Playing with composition

paintingprocesswebIn 2016, I’ve been making one small watercolor or drawing per day. The watercolors are succinct ways to explore composition, shape, and color. On the left side of this image are 4 of these watercolors, and on the right is an oil painting. While I was working on the oil painting, it went through a progression of shapes and color, and the little watercolors I made during that time helped me make sense of what to do with the larger oil painting. While the watercolors are square and the oil painting is rectangular – the aspect ratio is different – the watercolors still helped me visualize the composition I was working on in a concise way. This is similar to taking a photo of a painting to simulate stepping away from it, getting the distance needed to see the overall image more clearly. Making a small version of the painting has the added advantage of re-creating the composition yourself, and therefore spending more time processing the way shapes and colors relate on the picture plane. I learned to do this – to make smaller versions of a larger painting to help me figure out what to do with it – from my Honors advisor at College of William & Mary, Professor Kreydatus. When I struggled with a painting, he recommended I draw it. It’s something I’ve done ever since. Thank you Brian Kreydatus!

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