjoyed passing that information on.

Atelier_m, you say that one "can do anything with shape as long as it is compensated for..." Well, when one is trying to understand what "value" means, and doesn't have a grasp of it yet, if you just say, make sure it whatever you do is compensated for, that really doesn't have a physical property that you can show someone, does that make sense? If you have a grasp of general design and balance then no problem, but when one is struggling with the concepts, I think a visual excercise is imperative, and doing thumbnails or notans is a terrific way to get something accomplished quickly, so that one can move on to the major part of the work. I have found that I rely less and less on a notan, but will definately go back to them when I run across a complicated scene or find my compositions going astray.

I don't believe the notan is a final answer, but it sure gets alot of the problems out of the way, and is something you can go back to if you find your color is getting out of whack.

My two cents....

klord
08-03-2008, 06:16 PM
Kim,thanks for the tip on the pens, I'm going tomorrow and see if I can buy them locally.
What a great idea on doing the notans of paintings in my art books! I have some good books to use.
I was going to ask if you actually turned in the lessons you did thru the Institute or did you just work it out yourself? I'm wondering if I should follow thru and send in my lessons for them to check or not.

Thanks, nana

nana,

I have not turned in any lesson, so do not know how that all works. I have just read and reread the info, and worked on the excericises for myself. SOrry to not have any more info in that regard.

atelier_m
08-03-2008, 06:20 PM
Hi Alicia and atelier_ m,



I don't believe the notan is a final answer, but it sure gets alot of the problems out of the way, and is something you can go back to if you find your color is getting out of whack.

My two cents....

I can't find anything in my post that says I'm not for doing thumbnails. My students are required to show me thoughtful thumbnails of their paintings before they start, no matter what their level. I've been painting for 25 years and I still do them.

atelier_m

klord
08-03-2008, 06:20 PM
Boy, is my face red! The class is not being taught by Kim! It's a class by Elizabeth Tolley.......maybe I should take a nap and come back later. Sorry, all.

Hi Jan,

Thank you for the thought, though! :D

You will love Libby. She is a wonderful woman, and an even better artist!

klord
08-03-2008, 06:29 PM
I can't find anything in my post that says I'm not for doing thumbnails. My students are required to show me thoughtful thumbnails of their paintings before they start, no matter what their level. I've been painting for 25 years and I still do them.

atelier_m

Sorry if I came across harshly, certainly didn't mean to.:o And I didn't mean to imply that you were not for thumbnails. I was just trying to illustrate the value of doing a notan or thumbnails.... my apologies.

nana b
08-03-2008, 06:36 PM
Kim, thanks, that's what I was doing too.
May I express the appreciation for myself and many others here, for helping with your valuable time. I am so inspired by your art and knowledge of art!

And Sonni, this is a great and informative thread! I hope it keeps going forever!!!


nana

Jancee
08-03-2008, 07:00 PM
Thanks, Kim. My son & daughter-in-law live in SF and I see you have something scheduled in Petaluma in '09. Maybe I can make that. I've really gotten a lot out of this thread and appreciate everyone's input. It occurs to me that notans, like thumbnails, are very useful in developing the "artist's brain" that was mentioned before, so that once you "get it", you probably don't need to actually produce one everytime, as you said. Instead, you "see" it. I'm definitely going to try doing some of these and it sounds like there is a good lesson here on this site to start.

klord
08-03-2008, 07:01 PM
Kim, thanks, that's what I was doing too.
May I express the appreciation for myself and many others here, for helping with your valuable time. I am so inspired by your art and knowledge of art!

And Sonni, this is a great and informative thread! I hope it keeps going forever!!!


nana

Thank you nana, and sonni. My time is not any more valuable than yours, and I love to share my opinions.:D That is what they are "opinions", just one way of thinking, and like I said to sonni in my workshop, definately not the only way. For every artist, there is a beautiful and viable way to work. I feel like I am just scraping the bottom of what I need to learn...

Sincerely,

Kim

Sonni
08-03-2008, 07:17 PM
Jancee--Last year I did the Pasadena Learning expo and didn't get much out of it--well, that's not entirely true. On a lark I took a portrait class by Terry Stanley (of Jack Richeson's outfit) and had a ball. I can stay with friends in So Pasadena so I may go back this year--Tolley would be good.

Kim and Alicia and Atelier...I'm doing notans until I can look at a scene and see the abstract structure easily (and whip up a painting like Albert Handell or Richard Schmid. :D :D ). So far value studies by themselves haven't directed me to great compositions, and this week I've been walking around the house checking out paintings...bad structure, no structure, where's the design in that :eek: ? I think it's great that someone like Wyeth can pull off a painting breaking "the rules." I ain't that good yet. BTW what does ..."you can do anything with shape as long as it is compensated for" mean in plain English? Are you talking about the balance of the steelyard as in asymetrical design or weight of a shape or color?Or temperature? Or line?

Nana, you're perfectly welcome to post your notans on this, along with the photo you used, of course, and we can ride this thread for awhile longer.

klord
08-03-2008, 07:23 PM
Thanks, Kim. My son & daughter-in-law live in SF and I see you have something scheduled in Petaluma in '09. Maybe I can make that. I've really gotten a lot out of this thread and appreciate everyone's input. It occurs to me that notans, like thumbnails, are very useful in developing the "artist's brain" that was mentioned before, so that once you "get it", you probably don't need to actually produce one everytime, as you said. Instead, you "see" it. I'm definitely going to try doing some of these and it sounds like there is a good lesson here on this site to start.

Hi Jan,

I agree that preliminary excercises are good for the artists brain, but also feel, like others ,that sponteneity is important to. I guess my bottom line is one can never know enough about the basics or foundations, and that is what I am trying to understand more thoroughly as I make my way through this process.

Say hi, if you are in town!

Kim

atelier_m
08-03-2008, 07:53 PM
BTW what does ..."you can do anything with shape as long as it is compensated for" mean in plain English? Are you talking about the balance of the steelyard as in asymetrical design or weight of a shape or color?Or temperature? Or line?

Actually, I am saying all of those things. Talking about the abstract design behind the painting, the armature (Ian Roberts), notan, thumbnails ... they are really about the same thing. I took composition from Hal Reed. He had his ideas about distributing the values in composition. Edgar Whitney had his eight rules of design. Edgar Payne had another version of it. There is no end to the permutations. You just have to start somewhere to get a handle on it ... and as your comfort/perception of composition grows, so will the number of solutions you see to design problems.

So, any shape, stroke, area of chroma, texture ... has a visual weight. If you are going to use a dark shape near the canvas edge, you will have to compensate in some way to keep the painting in balance. It could be to change the canvas ratio, put the large shape to one edge and balance it with a very large expanse of white. It could be to keep the dark shape neutral in chroma and balance it with a smaller high chroma area. The earlier you are in the design process on your painting, the more options you have. But, as you make decisions you both close and open doors of possibility.

I mentioned this before ... that by balance I do not mean symmetry. So, yes, to the steelyard balance idea ... just take it past shape and value. It includes value, chroma, texture, busy versus static, etc.

More importantly, once you have done a thumbnail and established your pattern, keep an open mind. The painting will change with every stroke and the closer you get to the finish, the more impact a single stroke will have.

"Notan is about the relationship of light and dark shapes. That relationship is not always one of balance, although the balance of light and dark, obviously, has resonance in Asian philosophy ... the relationship is often one of tension in which there is a deliberate imbalance or in which the formal dominance of the light or dark is countered with the spatial dominance of the other ..." www.typophile.com/node/14819?

I would say this is true not only of the notan, but of all the design elements and that the goal is to achieve that working tension on with all of the elements, not just the notan. I am sure you have heard a judge say about a painting that it is "half and half" and not mean it as a good thing. Not half white and half dark, half warm and half cool, not half busy and half static, etc.

Having said all of this, the value structure behind your painting is probably the single most important design aspect. It is just not the only thing, and as you grow you will begin to see that things that you do from the point of departure strengthen or weaken the initial design - and you have to be aware of that.

"Think pattern first, then drawing, then color. The character of your painting is resolved in your pattern." Edgar Whitney

Understanding the idea of the abstract design behind the painting is a huge milestone for every artist. Thumbnails or notan is the best place I can think of to start.

atelier_m

dvantuyl
08-04-2008, 01:38 PM
Thank you Nana and Kim for sharing your actual Notan drawings. I have been doing this for the past couple of months and mine not neat, but have been very helpful. I have been concerned that mine are so loose and messy, and now I feel much better.

nana b
08-04-2008, 01:47 PM
Hi Donna, the thanks go to Sonni and Kim for the examples of their notans. But I have been doing some today and may post them later. My grandson is here and likes a lot of attention...but of course I love that:) .

nana

dvantuyl
08-04-2008, 02:24 PM
Oops, Nana, I guess I was still thinking about you painting.

Sonni, thanks for posting your Notan and all the rest I said.

Sonni
08-04-2008, 05:54 PM
Thanks Atelier...this is very good information. The long-ago design class I had was a stickler on "think pattern first, then drawing, then color." I can't believe how much I've forgotten over the years.

id-art
08-05-2008, 01:17 AM
"I'm doing notans until I can look at a scene and see the abstract structure easily..." Sonni

This is a great thread and really gets to the nitty gritty of picture making. The part most step by step demos, videos and instructors in general spend very little time on. Maybe they aren't aware they are doing it or how important it is. They make a few lines and start painting a gorgeous picture. If I could get _________'s (fill in your favorite master's name) artistic concept in my head painting it wouldn't be too hard.

About the quote above, I think it is rare that the abstract structure needed for a two dimensional design is there in nature to be seen. That's the artist's main task: impose order on nature where none exists.

blondheim12
08-05-2008, 08:40 AM
I enjoyed reading this post and thanks to Carol for bringing it to my attention. I have been studying the notan proces for about a year, though of course I studied it in art school back in the day. It is a powerful design process. I have learned a great deal from it and have taken the elements of notan which I find useful and applied them to my on work. I now use a five value system in my painting, which is so much more efficient than using the traditional value scale. I also learned that there is nothing in painting more important than values and composition. Color is a distant third in importance. I learned a great deal about value dominance, massing and so forth, which are all quite useful for a painter.

I do feel there is the danger of becoming formulaic with any school of painting, so I am unwilling to buy into any rigidity of formula or style, instead, preferring to use the notan proces as it suits my style of painting. I follow no one's rules but my own, so reading here of cast in stone rules about massing and values having to connect and so forth, I am unwiling to adhere to that blindly.

Love,
Linda

Kathryn Wilson
08-05-2008, 09:07 AM
I've been reading through this thread with great interest - although several have mentioned Barry John Raybould's downloadable program, I haven't seen where to find it - so here it is for those of us not fortunate enough to get to one of Kim's workshops:

It can be found on the International Artist website:

www.internationalartist.com

And get this: there are mass, contour, edge and dominant value notans!!! yikes!

There is a nice little page showing some notans in the current issue of that magazine.

Deborah Secor
08-05-2008, 09:27 AM
As a teacher of over 20 years experience let me add that I wholeheartedly agree that the notan, value sketch, thumbnail (whatever) process is primary. I teach a group that has a mixed range of experience and in that class I have to switch gears from student to student because those earlier in their art walk need that basic structure on which to hang a painting, while the more experienced artists have to grapple with the effects of things such as chroma. That's one of the aspects I love about art--there's no 'there' there! You always have more to learn, it seems...

I just did an online critique for a man who had a dandy sky in a lovely lyrical bright blue, but in grayscale it looked duller and darker than his foreground. However, the problem wasn't the sky, because the intensity of the color 'worked' more than the value of it indicated. He had a foreground value problem that also needed some chroma work.

The thing about classical notan is the distillation, as separate from a developed underdrawing or value sketch. It's in distilling to the essence using a narrow range of values that you see the essential qualities of the composition. No details or color or other devices to get in the way, just you and three grays. Love that! If the notan is strong, and you stick to it as you add all these other elements, the painting will remain strong throughout. :thumbsup:

Deborah

Sonni
08-05-2008, 04:19 PM
I'm making a notan of all this advice. :cat: Tho regarding Linda's comment: so reading here of cast in stone rules about massing and values having to connect and so forth, I am unwiling to adhere to that blindly, I'd have to comment that I've not seen (or read) any cast-in-stone-rules on this thread or suggestion one follow it blindly--or with one eye shut for that matter. I think the discussion is about a design aid that helps make the structure of a composition strong and attractive from across the room, not a formula. Deborah's last paragraph sums it up quite well. :thumbsup: Dow sums it up in a more esoteric and complicated way, Kim made it really simple for us, and I'll have to read the link Kathryn gave us to follow Raybould's thinking. Using Tombow pens is only one way of working it. On Marc Hanson's advice (good article about his work in the Aug Pastel Journal, BTW), I purchased a box of inexpensive Gallery Graytones. Six values including black and white. I can pick three of them and get cracking.

In my opinion (what else?:p ) formulas belong in the court of artists such as Keane and Gorman, who made a lot of $$ following a formula. I'm not particularly interested in going that direction.

Id Art Bob...I tend to agree with you. Regarding my comment--well, I guess I'll just reposition the landscape until I can see a structure. :D

klord
08-05-2008, 06:13 PM
I'm making a notan of all this advice. :cat: Tho regarding Linda's comment: so reading here of cast in stone rules about massing and values having to connect and so forth, I am unwiling to adhere to that blindly, I'd have to comment that I've not seen (or read) any cast-in-stone-rules on this thread or suggestion one follow it blindly--or with one eye shut for that matter. I think the discussion is about a design aid that helps make the structure of a composition strong and attractive from across the room, not a formula. Deborah's last paragraph sums it up quite well. :thumbsup: Dow sums it up in a more esoteric and complicated way, Kim made it really simple for us, and I'll have to read the link Kathryn gave us to follow Raybould's thinking. Using Tombow pens is only one way of working it. On Marc Hanson's advice (good article about his work in the Aug Pastel Journal, BTW), I purchased a box of inexpensive Gallery Graytones. Six values including black and white. I can pick three of them and get cracking.

In my opinion (what else?:p ) formulas belong in the court of artists such as Keane and Gorman, who made a lot of $$ following a formula. I'm not particularly interested in going that direction.


Thank you, Sonni! I, too, have seen no "rules" being placed on anything/body in this thread. This is just an excercise to help understand the concept of value and design.... no more, no less.

Sincerely,

Kim

atelier_m
08-05-2008, 06:28 PM
Yes, it's a great thread and I've five-starred it. :thumbsup:

Too often value and design don't get mentioned in classes and workshops because of time constraints and everyone's eagerness to get painting. But, any time spent on understanding value and design will be returned one hundred fold. Teaching it is one of the best things a teacher can do for his or her students.

Mary

Kathryn Wilson
08-05-2008, 06:38 PM
I think each of us has to grasp how best we achieve our goals - with a notan or no notan at all - as long as we enjoy what we are doing and learning in the process.

AliciaS
08-05-2008, 08:24 PM
I just checked in on this thread again..
Klord- I am not objecting to notans..I don't object to whatever works for someone...and I mean whatever works....
I have learned that the detachment from subject matter can take a jump ahead of notans..what I mean by that is..to look at everything as just a series of shapes..If you can train yourself to look that way at whatever kind of reference you have..it helps....attaching these shapes of values and the placement of them in a painting is key...
Believe me all this is new to me...It was an ah-ha moment when I started to study abstracts....good ones...and boy is that humbling....
I do get tired of hearing people brag about how long they have studied and how much they now...or how long they have taught...and because they know that this is a right way to do things.....
How stiffling is that?
I so enjoy your paintings Kim and am very appreciative of you taking the time for everyone here....you know I am a fan.
I just wonder if people get fixed on a certain way to do things and that thats the right way.......
what you are saying is true....and what atelier-m said is true.....
thats all.....

blondheim12
08-05-2008, 08:58 PM
Dear Sonni and all,
I have offended your forum group and I meant no harm or disrespect. That was certainly not my intent. Please accept my apologies and I won't intrude here again.
Love,
Linda

Kathryn Wilson
08-05-2008, 09:36 PM
Okay, I've tried not to stick my Moderator nose in here - but you all of you are "off topic" here - the topic is about how to do a notan, not why you should or should not do a notan.

Let's get back on track.

AliciaS
08-05-2008, 09:47 PM
with all due respect Kathryn, I think this has all been very valuable discussion.
and I think everyone is enjoying all the different opinions..I don't think we are off topic..this is all healthey conversation ...maybe it should be put in pastel talk?
Linda-you have nothing to apologize for..your opinion is valuable and should be heard.....Maybe this thread is turning into somehing that is in the wrong venue...but I know alot of people are enjoying it.

atelier_m
08-05-2008, 09:51 PM
:grouphug: ... :D

Deborah Secor
08-05-2008, 09:54 PM
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, er, studio... :D

I purchased a box of inexpensive Gallery Graytones. Six values including black and white. I can pick three of them and get cracking.
I have that set, too, which I purchased very inexpensively, and I can see how it would allow you to do classic notan, Sonni. Do you use black and white with one of the grays most of the time or some other combination?

I also wonder if doing a notan is more successful on white paper... I usually use copy paper, so it's white, but I thought of doing some in a neat little notebook I have that looks like light cardboard. I may just try it and see. It would add a warm neutral. Hmmm, and I could use white, too. Never mind. I think I answered my own questions! :lol:

Deborah

Kathryn Wilson
08-05-2008, 10:04 PM
with all due respect Kathryn, I think this has all been very valuable discussion.
and I think everyone is enjoying all the different opinions..I don't think we are off topic..this is all healthey conversation ...maybe it should be put in pastel talk?
Linda-you have nothing to apologize for..your opinion is valuable and should be heard.....Maybe this thread is turning into somehing that is in the wrong venue...but I know alot of people are enjoying it.

Funny .... I saw an awful lot of apologizing going on for this to be an enjoyable discussion. My decision stands, back on track folks. If you have a problem with it, please PM me.

id-art
08-05-2008, 10:21 PM
Can we have more real life examples?

atelier_m
08-05-2008, 10:27 PM
Another good gray scale media is Nupastel in white, black, cool dark gray, cool mediuim gray, cool light gray and cool very light gray. They work for comps but also for doing quick B&W studies of whatever you are doing. You can use white paper, but I like to shortcut with Strathmore velvet gray charcoal paper, which is middle value.

***

I have a question about notan as it is being used in this thread ... as a value scale notation useful in designing compositions. That is the way I have been talking about it. On traditional Notan sites, however, it is presented as a design method that appears graphic rather than representational. See the book cover below. Has the term Notan been picked up and put in a new Western context?

Perhaps some of the confusion in this thread is about terminology.

Mary

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Aug-2008/133300-71GZPHSVMKL._SL500_AA240_.gif.jpeg

Davidem
08-05-2008, 11:02 PM
Can we have more real life examples?

Hello there, I was browsing the site and came across this thread a couple of days ago and really find it interesting. I was especially fascinated by the discussions about "notan" so I googled and found that one of the best links to the subject (for representational painters) is right here on WC!. The Robert Genn discussion from 2004. Make sure that you get the entire discussion including the letters in response to his original comments. You may have to go to the web to get it.

I'm going to ask, as someone new to the nomenclature, but perhaps not to the process 'if the comps done by Ralph on the thread http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=508442 and http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=509708 are "notan"?

Thanks

David

Sonni
08-05-2008, 11:28 PM
I have a question about notan as it is being used in this thread ... as a value scale notation useful in designing compositions. That is the way I have been talking about it. On traditional Notan sites, however, it is presented as a design method that appears graphic rather than representational. See the book cover below. Has the term Notan been picked up and put in a new Western context?

Perhaps some of the confusion in this thread is about terminology.
:grouphug: ... :D

:eek: :rolleyes: :p ... :D. I follow it as Kim explained it as Raybould taught it. Not as a value scale, but as a three value (four including white) structure that can be used to hold a painting together. Sure there are values. Sometimes there are two value notans--high contrast of black and white for instance. For people like me, who can get caught up in detail and color much too early, holding the initial concept to four shapes makes sense to me and limiting the values is a good thing. I can be all over the map with just value studies if not held in check. Trying to correct the oversights, undersights and nosights after the fact is very frustrating and problematic, and I need to get away from that and organize the planning stage if I'm to do any growing. Time is growing short on my end; I'm not a young squirt anymore... so as Mac over in figure says..."It's time."

Sonni
08-06-2008, 12:04 AM
Hello there, I was browsing the site and came across this thread a couple of days ago and really find it interesting. I was especially fascinated by the discussions about "notan" so I googled and found that one of the best links to the subject (for representational painters) is right here on WC!. The Robert Genn discussion from 2004. Make sure that you get the entire discussion including the letters in response to his original comments. You may have to go to the web to get it.

I'm going to ask, as someone new to the nomenclature, but perhaps not to the process 'if the comps done by Ralph on the thread http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=508442 and http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=509708 are "notan"?

Thanks
David

My guess is that ole Tex has gone beyond Notan, because of the detail. BUT, perish the thought, I may be wrong. They sure are very good value studies.

Sonni
08-06-2008, 12:08 AM
Can we have more real life examples?

I'm working :eek: on it...

Sonni
08-06-2008, 12:10 AM
Funny .... I saw an awful lot of apologizing going on for this to be an enjoyable discussion. My decision stands, back on track folks. If you have a problem with it, please PM me.

Relax kathryn--99% are riding the waves :thumbsup:

Sonni
08-06-2008, 12:16 AM
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, er, studio... :D


I have that set, too, which I purchased very inexpensively, and I can see how it would allow you to do classic notan, Sonni. Do you use black and white with one of the grays most of the time or some other combination?

I also wonder if doing a notan is more successful on white paper... I usually use copy paper, so it's white, but I thought of doing some in a neat little notebook I have that looks like light cardboard. I may just try it and see. It would add a warm neutral. Hmmm, and I could use white, too. Never mind. I think I answered my own questions! :lol:

Deborah

We did them on white paper using the white of the paper as the lightest value. I'm just looking at the little pastel sticks right now, and thinking about it... Soon, tho, I'll make a move and Notan like a wild banshee. :evil:

Sonni
08-06-2008, 12:28 AM
Dear Sonni and all,
I have offended your forum group and I meant no harm or disrespect. That was certainly not my intent. Please accept my apologies and I won't intrude here again.
Love,
Linda

Huh? You did? Nooo...I don't think so. :confused: I thought it was a free speech thread (keep the swearing down, tho, and no heavy drinking or recreational drugs). No apologies necessary.

klord
08-06-2008, 01:25 AM
I am going to see if this works... (hopefully I will be able to post this image that I have in my workbook of notans along with the finished paintngs.... wish me luck:D Well, it is not working, so I will try this....

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Aug-2008/104623-notan_examples.jpg

I hope this comes through all right...

id-art
08-06-2008, 01:31 AM
Thanks for the notan examples! Helps a lot. We are off to attend Marc Hansons workshop the week of the 11th. Will be on the look out for notan.

klord
08-06-2008, 01:51 AM
I just checked in on this thread again..
Klord- I am not objecting to notans..I don't object to whatever works for someone...and I mean whatever works....
I have learned that the detachment from subject matter can take a jump ahead of notans..what I mean by that is..to look at everything as just a series of shapes..If you can train yourself to look that way at whatever kind of reference you have..it helps....attaching these shapes of values and the placement of them in a painting is key...
Believe me all this is new to me...It was an ah-ha moment when I started to study abstracts....good ones...and boy is that humbling....
I do get tired of hearing people brag about how long they have studied and how much they now...or how long they have taught...and because they know that this is a right way to do things.....
How stiffling is that?
I so enjoy your paintings Kim and am very appreciative of you taking the time for everyone here....you know I am a fan.
I just wonder if people get fixed on a certain way to do things and that thats the right way.......
what you are saying is true....and what atelier-m said is true.....
thats all.....

Alicia, I couldn't agree with you more on all points! For me, the bottom line on doing a notan or value design, is for creating a strong abstract design underneath the painting. I agree with Mary, atelier_m, as well. Nothing is a hard and fast rule.

I am the first person to say that I know less and less the more I move forward in my creative process, so I hope that I am not coming across as "bragging about how long I've studied" and I have only taught a hand full of workshops. And am always asking the artists to submit a critique form for me, too!:D I pray that I am not "fixed" on doing things a certain way. So, I apologize if that is the way I have come across. (Sorry, Kathryn, I just had to say one more, "I'm sorries, ok this makes two):D I promise, no more!

klord
08-06-2008, 01:53 AM
Thanks for the notan examples! Helps a lot. We are off to attend Marc Hansons workshop the week of the 11th. Will be on the look out for notan.

I am so jealous!!!! Have a wonderul artistic journey!

klord
08-06-2008, 02:12 AM
I'm going to ask, as someone new to the nomenclature, but perhaps not to the process 'if the comps done by Ralph on the thread http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=508442 and http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=509708 are "notan"?

Thanks

David

Hi David, I think this is one of those questions that there will be a different answer from everybody. I believe these are beautiful comps, with a poetic line and a good start to developing value.... my personal opinion if I were teaching the idea of notan would be to ask the artist to push the values, assigning each mass a complete value. Thereby simplifying the design to a greater degree. Again, I preface this with my understanding, not a cast in stone rule. :D But all the information is there in those comps to go do a wonderful painting, as he did. My two cents....:eek:

Studio-1-F
08-06-2008, 10:00 AM
I am going to see if this works... (hopefully I will be able to post this image that I have in my workbook of notans along with the finished paintngs.... wish me luck:D Well, it is not working, so I will try this .... I hope this comes through all right...
Came through perfectly and they are excellent examples! Thank you!!!

Jan

JWebber
08-06-2008, 03:09 PM
Thanks Sonni for sharing what you learned from Kim and for your fantastic sense of humour!! (humour is how Canadians spell humour! like we spell colour! ).

I am always interested in tools, especially those used by an artist whose work I so admire and whose workshop I would love to have been in!

Notans? I wonder if it is spelled Noutans in Canada?

cheers, Judy

nana b
08-06-2008, 11:02 PM
Kim, I am so glad you posted the four notans along side your paintings. I feel that it gives us a better idea of how they're done. 'Summer Bounty' is one of my favorites of your paintings! I have been practicing the last three days but with just a pencil or nu pastels.
There is a place here that will order the Tombow pens but I didn't because I thought I would find them elsewhere quicker but I haven't. Now I wish I had ordered them:( Maybe tomorrow.

Do you have anymore notans you would show us? I have a lot of nerve:D

Best Wishes,
nana

Tressa
08-07-2008, 07:26 AM
Here is the link mentioned for Roberts article (2004)and the responses to Notan if anyone is interested.


http://www.painterskeys.com/clickbacks/notan.asp

Sonni
08-07-2008, 11:36 AM
Thanks, Judy--I was born with my head on at an angle and try not to take myself and situations too seriously (but I'm very serious about my art). How do you spell "crouton?" As applied to "Noutan" of course--so we don't get too far "off topic." :evil: :music: :)

Kim, those Noutans are great examples--now I don't feel pressured to get my lazy butt in gear and post some.

Keep asking, Nana.:thumbsup:

Thanks, Tressa, I checked the link and thought it very informative, especially about two kinds of Notan, though it looks like some kind of hair splitting is going on...but food for thought.

klord
08-07-2008, 01:14 PM
Thanks, Judy--I was born with my head on at an angle and try not to take myself and situations too seriously (but I'm very serious about my art). How do you spell "crouton?" As applied to "Noutan" of course--so we don't get too far "off topic." :evil: :music: :)

Kim, those Noutans are great examples--now I don't feel pressured to get my lazy butt in gear and post some.

Keep asking, Nana.:thumbsup:

Thanks, Tressa, I checked the link and thought it very informative, especially about two kinds of Notan, though it looks like some kind of hair splitting is going on...but food for thought.

Sonni, you better get your lazy #$$ here with some notan posts ( I am not apologizing about symbol vernacular) Or I won't post anymore!:D

dvantuyl
08-07-2008, 04:51 PM
Kim, thank you for posting your notan and painting side by side. It is very helpful for me. I have been doing these since reading about the idea from WC and so far it has been VERY helpful. Cannot put it into words like all the rest of you, however, it has been a great tool for aiding in selection, in simplicity, and value. Thanks for going to all this work, it is appreciated and being put to use.

What comes across to me when I read your words is a great, fantastic passion for painting. I know when you post something I will need to get my mind in gear and start THINKING. Some day you will have to write a book and it will be right up there with Payne and Carlson, I am sure they also had great passion for painting.

Sonni
08-08-2008, 07:10 PM
Sonni, you better get your lazy #$$ here with some notan posts ( I am not apologizing about symbol vernacular) Or I won't post anymore!:D

Oh-oh....:eek:
Here is a photo (gotta start somewhere) from my deck--and notans
.
I want to do only a part of it...where the trees come up into the sky from the left. I like the lacy negative spaces in them.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2008/111873-WC_photo_from_deck.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2008/111873-wc_notans_photo_sunset.jpg
a large vertical so you can see how sloppy it really ishttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2008/111873-wc_notan_photo_1_vert.jpg


Each one took about 30 seconds to do--1x2inches. They were done with three values of Gallery graytone pastels on white vellum paper.
Now, I suppose I have to do a painting?

Colorix
08-09-2008, 08:24 AM
Thank you! all who contribute in this thread. I'm clicking links, reading furiously, learning a lot. My intro to this concept was the aforementioned book Drawing with your artist's brain.

Having the 'bones' of a painting worked out allows for freedom and creativity in the actual painting-part of creation. IMHO.

A thought: seems to me that a thumbnail or a notan represents what we see of a painting from across the room. As someone (?) said, it is what draws us to walk over to a painting, then discovering the delights you can see at closer range. I've started to look at my ref-library on the 'puter in thumbnail size, and I think it will help me pick out good photos to paint from. (And how to shoot a pic, for starters... ) Next step will be picking out parts of photos.

But mostly I want to say: Thank You So Much!

Charlie

nvcricket
08-09-2008, 11:23 AM
I am following this thread with avid interest.

I have always done "thumbnails" prior to diving into a plein air painting....to work out composition and value issues. (please realize- I classify myself as a beginner in this art world)

I have been practicing "Notans" this week and they keep slipping into the "thumbnail" catagory. I can really see the reason those pens are so valuable in getting the notan principle. I am struggling with the minor nuances of shadow and highlights and trying to incorporate them in the notan, and voila...it's a thumbnail again. When this happens ...I start in on the self-lecture ...telling self..."Notans- blocks of value- interconnected - abstract in nature, don't attend the small stuff." I think another set back is not having the correct tool, I have been trying to establish my three major values with differing hardness of pencils.

Sonni, Thanks for showing your efforts- it really helps me!

YEAH....THIS THREAD IS NOW RATED WITH 5 STARS----DESERVED!

Carol

Sonni
08-09-2008, 11:49 AM
Thanks, Charlie. Hold that thought!

Carol, My guess is that you can use any media for the notans, which is why I showed the Notans in pastel. Also, my 3 values of Tombow pens are a siena hue (which Kim said didn't matter as long as I had the three values). I don't see why you couldn't mix up three values of watercolor, acrylic--any fast drying media--and do the same thing. Tombows are easy to use and you get crisp shapes with them. They are also water soluable, and I've used them as underpainting with pastels.

klord
08-10-2008, 11:58 PM
I am following this thread with avid interest.

I have always done "thumbnails" prior to diving into a plein air painting....to work out composition and value issues. (please realize- I classify myself as a beginner in this art world)

I have been practicing "Notans" this week and they keep slipping into the "thumbnail" catagory. I can really see the reason those pens are so valuable in getting the notan principle. I am struggling with the minor nuances of shadow and highlights and trying to incorporate them in the notan, and voila...it's a thumbnail again. When this happens ...I start in on the self-lecture ...telling self..."Notans- blocks of value- interconnected - abstract in nature, don't attend the small stuff." I think another set back is not having the correct tool, I have been trying to establish my three major values with differing hardness of pencils.

Sonni, Thanks for showing your efforts- it really helps me!

YEAH....THIS THREAD IS NOW RATED WITH 5 STARS----DESERVED!

Carol

Hi Carol,

Sonni is right, any medium can be used for this concept, just utilize a three/four/ value range in any color. A pastel stick might be better because you might be less likely to draw with it. If you are trying to get to the heart of the design, really try to eliminate all detail :D at this stage. It is hard to do when you are used to doing small thumbnails with a lot of information. I know, because I want to draw the design first still, too.

klord
08-11-2008, 12:01 AM
Oh-oh....:eek:
Here is a photo (gotta start somewhere) from my deck--and notans
.
I want to do only a part of it...where the trees come up into the sky from the left. I like the lacy negative spaces in them.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2008/111873-WC_photo_from_deck.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2008/111873-wc_notans_photo_sunset.jpg
a large vertical so you can see how sloppy it really ishttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2008/111873-wc_notan_photo_1_vert.jpg


Each one took about 30 seconds to do--1x2inches. They were done with three values of Gallery graytone pastels on white vellum paper.
Now, I suppose I have to do a painting?

Great notans, Sonni!!!!

klord
08-11-2008, 12:05 AM
Kim, thank you for posting your notan and painting side by side. It is very helpful for me. I have been doing these since reading about the idea from WC and so far it has been VERY helpful. Cannot put it into words like all the rest of you, however, it has been a great tool for aiding in selection, in simplicity, and value. Thanks for going to all this work, it is appreciated and being put to use.

What comes across to me when I read your words is a great, fantastic passion for painting. I know when you post something I will need to get my mind in gear and start THINKING. Some day you will have to write a book and it will be right up there with Payne and Carlson, I am sure they also had great passion for painting.

Donna, would you be willing to post some of your notans for us? Take a page from your sketch book, so that we can see some more examples.

Thank you for your kind words regarding my lengthy posts! :o Wow, Payne and Carlson, you do think big! :D

Colorix
08-11-2008, 09:45 AM
Kim, thank you so much!

Workbook? Does that mean you have published a book?! I do hope so!

Charlie

klord
08-11-2008, 10:55 AM
Kim, thank you so much!

Workbook? Does that mean you have published a book?! I do hope so!

Charlie

No published book here!!!:D I have put together a workbook with information on my process, notans, organizations, recommended reading lists, things like that for the artists that take my workshops. Nothing too exciting, Charlie!:lol: Well leave the published books to the great artists of our time like Schmid, Leffel, McGraw, and the like!

Thanks for the great thoughts, tho'!

dvantuyl
08-11-2008, 01:49 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Aug-2008/120719-donna_van_tuyl_notan.jpg Here are my efforts. Feel free to make comments.

klord
08-11-2008, 04:11 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Aug-2008/120719-donna_van_tuyl_notan.jpg Here are my efforts. Feel free to make comments.

Lookin' goood!

I am going to make a few suggestions if you don't mind. A real important one is to make the ratio of the notan the same as your paper/canvas that you plan on working on. Or vica versa, make the paper relate to the notan dimensions. For example, the middle notan is for a vertical painting, and it looks as if the painting next to it was based off the notan, but the painting ended up horizontal... they may not be related... I am just guessing.

One other thing, on the bottom notan and accompanying painting, make sure to establish a value for each section, so lay a value for the water, and a light value for the far tree line, leaving the white of the paper for the sky.

Hope I am not confusing you too much! Keep up the great work, Donna!

atelier_m
08-11-2008, 04:15 PM
... make the ratio of the notan the same as your paper/canvas that you plan on working on. Or vica versa, make the paper relate to the notan dimensions.


:thumbsup: Kim! Way so important!

Everybody, get out your yellow marker and highlight that tip. :)

Mary

dvantuyl
08-11-2008, 04:47 PM
Lookin' goood!

I am going to make a few suggestions if you don't mind. A real important one is to make the ratio of the notan the same as your paper/canvas that you plan on working on. Or vica versa, make the paper relate to the notan dimensions. For example, the middle notan is for a vertical painting, and it looks as if the painting next to it was based off the notan, but the painting ended up horizontal... they may not be related... I am just guessing.

One other thing, on the bottom notan and accompanying painting, make sure to establish a value for each section, so lay a value for the water, and a light value for the far tree line, leaving the white of the paper for the sky.

Hope I am not confusing you too much! Keep up the great work, Donna!

Kim, this is not confusing at all. Makes perfect sense. However, the mistakes one makes on the notan can be fixed on the painting. For example when I started the middle drawing, I was trying to work in shade and had trees hemming me in on both sides. When I did the notan, I could see what this was doing to me, it was making me think narrow, when the painting was not going to be so narrow. So the notan worked to help me correct my problem. I should have done another notan....correctly. I want to make this a habit, and I am not there yet.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Aug-2008/120719-Trout_Lake_Marsh_setup.jpg

Thanks for the help and I will keep trying. It is like the notan helps me with muscle memory. I am not sure what to paint, I do the sketch and do it again, and then suddenly can see where to go, it is wonderful!

Sonni
08-11-2008, 05:51 PM
Mary, I already know that, do I still have to highlight it?:confused: :wink2:

Donna, Sign up for one of Kim's workshops. :thumbsup:

You will start to spell notan backwards in your sleep,
And count three value shapes instead of sheep.
You won't fix the painting by changing value and then some,
You'll just whip up another notan and it will be done.

:D :D :D :D

oh, well. I thot it was cute :p

atelier_m
08-11-2008, 06:21 PM
Mary, I already know that, do I still have to highlight it?:confused: :wink2:

You are excused. :p

dvantuyl
08-11-2008, 06:50 PM
Mary, I already know that, do I still have to highlight it?:confused: :wink2:

Donna, Sign up for one of Kim's workshops. :thumbsup:

You will start to spell notan backwards in your sleep,
And count three value shapes instead of sheep.
You won't fix the painting by changing value and then some,
You'll just whip up another notan and it will be done.

:D :D :D :D

oh, well. I thot it was cute :p

Sonni, don't need a workshop for doing a little notan. Just takes some practice and muscle memory to get it. Thanks for the suggestion, are you paying?

atelier_m
08-11-2008, 07:26 PM
You will start to spell notan backwards in your sleep,
And count three value shapes instead of sheep.
You won't fix the painting by changing value and then some,
You'll just whip up another notan and it will be done.
:D :D :D :D



Sonni,

You put your notan in,
You put your notan out,
You put your values in and you shake 'em all about.
You do the hokey pokey and you turn the sketch around.
Notan's what s'all about.

:o ... refusing to sign my name to this. :D

(Tried my darndest to get that last line to scan. :p )

Sonni
08-11-2008, 07:45 PM
Mary...:) :D :lol: :lol: :lol:

Donna? Paying? Whom? Kim? I did. For all that info. Or for my poem? Only if Mary pays, too.;)

klord
08-11-2008, 11:39 PM
Sonni, you crack me up!!! Mary, I am going to have to sing this to my three year old!

b123
10-25-2008, 01:13 PM
Lookin' goood!

I am going to make a few suggestions if you don't mind. A real important one is to make the ratio of the notan the same as your paper/canvas that you plan on working on. Or vica versa, make the paper relate to the notan dimensions. For example, the middle notan is for a vertical painting, and it looks as if the painting next to it was based off the notan, but the painting ended up horizontal... they may not be related... I am just guessing.

Keep up the great work, Donna!
Hi Kim and everyone,
This is Barry John here. Its a long time since we last met and its really nice to see you here in this forum! :) Your paintings are looking great by the way!

I just came across this thread when doing some more research on notan for some new videos I'm working on - Since I'm spending a lot of my time in Europe now and don't get back to the US much, I've decided to focus on doing my workshops in video form instead of doing live workshops (the only problem is that I've found that doing videos is taking me an awful lot longer than I thought - about 80-100 hours of work just to plan, write and execute a single 10 minute video!).

I've found my thoughts on notan have evolved a lot since we last spoke so wanted to pass a few of them on to you and to this group:

1. LOOSENESS
I think you can be a lot looser than you might first assume. What I think is important is the relative size and placement of the major value masses -- not their specific shape or their specific contour. When I first started I was spending 10 minutes or even longer on doing a notan painting but now I accomplish the same thing in about 30 seconds to one minute. This helps me explore a lot more creative ideas before starting my painting. Not only does it go faster but there appears to be something more aesthetic about the final result. What this means in practice is don't try to draw a contour, or even make the sketch look like something real. Its just a mass of dark or gray. It doesn't matter whether its a tree or a water tank! Here's some pages from one of my notan sketchbooks:
http://barryjohnraybould.blogspot.com/2008/10/notan-sketch.html

2. DOMINANT VALUE
You need to have a dominant value. A dominant value is one value that occupies more than 50% of the painting's surface area. If you don't have a dominant value, then somehow the painting seems to lack strength.

3. UNEQUAL SPACE DIVISION
You must divide all of your spaces unequally. If you have two spaces the same size and shape, often it leads to an uninteresting painting.

I think its worth looking at work by Sorolla, Diebenkorn, Matisse, John Singer Sargent, Turner, Constable and a few others. You'll see these ideas put into practice time and time again.

Of course you should never be pedantic about rules in art, because you can always find a master painter who seems to be able to break all the rules and make it work but in my experience I have found that these last two problems accounted for 90% of my students' problems.


(By the way don't forget the basic issues like keeping the number of values small, keeping the number of major shapes low, keeping your values flat, covering all the surface, and maintaining the aspect ratio, as you so rightly pointed out in your critique.)

Kathryn Wilson
10-25-2008, 01:30 PM
How nice to see you here Barry - I viewed your web site and your paintings are lovely! But no pastels???

How can we convince you to try a pastel or two for us? After all some of our most well-known artists work in both oil and pastels.

If I missed something on your website that says you work also in pastels, accept my apologies.

Please visit us often!

Sonni
10-25-2008, 01:35 PM
Hot d*mn...THANK YOU, Barry John. Kim referred to you several times in her workshop. Diebenkorn and Turner are two of my favorites. Thanks, too, for posting your website. It gives an excellent idea of your process regardless of the medium.

Colorix
10-25-2008, 04:37 PM
Gosh, yes, Thank you for the additional info, Barry!

Charlie

nvcricket
10-26-2008, 02:15 AM
That notan class at the virtual academy looks mighty tempting.

Actually alot of the classes look tempting!

Thanks BArry!

CArol

b123
10-26-2008, 02:59 PM
Thanks for the replies :) If you have any questions on Notan please feel free to ask. I find it a really interesting topic. I've always been interested in lightweight travel systems, and I find travelling with three pens and a little 4X6in Strathmore notebook highly satisfying (for my back that is!).

Tip: Edge notans
One other thing I wanted to suggest is to try an experiment with working the edges of your notans. Here's some tips on how you do it:
You have to be very quick, you basically smudge the edge with your fingers while the ink is still wet.
Sometimes you need to add a little more ink with the next lightest value pen
It only works with the right paper. If you use the paper I recommended in my previous post, or something similar it will work great. Other papers just don't work at all and you'll end up frustrated with the resultIt takes some practice, but it can produce some beautiful results. (this painting is only 1" wide, and was done in about 45 seconds)
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Oct-2008/66177-ScreenSnapz019.jpg

Caution:
Just one word of caution though, I really don't recommend it for beginners, or anyone that hasn't done flat notans for at least a couple of years. If you start creating edges before you have the major design worked out in flat values, you'll very quickly end up with a mess. I hesitated a little to suggest it, but those of you are very advanced might find it is a major breakthrough.

For the advanced painters only:
The secret is to only create a transition on one or at the most two major edges. Any more and you'll completely lose the strength of the major design. I've only just figured it out myself, and that was after 8 years of doing basic notans! If you carefully analyse JMW Turner's landscapes, you'll find that many of his more abstract designs are three-value notans with two transitions (that is a gradual transition from one of the three values to another). Painting is all about simplifying nature, the simpler you can make it the better (its the opposite of what you might think). Notan is one way of simplifying the value structure. Simplifying the transitions is another way. Its related but its not the same thing. You'll see similar ideas in Sargent's work, but his edge treatment is a little more complicated than Turner's.

Happy painting!
Barry John

b123
10-26-2008, 03:10 PM
How nice to see you here Barry - I viewed your web site and your paintings are lovely! But no pastels???

How can we convince you to try a pastel or two for us? After all some of our most well-known artists work in both oil and pastels.


Thanks Kathryn,
.... actually I used to use pastels for portraits many years ago, and also did many landscapes in pastels, but my work has evolved since then so I don't have any of them on my website. But you are right, its good to work with different media -- I just need to find my pastels. Somewhere in one of my suitcases I have a beautiful set of Unison pastels, but after doing a lot of international traveling, I can't remember which country I left them in! :).
I'll let you know when I find them!

Colorix
10-26-2008, 03:58 PM
Barry, wonderful advice!

As you encourage questions, I have... ahem.. several..., but first an observation:

Without checking in your course on notan (which I've gotten and think is excellent), I strongly feel that the edge-notan example in the post is from Turner's slaveship painting, where they toss people off the ship... (Been studying that painting elsewhere and elsewhen.) I'm typing this because it is a 'revelation' of sorts to be able to actually recognize a painting from a simple notan! (And don't tell me I'm mistaken... :-D ) After all, the brain recognizes patterns.

And the question: I 'get' the simplifying of masses into 4 values (or more/less), in principle, I think. But, what eludes me is how to link/when to link value-masses?, when they are apart or separated. Would the presence of all 4 (3, 5) values be linked? Would you 'bridge' values? With direct contact, or suggest a bridge?

Do you know how widespread composition by notan was in the late 1800s and early 1900s? Arthur W. Dow's book from 1913 it seems as if it was not a new concept (in the West). The impressionsist (and other artists) had access to Japanese woodprints, and it seems to me that the Art Noveau/Jugend decoration styles sometimes made use of line-notan.

I recently came across an analysis of Peder Kroeyer's "Hip hip hurra!" in James Gurney's blog (http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2008/03/kryers-hip-hip-hurra.html). If you're interested and take a look, would these questions be adequate?: Would this painting have been composed with notan? And would the lighter area of the faces of the men be bridged or linked to by the woman's raised hand? And would the face and collar of other fg woman have implied connection/bridging/linking?

Um... I'll think I'll have to stop asking now. :-)


Charlie

klord
10-28-2008, 12:56 AM
Hi Kim and everyone,
This is Barry John here. Its a long time since we last met and its really nice to see you here in this forum! :) Your paintings are looking great by the way!

I just came across this thread when doing some more research on notan for some new videos I'm working on - Since I'm spending a lot of my time in Europe now and don't get back to the US much, I've decided to focus on doing my workshops in video form instead of doing live workshops (the only problem is that I've found that doing videos is taking me an awful lot longer than I thought - about 80-100 hours of work just to plan, write and execute a single 10 minute video!).

I've found my thoughts on notan have evolved a lot since we last spoke so wanted to pass a few of them on to you and to this group:

1. LOOSENESS
I think you can be a lot looser than you might first assume. What I think is important is the relative size and placement of the major value masses -- not their specific shape or their specific contour. When I first started I was spending 10 minutes or even longer on doing a notan painting but now I accomplish the same thing in about 30 seconds to one minute. This helps me explore a lot more creative ideas before starting my painting. Not only does it go faster but there appears to be something more aesthetic about the final result. What this means in practice is don't try to draw a contour, or even make the sketch look like something real. Its just a mass of dark or gray. It doesn't matter whether its a tree or a water tank! Here's some pages from one of my notan sketchbooks:
http://barryjohnraybould.blogspot.com/2008/10/notan-sketch.html

2. DOMINANT VALUE
You need to have a dominant value. A dominant value is one value that occupies more than 50% of the painting's surface area. If you don't have a dominant value, then somehow the painting seems to lack strength.

3. UNEQUAL SPACE DIVISION
You must divide all of your spaces unequally. If you have two spaces the same size and shape, often it leads to an uninteresting painting.

I think its worth looking at work by Sorolla, Diebenkorn, Matisse, John Singer Sargent, Turner, Constable and a few others. You'll see these ideas put into practice time and time again.

Of course you should never be pedantic about rules in art, because you can always find a master painter who seems to be able to break all the rules and make it work but in my experience I have found that these last two problems accounted for 90% of my students' problems.


(By the way don't forget the basic issues like keeping the number of values small, keeping the number of major shapes low, keeping your values flat, covering all the surface, and maintaining the aspect ratio, as you so rightly pointed out in your critique.)

Hi Barry! Thank you sooo much for adding your thoughts and expertise to this discussion. I appreciate you taking the time to help us understand the nuances and importance of simplifying ones concept to it's most elemental shape and pattern to help create strength in a piece.

I credit you and my experience in your workshop for kicking me in the a** regarding design and concept, and really try to share the notan experience with others that are willing to listen.

I have been on the road, and have been dealing with deadlines and some family issues, and have not posted in quite awhile. I hope to get back into the heart of things here at WC, and hope that you will pop in from time to time. Thank you so much, again!

Sincerely,

Kim

klord
10-28-2008, 01:02 AM
That notan class at the virtual academy looks mighty tempting.

Actually alot of the classes look tempting!

Thanks BArry!

CArol

Hi Carol,

I am not trying to push anything here, but just want you to know that these lessons are so deeply filled with information that it is hard to get all the nuances out of them at any one time. I feel that the Virtual Art Academy is one of the best places for the self disciplined artist to research questions that require technical information on a specific subject, plus be given excercises to physically understand the principles that are being illustrated.

id-art
10-28-2008, 05:42 PM
Interested in any comments about these. Seems like a great tool and worth learning.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2008/54863-mountain-notan.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2008/54863-mountain-notan2.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2008/54863-mountain-notan3.jpg

one more...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2008/54863-mountain-notan4.jpg


Just thought of this..

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2008/54863-mountain-notan5.jpg

On the confuser.

id-art
10-28-2008, 07:47 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2008/54863-mountain-notan6.jpg



http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2008/54863-mountain-notan7.jpg

Colorix
10-28-2008, 07:50 PM
Bob, I hope it is OK that I played with your mountainside? Now, that was a tough one! I'm a new student of Notan, so this experiment may not at all be what the experts would do.

The mountainside was very scattered, so, from what I've learned, the way to simplify it is to join lights and darks. Then I reasoned that one really doesn't need bright lights pointing out of the picture, so it would be good to have the edges mostly mid-tone. Here is one of my efforts, where all the whites are joined, and all the mid-grays:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Oct-2008/117343-mountain-notan_both.jpg

Would be very interesting to learn if this is a possible approach, or if it had been better to have only two values -- the trees and a background.

In any case, I would have painted lights over the grays, so they'd be more muted.

Charlie

id-art
10-28-2008, 09:21 PM
Charlie - you have a point there. Thanks for sharing your variation.

b123
11-03-2008, 07:07 AM
Barry, wonderful advice!

As you encourage questions, I have... ahem.. several..., but first an observation:

Without checking in your course on notan (which I've gotten and think is excellent), I strongly feel that the edge-notan example in the post is from Turner's slaveship painting, where they toss people off the ship... (Been studying that painting elsewhere and elsewhen.) I'm typing this because it is a 'revelation' of sorts to be able to actually recognize a painting from a simple notan! (And don't tell me I'm mistaken... :-D ) After all, the brain recognizes patterns.

Yes you are quite correct, it is the same painting I analyzed in the Notan Course units you were referring to. It was also an eye opening experience for me when I discovered how so little could describe so much!


And the question: I 'get' the simplifying of masses into 4 values (or more/less), in principle, I think. But, what eludes me is how to link/when to link value-masses?, when they are apart or separated. Would the presence of all 4 (3, 5) values be linked? Would you 'bridge' values? With direct contact, or suggest a bridge?


Excellent questions!
There are no hard and fast rules. However here are some guidelines:
in general link shapes of the same value wherever you can to simplify the value pattern
a large value contrast can be unsettling, therefore it is often better to transition from white to gray to black, rather than to transition directly from white to black and then back to white again.
on the other hand, if you want to draw attention to a focal point then use a high value contrast, such as black to white
you can also use a color bridge to link different hues. This strictly speaking is not a notan issue, but it is somewhat related to our discussion. (see the course unit number 6 on color)Do you know how widespread composition by notan was in the late 1800s and early 1900s? Arthur W. Dow's book from 1913 it seems as if it was not a new concept (in the West). The impressionsist (and other artists) had access to Japanese woodprints, and it seems to me that the Art Noveau/Jugend decoration styles sometimes made use of line-notan.


Yes thank you. I know about Dow's book, it is a good source of info on Notan. I came across it during my research for the Notan course I wrote a few years ago. And of course Dow himself was only quoting work that had been done long before his time. The interesting thing about painting is that not much is new. When you really research it, a lot of the knowledge has been known for a long time. Its just digging it up that is the difficult bit. I've got a library of over a hundred art books (that I gathered when I was researching material for the Virtual Art Academy), and I've found that all the best books were written almost a hundred years ago or earlier. These old books were the most analytical books written before the 'myth' that art is all about expression and nothing else!. In fact the great English landscape painter, John Constable, wrote that art is a science and should be treated as such!

Another good source of information on notan that I recommend to you is Edgar Payne's book on landscape painting. Check out the Resources page on my website www.bjrgallery.com (http://www.bjrgallery.com). There is a link to the Payne book there, and also some more information on an artist called Yoshida Hiroshi whose work I recommend studying to anyone who is interested in Notan. He was a Japanese artist and has some beautiful notan designs in his work.

I recently came across an analysis of Peder Kroeyer's "Hip hip hurra!" in James Gurney's blog (http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2008/03/kryers-hip-hip-hurra.html). If you're interested and take a look, would these questions be adequate?: Would this painting have been composed with notan? And would the lighter area of the faces of the men be bridged or linked to by the woman's raised hand? And would the face and collar of other fg woman have implied connection/bridging/linking?

Charlie
Yes, the discussion in that blog about Peder Kroeyer's painting is identical to our discussion about notan structure - they are just not using the term 'Notan'. And yes, I would say the painting was certainly composed with a notan structure in mind. However there are other factors that were not mentioned in the blog article that I think the Kroeyer thought about carefully, and that influenced how he designed the notan structure. I've put a few thoughts about this for you on my painting blog (http://barryjohnraybould.blogspot.com/2008/11/peder-kroeyer.html). If you have any more questions about that painting, just let me know and I'll be happy to update my blog article for you when I get some more free time.

Thanks again for your questions!
Barry John

id-art
11-03-2008, 11:59 AM
"for the primary focal area (the area of the drinking glasses to the top right), he has chosen to use directing lines and space division

for the secondary focal area (the woman's face on the left) he uses isolation and contrast of light and dark." Barry

What an interesting thread! I would like to suggest an alternative analysis of this painting. I would say the subject of the painting is the toast, but the main visual focal point is the edge formed by the light plane of the table cloth and the black dress on the left. That extreme contrast in value naturally draws the eye there first. Then, you notice the white collar of the woman on the left which brings the eye to her face. The orientation of her face and the angle of her right arm directs your attention to the toastors. That eye movement strengthens the illusion of depth as does the difference in value contrast in the near and far area. The eye then sees the raised arm of the woman on the right which draws the eye down to her face and figure of the child and back to the back/white edge to complete the circle. Does that make sense to anyone?

Petra K
11-08-2008, 01:36 AM
I have taken workshops from Kim L and found the notan process VERY helpful. Before using notans, I would get so lost in the inital painting that I wouldn't discover any compositional problems until I was almost done with the painting. For instance, a tree would be too close to the edge of the paper, lines would lead off the page, the dark values would be too disconnected, etc.. Had I done a notan, I would have seen the problem from the beginning and corrected it, or chosen a different composition altogether. As a beginning painter, I was hesitant to "redesign" nature in the painting itself, but I had no reservations about changing the shape of a stream channel on the notan -- if it made a better compostion.

Another great idea from Kim -- one I have not yet done, but maybe now I will. She suggested we take an artist we like and do notans of their paintings! What a great way to learn composition.

Here's a photo I took of the notan notebooks from the workshop participants.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Nov-2008/68625-Thumnails_1.jpg

Sonni
11-08-2008, 11:34 AM
Petra, I agree. She turned around the way I work. I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head when you said "I was hesitant to "redesign" nature in the painting itself, but I had no reservations about changing the shape of a stream channel on the notan -- if it made a better compostion." So many times I've told myself, "hunny-bunny, replant the tree somewhere else or chop it down, move the barn, invent the clouds..." Notans make it easy to do. The trick is to keep true to the notan.:rolleyes:

BTW...are you Carol's supplier of stable shade? The gadget works great on my Anderson easel, but I like the smaller umbrella.

id-art
11-08-2008, 05:44 PM
"...take an artist we like and do notans of their paintings! What a great way to learn composition."

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Nov-2008/54863-0-henri-cumulus_300.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Nov-2008/54863-0-casper_goodrich-300.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Nov-2008/54863-0-sargent-yoho-falls-300.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Nov-2008/54863-3-AFTERS.jpg

Hows that?

Artistammy
11-08-2008, 05:53 PM
I think you did a good job. The Notans look interesting also without color etc.
tAmmy

Sonni
11-08-2008, 09:30 PM
"...take an artist we like and do notans of their paintings! What a great way to learn composition."



http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Nov-2008/54863-3-AFTERS.jpg

Hows that?

That's very good. :thumbsup: We should all have such discipline :D .

klord
11-09-2008, 02:48 AM
BRAVO, id-art! These are terrific. Just look how beautifully simple these three very different designs are, and how strong they are from a great distance.

Thanks for keeping this thread going, you guys. There is so much good information for people to check out!

klord
11-09-2008, 02:53 AM
I have taken workshops from Kim L and found the notan process VERY helpful. Before using notans, I would get so lost in the inital painting that I wouldn't discover any compositional problems until I was almost done with the painting. For instance, a tree would be too close to the edge of the paper, lines would lead off the page, the dark values would be too disconnected, etc.. Had I done a notan, I would have seen the problem from the beginning and corrected it, or chosen a different composition altogether. As a beginning painter, I was hesitant to "redesign" nature in the painting itself, but I had no reservations about changing the shape of a stream channel on the notan -- if it made a better compostion.



Hi Petra, Great to see you joining in and hope you will continue to show your work here and share your thoughts!

Deborah Secor
02-16-2009, 05:54 PM
I'm resurrecting this thread in hope that I can receive some more wonderful inspiration from all of you about this subject. What I'd like to have are more ideas of how to get my advanced students into doing notan. I liked the idea to make notans of paintings we like...but would welcome other classroom ideas, too! Any thoughts?

Thanks!
Deborah

klord
02-16-2009, 07:46 PM
Hi Deborah,

When I teach indoors, I will bring or have the artists bring photos, and we will do several notan designs from the photos. Or from books. The Tombos pens with a brush tip are terrific for simplifying. They do take some getting used to.

Looking forward to hearing what other do.

id-art
02-16-2009, 08:26 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Feb-2009/54863-0-IMG_0117-notan.jpg

Working with digital photos, after shifting things, cropping and adjusting this and that, I check the composition by going to gray scale and adjusting the Brightness/Contrast until it looks like the above image. And reduce the size. Black, white and gray for the sky. If it doesn't pass this test I have to keep working. Here's another current one.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Feb-2009/54863-0-IMG_0108-notan.jpg

joseph01
02-17-2009, 12:31 AM
Hi Sonni,
Lovely painting and very Lordier. I have been studying her style and am also scheduled to take a work shop with her in LaConner this summer. Can't wait! I'll be practicing this notans technique down south here in Gresham/Columbia Gorge area. Thanks for sharing!
Joe

Constellation
02-17-2009, 07:52 AM
Very revealing and veriy lovely.... thanks for sharing your insight! Donna R.

Deborah Secor
02-17-2009, 08:57 AM
Hi Deborah,

When I teach indoors, I will bring or have the artists bring photos, and we will do several notan designs from the photos. Or from books. The Tombos pens with a brush tip are terrific for simplifying. They do take some getting used to.

Looking forward to hearing what other do.

Thanks Kim! I don't want to ask my students to invest in more materials at the moment, so I'm wondering if they could use charcoal or pencil or any other means to practice notan. I may just have to give that a go and see how it works. Once they see the value of this work, I suspect they'll all invest in the materials to do it!

May I have your permission to print out a couple of the examples you've shared here to show them?

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Feb-2009/54863-0-IMG_0117-notan.jpg

Working with digital photos, after shifting things, cropping and adjusting this and that, I check the composition by going to gray scale and adjusting the Brightness/Contrast until it looks like the above image. And reduce the size. Black, white and gray for the sky. If it doesn't pass this test I have to keep working. Here's another current one.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Feb-2009/54863-0-IMG_0108-notan.jpg

Great way to get to things, Bob, I agree. I think once you begin to understand this light/dark notan process you can use the computer to reduce and find the essence, but at least for me I had to learn it using my hand. There's something about touching the paper, seeing the shapes, recording the medium here, the dark there, reserving the light, seeing how they all join up into underlying shapes, that just fixed the process in my head.

Plus, my students don't all have access to a computer or the skills to use it this way.

I guess we'll try both making notan from from pictures of the paintings we admire and using photos of the subject, and just see if that progression makes sense this time...

Deborah

klord
02-18-2009, 09:08 PM
Thanks Kim! I don't want to ask my students to invest in more materials at the moment, so I'm wondering if they could use charcoal or pencil or any other means to practice notan. I may just have to give that a go and see how it works. Once they see the value of this work, I suspect they'll all invest in the materials to do it!

May I have your permission to print out a couple of the examples you've shared here to show them?



Great way to get to things, Bob, I agree. I think once you begin to understand this light/dark notan process you can use the computer to reduce and find the essence, but at least for me I had to learn it using my hand. There's something about touching the paper, seeing the shapes, recording the medium here, the dark there, reserving the light, seeing how they all join up into underlying shapes, that just fixed the process in my head.

Plus, my students don't all have access to a computer or the skills to use it this way.

I guess we'll try both making notan from from pictures of the paintings we admire and using photos of the subject, and just see if that progression makes sense this time...

Deborah

Hi Deborah,

Sorry, have been out of touch for the last few days.

Please do use the examples. If you are using pencil, make sure they have like an 8b or 6b so that they can get a real dark value. Anything can be used... it is about breaking up the value and shapes and that can be done with anything that makes a mark. Couple primary things.... if they intend to make a painting out of the notan, make sure the ratio is the same as the notan. many times a student will make a beautiful vertical notan than try to transcribe it into a horizontal with being aware of the change. Also, don't let them draw or outline.... if you can:lol: Try to have them really think in terms of masses.

This is a wonderful exercise! Have fun!

Deborah Secor
03-04-2009, 06:16 PM
Well, I'm teaching a class using the Notan principle tomorrow. Thought I'd share a few of mine...

First, one you'll recognize :D:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Mar-2009/23609-DSCN8685.JPG

And some from a photo of mine:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Mar-2009/23609-DSCN8676.JPG

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Mar-2009/23609-DSCN8677.JPG

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Mar-2009/23609-DSCN8675.JPG

And another I played around with:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Mar-2009/23609-DSCN8680.JPG

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Mar-2009/23609-DSCN8681.JPG

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Mar-2009/23609-DSCN8682.JPG

And one done from a Bill Cone (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_SXS3PpD9a5U/SQS0yp7iMxI/AAAAAAAAASk/UR1HdLry3Cw/s1600-h/ediza+morning.jpg)painting:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Mar-2009/23609-DSCN8686.JPG



I've had a full and fun day doing these, and will show anything that comes of the notan process...

Thanks for all the information and help here from so many people!

Deborah

saramathewson
03-07-2009, 04:50 PM
I did see these on your blog Deborah. Thanks for getting this thread going again! WC is such a great place to learn. I now do several notans before doing a painting. I have some harder derwent gray values pastels they are harder than nupastels I think and they are nice because they have some coating on them so they don't get all over your hands. So, that i what I have been using. One of these days I will get the tombow pens to use but for now this works, as does pencil. Anyway i just think this is a great learning tool.

Sara