In the previous post I explained how I begin a painting. Selecting a subject, manipulating and enhancing it, than finally using the dynamic symmetry grid.
When it comes to painting, usually I shy away from mechanical tools but I’ve found the grid to be flexible and very helpful.
Used by the Old Masters to the Impressionists, it’s like having an artist friend with a great eye for composition.
Each space within the grid has a harmony within the whole and where multiple lines overlap “eyes” form which are prime places for important elements.
In the image above left (the one I ended up choosing), you can see how her left arm lines up, so does the top of her hat and the bottom of the tree foliage. Her straight foot ends at a line while her other leg followed the angle of another. Things can also be pushed and pulled to fall better. For instance I changed the angle of the shadow under the tree to conform more to the diagonal line of the grid.
The version in the center and right would have also worked, but with these, more information would have to be added on the left side.
The next thing I like to do is create a small color study. Up until a few years ago this seemed like a waste of time to me. Why paint a miniature version of my painting?
I’ve since realized the terrific value in these little jewels. As artists we are not copying what we see but transforming it into our vision. This takes experimental thinking.
It can be very disheartening to scrape off large areas of your painting because it doesn’t harmonize or has the wrong value. Enough changing around of things on a large painting ends up looking forced and overworked, anything but fresh.
In the color study above I set the value range, decided the temperature extremes and began to get more excited when seeing my vision in paint.
When I paint the larger version there’s still lots of room to “try some things out”, but within an established frame work it’s much more fun!