The Dynamic Landscape: Composition and Harmony
July 6th – July 20th, 2015
What gives an image its absolute strength is its composition. When we look at works by Corot, Constable, Morandi, and Dickinson we see different painters, different sensibilities, different palettes; but a skill they all share is the ability to design compelling compositions. This search for a powerful design is integral to creating a successful image and keeping the artist excited throughout the painting process. Morandi would sit and stare at his still life setups, adjusting the positions of his objects, for days sometimes before beginning to paint. By working in the landscape and studying master works we will address how to construct powerful compositions. Furthermore, we will discuss the roles color and tone play in this process.
Morning: Composition & Color
Mornings will be spent painting en plein air. Students will begin by searching for a composition that excites them. Using a viewfinder students will record small thumbnail sketches in their notebooks, simplifying their compositions into large shapes.
During the early hours, while the landscape bathes in rich light, an emphasis will be placed on color harmony. Artists such as Corot and Dickinson were able to create a sense of atmosphere by minimizing their tonal range and discovering nuance in color. Using a fairly limited palette, our focus will lie in finding harmonious color within a well-plotted composition.
Afternoon: Explorations in Value
During the afternoon students will explore value structure with charcoal or watercolor* (optional). By strictly working tonally students will discover how value can dictate space and light. Furthermore, tone can play a huge role in creating dynamic compositions. Lessons will address atmosphere, emphasis, contrast, and edge-quality.
Students may use this time to search for the next morning’s motif and make preliminary tonal sketches. Students will also have the option to work in the studio copying master landscape paintings. On occasion we will have afternoon/evening critiques.
* note: I will offer demos in black watercolor to those interested, but it is not required. You can choose to only work in charcoal during the afternoon session. If you wish to partake, please see the ‘Watercolor Materials’ in the supplies list.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.