View Full Version : Artichoke - Study - WIP

chatfieldstudios

11-17-2009, 08:48 PM

I learned alot from the Green Grapes Study about how to paint clumps of things...so I decided to try an artichoke today. This is 9 x 12" on dark grey Colorfix.

I peeled off a couple of leaves to make it a bit more interesting as far as composition.

The first pic is my Dynamic Symmetry grid. Second pic you can see I've placed the lit side of the artichoke on the right mean line and the little leaves along a construction line. Then I started laying in the darks.

The third pic is where I've started to lay in a bunch of colors constantly refining the shapes.

I got tired this afternoon and didn't get to the artichoke other than to put value and color in...still have to work on the shapes.

Tomorrow the artichoke will look better :)

Kathryn Wilson

11-17-2009, 09:33 PM

Can't wait to see how this ends up - it's already luscious.

Do you start each painting with the grid? I've seen the Golden Mean, but not this one before.

Donna T

11-18-2009, 07:51 AM

I find your grid very interesting too. It seems like a lot of work but I have to admit your composition really works! It's nice to see the beginning of one of your paintings - very loose and sketchy.

Paula Ford

11-18-2009, 10:58 AM

Tell us more about that grid... looks really interesting!

Looking forward to seeing the finish. It's going to be gorgeous!

bnoonan

11-18-2009, 11:38 AM

So far so GREAT! I like the composition and the scratchy colors you use in your technique. There is so much energy in the way you build them up.

I'm unfamiliar with your grid but it seems to be working.

Barb

Merethe T

11-18-2009, 03:26 PM

Looks good already, I like the energy in your paintings. Look forward to see this come to life, I find it interesting to see the steps. Haven't seen the grid before either and would love to know more about it.....

chatfieldstudios

11-18-2009, 04:03 PM

Here's today's work...close to being done. Not quite satisfied with the highlights yet...but whatever I do it won't be big.

I will get back to the Dynamic Symmetry grid subject later today...

Thanks for the comments! and the encouragement!

Bhavana Vijay

11-18-2009, 04:28 PM

Oh WOW...that is gorgeous!!! Do you paint from life?

chatfieldstudios

11-18-2009, 05:08 PM

Thank you Bhavana! I do paint from real life. I also work in colored pencil at times and then I have to work from photos because cp is so slow. I much prefer painting from life.:)

edencompton

11-18-2009, 06:15 PM

Looks great! I like the way you're layering the color.

C_Line

11-18-2009, 08:13 PM

I agree - I really like the layering of the colors to achieve a visual blending and softness.

Wow: very dramatic. I love to see the drama of the single object. This has such a great presence! Lovely. Derek

chatfieldstudios

11-18-2009, 11:20 PM

Thank you Eden, Celeste and Derek! I appreciate your feedback.

I do love layering...it's something I learned working in colored pencil.

BetsyPriesing

11-19-2009, 11:41 PM

wow didn't expect that change :) the cool areas went warm and warm went cooler. love the touches of turquoise here and there.

Studio-1-F

11-20-2009, 08:23 AM

Cindy, this is great. I love how the right hand side of the artichoke just merges with the flat empty blackness. Nicely done! :thumbsup:

This whole Dynamic Symmetry grid (http://books.google.com/books?id=F4C6YelrRrEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22elements+of+Dynamic+Symmetry%22#v=onepage&q=&f=false) thing is quite interesting too. Especially where you put that dot in the initial grid layout and where the different parts of the artichoke ended up on the grid (http://www.easy-oil-painting-techniques.org/art-composition.html). Can you explain that and those decisions a bit? I'd love to hear more.

Jan

chatfieldstudios

11-22-2009, 04:45 PM

This is now finished...it was actually finished on Thursday but my camera battery died. I've also included a couple of close ups.

Thank you Betty and Jan for your nice words and taking the time to comment.

Jan, thanks for the links to the Dynamic Symmetry (DS) information. I think those give alot of background.

I study with Deb Bays, wonderful pastelist, on chiaroscuro painting and lots of composition and design issues. I was exposed to DS about 8 years ago and we studied Renaissance and Old Masters using a grid. There are several ways to construct the grid based on what I know...I am pretty sure they are all used to construct the Golden mean.

So step 1, I draw a grid right on my pastel paper and I use a view finder with similar lines on it to view my setup (I paint from life). It helps me with placement of objects to maximize a pleasing viewing experience. For instance, I have always had trouble with my lower left corner so I am now working with the grid to "work" that corner a little more effectively by using the angles and grid line intersections for placements. Which is why you see the leaves on the artichoke on one of the construction lines, and also using the light to lead you into the painting.

Aesthetically, I like my focal point a little to the left of the mean line designated by the DS grid. Step 2 I use a mathematical concept to find the mean line that I like better. Which is divide the horizontal surface into 13 parts then multiply by 8. To divide vertically, divide the surface into 8 parts and multiply by 5. These calculations are based on the Fibonacci series of numbers which occur in nature particularly in the spiral shell and leaf development...I think also in the body.

Step 3 I also use a third concept which is based on the Whirling Square...it is the mathematical visual that looks like a spiral shell. If I place the inside swirl over my focal point (both on the set up and on my paper) then I should be able to follow the composition around in a counter-clockwise spiral. It doesn't have to be right side up or even level but it visually brings a viewer from the focal point to a completion. If you envision the spiral shell over the artichoke with the tight spiral just to the right of the stem and follow the spiral counter-clockwise with the end of the spiral unfolding where the leaves are on the lower left you get the idea.

I'm not good with photoshop otherwise I would show you...:) I know all this is boring but it has helped me so much to improve my compositions. I suspect someday soon I can do this intuitively, but in class I have to explain why things are placed where they are. We have very few happy accidents in our class :D ....everything is about how light works, how it affects color and how to place objects.

Paula Ford

11-22-2009, 07:04 PM

Thank you! That is so interesting.... and definately NOT boring!

Donna T

11-22-2009, 07:31 PM

Beautiful finish! The sharp, bright edge on the lower leaf is just perfect! I have never been good at math but find these composition strategies very interesting. As long as there isn't too much algebra involved I might be able to figure it out!

chatfieldstudios

11-22-2009, 08:12 PM

Thank you Paula and Donna! I had visions of the Pastel Forum all falling asleep at their computers trying to wade through that.

I have always been interested in looking at really wonderful paintings and trying to figure out why they work.:)

gingersnap

11-22-2009, 08:26 PM

thankyou so much for this!! i love your strokes. i appreciate you sharing your knowledge. this is going into my favorites!!! ginger

Studio-1-F

11-23-2009, 09:59 AM

So step 1, I draw a grid right on my pastel paper and I use a view finder with similar lines on it to view my setup (I paint from life). It helps me with placement of objects to maximize a pleasing viewing experience. For instance, I have always had trouble with my lower left corner so I am now working with the grid to "work" that corner a little more effectively by using the angles and grid line intersections for placements. Which is why you see the leaves on the artichoke on one of the construction lines, and also using the light to lead you into the painting

Cindy, this is great. Thanks! This is clear and well-put. Question: is "the DS Grid" the same layout for all compositions? Are all the "construction lines" always in the same place relative to each other? Only scaled differently?

Is a "construction line" the same thing as a "mean line"?

Aesthetically, I like my focal point a little to the left of the mean line designated by the DS grid. Step 2 I use a mathematical concept to find the mean line that I like better. Which is divide the horizontal surface into 13 parts then multiply by 8. To divide vertically, divide the surface into 8 parts and multiply by 5. These calculations are based on the Fibonacci series of numbers which occur in nature particularly in the spiral shell and leaf development...I think also in the body.

Now you have lost me here, sorry. Are you calculating your own personal customized "mean line", superimposed on the DS Grid? Entirely separate from the DS Grid ("off the grid") but based on these entirely different calculations?

Step 3 I also use a third concept which is based on the Whirling Square...it is the mathematical visual that looks like a spiral shell. If I place the inside swirl over my focal point (both on the set up and on my paper) then I should be able to follow the composition around in a counter-clockwise spiral. It doesn't have to be right side up or even level but it visually brings a viewer from the focal point to a completion. If you envision the spiral shell over the artichoke with the tight spiral just to the right of the stem and follow the spiral counter-clockwise with the end of the spiral unfolding where the leaves are on the lower left you get the idea.

Is the image below something like the whirling squares overlaid on the finished image?

This is all very interesting stuff. Not in the least bit boring! Thanks for posting. Love it!

Jan

++++++++++++

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Nov-2009/12504-fibonacci_artichoke_web.jpg

chatfieldstudios

11-23-2009, 08:50 PM

Question: is "the DS Grid" the same layout for all compositions? Are all the "construction lines" always in the same place relative to each other? Only scaled differently?

Jan, yes...I use the same layout for my compositions, and yes the construction lines are always in the same relative place, just scaled differently.

Question: Is a "construction line" the same thing as a "mean line"?

No, not in my world ;) The construction lines are used to find the mean line.

I might add at this point for these studies I am using 9 x 12's so I have to work within the constraints of those measurements.

Generally, to find a mean line (or Root Line) without the construction lines you would create a square, find the center of the bottom edge of the square (a). Then draw a line from (a) to upper right corner (b), using a compass put the metal point on (a) and the pencil point on (b)....and create an arc from (b) to the new bottom corner of your rectangle (c).

Question: Now you have lost me here, sorry. Are you calculating your own personal customized "mean line", superimposed on the DS Grid? Entirely separate from the DS Grid ("off the grid") but based on these entirely different calculations?

Yes, if I use the DS grid to determine the mean line on a 9 x 12" surface my mean line is at 9" (the original square) with only 3" on the right side of the mean. To my aesthetics that's too far right. I suspect if I was creating my own rectangle using the square (not using pre-sized paper) the mean/root line from scribing an arc and the mean/root line from the DS grid would fall on the same line. They should anyway.

Thus I use the my own mean line for placement of my center of interest (it's about 7.5" rather than 9"), and I use the grid for angles and placement of secondary focal points.

Question: Is the image below something like the whirling squares overlaid on the finished image?

Yes! That's it...I have a book from 1947 (it's loaned out right now) that shows how the author applied the whirling square to photographs and artwork. Fascinating stuff!

The other thing I might add is that all this is my best understanding of how this all works. I think anyone that is exposed to it finds their own way to use it.

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