1.31.2010

Class Notes: Square Format Needs Drama


In class we have about 2 1/2 hours to paint and I usually ask students to paint on a 12"x 16" canvas, (larger if possible). Breaking away from this standard of size and shape has helped us focus on composition and positive/negative shapes. But where the rectangle has natural directionality and tension because of its height to width ratio - the square has none. The square format suggests strength, firmness, solidity, and - oops - we're on the slippery slope to boredom.
How do we create drama and tension in a shape that has none?
While the stodgy square can not give the sense of wide-screen spectacle - we can give it some small screen drama by the way we direct a viewer's eye through the piece.
Begin with the Rule of Thirds for placement, then work with lines and composition to create excitement. The most dynamic lines in any painting are diagonals. These type of lines can be in the subject matter, edges where values or colors contrast, or even in the brushwork.

5 comments:

AutumnLeaves said...

I like when I see works on square formats; I don't seem them very often and they always capture my eyes. That said, I think both of these paintings are wonderful. The colors keep drawing my eyes, the reality of the cherries making me want some of my own to eat.

S. Nemesis said...

I am loving your bold brush strokes and colors! Fantastic! I'm a fan of painting on square canvasses myself, but I've never tried the grid technique. I may give that a shot.

studio21south said...

Great work, and we agree about the square! It lends itself to dynamic contemporary compostions...perhaps in no small part because we're so accustomed to visual information fed to us in rectangular format, on the computer, the television, movies, and photos. come visit us at http://studio21south.blogspot.com!

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

jyothisethu said...

good pictures...
beautiful...
good blog also...