Hi everyone! And welcome to the first installment of...The Spotlight! My name is Don, and I am your host for this month!
If you missed the announcement/invitation thread, here’s a quick recap of what The Spotlight is all about!
The Spotlight is the new monthly activity thread appearing in the Soft Pastel Talk forum, replacing The Pastel Strokes. Its format will be quite similar to the Strokes, in that it is an activity thread for pastel artists of all experience levels working from photos chosen by a monthly host. Most months, the host will choose photos from only one subject, putting that subject into “the spotlight,” so to speak! For example, one month the subject will be painting water, another month will spotlight flowers, etc.
Some months, rather than spotlight a subject, the focus will be on a challenge of some sort. In those cases, we might have a wider variety of photo references, but “the spotlight” will be on the challenge itself.
Since this is a group activity, we can pool our knowledge and resources, and grow as artists in a fun, “no-pressure” atmosphere. And no critiques unless specifically asked for. The intent, as it was in the Pastel Strokes, is to have fun, try new things, experiment, and perhaps most of all, to see what our friends and colleagues are painting from the same reference material!
Please note: The photos are all taken by me and you have my permission to use the photos as reference to create your artwork and to sell them and/or exhibit them. The actual photos, similar to the photos in the Reference image library, still retain the copyright of the photographer. So you can not copy the photo to your blog, for example, without the permission of the photographer, or digitally alter or reproduce the photo for any purpose other than for your personal use, with the exception of crops, digital alterations and posts of these photos within "The Spotlight" thread.
Ok, the official introduction is complete!
The Spotlight this month is on....choosing a layout – vertical, horizontal or square!
I’m sure most of you have had this question arise when doing a painting; or when taking photos – would it look better with a vertical or horizontal layout? Sometimes it is hard to decide. Here, for example are a couple photos I took in a nearby park.
As I stood in front of the scene, I couldn’t decide! So I took a photo in both layouts! Choosing your layout is often the first decision you will make when approaching that blank paper or board. That is the subject that we will explore this month in ...”The Spotlight!”
Using the following photos, let’s experiment with vertical and horizontal layouts and see which you prefer (and why!). Or perhaps a square layout will be your choice – that is another option! Crop them however you like!
A common strategy is to use a vertical layout if the strongest element or focal area is vertically oriented. So a painting of a tall tree would be done in a vertical layout, for example. If the major element is horizontal – a row of houses, for example, then the painting’s layout would be horizontal, too. The idea being, that the layout will reinforce or accentuate the elements in the painting that have the same directional thrust.
On the other hand, sometimes the strategy might be to have a layout that runs counter to the directional thrust of your subject as it might be possible that a painting with lots of vertical elements needs a horizontal layout to keep it from being too vertical. Or vice versa!
So what is the best strategy?
I don’t have any answers for you – I just have the questions! The challenge is to find out what answers work best for you and your specific painting! There is no right or wrong answer! Chances are opinions will differ about what works best! Isn’t that the way art should be?
I am providing square photos, so that they don’t influence your decision too much. Feel free to do some thumbnails or preliminary sketches to help you decide how you want to crop them (or not!). You can post sketches and final paintings. I look forward to seeing what you all come up with - vertical, horizontal or square!
Post all your paintings, sketches, comments, questions here in this thread! Enjoy!