Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Tuesday, May 1, 2007 - The Great White Shape

The Great White Shape is what my teacher, Sandy Maudlin, calls the technique John Salminen taught her in a workshop. A way for us to see shapes, not things. The rules are:
Find a shape within your sketch that runs off 3-4 sides of the paper. The shape must be:

Irregular - Interesting
Connected (you can't start and stop but make it like a maze a mouse can run through from end to end)
No more than 30% of the overall painting surface

So - you do your sketch, then you take a piece of tracing paper and place over the sketch and find a great white shape - where would the whites normally be - use that space and extend and elongate and exaggerate it.

So you see we had a rose to work with (photo by Sandy Maudlin):

Then we traced the photo (we all traced over Sandy's sketch):
Then we put our tracing paper down and created a Great White Shape:

This is the sketch on wc paper and the Great White Shape I saw/created. The sides run off 4 sides, the shapes are irregular and interesting (I hope), and the white runs through the whole painting, no more than 30% of the whole painting surface (or there-abouts).

Only when we have something that works and looks good can we pick up the paint brush. And what do you paint?
1. Taking a pale value and multiple colors, paint around the GWS (GreatWhiteShape), allowing for some hard edges and some soft edges. If you want your area around the GWS to be cool in temperature at the end, you will paint using warm temperatures for this first pale wash. You do this so, in the end when you paint over the temps with the opposite temp, you get greyed colors that aren't bossy and fade into the background.
2. Think about where you want some darks and using a 7-8 value, put in darks around the GWS taking up about 10% or less of the whole painting surface.
3. Looking at your photo, start incorporating more of the GWS into the painting, losing some here and there to create your main focal point. Don't use anything darker than a medium value.
This is where I'm at right now. Needs work - maybe more than I'm willing to give it but it's supposed to be done by next Monday's class. I definitely need to do something about that center petal of the rose that looks like a purple-red bruise :( And yes, I did want the rose to be blue! haha

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