Sunday, June 3, 2012

The historic use of molybendium in ancient cultures of the Euphrates

Frank W. Benson, Eleanor
I ran into this quote from Frank Benson online:

"This was to emphasize, again, the fact that it is the composition, the design, the creation of the artist's mine, which is important, not the representation of objects with paint. "I grew up with a generation of art students who believed that it was actually immoral to depart in any way from nature when you were painting. It was not till after I was thirty and had been working seriously for more than ten years that it came to me, the idea that the design was what mattered. It seemed like an inspiration from heaven. I gave up the stupid canvas I was working on and sent the model home. Some men never discover this. And it is to this that I lay the fact of such success as I have had. For people in general have a sense of beauty, and know when things are right. They don't know that they have but they recognize great painting. And design is the ONLY thing that matters."

Aldro T. Hibbard Retrospective      October 5 ~ November 11

The Rockport Art Association in Rockport, Massachusetts will be presenting an Aldro Hibbard retrospective this fall. I am a big fan of Aldro Hibbard and have presented his work many times in this blog. There will be a huge number of Hibbards, more than a hundred. This is the second Hibbard show the art association has done, the last was over than ten years ago. I  saw it every day it ran. There will be an illustrated catalog available for sale at the show. Hibbard was one of the founding members and was a president of the Rockport Association. He is the best known of the historic Rockport artists and I am looking forward to the show excitedly. I will be speaking and leading a tour of the show shortly after its' opening.

OK, I guess I should throw something useful in here. 

I just taught a workshop in Nashville, I had a big group, about twenty students. I was again reminded of something I see a lot when teaching. It wasn't particular to this group and I see it in every workshop I teach. Learning painters when working outside want to jam the whole painting into the lower, or lower and middle range of values. Often the whole scene is presented in three or four values from the middle of the scale.

When you have a painting  is not going well , get your contrasts up and running again. This happens to me too, I look at a painting I have been working on and realize it has become mushy, with the values that were initially clear and well stated blunted, and tentative. As we work on paintings it seems there is a tendency to lose the big pattern of light and dark. Often this happens as we add details and information and lose the big shapes that make a design go.

When your painting gets "stuck" or starts to get worse instead of better, boldly restate your darks and lights. 

Information is often the enemy of design.


 If you would like to know about the upcoming July workshop in New Hampshire please
click Here. I have included the cost of the workshop and information on the location in the White Mountains. I can teach you a whole lot, and probably save you years of screwing around. Why torture yourself ? Don't get left behind! You are worth it! Everyone's doing it. Act now.

I have been developing a series of painting exercises to teach root skills. I have a bunch of them now and am adding them into the workshops. I set my easel up in front of the class and lead them through a painting exercise that will clarify either a skill, technique or principle. I will be presenting one of these each day at the July workshop.


Charles Valsechi said...

" And design is the ONLY thing that matters." To me this sounds to much like preaching a one way to do things in art. In my opinion their are many approaches that are just as worthwhile that have more emphasis elsewhere. Monet's foremost importance was not design and is he wrong for it? Seems to me every way of working has something to teach us all and can be beautiful. said...

Monet was a great designer and a master of composition.
If he wasn't we wouldn't be talking about him now. Here is an interesting experiment: take a Monet and paint it in another manner. I bet it still holds up as a strong painting.

Richard said...

I read somewhere, and it makes sense to me, that as we look at an object, whether it's our painting or what we are painting, we seem to see more value variations and see into the dark areas better, so we paint a more mushy value structure and more in the dark. The person viewing for the first time doesn't see it this way and reads it as busy and value.

Charles Valsechi said...

Oh, I never stated Monet wasn't a great designer, but what I quoted is "design is the 'ONLY' thing that matters". My argument is merely that design may ONLY matter to one person and may be less important to another and they can still create fantastic paintings none the less.

Durinda Cheek, Fine Artist said...

I had NO idea where you were going with the title on this one, Stape! ;>) You are so right about losing the values as we continue to paint detail over detail over detail. Time to squint and stay true to those lights and darks. If the skeleton (composition) is strong, the painting will be strong, no matter what the color scheme becomes. I'm glad you are back to "preach" to us!

Eugenio Fdez said...

Your works are brilliant and they have a great color´s expression.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Those are NOT my work, guys! They are the works of historic painters. I wish I was working at that level!

Doug Runyan said...

Has the date been set for your talk and tour, Stape? I'd like to attend. I can't wait to see that many Hibbards in one place! Did you know that the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine is hosting an exhibit of Benson's paintings that runs through early Fall?

Connie McLennan said...

What a brilliant painting that Benson is. I think he's right.

Sarah Faragher said...

I was struggling to finish a painting this morning and could not figure out why I was having such trouble. Then I heard a voice saying, "Boldly restate your darks and lights." With that in mind I immediately saw that a few crucial shadows had become muddy without my say-so (how does that happen?). Fixed that, and the painting snapped to attention. Thank you for the cogent advice.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Thanks for the heads up on the Hibbard show and the Benson. Coincidentally, I met a woman here on the South Shore (MA) whose husband is the grandson of Frank Benson. Found that out while admiring the 'Bensons' in her home on a visit.
As far as composition goes, it's everything. I often say something similar to the quote regarding the viewerr's ability to recognize when the elements of a painting come together properly. The viewer may not know why it's right but the eye can immediately see if it isn't.
I enjoy your informative posts.

Laura G. Young said...

Excellent advice, as usual.

I've been trying to push darks/lights more and more lately, and it's amazing to see the improvement over my first washed-out plein air attempts.

That said, it's a still bit tricky to portray the more subtle contrasts of overcast days and other low-light conditions. I suppose that simply comes with experience(and going through all the great posts here).

And yes, design really IS key. Thanks for the reminder.