1. Choose 20 of your favorite paintings from art history. Be very selective. Choose images that have qualities you admire and you would most like to see rub off on your own work (in a good way). Be very aware of the list of design principles in your notes when you choose them. All chosen images should contain the principles you are studying.
2. Convert those images to black and white in an image editor installed on your computer. If you do not have an image editor you can download the free trial of painter on www.corel.com . Do not change the values. Simply convert them to gray scale.
3. Create 20 black and white thumbnail studies, one of each masterpiece you selected. Spend a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 1 hour on each one.
4. Create a thread with the title structure as shown below and upload your works to the forums.
"Your Username - Composition 1.1"
5. List one observation you discovered about each painting in the post you make.
example: 1. Rembrandt emphasized the left eye more than the right, because when we look at people eye to eye, we rest our vision on only one of the person's eyes, and this allowed him to make the piece have focus in the same way the eye sees.
6. Upload your work directly to the thread you make so they can be easily viewed. Do not post links. Submit your thread.
***Important: be sure that your study and the masterwork is placed side by side in the images that you upload. It is impossible to critique your work if you do not do this. Make both the study and the masterwork the same size and put them right next to each other.
Below example to illustrate placement and size example only, not an actual painted study:
-Focus on capturing and recreating the largest shapes of value first, so that you are working from broad strokes.
-Do not waste time in the details. Purposely avoid rendering the "fingernails and eyelashes" or insignificant details which distract you from paying attention to the design principles.
-Work small. The studies should be approximately the size of a playing card.
-Be very careful to match the exact shape and format of the image you are studying from. If you draw out the shape of the image and it is longer or taller than the original, then you will struggle. This is a fun assignment. Don't make it hard for yourself
-Match the values and shapes, and edges of the shapes, as accurately as you can within the time allowed.
-Number the images you upload with a small 1, 2, 3 etc...in the upper left corner, so that it is easy to discuss them when critiques are given.
-Think through the list of principles as you work. Look for Rhythm, emphasis, variety, economy, repetition, balance, continuity, and unity. Keep these concepts in the front of your mind as you study.
-You may do more than 20 if you wish. Do not do less than 20 if you can help it. It is your work and art, and investing minimal time will only take you so far.
-You may use any media you wish. Regardless of what you choose, remember to try to match your values and shapes the best you can in the time allowed.
Example artists to look for: Rembrandt, Velasquez, Van Dyck, Gerome, Church, Bierstadt, Frazetta, NC Wyeth, Klimt, Corot, Degas, Cassatt, Repin, Mucha, or even google for "animation background paintings" and find backgrounds from the 1930's animated movies. Not all artworks chosen need to be western painters. You can find examples of the design principles in artwork from all over the world, and many different time periods. Choose masters that inspire you.
Purpose: By studying the works of the great masters, you can pick up on methods, concepts, and theory which you would not get from any demonstration or lecture. Through the act of studying the greatest works in art history, the lessons from these masters will sink in very quickly and your work will improve. Over time you may do as many of these as you can, and the more you do, the more you will learn. This method has been used for 100's of years throughout art history. If it is good enough for John singer Sargent, it is good enough for us.
Hey Jason, great so far.. I'm only a few minutes in but I'm compelled to ask, each piece you analyse you point out the rhythms that are present, but if it's not too much trouble I'd like to know, why are those rhythms arranged a certain way? Why were those particular choices of the artist/photographers made and how do they lend to the strength of that particular piece?
Is it just the variation between movement and stillness that's the emphasis of the piece or does it support a bigger feeling? Does it's use make the piece stronger by default or is there a higher purpose?
You can ask yourself questions about the piece you are looking at it. What is it about? What is the mood? How are the rhythms (or other principles) supporting that? Is it a very still piece? Perhaps the rhythms are very blocky and even. Is it a piece full of action and movement? Perhaps the rhtythms are like bullets sprayed across the page. Perhaps they are like glass shattered across the image plane. You can tie metaphor to the way you describe things...but in the end one thing I hope is that these lessons enhance the ability to learn what are great questions to ask...and to get to the point that you trust your answers.
The link provided for the assignment requires a password. Am I doing something wrong or is this a paid course, I thought it was but we are able to watch the video and it says Level up free. So I´m not quite sure
Ma Sketchbook brings all the girls to the forums, damn right its worse than yours.