Wednesday, May 11, 2011

THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF DUMB DESIGN IDEAS Potato edition

THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF DUMB DESIGN IDEAS
POTATOES

Another find from the Nevelson master this painting is a fine example of a design flaw. Painted on the lid of a White Owl box, ( the artists white is suspected to be the ground up plastic mouthpieces from those same smokes ) this small painting contains a design problem called potation. What is that, you might well ask?

POTATION, THE REPETITION OF THE SAME SHAPE AND DIMENSION INSTEAD OF VARIED AND INTERESTING SHAPES, GIVES AN AMATEURISH AND ANNOYING ARTIFICIALITY.

If you again look at the painting above, or in your pamphlets, you will notice that the trees and the clouds are all of the same potato shape. Everyone who begins to paint makes this mistake. The ability to make interesting and varied shapes is developed and not instinctive. Like everything else in painting it must be learned, no one gets much for free.

When you see granny's paintings sold by her disgusted heirs at a yard sale, this is one of the most common faults. E-bay is full of modestly priced paintings by retired executives that are full of potato shapes. Someone once remarked that all amateur painting looks the same, and much of it does, because they all contain the same things unlearned.

So don't POTATE! as you paint, and when you study your work, police your shapes. Look for repletion of the same elements and intervals between them. The more different your shapes are from one another the longer you will hold the viewer.

Scholars researching the Nevelson master may have discovered his identity, one Dirk Van Assaerts from East Delft. Letters and civil records have come to light showing that he was a successful teacher and arts administrator too, winning numerous grants and subsidies. Van Assaerts left volumes of correspondence and opening to scholars a unique view into the life of a 17th century tyro. In coming posts I will reveal what contemporary scholarship has to say about this remarkable man.

15 comments:

Durinda Cheek, Fine Artist said...

Ha-Love it! At first glance I thought a cat had walked across the sky and you were going to say don't leave wet paintings on the floor. And, BTW, how do you pronounce POTATE? PO/TATE or POT/ATE?

Ann Steiner said...

When you are finished with your encyclopedia of dumb design ideas, can you do one on dumb painting titles?

Philip Koch said...

Excellent post!

And even now I see sometimes my hand getting tired and doing this dreaded repetition of the same shape over and over (I quickly admonish it with a hard slap from the other hand). When you think about it, one of the very few tools we artists have is making varied and intriguing shapes. Shapes can sometimes be half the battle in a painting. That's why doing a TON of drawing from life is such a good "vocabulary builder,"

And I await with a shiver the impending further revelatons about the Nevelson master. I had a feeling he would have drifted into education and arts administration.

Philip Koch said...

As I was driving this morning I looked at the just leafed-out trees. It struck me that if one looked one way their shapes really did all look the same in a monotonous display. Looking another way there were great surprising contrasts between the competing shapes.

This is why we paint- it coaches us on how, and where, to look.

hw (hallie) farber said...

I need a printed, signed, hard-cover copy of Encyclopedia Of Dumb Design Ideas.

Great blog.

Stapeliad said...

LOL my first thought was floating cotton balls but I guess they could be bits of gravity-defying mashed potatoes. Maybe the painter was just hungry.

This is such a great series. Thank you.

Antonin said...

ahahahahahah !!!! Nice one.
Most professional painters also look a like.
The one who gets outside of the crowd is rare. I do not want to give you a big head but you do stand alone.
Cheers !

mary teabo said...

Okay, this was posted yesterday, now I'm worried. It's funny, but I recognized those clouds, of course my first painting only had three, but those are them! Hopefully you are taking a much deserved day off from blogging. I can hold off on my fix for a day or so more!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Ann;
That sounds like a good post.
..........Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Durinda;
Pronounced so it rhymes with plofate.
..................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

hw (hallie) farber ;
Someday their will be a book, first I must give up sleeping.
..............Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Philip;
The whole desperate story will unfurl.
........Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Stapeliad;
Thanks.
............Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Antonin;
Thanks, I already have an outsized head as it is.
............Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

mary teabo;
Sorry for the delay, I have been writing in the mornings. The longer days this time of year find me too exhausted to write as well at night and the current crop of posts are a lot of work. Twice as much in fact.
............Stape