I have never heard the word thrown around so much as I did last week in Sedona. Someone actually came up to me while I was painting and said,
"I love your Notan";
Hmmmm. I'll take that as a compliment.
Notan refers to a type of sketch and comes from the combination of the 2 Japanese words for 'light' and 'dark'.
use the term to refer to the interaction between the two - like a dance; and it's a cool word that
Good design, consequently all good painting, is based on the balance and play between light and dark, regardless of color.
As well, its importance strengthens the argument for creating a SKETCH before painting.
Shown here is the type of 2 value 'notan' that I create with a Sharpie pen for each painting; just black and white - no 3rd value gray.
Most artists use the more common, 3 value sketch (or 3 value notan) to lay out values and it is what I teach in class. I have written several blog posts on creating a simple 3 value sketch, which is a good thing to know.
Having said that however, in my own work outside of class, I do a 2 value 'notan', and started doing that early on when I realized how the power of a 2 value sketch could
revolutionize my work; and it has done just that.
So, we will spend some time this class session exploring the dance of light and dark balance - while working the 2 value notan in class.
Bring a small sketch pad and a Sharpie pen and don't forget the paints.
To read more about 'notan'- scroll down the labels on the right to see Class Notes on Sketching and Notan.