Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Skyholes part 1

This grand old tree stands by a roadside here in New Hampshire. It is composed visually of several layers. You have probably seen an opera set or a ballet stage that has flats, or layers of scenery receding back into the space of the stage. Imagine that tree above the same way. The nearest flat, would be the leaves in the light, behind them the next layer is the shadowed interior of the tree, the third layer is the branches, and the fourth layer is the sky behind the tree. I want to spend a little time in some upcoming posts on each of those layers. The first layer I want to address is the skyholes, the patches of sky that appear through the tree within its outline.

I have drawn some lines within the interior of this tree to haul those random holes together into a rhythmic order. If you just scatter those holes about they will look too assertive and each one standing on its own will call for the viewers sole attention. Thereforeit is better if they are related to one another, a constellation of sky holes rather than the machine gunned look. Notice how those lines all have an arching similarity. If the sky holes are influenced by an invisible geometric structure suggested beneath them, they will be simpler and more effective. The idea here is like yesterdays manner of finding order in a grouping of trees, but today we are trying to find order within the tree itself. The lines above represent not the tree itself but the general flow of the skyholes seen through the limbs. I will be back on sky holes tomorrow.


willek said...

Stape I am so glay you are NOT getting to the "three as a ball" analogy. I like the layer concept and the sky hole material.

Mary Bullock said...

When do you put the sky holes in? - during the preliminary stages do you indicate where the main ones are or do you put them in at the last? Also are you going to talk about how the light that passes through the sky hole changes? Sorry if I am getting ahead of myself.

willek said...

Let me restate my comment. It was way past my bedtime. I am happy you are NOT using the "tree as a ball" concept.

Philip Koch said...

Thinking about Willek's commment:

I feel the "tree as a ball" concept is useful, but it has to take a backseat to the more 2 dimensional ways of seeing Stape is talking about now. Making a painting is a complicated business, and then some. So we have to begin our seeing on a simpler level of of interlocking flat shapes that come together to make an arresting composition.

When you see it done right, it is amazing just how much personality a well crafted flat silhouette (sky holes and all) can contain. Once you've nailed down a powerful 2d composition then you can start thinking about which of the flat shapes you might want to visualize in a more stated volumetric way.

barbara b. land of boz said...

Stapleton, are you saying that each layer will have skyholes? The landscape as a stage, with all the supporting actors giving depth to your painting?
The "Stu-op is a 24x32 building that my husband and I share. Don does woodworking with the cedar harvested from the "land of boz".
So his half is a shop, and my half is a studio. I work in heavy body acrylics. The oil and cedar shavings add a whole new meaning to multimedia. Oh,It sounded like I waited till it was warm to paint the snow. It was only 20 that day!
Thank you once more for sharing. Carlson would approve of your teaching methods.
barbara b.

Unknown said...

So much of art seems to be finding order in the natural visual chaos around us. Still, I wouldn't have thought to look for it in sky holes. You have solved a riddle for me.

mariandioguardi.com said...

I think that either approach is correct, when done properly e.i. the tree "as a ball" or the tree as a 'layered 3-D stage effect'. I find, for me, working with a pallet knife often in layers, that Stapelton's painting construct of a tree as layers is more helpful.

The lit leaves, the internal leaves and the tree trunk correspond to values as well. The tree holes being the layer furthest, in back of tree, are lighter than the lit leaves so they must be used with great restraint,purpose and structure and not as light as the overall sky.Is that assumption correct?

Gregory Becker said...

I cant believe I never saw that before or never looked for it.
Rhythms of negative space are as important as the rhythms in the actual form.
Is it safe to say that, from a principle standpoint as well as practical application?

Stapleton Kearns said...

I didn't think you were glay.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I am going to begin covering that tonight.Sky holes tech is probably going to go on for another day too.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I couldn't (and didn't)say it better myself.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Yes I suppose that technically each layer has sky holes. However I am speaking particularly of those which pierce the shadowed interior and show the sky behind.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Finding order in chaos and the ability to fake randomness too.

Stapleton Kearns said...

That is correct and we are going there tonight.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Yes I think that is a good explanation. The rhythms count in both the positive and negative shapes as well as the thrust of those shapes.

Tom said...

I don't know Philip I think dimensional thinking first. If you conceive dimensional first the 2d should work itself out. But thinking 3d is much more difficult. Look at Turner look at Rembrandt; they conceive space not flat shapes.