Thursday, June 28, 2012

More on Notan Paintings

This post is about one of my mistakes. (There are so many!).  I had gone with my husband to LaBonte Canyon where he likes to fish and I try to find a scene I want to paint, which is always a challenge since I don't find it especially inspiring. But that's a different subject altogether.

 Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the actual scene so you can't see what I was working with. I will tell you that it was pretty flat with the sun bathing everything. Very few shadows and very few value changes in the grasses and foliage.  But, the photos I do have will work for the point I want to make.

And that point is this. A notan painting doesn't do you much good if you don't follow what you've discovered with it.

 I knew I would have to add some interest in value if I was going to make a harmonious arrangement of dark and light masses (the definition of notan). Below is a page from my sketch book showing some notan paintings I did for this particular scene. You can see a similarity between them, yet they're all different. The one I chose is on the lower left.

 The notan clearly has 4 values with a distinct identity. As I transferred my notan design to my canvas I paid close attention to the darkest values and the middle values at the horizon, as you can see in the block in below. Good so far.

Then I abandoned my notan painting because I got distracted by the actual scene in front of me.  Not so good.
When I got this far I didn't like what I had. I messed around with it, trying warmer and cooler colors in the foreground. Back and forth I went with no satisfaction. Finally in frustration and philosophic attitude I wiped the whole thing off and packed up, telling myself it was a valuable experience because I had at least done some notan paintings.

It wasn't until I got home, and pulled out the camera and looked at this photo and the one of the notan paintings, that I realized my mistake. (Too bad I wiped it off). Too bad I forgot to follow my notan painting! I think this could have been a good painting if I had realized I hadn't put those middle values in the foreground in the same pattern as in the notan painting. (And if I hadn't wiped it off I could have corrected this later).

So, I guess it may have been my most valuable lesson yet concerning notan paintings, after all - remember to follow the harmonious arrangement I've chosen.

Happy painting till next time.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Demos at the NIC Fest

The NIC Fest is an annual event held in Casper, Wyoming. It includes artists showing their work, musicians entertaining and a variety of food and drink among other features. It's held at the Nicolaysen Art Museum in downtown Casper. This year the Casper Artists Guild was invited to present demos in various mediums.  Above is Ellen Schreiner with here watercolor demo.
 Ingrid Burnett showing her pastel demo.
A very bad photo of my oil demo.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Country Cottage, 6x6, oil on panel

bid on this painting

A cute little building that reminds me of a cottage. I love sunlight and shadows on white buildings, especially ones that look like you should stay awhile and explore.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sunny Hillside, 6x6, oil on panel

This is a little  painting done in a rural area of Wyoming. The sun was wonderfully warm without being too hot the morning I was here. And better yet-no snakes!  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

View From The Creek, 9x12, oil on canvas

I headed out early yesterday to my favorite spot along Boxelder Creek. My favorite spot is a ranch owned by a family who has worked it for generations and they're always kind enough to welcome us painting there. It was a bit windy, but I found a quiet corner right down the hill, next to the creek. I have to admit, much to my chagrin, I forgot my sketchbook and pens and didn't do a notan painting before starting this. (As I said in a previous post, I have some bad habits to break).

Monday, June 4, 2012

What In the World is a Notan?

As promised here's a glimpse at one of my lessons from Virtual Art Academy. My first lesson that involved a lot of doing, was unit 1 of the Notan Module. If you're like me, you're wondering what in the world is a notan? The definition is "the harmonious arrangement of dark and light masses in a painting".  (I memorized it so I could remind myself that I get to do the arranging).  These little paintings look like mini value paintings or thumbnails. I have done about 200 of them in various modes. Some with only 2 values, 3 values and 4 values. Some with white as the dominant shade, some with gray dominant and some black dominant. Others were from photos or from old masters' paintings. Some from life, some from imagination.  All in all, I think it's sinking in to my thinking to make this something I do every time BEFORE I begin painting. The module sub-title says "two minutes to a successful painting" and I like to remind myself of this because my tendency is to feel very rushed, especially in an outdoor setting. It helps me slow down and take a deep breath before I dive in. The lesson itself covers much more than this little glimpse, going into detailed explanations and illustrations of what to do and what not to do. It's a great lesson.

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