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Research: Links to Articles On How to Simplify

Research, that is to say my investigation and study into what it means to “simplify” a design in drawing and painting.

Building A Knowledge Base.

Hi!  Over the past few months, I’ve been looking for articles on the topic of simplification.  That is, I’ve been trying to find out what simplification is all about.  You see, I figure that if I am to lead a class or workshop on the subject, I ought to have a solid foundation of knowledge.

Research on How to Simplify: Cool Kitty - Variation On A Theme

Article Search.

It hasn’t been easy finding articles.  Rather, the research process has been slow, especially at first.  Sometimes, though, one article leads to another relevant article and, eventually, another.  So, the idea, then, is to plod through and keep looking.

That being said, I have found several references that I like.  In other cases, with books, for example, I can see “simplify” in the index.  But, I have yet to read the all documents.

I Like Research!

And, the fun thing?  Yes, research can be fun.  One gets to expand one’s horizons and meet interesting people through their writings.  Also, the artists represented include realism to abstraction; photography, drawing and painting!

Research Into How To Simplify: Spice Kitty - Variation on a Theme

Links To Articles.

One additional note.  Several of these links have books, online classes, etc.  The purpose is not to advocate or promote the books or classes.  Rather, to share bits of insight on simplification.

So, in not any particular order, here are some links and references to articles on how to simplify.

1.  Mitchell Albala.

Mr. Albala is an artist and instructor working in the Pacific Northwest.

From Mitchell Albala’s blog:  “Any good landscape painting I’ve ever done was also simple”, https://blog.mitchalbala.com/the-not-so-simple-art-of-simplification/

Quote:  The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. – Hans Hoffman

From Mitchell Albala’s book, Landscape Painting.  Simplification and Massing: Learn to reduce nature’s complexity by looking beneath the surface of a subject to discover the form’s basic masses and shapes.

Research: How To Simplify: KittyKitty Simplified Pattern

2.  Website:  Composition Study.

Though the purpose of this website is to be a resource for photographers, I think that the information is relevant to any visual artist.  There is one article specifically on simplification: http://compositionstudy.com/simplification/

The author includes a wonderful example of simplification in a black and white photograph.

3.  Johannes Vloothuis.

Via Artistnetwork.com, “5 Art Composition Tips:  How to Simplify a Busy Painting”; useful tips and examples!

4.  The Virtual Instructor.

This short article and video focusing on simplifying by seeing the underlying shape and form of the subject.

Drawing 101 – Simplify For Success.

5.  John Burton: Organizing Chaos.

From Tucson Art Academy On Line, a short video from artist John Burton.   He discusses how he organizes a complex scene.  Its all about seeing shapes; working large to small, and leaving the details to last.  I recommend this short video:  Three Key Steps to Simplifying A Complex Scene.

6.  Keene Wilson.

Mr. Wilson’s article “Design and Composition: Practical Advice for the Advanced Artist” is compilation of notes from the artist on design and composition.  Embedded in the many of the notes are tips on how to enhance and simplify your design.  And, you are rewarded as you read down the page where you find an entire paragraph titled “Simplify”.  This might be an article you want to book mark and come back to!

Research: Variation On A Theme

7.  Miles G. Batts.

One of my favorite artists is Miles G. Batts.  He has a paragraph specifically on simplification on page 68 of  his book “The Complete Guide to Creative Watercolor”.

8.  Linda Kemp.

Another favorite artist, Linda Kemp has a book available titled “Simplifying Design & Color for Artists”.

9.  Tom Hoffman.

An artist I admire from the Pacific Northwest, Mr. Hoffman has a book out plus teaches.  I have not read his book, but I frequent a blog he uses for some of his watercolor classes.  It seems to me that simplification and how to do it are topics imbedded in his instructions.  I find the blog useful.

10.  Frank Eber.

Artist Frank Eber, another fine artist whose work I admire has a blog with several excellent articles that include the subject of simplification.  All are worthy reads and provide insight to the painting process and simplification in particular.

Research on How To Simplify: Variations On A Theme, KittyKitty Red Alert

11.  Mark Alan Anderson, “Just Sketching” Blog.

I like Mr. Anderson’s articles.  To elaborate, I find the practical, accessible and useful.  Its about the practice of drawing and sketching.  So, I’ll list a couple of articles that apply directly to the topic of simplification.

12.  Stephen Berry.

Tip:  Try smaller reference photos, such as from a cell phone. Helps you see the big shapes!  From “10 Tips to Help You Improve On Your Own”.

13.  Me!

Some of my other articles about simplifying:

About The Paintings.

The paintings shown in this article are part of my “KittyKitty” series started in 2009.  One of my favorite ways of doing research, whether or not I want to simplify, is to do a “variation on a theme”.  Put another way, working in series gives the artist an opportunity to see first hand how changes influence design.  Plus, its great fun!

Research Variation On Theme: Totally Modern Kitty

 

#simplify #simplifyyourpainting #watercolorpainting

The post Research: Links to Articles On How to Simplify appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Art Revealing the Gunfire Epidemic. Make a Box. Send It In. It Counts.

ART REVEALING THE GUNFIRE EPIDEMIC.
MAKE A BOX. SEND IT IN. IT COUNTS.

Back to School with The Soul Box Project

Nobody likes to hear school and gun in the same sentence. Schools spent a lot of time and energy preparing for the worst. Like teaching new words to Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star:
“Lockdown. Lockdown. Lock the door. Shut the lights off, say no more. Go behind the desk and hide. Wait until it’s safe inside. Lockdown. Lockdown. It’s all done. Now it’s time to have some fun…”
Or what this teacher says in a note accompanying a delivery of Soul Boxes:

Of course, the stories that haunt us most are about the heartbreaking
shootings that actually happen. But there are also stories about action. For instance, over the past eight months we’ve watched the Parkland, FL students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School build a movement out of their tragedy.
Educators, students and parents are also taking action with Soul Boxes. Each is a page in our Soul Box story. Here are some of the ways Soul Boxes are going back to school.

A Day of Courage and Compassion

Last April, Da Vinci Middle School in Portland, OR spent the day making Soul Boxes. The activities were part of the arts magnet school’s full-day exploration of courage and compassion. Soul Box Project founder Leslie Lee visited as the school’s HeArt Learning guest artist.

She started the day speaking to an auditorium of middle schoolers about art, activism, courage and Soul Boxes. Guided by peer leaders, the students then spent their morning classes learning to fold Soul Boxes. Leslie visited classrooms to meet students and answer questions in the afternoon. In their last class of the day, students wrote about their experiences. The feedback from the students and faculty was overwhelmingly positive! If you would like Leslie to visit your school, please contact her here.

Students Explore Their Power for Good

Woodrow Wilson High School students in Portland, OR carried Soul Boxes as part of their activism against gun violence, recorded here on their yearbook page.
Using the Soul Box Project in a service role provides an opportunity for students to engage, act and reflect while fulfilling their state’s high school graduation requirements or credit allowed toward graduation for service-learning/community service. Folding Soul Boxes can be tailored to a one-day project or an ongoing endeavor engaging other students over a set period of time. The individual act of folding a Soul Box, honoring a life lost or affected by gunfire, is meditative and healing. Group folding provides a nonthreatening opportunity for dialogue about gun sense and activism. Working towards a goal tied to a statistic – such as representing the 733 children, 11 and under, shot in 2017 – illustrates the gunfire epidemic, as well as the power of art activism.
Schools wishing to further extend student comprehension on the issue of gun violence can also order a curriculum toolkit from Vision Quilt .

Hannah Taylor and Graham Yotsuya lead a Soul Box workshop on Unity Day at West Linn High School in Oregon. Full story here.

Cheerleaders at Parkrose High School in Portland, OR folded 69 Soul Boxes at the first session of their community service.

School-based activism doesn’t stop when the class bell rings. 

A retired teacher sent a set of Soul Boxes. Her note touched on the comfort that can be found, just by folding. “Thank you for letting me express my hurt, anger and frustration with what is happening in our country in a way that’s visual and creative.”

Betty Reynolds, Mark Mandel and other members of Woodrow Wilson High School’s class of ’66 in Portland, OR not only folded 87 Soul Boxes, but raised over $900 for the Project, as well. You can make a donation here.

Even pre-schoolers can contribute to Soul Box making. Here’s an idea to help the littlest hands contribute: Use a cardstocktemplate to outline the area that will show once the Soul Box is folded. Let them decorate the flat paper, then you do the folding. Cynthia Towle DeVore, on our Facebook Soul Box Community group, shared this insight: “For the very youngest we chose to simply call them boxes and not to go into the background. We felt that at 4 years of age it was developmentally too young to go into gun violence..,”

That said, any child who has experienced a lockdown at school deserves a positive, empowering way to respond. This second-grader not only comprehends the issue but shows an innocent compassion for the shooter that few adults would extend.

After the Las Vegas shooting in Oct. 2017 a seven year old boy talks about the SOUL BOX he made.

Watch the Video
2 views

And, finally, parents. Soul Box volunteer Stephanie Bugge Wilson – the person who keeps our social media interesting – penned this blog about her experience as a parent with children in lockdown, and how it led her to the Project.

If you’d like to join the Soul Box team, we could use your help! Specifically, we need to hire an Outreach Coordinator in the Portland, OR area. More information here.

On to Salem!

Even with the help of teachers, parents and students we still need thousands of Soul Boxes for our first major installation.
On February 15, 2019 — coincidentally the day after the first anniversary of the Parkland shooting — we’ll fill the Gallery West in the Oregon State Capitol lobby with 36,000 Soul Boxes!

That’s one Soul Box to represent every person shot in the US during a typical year. Legislators and staff will be in session. We will invite them to stop by and add their own Soul Box. This exhibit is also a chance to attract media attention with a parade of 72 volunteers each carrying a clear bag of 500 Soul Boxes in and out of the Capitol. If you want to participate let us know.

With an incredible 22,000 Soul Boxes already contributed, we are over halfway to this first goal — with more exhibitions to come! Gather your friends and family to fold, personalize and send in your Boxes (instructions here).  If you’re part of a community, from a book club to a congregation, we have tools to get you organized here. Watch our Facebook page to find weekly Box-folding gatherings around the Portland, OR area. Better yet, start your own, especially if you are in a different state.  However you do it:
Make a Box. Send it in. It counts.
Now, more than ever.

Help us spread the word!
Use #soulboxproject and @soulboxproject
when you post to your own media feeds.

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Help the Soul Box Project go national!
Share our page with friends and family across the country.

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Matt Brundage Teaching Copic Comic Art at Central Art

Central                                                          Art Logo

 

Art Explorations Mini Workshop:

Copic Comic Art with Matt Brundage

When: Friday, September 28, 2018
Time: 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Where: Central Art classroom
Fee: $7

Suit up for a crash course in one of comic book artists’ favorite mediums: Copic markers! DC and Vertigo Comics artist Matt Brundage leads the charge in this mini-workshop where you’ll learn some basic shading and coloring techniques along with useful tips and tricks, presented in a fun-filled format by an industry pro!

What are you waiting for? Sign up NOW to reserve your spot!

Pre-registration is required for this workshop. Pay in advance to reserve as space is limited. Visit Central Art or call 541-773-1444 to register.

VISIT CENTRAL ART!

Flash Sale On Pentalic Drawing Pencil Sets At Central Art

Central                                                          Art Logo

 

***FLASH SALE!!!***

9/17 – 9/29/2018

 

For 2 weeks ONLY, Pentalic 12-piece Drawing Pencil Sets (regular $8.99) are just $5 each!

 

Better hurry – this offer won’t be around for long.

Stop on in and stock up today!

VISIT CENTRAL ART!
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Create Art & Celebrate Diversity- Community Art Contest

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As part of our celebration of the fair’s 25th anniversary Sept. 29, 2018, Central Art and the fair are hosting a community art contest.

Consider submitting artwork with the theme “diversity” for the chance to display your artwork at the fair and win prizes!

Contest rules
Artwork will be judged on creativity, style and how well the artwork reflects the contest theme.
Artist may use any medium/format desired (black and white, color, pencil sketch, painting, ink, photograph, etc.).
Artwork must be an original creation, no prints.
Artwork must be created within the past year.
Artwork must be family friendly for viewing by people of all ages, gender, culture and race. Our intent is to emphasize equity, diversity and inclusion.
Artwork must be flat and not exceed 11” x 14” in size.
There is no entry fee. Limit 1 entry per person.
Artwork must be submitted with completed entry form by 4 pm, Friday, August 31, 2018 to Central Art, 101 North Central Ave, Medford.

The selection committee will announce winners at the Greater Medford Multicultural Fair on Saturday, September 29, 2018 at noon.

Immediately after the fair, all artwork will be at Central Art, 101 North Central Ave., for pick up. Artists must pick up their art at Central Art by 4 pm, Tuesday, October 16. It may be disposed of after that date.

Entry forms are available on the Greater Medford Multicultural Fair Facebook page

Prizes: First place winners and honorable mention winners will be selected from age groups: 8 and under, 9-13, 14-17, and 18 and up. Judges will select a winner and honorable mention for each category. The decisions of the judges are final.
1st Prize – $30 Gift Card to Central Art of Medford
Honorable Mention – $15 Gift Card to Central Art of Medford

Thank you for supporting the fair by participating in our art contest!
Download full rules and the application form here:
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Painting & WSO Traveling Exhibition In Carlton, OR

Wallow Gallery, Carlton OR

Greetings!  I am pleased to say that my watercolor painting “Three Minute Egg V11”, is now showing in the Wallow Gallery, Carlton, OR.

Carlton: Three Minute Egg V11

You see, it is one of the 20 award winning paintings from the Watercolor Society of Oregon’s (WSO) Spring 2018 Experimental Exhibition.  And, WSO has a traveling show consisting of their award winning paintings.  So, the award winning paintings get to travel to select galleries around Oregon.

Gallery Details.

I would like to invite you to see the Traveling Exhibition in Carlton.  Therefore, I’d like to share gallery information with you.  The paintings are showing at the Wallow Gallery, 125 W. Main St.  Business hours are Fri-Sun, 12-5pm. For more information, please email [email protected] or call 503-785-9951.  Furthermore, you may want to call the gallery first if you plan to see the exhibition.

The paintings will be on display through the end of September.

WSO 2018 Traveling Exhibition

WSO Experimental Exhibition.

What makes the experimental exhibition special is that artists are encouraged to explore different water-media and substrates.  Put another way, you see everything from a more traditional watercolor paint on paper to mixed water-media on aqua or clay-board.  And, the types of water-media include transparent watercolor, gouache and acrylic.

Still, the intentions of jurying the show are the same: recognizing paintings with technical and artistic achievement.

And, one further note about WSO art shows.  The fall exhibition includes only watercolor works on paper.  You can see, then, how it contrasts with the spring experimental show.

Photos By Liz Walker.

Carlton; Liz Walker's "On Solid Ground" used with permission

I’d like to give you some background regarding the photos.  To explain, most are from fellow Oregon artist, Ms. Liz Walker.  Thank you Liz for permission to use your photos!

Included are her photos from some of the previous stops on the traveling show’s journey.  Plus, I’m adding her own award winning painting.  I liked the feeling of her painting “On Solid Ground”.  You see, it has a degree of mystery that I particularly enjoy!

Thank you!

On a personal note, I would like to extend a “thank you” to Zsuzanna Wallow, Sandy and all the WSO members responsible for this wonderful show.  And, a HUGE thank you to Wallow Gallery for showing the art works!

Please Stop By!

In closing, I would like to invite you to stop by the Wallow Gallery if you are in the area!  Please, go see some wonderful experimental water-media paintings by my friends and fellow Oregon fine artists!  Thank you!

Carlton. Paintings from WSO Spring Exhibition

 

The post Painting & WSO Traveling Exhibition In Carlton, OR appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

A Clown: More Than A Smiling Face

But, still, a smiling clown can be good!

Clowns Popped In My Head.

Hi!  Lately, I’ve been doing some small studies of clowns.  Why clowns?  I don’t know.  They popped into my head this past May and I keep coming back to them.

Research Time.

So, after a few drawings, I thought it might be a good idea to research clowns.  I started with a search for famous clowns.  As you might expect, there were photos and mentions of some of the more recent famous comedic characters, both real and fictional.  Circus clowns like Emmett Kelly, American Tramp “Weary Willie” and Red Skelton, Freddie the Freeloader.

Clown With Daisies And Balloons

Traditional Types.

Then, I started finding articles about traditional circus clowns.  Did you know, that there were generally three types of circus clowns?  They are the white face, Auguste (red face),  character clowns.  The character clowns may include the more recent hobo or tramp, like Weary Willie.

Boss Clown.

There is a funny hierarchy too.  To over simplify, the white face clown is the top clown and serious (straight face) clown.  Whereas the red face or Auguste clown is the one that gets the pie in the face.  Naturally, the character clowns play characters.

Its About Meaning.

Now that I’ve shared with you my quick research on these circus characters, I’d like to relate my findings to drawings.  You see, it makes it much more interesting creating my clown characters now that I know a little bit about them.  And, its inspired me to create more!

Oddly enough, I drew a “white face” clown without knowing the significance.  Still, I think he is appropriate for the occasion.

Clown With Daisies & Balloons.

In any case, I hope you enjoy my clown with daisies and balloons.  Thank you!

PS.  You could say that this watercolor and ink study is a type of “drawing from memory and imagination”.  The emphasis is on imagination!

Twin Clowns.

Naturally, when you draw one clown, well, maybe you need to draw two!  Plus, I’m a fraternal twin.   Happiness!

Clown: Twins

 

The post A Clown: More Than A Smiling Face appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Rogue Gallery July 2018 New exhibit – 3rd Friday, Classes & Grant Deadline

July 18 2018 artblast Julia Janeway

New Exhibit -THIS FRIDAY, JULY 20

3rd FRIDAY ART RECEPTION 5-8pm

IN THE COMMUNITY GALLERY

Sanctuary: Ceramics by Julia Janeway
July 20–August 24

Julia Janeway Westcliffe Santo
Julia Janeway,WESTCLIFFE SANTO, ceramic
Reception:  Friday, July 20, 5:00-8:00 pm

Ashland artist, Julia Janeway explores the meaning of “sanctuary” in her new ceramic works. She creates ceramic “retablos” which traditionally are paintings of saints. In her artistic interpretation, the saints are depicted as owls, birds, and other animals. Her inspiration for this exhibit from the time she spent living in Taos, New Mexico where retablos commonly adorn homes and churches. Julia Janeway is known for her colorful and whimsical ceramic art pieces that depict animals, geometric shapes, and botanically images.
Last day to see Heat Wave

IN THE MAIN GALLERY

Heat Wave:
The Works of the High Fiber Diet Artists

June 8 – July 20, 2018

Elizabeth Bamberger Where the City Meets the High Desert
Elizabeth Bamberger WHERE THE CITY MEETS THE HIGH DESERT, fiber

High Fiber Diet is a group of over thirty fiber artists from Western Oregon and Southwestern Washington dedicated to expressing their interpretation of the world and themselves through the use of fiber. This exhibit is focused on the concept of heat wave. “Orange is the color of heat: hot passion, hot jazz, desert heat, tropical heat, the warmth of Mediterranean stone walls or bright flowers. We are basking in its glow.”

IN THE ROGUE STUDIO

Summer Camps for Youth 

Sign up now, classes are filling fast!

Clay Discovery with Shari Craddock
For ages 7-10
Tuesday-Friday, August 7-10 from 9 am -12 pm
Young artists will discover the wonders of creating with clay. They will learn how to make tea cups, mugs and sculptures. They also will learn how to work on the potter’s wheel.
MEMBERS $95, NON-MEMBERS $115 Register HERE>>
Clay Sculpture and the Wheel with Shari Craddock
For ages 11-14
Tuesday-Friday, August 14-17 from 9am-12pm
Enjoy creating with clay & porcelain learning ancient methods of hand building and the wheel as practiced in Mesopotamia beginning in 3000 BC. Learn to build cups with animal handles, a teapot set, hand-painted plates with your original design, wacky sculptures…the possibilities are endless and a lot of fun! Your clay creations will be glazed and fired. Finally, we’ll bring clay art to life by watching a short claymation video at the end of the week.
MEMBERS $95, NON-MEMBERS $115 Register HERE>>
FOR TEENS
Art in Reverse with Samar Dawisha
For ages 12 and up
Tuesday-Friday, July 24-27, 1-4 pm
Create amazing designs in this fun printmaking camp. Students will learn the captivating process of printmaking, producing their own designs and printing on papers and fabrics using a printing press.
MEMBERS $89, NON-MEMBERS $109 Register HERE>>
See more camps here>>
Kids camps are sponsored by:
Lithia4Kids_FINAL_121015_991x521_72dpi
Adult Classes
Rogue Studio Figure Drawing Sessions
Series One: Tuesdays, June 26-July 31, 6:00-8:30 pm
Drop-in Tuesday evenings for 2 1/2 hours of moderated, uninstructed figure drawing sessions with a live model in the Rogue Studio. Adults 18 years and older from beginning to advanced levels are welcome. The sessions will include short gestures and longer, sustained poses. Students must provide their own drawing materials. Drawing boards, worktables, and easels are available for use.
$10 FOR EACH SESSION Register HERE>>
Or pay at the class with cash or check.

Series Two: Tuesdays, August 21-September 25 from 6:00-8:30 pm
Only $45 FOR THE SIX SESSION SERIES Register HERE>>

See more classes here>>

DEADLINE JULY 20 FOR GRANTS FOR ARTISTS

The Haines & Friends Fund, A Community Funded Visual Arts Grant Program. This program provides grants of $1,000 to $5,000 to Southern Oregon artists and arts educators for supplies, equipment and other expenses to create original, new works. The deadline is July 20th. Forms can be picked up at many local galleries, including Rogue Gallery. Or download the 2018 Artist application HERE>> For more information download the 2018 FAQ HERE>>
Follow Rogue Gallery & Art Center
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Please “like” Rogue Gallery & Art Center on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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Call the Gallery for more info: (541) 772-8118

Check out more fun activities at: www.roguegallery.org

The Rogue Gallery & Art Center is the Rogue Valley’s premier non-profit community art center founded in 1960 to promote and nurture the visual arts in the Rogue Valley. The Art Center showcases emerging and established artists, presents fine crafts by area artisans, and offers a broad range of visual art classes and workshops for all ages.

Rogue Gallery & Art Center is located in downtown Medford at 40 South Bartlett Street. The hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. We are open every third Friday until 8:00pm.

Summer Fine Art Camps at Project Space this August!

Summer Fine Art Camps taught by Brooke Nuckles Gentekos
Summer Fine Art Camps taught by Brooke Nuckles Gentekos artist August 6 - 10 ages 3-8 August 13 - 17 ages 9-14 Monday - Friday, 9:30 AM to 12:30PM  Cost: $100 + $20 materials fee (includes all drawing and painting materials, canvas, wire, etc.)  Young artists will explore foundational visual art skills making original works of art with quality art materials.

August 6 – 10 for ages 3-8
August 13 – 17 for ages 9-14
Each camp runs Monday – Friday, 9:30 AM to 12:30PM

Young artists will explore foundational visual art skills making original works of art with quality art materials. Inspired by famous artists and their masterpieces, we’ll DRAW still life, PAINT self portraits, SCULPT with wire and found objects, and CREATE collaborative murals, mandalas and installation art. Artist reception on Friday with campers’ artwork on display.

Cost: $100 + $20 materials fee (includes all drawing and painting materials, canvas, wire, etc.)

Register now (limited space available):
https://artprojectspace.com/youth-classes/summer-camp-with-brooke-nuckles/

Simplifying – In Drawing & Painting Composition

Coming To Terms With Simplifying.

Greetings!  I’m still thinking about this idea of simplifying.  In this article, I speculate about where the concept of simplifying fits in the composition lexicon for drawing and painting.

Simplifying
Contemplating Over Coffee

Mini Workshop Coming Up.

Yes, this is the kind of thing I contemplate on from time to time.  And, if you think that I’m obsessing about simplifying then you would probably be correct!  The situation is that I am working on getting my thoughts and experiences organized.  This is because I’m scheduled to lead a mini workshop on simplifying to the Watercolor Society of Oregon.  And, I want to be able to communicate ideas clearly.

Doing Research.

So, as you might imagine, I’m doing some research and study.  However, I’m finding that when one does a search “simplifying in drawing and painting composition”.  You see, its been oddly difficult finding relevant results.  So, instead, I’m trying different searches and looking in my art books.

How Does “Simplifying” Fit In?

Because of the scarcity of information, I wanted to figure out where this concept of “simplifying” fits in the lexicon of composition.  Perhaps I’ll be able to do better searches or at least articulate what “simplifying” is all about.

Definitions: Simplifying

The Problem.

To restate the problem, what does does it mean to simplify as it applies to designing a painting? And, how does this process fit with the elements and principles of design?

Minimalism & Abstraction?

Furthermore, isn’t Minimalism simplification taken toward the extreme?

In a manner of speaking, the answer to the Minimalism question is yes.  The Tate Museum, for example, defines Minimalism as an extreme form of abstraction typified by big simple geometric shapes.  Come to think of it, abstraction is linked to simplifying too.  You might want to refer to the Tate’s definition of abstraction.  It includes the following line.

The term can be applied to art that is based an object, figure or landscape, where forms have been simplified or schematised.  

Circular Contemplation.

Can you see where my brain might just go around in circles?

Simplify: Design Elements

Composition & Design.

Back to composition or design (a short digression)!  You might want to know that I use the terms composition and design interchangeably.  I’m referring to the same thing; how we organize elements on the picture plane.

Simplify: Design Principles

In any case, the concept simplifying is not a design element or a design principle.  So, how does it fit?  I’m thinking its an over-arching “approach” and therefore is fits indirectly.

One Example.

Simplifying shapes

I thought I’d use one of my paintings, “Coffee At Black Cat Cafe” as an example of simplifying by linking or massing shapes.  While this painting may seem complicated, and it does to me, I have taken steps to simplify shapes to promote unity.

If you would like, please take a look at the three figures.  The two figures at the right are linked by their adjacent arms, creating a bigger shape. The figure on the left sits alone; she is my center of interest.  Also note that the figures and the table are depicted in similar warm colors.  Thus, I am linking the smaller shapes into a single larger, triangular shape.

In this example, then, I use both shape and color as the design elements for simplifying.  The action of simplifying (linking or massing the shapes) promotes unity, which is a design principle.

Second Example.

I just noticed that both of the paintings I’ve selected show places where I’ve simplified.  The figures, for example, are simple.  That is to say, I haven’t put in a lot of the details about bone structure, muscles and features.  I’ve left that to your imagination.  Furthermore, the color schemes are relatively simple or restrained.

Your Turn.

Come to think of it, how about you?  For those of you who are artists, how do you simplify shapes, colors, values and other design elements in your own work?  And, for all of us who appreciate art, have you noticed simplification in other works of art?

To Simplify Implies Action.

Consider again, then, the words “to simplify” and its opposite “to complicate”.  Don’t the terms imply action?  In the act of designing a drawing or painting, I would suggest that we’re talking about how we arrange things on the picture plane.

To put it another way, to simplify or to complicate refers to the ways in which we arrange or apply the design elements in accordance with the design principles.

Links To More Examples.

For more, you might want to see my article on silhouettes.  Or, you might want to check out artist Frank Eber’s blog post:  “Simplifying a Scene”.  John Burton, Tucson Art Academy, has a short video titled “3 Key Steps to Simplifying A Complex Scene” that I think is good.

Update!  I came across Linda Kemp’s book on simplifying titled “Simplifying Design & Color for Artists”.  I have not read it myself, but have looked at the table of contents and it looks good.

PHEW! Simplifying Seems Complicated!

Trying to simplify seems to be complicated.  But, what I’m seeking is clarity.  And, low and behold, to simplify can mean to seek clarity.  Another brain loop!  But, this is where things get sort of exciting, if you can stay with me.  Clarity and understanding are part of the definition for simplifying or simplicity.

Its All About Artist Intent.

You might ask the question, “Why is this important at all?”   For me, its all about what an artist wants to say and how to say it.

Summary.

To summarize, then, the term “to simplify” fits in the design lexicon as an action.  The action is to reduce or simplify one of the design elements.  In doing so, the artist is working to create unity, of the design principles.

Thanks!

Thank you for stopping by.  Please feel free to leave a comment if you like!  Warm regards.  Peggy.

#simplify #simplifying #simplifyyourpainting

Simplify: Still Contemplating!
Still contemplating how to simplify!

 

 

 

 

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