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bruin70
08-19-2002, 11:06 AM
that there have been twice as many posts in "color" than there has been in composition and design.

i realize color has real , practical issues with many. however the structure of a painting is in the composition, while color is MUCH more subjective and personnal to each indivisual. so i could never understand the "what do you think of my colors" question.

now i see why people like van gogh

djstar
08-19-2002, 03:17 PM
I had a nervous breakdown in school because color seemed so mystical.
Egad, there are books in stores that are nothing but pages of squares of colors and that is a really intimidating thing. "I must be doing it all wrong because I can't read books that are just squares of color.."

I went in to the teacher in tears and he knew (as many of you already do) I was totally wacking out over nothing, assured me I had already gotten my "A" and sent me home, to be content...
which I wasn't.

It was not until three years after school in an open studio when I had my pastels out sketching bravely away, did I plunk an aqua on the back of my model, then a hot pink, then a violet, then a green and began to understand that it was not the COLOR of color that made the difference. It truly was the value (for my purposes) that I was not understanding. Color, per se, is either EVERYTHING, as in a color study, or emotion, or statement about color, or just a tool, (which is how I feel). Color must function as a value above all else. I am clarifying, I had originally used NOTHING in my contrast, but I knew this would end up in debates... what I really mean is that it is like the bricks of a building. LOTS of choices, patterns of laying them, textures etc, but the building will not hold up right unless you KNOW how to stack them. Buildings are rarely ONLY about bricks.

(Ok, Miltie, am I or am I not a tonalist?)
I feel very comfortable with certain colors as value and still shy from black. (ME, ok, like it is a mental thing still, but WHEN I need to use it I KNOW I will......)
Initially I think we (vague generalization about people trying to create art... ) understand drawing. It is a descriptive tool. Edges as line are things we understand, being raised on coloring books. Then if we are lucky we learn to smudge, (Jon Gnagy sketch kit, kneaded eraser and charcoal... yum! Charcoal that smudges!!) which introduced us to tone. BUT the transition from black and white to value I think is a really hard jump. Sort of like a religious conversion! When you get it you really begin to GET it...
...but composition.

I was looking over an online Loomis illustration textbook and I will continue to be baffled over the RULES of composition. To me they are more like the traditions of composition, since they break well and have an infinate variety of variation. I believe it is a lot like the bridge from black and white to tone... when you cross it you were amazed at how scarey it looked from the other side.

Maybe it is like that good old 12 step saying.. "take what you like and leave the rest." A head full of knowlege only gives you more and more choices to consider. WISDOM is knowing what NOT to mess with.
(PS... don't bad-mouth vincent!!!)
:confused:
dj*

nam26b
08-19-2002, 04:08 PM
Milt,

I of course admire your paintings, but I have to say that you are a true master of the creative use of commas.

My hat is off to you in both areas,

Nathan

bruin70
08-19-2002, 10:35 PM
Originally posted by nam26b
Milt,

I of course admire your paintings, but I have to say that you are a true master of the creative use of commas.

My hat is off to you in both areas,

Nathan

i anonomously got into a flame war with someone on a billiard site. a friend of mine said no matter what aka i used, he could spot my writing style in a nanosecond:D:D:D

Titanium
08-20-2002, 07:24 AM
Milt typed-
however the structure of a painting is in the composition, while color is MUCH more subjective and personnal to each indivisual. so i could never understand the "what do you think of my colors" question.

Yes.I agree.
Titanium

mame
08-20-2002, 08:35 AM
I don't get the reticense either.

In my first art class in college - intro to drawing - my professor was a believer in the student finding his/her own way and jumping in with both feet. We were required to "draw" with color and no pencils were allowed.

He behaved as if color was no big deal and so I had no preconcieved fear of it and so my sense of color developed ALONGSIDE other activity including learning and understanding composition.

I found a required intro course in Basic Design THE most influential important course I took in relation to composition. It was a required course and became the foundation of my attention to/concern for composition. We studied and applied the principles in various media - clay, wood, plaster, paint and paper, etc. It eventually becomes intuitive and second nature.

nam26b
08-20-2002, 02:53 PM
i anonomously got into a flame war with someone on a billiard site. a friend of mine said no matter what aka i used, he could spot my writing style in a nanosecond

ha...no kidding. maybe you should moderate a "design and comma-position" forum:rolleyes:

Nathan

Doug Nykoe
08-20-2002, 04:26 PM
I don't think I understand where youíre going with this milt. Although composition is important, the study of colour is equally important. Colour balance to structural balance all play an equal part even the preconceived ideas need to be shaken into a new light. Example ďI hate Van GoghĒ seems to me a silly statement ignoring what he might be able to teach you. I shun no one in hopes to expand and grow. I also put no specific emphasis on any area of art. There all too important to me.

Okay maybe I get it,,, your saying to much emphasis is put upon colour ignoring composition to a great degree. Okay then I agrees :)

BTW what billboard do you frequent? Iím always open to go where the greatest people on earth gather.

bruin70
08-20-2002, 04:33 PM
Originally posted by nam26b


ha...no kidding. maybe you should moderate a "design and comma-position" forum:rolleyes:

Nathan

...and on that note, i think nathan deserves some place in "quotable quotes".......if they still have that feature here.

bruin70
08-20-2002, 05:16 PM
Originally posted by Doug Nykoe
,,,, Example ďI hate Van GoghĒ seems to me a silly statement ignoring what he might be able to teach you. I shun no one in hopes to expand and grow. I also put no specific emphasis on any area of art. There all too important to me.

Okay maybe I get it,,, your saying to much emphasis is put upon colour ignoring composition to a great degree. Okay then I agrees :)

BTW what billboard do you frequent? Iím always open to go where the greatest people on earth gather.

i don't think color and composition are equal in every artists' mind. and while i think color is subjective, i don't think composition is totally objective either. but realistically,,,,,we each see color very differently, whether it's physiological or pschycological.....and you can't color a turd:):):)

I HATE VAN GOGH. it's real simple. he offers me nothing....i see nothing...i take nothing away. but i'm reasonable enough to know that years down the line,,,,,,maybe,,,,like 134 years:) i might be at a point where i will accept him. just as 15 years ago i was not able to accept schiele as i do now.for schiele,,,the time came. but should i COMPROMISE my taste NOW?,,,for van gogh?,,,nope.

"leaving oneself open to expand their horizons". well,,,,that could have meaning in different ways. in the VAST majority of cases i've come across, that has meant being in a constant state of flux, not mastering any given endeavor before jumping to something else. it's people wandering or scratching their head because they are in a room with 24 doors and don't leave themselves time to explore any one. i prefer to have only a a few doors available at any given time,,,,to know what you want,,,,to have developed a philosophy that will grow on its own pace and not mutate every 3 months.

and yes, my post related to the imbalance of posts between the two virtues,,,,but was made clear to me where most artists are. composition is hard, color is easy(sort of), ergo most artists are lazy....or at least are as easy to influence as the art VIEWING public.

dude,,,,,pool players are the scum of the earth. is there a place where there are more cheating, lowlife, retarded, scamming, nere-do-welling, users?,,,,,other than the OTB? but the game is beautiful.....:) {M}

Doug Nykoe
08-20-2002, 08:47 PM
Originally posted by bruin70


...I HATE VAN GOGH. it's real simple. he offers me nothing....i see nothing...i take nothing away.

Well I canít really disagree with anything you had to say milt. :) Except to say I never implied one should be in a constant state of flux. Youíd think an inquisitive mind would be a natural part of growth. When one starts out with their endeavors concerning art much is to be learned and as time passes maturity should bring focus.

I think everyone has different strengths and these elements of art come to some more naturally than others. Some just jive with colour others fight tooth and nail for every piece of ground they can acquire. And the reverse is true. But to say Vincent offers nothing is to shut the door on a possible gathering of knowledge not offered anywhere else. I donít think it will destroy anyoneís originality in any way. You will still be who you are just more insightful. Nobody said one should not dislike something either except just donít dismiss him outright,,, thatís all Iím saying. Sometimes thereís a diamond in the rough right under our nose. ;)

bruin70
08-21-2002, 01:54 AM
Originally posted by Doug Nykoe


Well I canít really disagree with anything you had to say milt. :) Except to say I never implied one should be in a constant state of flux. Youíd think an inquisitive mind would be a natural part of growth.,,,,,,, But to say Vincent offers nothing is to shut the door on a possible gathering of knowledge not offered anywhere else. I donít think it will destroy anyoneís originality in any way.

mmmmmmmmm,,,but a constant state of flux is where most artists are.

i'm inquisitive....only i know pretty much where to look. experience teaches you this. it's knowing oneself. exploration is for the early years. that's why students change, are easily influenced, and all over the place. the later years are left to refine. trying to find a kernel of truth in van gogh is a waste of time for me....time better spent elsewhere.

i don't comprehend the notion of not shutting out VG because he may have something for me that i can't find elswhere. he may have something for someone that THAT someone can't get elsewhere because that someone follows the same path VG walked. that someone might never have anything to do with,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,ingres. but you can't tell him ingres has something for him that he can't get elsewhere because that something may be of no use to him. ????? who's on first and what's on second? :)

it's not about protecting one's integrity, it's about knowing what you want, getting it, and using the time you have efficiently to do it....{M}

Doug Nykoe
08-21-2002, 04:02 PM
Originally posted by bruin70




it's not about protecting one's integrity, it's about knowing what you want, getting it, and using the time you have efficiently to do it....{M}

Well there are obviously pearls of wisdom in what youíre saying, and points taken. I can also better understand why you have no use for Vincent at this time. But even though I donít paint in the way Vincent does or in the way you do, it still doesnít exclude me from exploring your work Milt nor Vincentís on different levels.

Speaking of, and one could look no further than to look at Quiller and how he used lets say yellow. Now if anyone was farther from how I perceive beauty itís got to be Quiller. But how does this artist deal with all that yellow? Itís said Vincent Van Gough was a great admirer and studied Vermeer. Now whatís with that and how far apart can these two artists be. Degas was a great admirer and student of Ingres. It seems to me the filtering of one or two artists on certain levels of study is cropping the learning curve. I donít think it will compromise anyoneís style if they focus on their intent. But saying all that I am not losing sight of what you had to say and I agree respectfully.

DLGardner
08-30-2002, 10:13 AM
"leaving oneself open to expand their horizons". well,,,,that could have meaning in different ways. in the VAST majority of cases i've come across, that has meant being in a constant state of flux, not mastering any given endeavor before jumping to something else. it's people wandering or scratching their head because they are in a room with 24 doors and don't leave themselves time to explore any one. i prefer to have only a a few doors available at any given time,,,,to know what you want,,,,to have developed a philosophy that will grow on its own pace and not mutate every 3 months.

I get alot out of this. This is me sometimes and I need this wake up call. I've been painting off and on for 30 years but now that my children are grown I've found myself exploring every door in the art world. I know where my strengths are and I've been avoiding it. (The figure) Partly because I haven't seen it as a source of income and now that my children have grown I would like to pursue my art career. I have recently been working with plein air and that has helped me focus more. Perhaps I'm developing skills to help me focus more on finding just those doors I need to go through with my art as a whole.

As far as color and composition I wholly agree with you Milt. Color is fun, composition is work. The last few paintings that I have made a concious effort of composing structurally have out shone the others by far. Sometimes we learn things early in life and then think we do them naturally when really we need to go to square one occasionally and get set straight again. Thanks for the reminder!

BTW, I hadn't been aware of your wonderful teaching capabilities (I'm somewhat new here) until I read Dj's article. Now I will be hunting down your posts and gleaning as much as I can!

Best regards,
Dianne
http://members.tscnet.com/pages/dgard

LarrySeiler
09-02-2002, 11:42 AM
When a person first begins to "sculpt" their body...perhaps lose weight, tone up...feel better; diet comes into play; weight training to boost metabolism and burn fat, utilize protein and build strong healthy muscles; then aerobics for a healthy heart, greater stamina.

Then suddenly one finds oneself ready and what is more able to do things they never could before. Suddenly, they discover sea kayaking and exploring caves and islands on Lake Superior. They backpack in, set up camp and discover 70' water falls that few people would have the strength and endurance to get to.

They break out that ole tennis racquet from their high school and college varsity sport years, and discover they can still beat the pants off people half their age.

Now...why? Because they did all that hard work initially, and having attained a goal...continue enough exercise to maintain the benefits of the lifestyle available to them because of the hard work done.

To me...composition understanding is like taking it to the gym. When you have put in your hard work, body sculpted your analytical skills to the point of practical intuition, you are then able to take in a world of understanding that many others are not yet able to. You do just enough maintenance workout to maintain your shape of understanding, but the lifelong effort has opened some bridges for you to cross that others might not fully grasp.

Its not that the artist no longer recognizes the importance of sound composition, but understanding it allows other eye candy to be ingested and enjoyed. The joy for living no longer needs to be confined to the past for the sake of demonstrating appreciation of the past. It was the past that got the artist to the present and foreseeable future.

With composition in the weight room all worked out, I can spend all kinds of time seeing what color does to enhance composition. Not only that...but I have seen what color is capable of doing to totally change or alter composition.

In fact...one look at a particular scene, stilllife, whatever, and I can see immediately what direction the composition will go BECAUSE OF THE COLOR...and the power of color to persuade, manipulate, arouse, capture and hold the aesthetic senses!

A good compositional arrangement by itself IMHO is fruitless and pointless, much like working out in the gym just to be able to work out in the gym...if it isn't for the purpose of taking in and enjoying the greater benefits. If the life that working out in the gym is not embraced and enjoyed....that person will probably become extremely vain, oil his body...and just stand in a mirror and admire himself.

To harness the potential of color, the power, the drama (which includes understanding color's values as DJ has pointed out) really takes a thorough foundation of composition.

The reason I personally don't spend more time on the composition forum is that I can only spend so much time in the gym. That is selfish of me....and I can see that....because I might be able to help others more, like a weight trainer.

I am drawn though to spend a bit more time where people are combining efforts with composition with the power and potential of well done color.

I do drop in from time to time...help answer a few questions from time to time, but to be honest...I'm not there for any major benefit to myself when I am, but to help and serve others. Its not that I don't do some maintenance workout in the gym though, as my house, my classroom has American Art Reviews, art magazines and books all over the place. I am constantly looking at images, constantly asking why or why I do not like an image; thinking...critiquing, figuring things out.

Thus, I think that the majority of my time can be devoted to color, and how a brush/knife applies that color.

I don't know if many have noticed, but I am in and out of forums all over WC, and spend quite a bit of time breaking down, critiquing and helping people with their composition. Composition is so basic to it all, that the conversation here at WC cannot be relegated and regulated to refrain to just that one particular forum.

Final thought-
When I read a bowhunting magazine, I am learning something more about whitetail deer or approaches to hunting. The time to read it...is not while walking thru the woods on a hunt! The time to be focused, in command of composition and color is while you are facing your subject. Painting is a call to action...it is not the time to be browsing thru a magazine on composition! IMHO.....

Larry

LarrySeiler
09-02-2002, 11:56 AM
It shouldn't come as a surprise that conversation among those in good healthy athletic condition will enthusiastically bring up their latest outdoor adventure, which in turn among those in the circle brings up their own stories.

Pay attention, and you'll hear very little brought up about their routine exercise workout. They share with passion their exploits...rarely what allowed such exploits to happen.

In a similar vein then...it should not be so surprising artists tend to want to talk about color more.....color, is more like our exploits.

When you talk with someone that took a trip out to hunt elk in Idaho...you ask for details. Imagine the guy starting to talk about his 40 hour work week, and his plan of putting so much aside per check. Huh? That's not what we want to hear!
:D

Larry

cobalt fingers
09-03-2002, 08:26 AM
If you walk thru a museum or art show with a group of professional artists the remarks will be more about color than composition. I think even on a pro level there is far less understanding (and appreciatation of design and composition) than of color. Artists that will study color at length will be happy if a design "feels right".

I think it is far tougher to talk about-the delicate aspects are tricky. The artists that are considered great in comp. ie Cezanne are noted because their design elelments were not delicate but overt. The writers for the last 100 years have rather lost their appreciation of the many things that go into a well designed piece of art.

Color is nearly always an aspect of design (at least with painting) yet when talking on and on about color design is not often mentioned. There is even "color design" within paintings or there should be and that is nearly never discussed. Where does one place that red and what would one do to make that red more (or less) important?

CarlyHardy
09-03-2002, 11:10 AM
Have just read David Curtis' book "A Light Touch, Painting Landscapes in Oil". I underlined some of his thoughts that jumped out at me...like this one....

"Let us imagine we can undo things - work backwards, so to speak. We can remove the colour and still have a satisfactory design in monochrome and pleasing arrangement of tonal masses. We remove the tones, and are finally left with an arrangement of linear shapes (the lines which bounded the tonal masses) We are down to the basic skeleton of the picture and can see that however good the picture may be in other respects, if the linear arrangement is weak, then the picture is weak."

He adds later, "'Composition, tone, colour' - essential elements, considered in that order of priority. A well-composed subject layout can often stand up well enough to scrutiny, even though the subsequent application of paint may display limited technical ability. Without the core element of good composition, however, the result would not hang together at all convincingly, even with a moderate degree of expertise in the subsequent painting."

I know this is not the debate of which element is more important in the painting process, nor a debate over why we have more posts about color rather than composition; instead, its an observation about the two. Personally, since painting plein air for several months, the question of "what makes good composition?" comes up a lot more than when I painted in the studio. Mainly, because I worked from photos in the studio and am fairly good at composing with the lens of a camera!
However, working plein air does not give me the option of taking a dozen photos and combining elements or of cropping elements at will. Before I even realize it, I've painted in elements of the landscape just as I see them because the scene before me draws me in and I'm lost in those elements.

Composition is a thinking process, is it not? Perhaps as an artist I avoid that left-brain activity in preparation for the right-brain mystique!

Well, that's my thoughts anyway. I just dropped in here today to read!! LOL
carly

LarrySeiler
09-03-2002, 12:47 PM
You know...I think we have to be careful though to assume that all people must labor and strive to develop good design/composition.

If someone has been creating art since they can remember, and excellence has been at the forefront of their creative efforts from the get go...you can arrive at a point where you have a "knowing" and can trust your instincts.

Certainly color cannot save a poor arrangement of a composition. Then again, poor understanding of color can certainly kill any appreciation of what might be a good compositional layout.

Secondly, color complements the underlying composition and holds the power along with its proper value to manipulate and move the eye throughout the work.

It cements and establishes the rhythm to assure pictoral interest. Completes the unity to hold it together, as well as the continuity by color temperature to pull background and foreground together into a believable depth perception. Emotionally...it affects the viewer's psyche to attach to the work, or detach.

As for the three necessary steps backward...I found that interesting Carly, but the idea of "tone" being the level back from color...many by virtue of their color knowledge incorporate the values/tone to exist inherently and not separately from their color. One could do an entire monochromatic gray scaled tonal underpainting and apply transparent color glazes over the top.

When I paint from life, I see values, but the value is a particular color. I do not see areas of light and dark void of color. I have no tube of "dark" or one "justa bit ligher"

I have my own past 20 some years painting instudio, where the separation of tone an color was more sensible to me. Well, at that time. I've been painting outdoors for so long now...I struggle to separate color, from proper values and good composition from the painting.

The idea of color when spoken of by some (and I know I'm preachin' to the choir here), is important not simply for color sake, but because our values, tones...our rendering lies in the color chosen or mixed itself.

I see a scene and immediately sense a working model, and the drama of color, values and composition all play a vital role as one.

I think nature carries some of that inherently, whereas it has to be made up in a studio. It has to be made to work instudio, whereas you find the right mix and balance in nature. Where nature needs improving upon, it is in the area of composition. Where the drama needs improvements is color and value. Without the drama, one is left wondering what was so thrilling about the scene to begin with. I have a hard time separating one from the other.

The body is the frame work...but it is useless without the arms and legs. Further, it is useless with a philosophy that is nihlistic and self-destructive. Purpose and meaning ultimately make it all honorable and glorying. Can't do without the body and its appendages (composition)...but without the purpose and meaning (color- which for me is hue plus value as one) you lack the dignity (emotion, interest, dynamics and drama) of being human and existing.

We are certainly not depleted of images in our world. Billboards, signs, magazine ads, television ads. We are quite frankly bomblasted. The drama sets one image apart from another. All requires good composition, but there is good composition in mind in every graphic designer's head and every good art director. Something sets one thing apart from another...and that something is what each of us pursues in our own way. Is what makes us who we are, and what our art contributes.

At one time, I was able to set tone and value as a thing separate from color, but can no longer.

Larry

LarrySeiler
09-03-2002, 04:35 PM
You know...I'm kinda like the metaphor kid or something....

I thought about this some more.

There are men....taken in by the beauty of a woman or women. That outward appearance and glow that just lifts 'em off their feet.

Then, there are men that are more conscientious that there is a thing called "substance" and consider outward attraction a good thing, but not an overriding thing...and look for something deeper.

What I'm thinking is...okay, some might be taken in by color first thing. Their emotions and aesthetics are just propelled to respond to life that way.

Those more concerned about composition, might be the guys looking for substance.

You know...to balance that thought out though, there's nothing wrong with keeping one's hormones in check 'till you find both that individual for which you find an attraction and possessor of substance.

Let's not assume all guys are disgusting pigs....(metaphorically holding disdain for those taken in by color) and that just because one finds and is taken in by an attractive subject that it necessarily means it will lack depth (sound composition). Its possible with a bit of wisdom from past bad dealings (affairs)...that an artist can with time routinely find and have both!

Once sound composition becomes the nature and habit of an artist, I think s/he can afford to allow their emotions the light hearted joy of free reign and play! You've earned at this point enough self-respect to trust yourself!

well...at least right now, this makes sense to me! hahaha...oh boy!

:rolleyes: :cool: :D

Larry

cobalt fingers
09-03-2002, 06:54 PM
Some people hint that design is hard to learn-color can and is taught.

bri
02-19-2003, 11:42 PM
Originally posted by mame
It eventually becomes intuitive and second nature.

I really admire your compositions.

They remind me of the designs you sometimes can only get by moving cut pieces around.

My compositions are weak........

.....and my color........

....anyone want some brushes:crying: