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Old 10-24-2000, 01:01 PM
John H John H is offline
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Post rhythm in a painting

Paintings have rhythm – so they tell me. I understand what rhythm means in the performing arts. But the objects in a painting hanging on the wall don’t sing, dance, or go from one scene to another through a flow of time. How do you describe or define “rhythm” in a painting context? What do I look for in order to say, “That painting has a good rhythm”?
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Old 10-25-2000, 03:13 AM
henrik henrik is offline
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I am sure someone can give a better example; but you can imagine that the objects in the painting are drumbeats - the more the object stands out (higher visual attraction) the louder the beat. Now think of the space between the objects as silence. As a thought experiment; look at the painting and observe how your eye moves from object to object and imagine the music being produced; drumbeat - pause - drumbeat as your eye travels around the canvas.

Now good rythm to me does not mean evenly spaced (regimented) objects. That will just sound (look) uninteresting.

Imagine a drum-fill (ragga-ba-dash) - can you paint that?
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Old 10-25-2000, 03:24 AM
Rod
 
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Thats a neat way of looking at the rhythm of a painting, must check out mine and see what they beat to,could colors also represent different notes,
Rod

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Old 10-27-2000, 12:24 AM
John H John H is offline
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I appreciate the responses.
In music the composer has full control in establishing a set tempo and the listener has none. Would this be true in a painting (maybe in a lesser way) – where the painter can control the speed of the viewer’s eye down a path? I was reading in Margaret Kessler’s (landscape painter) book about velocity. In creating a path for the viewer’s eye, she was demonstrating how that a straight line has a fast velocity and a curving line has a slower velocity. Would it be necessary to set a “tempo” or velocity in order to create a rhythmic pattern through a line of eye travel?


John
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Old 10-28-2000, 09:51 AM
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LarrySeiler LarrySeiler is offline
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In its very "basic" sense...a rythym is a repeating unit which brings unity to the whole.

In painting...it is placing marks throughout the entire picture that does the same. If color...you repeat for example a pink on the bottom edge of a cloud with pink on edges of foreground grasses...etc; Violet in the shadows..is to place violet elsewhere, etc;

If line is what dominates a theme of a painting, then its repeating "rythym" unity will incorporate varying yet similar lines throughout.

Some of you are aware I actually had art students paint to music, listening intently to the overall rythym of the piece, and seeing the melodic and harmonic overtones as unique and individual voicings.

I used a Celtic song, and "Smooth" from Santana's new CD "Supernatural"...you can see that demo in our archive of "how-to's" at Artschool.... http://www.wetcanvas.com/ArtSchool/T...spondingMusic/

Of course...I wanted the students to learn that all good painting seeks to have a sense of rythym, as though the spirit of the scene projected its own song.

Larry http://lseiler.artistnation.com

[This message has been edited by lseiler (edited October 28, 2000).]
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Old 10-29-2000, 07:37 AM
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LarrySeiler LarrySeiler is offline
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Just like in music when a note is sour or off beat, we can feel it, hear it, see it in painting. Or when it is boring cuz we forgot the little bit of dischord, or full harmonics...

This is well said, Sandi.

I think two reasons why when I am looking at a work...it doesn't "feel" right, and thus I must go deeper to figure out why. One is contrasts. The work is to much the same. Same values...same emphasis on detail throughout...same color intensity..just too much the same. Contrast moves the eye throughout the work. It establishes an order of priorities for which the artist is attempting to guide the viewer thru.

Light versus dark, cool color versus warm, detail versus lack of it, texture versus lack of texture, etc;

Secondly...the sense of rythym. Some paintings feel like two paintings smooshed together. Nothing from one part is pulled and used in another. It is like separate sources of lighting was used for each. Some images will appear cut out and pasted on like a decal.

Colors often look the way they look because the same source of light is bouncing light all over the place. The same sun putting oranges and pinks beneath a cloud, is bouncing light under the boughs of a pine tree to place color even in a shadow.

Rythym is like this grand conductor looking at all the instruments available before him and keeping everything together.
Cool....

Larry


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Old 10-29-2000, 01:14 PM
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sue ellen sue ellen is offline
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I have always thought of the rhythm in my work as the echo of my voice though out the painting. The way a particular color (as one example ) ~ once applied ~ is echoed around the canvas until it returns to its origin. When the composition is right and all the elements have come together .................then i can feel..more than hear ....... the echo. That echo more than anything else tells me if i have been successful or not.

I don’t know if this answers your question. This is how
I have always approached rhythm in my own artwork whether it is 2D or 3D ..... it is the same for me.

sue ellen

[This message has been edited by sue ellen (edited October 29, 2000).]
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Old 10-29-2000, 05:50 PM
henrik henrik is offline
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sue ellen,
I also "feel" rather then "hear" the composition - I never actually translate an image into music in my mind, but listening to a piece of music invokes the same type of feelings as when I look at a painting.
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Old 10-30-2000, 12:33 AM
henrik henrik is offline
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Music is also very much about tension and release. This is just as important as rythm - if the music (or painting) is just lots of the same thing it becomes uninteresting.
(Sorry to deviate from the topic of rythm).

Audiolizing (the "opposite" of visualizing) a painting is a great way to perceive your work in a new way - associate instruments with hues, amplitude with saturation, and frequency with value. (that is at least how I audiolize). Sharp edges have fast attacks etc.

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