Sunday, June 10, 2018

I am a Compositional junkie

I am a Compositional junkie. I can waste an entire day of paint time following up on a will-o-wisp article with a minor mention of Visual Composition. I will studiously look up every artist mentioned, their website, read the bio and artist statement hoping to add a trivial amount of composition knowledge to my large and growing and sadly, only partially digested collection of articles, notes, images, and online references on Visual Composition.

In the manner of a beginner painter who asks endless questions about paint, paper, and brushes trying to discover that significant secret, tool, or technique, I pursue every reference found in the most insignificant note on Visual Composition. Just as the beginner painter knows that if he or she buys this signature brush, the one that will suddenly transform their paintings into masterpieces, I continue to look for the Philosopher's Stone of Visual Composition.

The beginning watercolourists should decided on a good quality paper, a few serviceable brushes, and some reasonable quality paints, and then should just get on and paint. In the same vein I already have a compositional framework that works for me: the Picture Planes 0-6. I have a process that gets me from an idea or view of a scene through a series of composition sketches, I use Notan, to a large value or colour study with detail, and finally to the scaled up drawing that is ready to paint. Why should I continue to search for some additional compositional techniques when I have a full toolkit that works for me?

I have finally decided to take the pledge and stop ‘Snipe Hunting’ and just get back to painting. It is time to stop searching the Internet and spinning my wheels in what may well will turn out to be a fruitless search. Am I going to stop learning? No! I am just going to go back to painting using to composition LRPGI, laws, rules, principles, guidelines, and ideas that I know and understand. LRPGIs that work for me. My LRPGI may only partially work for you or they may not work at all. I know that the LRPGI, framework, and process, that one adopts or is comfortable with, changes with: subject, time, evolving style, even time of day. 

By the way, there a very vocal group of artists/critics that deny that any LRPGIs exist. They are welcome to their own opinions. I pledge that I will not engage in debate as to whether or not LRPGIs exist or not. Nor will I debate whether or not LRPGIs detracts for one’s own spontaneity. It is sufficient that within my chosen genre/style/framework they work for me and I do not feel any constraints of my spontaneity. Your mileage may vary (YMMV) as they say in automobile adverts.