Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Golden Ratio: 1- faces, 1- apples, 2- bottoms, 3 - The Dance

I am struggling with translating how much this golden ratio has opened up for me...it really isn't that egghead...it's just like anything else ...you can take the principle and get complicated and intricate but really it is basically intuitive....but as soon as I start posting triangles and numbers I think everyone just shuts down...I know I did until I was able to find an in at an emotional level...the awesome thing about it is it allows just about anything to work...I struggled for a long time with that aspect of painting...composition, balance...probably due to lack of training. I read recently (and this just goes to show how little "experts" can know) that Botticelli's Birth of Venus is "misproportioned but somehow works"...that's what the scholar said,,,,further research and I discovered it worked because he built her in the golden ratio....I think formal education is over rated....

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I may spontaneously combust :) The Golden Ratio - Part One

Okay....I just want to say that I am in no way an expert on this, but some other artists have asked me about it, so this is what I have gotten so far. ...I am going to break this down into parts because honestly I have to take the merging of my left brain and right brain into bite sizes or I may spontaneously combust :)

If you are artsy then you probably learn the way I do...in 3d!  I have to put something into practice to really understand it so I would suggest you take the basic principles and just try it.  I will try to explain the best I can.

The basic principle of the golden ratio is based on the Fibonacci sequence which goes like this 1, (1 +0) = 1, so you have 1, 1 then 1 +1=2 so you have 1, 1, 2,  then 1 +2=3 and so the sequence goes 1,1,2,3,5,8.etc you might dimly or clearly remember this from school.  It turns out that the Fibonacci sequence is everywhere in nature and that is why it is so appealing to the eye when used in art.  We often do it in our art quite naturally.  If your painting looks good to you..you probably have used the golden section.  So why bother learning it?  I have two primary reasons that I wanted to learn this concept.

Firstly, I thought it would help me to understand composition better - if a painting wasn't working - I could use this as a tool. 
Secondly, for me, it is a way to be closer to God, to fulfill my purpose on this earth.  God gave us intellect and self -awareness.  I think we are supposed to merge the trinity of ourselves, mind, body and spirit.  One of the reasons the classic Contrapposto pose is so significant in art is because that step is symbolic at least in part of what seperates us from the animals, it is our gift and our responsibility.  The pine cone develops within the Fibonacci sequence naturally - we can do it naturally and also with awareness, we can also buck against it...I think that is when we feel unhappy.  To be aware of God....it is really very beautiful.  It's our free will if we want to be in harmony or not....okay I will let you take it from there....

So I started this painting with the intent to plot out sections.  After I plotted sections out, I sketched the figures, I was in love with the form of the woman on our right.  What was it?  I realized I had "accidentally" sketched her in her own golden ratio.  If you look at her you will see that the length from the top of her head to her neck plus the length from her neck to her waist is equal to the length from her waist to her knees.  That is why she looked so beautifully balanced to me.  Since I found the ratio in her I just adjusted my plotting, using her as my guide for the other women and also adjusting colors according to sections. 

I ended up learning a lot from that little discovery and have a new painting I am working on in which I was able to incorporate the ratio much more adeptly, tying the source of light, more angles etc.  I will blog about that in my next little chapter.

If you do try this - I would love to hear your discoveries - see pictures etc.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Self Portrait Challenge - Portrait of an Artist

I just took part in gritty jane's self portrait challenge.  A few artists also just did their own rendition of a picture she had up on her fb page.   I thought it would be fun to incorporate two other artists that I am friends with into my self portrait.  This is me with Janine Parr Heifetz and Gritty Jane . I think we all influence each other and spark each other's creativity.  Plus you know I love the three graces! 

Somebody commented on my fb page that I captured our inner children.  My women often come out very young.  I wonder if maybe it is my inner child that is painting?  Maybe she is just the one that needs it the most.

It was a lot of fun doing this painting.  I felt like they were there with me.  Smiling, sipping coffee, encouraging. .....
I use my wedding photos a lot for material - simply because that is what I have the most of in way of recent pictures. This is not really the best photo of me but I liked the stance and the shadows.