This watercolor painting titled “With Strings Attached” recently won the Bronze Award at the Arkansas League of Artists Spring Members’ Show at the Cox Creative Center in downtown Little Rock. It is on 300 # cold-press Arches watercolor paper and framed to 29 x 37.” I don’t usually paint in watercolor, and this was not an easy piece for me to create. I saw the aprons hanging in a studio at the Arkansas Arts Center, and thought they would make a pleasing composition with some alterations on my part. I tried to create visual interest and movement by varying the colors, patterns,, and sizes of the aprons and shirts. It was quite a challenge! This same piece won the Wiggins award at the MSW Annual Competition at the Arkansas Arts Center and 1st place at the Stuttgart Grand Prairie Arts Festival in 2015. The show at the Cox Creative Center will hang until April 30.
Currently on display, one of my pastel paintings was juried into the Wichita Pastel National Show in Kansas — the same piece won 2nd place at the Delta Arts Festival in Newport this year. From April to May 11, I have 3 artworks at the Conway League of Artists Show at the Faulkner County Library in Conway. In addition, a charcoal drawing of my husband’s arms will be published in the Art Coffee Table Book of Arkansas Hospice. Date of publication is unknown at this time.
If anyone is interested, I still have a few copies of my book about the Argenta Historic District Available. Contact me through my website or on Facebook.
Let’s try to draw an imaginary country home using the concepts of two-point perspective. Here are the steps I used:
- On a large *18 x 24″) sheet of drawing paper, draw a horizon line and select two vanishing points as far away on the page as you can. Then draw the front corner of the house approximately 2″ tall. Draw vanishing lines from the top and bottom of this line to the vanishing points on the left and the right.
- Your imaginary house in this case will face to the right. Draw vertical lines to establish the length and width of the building. You have made a box similar to what we did before.
- On the wide part of the box, draw diagonal lines from corner to corner to find its center. Extend a vertical line through this center point and extend it about 1 1/2″ above the top of your box. This will define the height of the gable end of the roof.
- Connect the top of the gable with the vertical sides of the box at both ends, extending just a little beyond the side to make your eaves.
- Now draw a converging line from the gable peak to the left vanishing point. This is the top of the roof.
- What about the back side of the roof? To get this point, extend a vertical line from the right vanishing point all the way up as far as you can on your paper.
- From the left corner of the facing side, extend a converging line all the way up the left side of the gable until it meets extended line you drew from the right vanishing point. Make a dot where these lines meet — this is called a vanishing trace. Where it intersects the top of the roof is where your roof ends.
- Extend a roof line a little beyond your left house end to make the roof. From this point, draw a converging line to the vanishing trace. Where it intersects the roof line is the end of your roof.
- So far, you have made a box-type house with a gabled roof. You can make some windows on one side if you wish like you made windows in the indoor examples. Next post, I’ll discuss how to make a front porch, a walkway, and a fence enclosing the property!
These are pretty much the last of the quotations I’ve collected over the years. I’m particularly thankful for those of you who have sent me your favorite quotations. Please feel free to do so, and I’ll add them to my book of quotations.
“The painter today has a choice: to break new ground and try to do what has never been done or to paint the uncommonly common in a way that reflects insights that are personal yet unique for anyone who encounters them.” Elizabeth Mowry
“That landscape painter who does not make his skies a very material part of his compositions neglects to avail himself of one of his greatest aids.” John Constable
“Great art depends on exaggeration for expressive effect.” Skip Lawrence
“Art is the proper task of life; art is life’s metaphysical exercise.” Friedrich Wilheim Nietzsche
“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” Plutarch
“Everything is related to everything else.” Leonardo da Vinci
“Form is the outer expression of inner meaning.” Wassily Kandinsky
“The gift is not the act of painting; it is the passion to paint.” Unknown
“Drawing requires no exceptional ability, only normal vision and a degree of coordination.” Nita Leland
Hopefully, you are enjoying reading the quotations from artists I have collected over the years. Some of them associate the Divine Creator with the creative process. Some can be applied to other areas of our life than just the visual arts. Here are a few more:
“This is the real test of your emerging creativity–doing work that is neither repetitive of your previous work nor a copy of the work of others.” Nita Leland
“When your creative self calls, go with it. It is God speaking. Listen to your creative conscience, the voice of the Divine guiding you each day. it resides in your heart. Go there and roam. That is your true temple.” Lalia Copoechione
“The object of painting is to evoke emotion in the viewer.” Elizabeth Grover
“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” Emily Dickinson
“We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own or to other people’s models, learn to be ourselves, and allow our natural channel to open.” Shakti Gawain
“Follow your bliss, and doors will open where there were no doors before.” Joseph Campbell
“To me, the thing that art does for life is to clean it, to strip it to form.” Robert Frost
“Chance is always powerful. let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.” Ovid
“Learn how to meditate on paper. Drawing and writing are forms of meditation.” Thomas Merton
“All arts are derived from the breath that God breathed into the human body.” St. Hildegard of Bingen
I have a gang of these – thanks to all who sent quotations I didn’t have. Here are some more:
“You’re not a reporter but an artist. A painting is a statement of the heart.” Ann Pember
“I don’t want it true; instead, I want a beautiful lie!” Edgar Whitney
“The need to be a great artist makes it hard to be an artist.” Unknown
“In creating, the only hard thing is to begin.” James Russell Lowell
“If you are afraid of making a crazy mistake, then you’ll never get any bright ideas either.” Unknown
“A creative act is not necessarily something that has never been done; it is something YOU have never done.” Unknown
“Action is the fundamental key to all success.” Pablo Picasso
“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show.” Andrew Wyeth
“You use the arts to see your soul.” George Bernard Shaw
“A picture is nothing but a bridge between the soul of the artist and that of the spectator.” Eugene Delacroix
“To work with nature as a poet is the necessary condition of a perfect artist.” Thomas Cole
“…it is the soul, not the eye, that sees.” John Ruskin
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” Aristotle
Which is your favorite?
I thought I’d start out the New Year by sharing with you some of the quotations about the making of art that I’ve collected over the years. They mean something to me, and may be meaningful to you as well. Some of these are anonymous (meaning I don’t know where they came from), and some aren’t. I have given the author’s name where I can. So here goes:
“Painting the verb, the act of doing it, is more important than painting the noun.” Gerald Brommer
“When you watch children paint, they are not concerned with end results at all. They’re just thrilled with the process of expressing themselves. I think all artists need to step back once in a while and remember to enjoy painting and not be so concerned about end results. Art is about expressing yourself. The end result is just a bonus.” Sandra Meyer
“Every artist should be afraid of doing a painting where people don’t do anything; where people don’t react; where they say, ‘Well, that’s a pretty picture’ and move on.” Dean Mitchell
“Landscape is a medium for ideas…the various details in a landscape painting mean nothing to us if they do not express some mood of nature as felt by the artist.” Robert Henri
“The whole fact is that art and science are so closely akin that they might well be lumped together.” Robert Henri
“Do not let beauty in the subdivisions destroy the beauty or the power of the major divisions.” Unknown
“Paint the things that mean the most…the things you’d grab if the house were on fire.” Unknown
“Never let reality stand in the way of imagination.” Elizabeth Grover
“Art is just another language for praying to God.” Unknown
“What we need is more sense of the wonder of life and less of the business of making a picture.” Robert Henri
MORE WILL FOLLOW IN SUBSEQUENT POSTS — WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE?
In this abstracted 16 x 16″ landscape, I was trying to use one of the six basic value schemes mentioned by Edgar Whitney. The scheme was a little dark with a lot of light in medium values. I seldom use this value scheme; that’s why I wanted to try it. I also wanted to continue breaking up the picture plane into sections, but still be able to lead the eye movement to the center of interest (the barn in the upper right area). As usual, I worked out the value and color scheme in my sketchbook and decided to use a split-complementary color scheme: blue, red orange, orange, and yellow orange. The acrylic colors I used were Cadmium Orange, Hansa Yellow, Indian Yellow, Thalo Blue, Prussian Blue, Raw sienna, Burnt Sienna, Cadium Red Light and Titanium White. (At least, that’s what I think I used — hard to remember now!)
Now, how can you use the Fibonacci numbers to make a composition that conforms to the Golden Mean or Golden Section? If you use the correct size for the overall composition, it would be about 10 x 16″ – (1-1.618) – a larger format would be 13 x 21″. In order to break this apart, and position your center of interest in the correct spot, you will need to plot the numbers on a sheet of graph paper the correct size. For instance, using a format 13 x 21″, I measured off a 13 x 13″ square on one side, which left a rectangle of 8 x 13″. From this, I formed an 8 x 8″ square leaving a 5 x 8″ rectangle. Then I measured inside this rectangle a square that is 5 x 5″ leaving a rectangle of 3 x 5″. Inside this rectangle, I formed a 3 x 3″ square, leaving a rectangle of 2 x 3″. Inside this rectangle I measured a 2 x 2″ square, leaving a rectangle of 1 x 2″. This rectangle was divided into two squares 1 x 1″ each. So you see, the sequence from inside out is 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21 — the Fibonacci number sequence. Here’s my result–
If you draw a spiral connecting the corners of each square, it looks like the kind of spirals you see in shells, pine cones, flowers, etc. How about that!
The center of interest should be placed in the smallest squares — the largest section should conform to the principle of using the same value with different hues to keep it integrated. Here is a collage I made using this type of composition. It is a poem collage which reads from the inside out: The earth turns round. Faces the sun; A new day is born. Shall I change another’s life today? Shall I reach a goal or realize my life’s mission? Or shall I still live one day at a time, in the hope that the path I follow is His?
I invite you to try a composition in this format and see how you like it!
The Golden mean and Fibonacci numbers have been used since the time of Ancient Greece, especially in the design of the Parthenon. This system might have even been used by the Egyptians in building the pyramids. It has been used by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Picasso, Seurat, Signac, Hopper, and Mondrian. Even musicians have used it in their works — Mozart, Beethoven (his 5th Symphony), Bach, Schubert, Bartok, Satie, and DeBussy have all been thought to use the divisions. An article in The American Scientist of March/April 1996 points out that many of Mozart’s sonatas can be divided into two parts exactly at the golden section point in almost all cases. The Mathematics Teaching magazine in 1978 points out that Beethoven used the system. It is even thought that Virgil structured the Aeneid in this way.
In architecture, the Golden Mean is a standard proportion for width in relation to height, in first story to second story buildings, in the sizes of windows. Look at any three-story bank building for instance to see the proportion in use. The College of Engineering at the California Polytechnic State University built the new engineering plaza based on the Fibonacci numbers. Plaza designer Jeffry Gordon Smith said, “As a guiding element, we selected the Fibonacci series spiral, or golden mean as the representation of engineering knowledge. ” The United Nations Building in New York is supposedly built on a golden rectangle.
What is most interesting is the way Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper was composed. The scene itself is based on two squares, with Christ in the center. All converging lines lead to the vanishing point on the horizon line, his face. The top of the windows lies at a golden section as do the outer edges of the side windows. Christ’s hands are at the golden section of half the height of the composition. The figures are grouped in threes, in a series of four shapes, with Christ forming the fifth. Application of the Fibonacci numbers includes: 1 table, 1 central figure, 2 side walls, 3 windows and figures grouped in 3’s, 5 groups of figures, 8 wall panels and 8 trestle legs, 13 individual figures.
Realizing how often the Golden Mean and Fibonacci numbers have been used in all forms of art, I tried it myself in writing a poem. I admit the structure is a little different, but here’s what I came up with based on the number of syllables in each line:
NOW YOU TRY IT!
Look at this number sequence: 1,3,5,7,9,11 – what number should be next? 13 of course. What about this sequence? 3,6,12,24? The answer is 48. Now take a look at this one: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 — what number comes next? If you said 34 – you’d be right! You had to add the last two numbers to get the next – and so forth.
This last is called the Fibonacci sequence after its discoverer — Leonardo of Pisa known as Fibonacci (son of Bonacci) who wrote a book about math in 1202 in which he was trying to determine how fast rabbits could breed. He was educated in North Africa and learned his mathematical system from the Moors. He helped Europe replace the Roman numeral system with the “algorithms” that we use today.
It has been found that this number sequence corresponds closely with the golden mean or section: if you divide each number by the number before it, your results get closer and closer to Phi (1/66, 1/62, 1/615, 1/619, 1/6176, 1/6181818 etc). This sequence is found in nature – in the spirals of flower petals, seed heads, pine cones, vegetables, leaf arrangements, nautilus shells, even the human body and face. The French architect LeCorbusier thought that the human body when measured from foot to stomach and then again from stomach to top of the head was very close to the Golden Mean. Even the span of the arms and legs adhere to this proportion. Dentists and oral surgeons use the proportion because the relative sizes of the jaws and teeth conform to the ratio. The proportional ratio of the upper lateral incisors to the upper front incisors is 1:1.618! Some believe that the more closely a woman’s face conforms to the ratio, the more beautiful she’ll look. Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing of the Vitruvian Man depicts where he marked off proportions according to the phi progression.
Take a look at these images from nature. Do you see where the spiral starts in the middle and progresses outward, enlarging proportionally until the sequence is completed? More on this as it applies to the arts later!
Check out how many examples of Fibonacci numbers you can see in nature — look at broccoli, cauliflower, a pine cone, etc. Remember, though, that everything does not correspond.