Sunday, June 19, 2011


I was asked in the comments;

But WAIT!!! All the books I have on composition (14 Easy Steps to Great Composition, Composition for Dummies, Create Composition Like the Masters and Composition, It's Not Just for Breakfast)) ALL of them mention the BIG L as a GOOD thing????
...................Copay Chiapette

Dearest Copay;
I said last night that "this design is not so much "wrong" as it is pedestrian". When you look in composition books they do recommend the "L" if I wrote a composition book I would include it as well. And there's Claude Lorain and a lot of the old paintings I like, and 19th century luminist paintings used this design stem all the time. Edgar Payne ( reader, if you have not read this book, you should) shows this design in his "design stems"

F. Church, from showing an "L" in its design.

My opinion on the weakness of the Dirk Van Assaerts painting is that the "L" is not designed in an attractive proportion to the size and shape of the picture plane ( that flat place where the world ends abruptly and the picture begins). There is nothing the matter with an "L" design but using it still hasn't designed the painting effectively. It is not a one size fits em all unit, that you can just plug in there. You need the right "L" not just "an L" The visual attraction of the shape of the "L" pulls the viewers eye at a controllable level. You can determine that amount. Either the "L" screams like a startled banshee, speaks proudly, stands quietly by, or shrinks to daintiness. In Dirks picture the "L" was as big as a skyscraper and totally dominated the painting. The "L" was bigger than the world in which it was placed.

It is possible to paint the world, and drop the "L" into that. on the other hand it is also possible to build the " L', and use whatever canvas remains for the world part. I know this from great experience. My experience has led me to belive that it is nearly always better to encompass the "L" within a larger world surrounding it. That world would be the dominant shape and the "L" thingy would be the negative, subordinate shape.

I have probably been both complex and confusing. I will see if I can come up with a few more Dirk Van Assaerts examples that explain the idea above.


James Gunter said...

You had me worried yesterday, too, but I think this post explains the use of the "L" idea very well.

I'm just sorry Dirk Van Assaerts got Sepsis. Can that -I mean she- be cured?

Unknown said...

whew... that is a relief. I thought I might have to send all those books to the burn pile....

and I like my new handle. I might keep it. It is a little known fact that I actually eat chia seeds.
They are high in antioxidants and are never found in an L format.

billspaintingmn said...

Not complex for me, makes a ton of sense! (You acually explained that vary well! (I just had to read it again.)

Jo-Ann Sanborn said...

That's a dynamite Church, and Copay Chiapette made me laugh out loud. Such fun and such great info too, in perfectly balanced design.

Lucy said...

The L in the Church is but a minor part of the larger composition. There are elipses that keep the eye moving around the picture plane. It's a beauty, and check out the face of Rip Van Winkle lying down to the left. ( large nose protruding) That's the actual view of the Catslill mountains that you can see if you visit Chuch's home in Hudson, New York.

stapeliad said...

"suet filled kiddie pool"?

That's awful...and horribly funny! Dirk really needs some positive female energy in his life, it would help his art tremendously.

Thanks for the L clarification.

Steve Baker said...

"Complex and confusing", well from time to time but this was a very good and very clear post. On a side I am thinking you should stay clear of Holland after the way you've gone after poor Dirk.

Stapleton Kearns said...

James Gunter;
You will have to stay tuned for the next exciting episode of Dirk Van Assaerts, Dutch painter.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I always rename everyone in the blog. See=ms like a good idea.

Stapleton Kearns said...

billspaintingmn ;
This stuff is not so easy to write about clearly.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Jo-Ann Sanborn ;
Copay is a really scary first name for a woman I think.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Unlike the Van Assaerts which was overpowering.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I just couldn't help it.Maybe dirk does need a strong woman around. An Amazon maybe, I will look in the trunk and see who is in their.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Steve Baker;
I don't think many of them are reading this, well maybe one.