Tuesday, December 8, 2015

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, 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.

3 comments:

Quin Sweetman said...

Thanks for this excellent reminder on why we shouldn't potate! I especially enjoy the illustrations. You are both amusing and informative. Hope to take a workshop soon.

Hugh Mosher said...

So happy to see a posting to your blog, which I have enjoyed and learned a good deal from.

Jessica P said...

POTATION: BANNED

I used to potate my foliage but now I don't.

Mashed potations are much better.