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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Those Dratted Intervals

Go here. The painting is "Carriage House" by Marc Hanson, one of the finest landscape painters around. Marc, himself, raised the question about whether the painting being divided in half is troublesome. We would not question the beauty of this piece. The superb craftsmanship, masterful drawing, sensitive interpretation, deep conviction and a presentation of one of the most beautiful patterns of dappled light I've seen anywhere. But why would he ask the question?

It's not that rules should dominate or that we must be slave to principles, it's to do with the rhythms within the human body and what we feel we need to see or hear in a work of art. It's all about rhythms which are all about intervals.

An interval is a space between two things or a period of time between two events or a pitch between two tones or a degree between two values or colors or intensities. When many intervals are equally spaced, we have a type of staccato response, but when two or three or even four intervals are equally spaced, we feel both bored and restive.

In music, a series of quarter notes without any variation drives us looney. In painting, equally spaced images or divisions feel abnormal, unresolved. We feel ambiguity. We want more space in one shape and less in another. We want a rhythm that is most akin to our heartbeat or our walking pattern or our breathing. We want what nature wants and provides all around us: patterns made from unequal intervals. And it's within nature that we find our most ingenious principles of composing. And that's the reason "blah, blah, blah" is so expressive.

5 comments:

Edward Cooper said...

Great Idea for blog!

I am going to have a read, composition is somthing I really struggle with as it was never taught when I was at college!

I have just got a book by ernest watson on the subject!...can you reccomend any other good books?

I really like your work as well!

Ed

Dianne Mize said...

Thanks, Ed. Good books on composition are few. Barry John Raybould has a pretty good little course on http://www.virtualartacademy.com/ . A more theoretical approach is Art Fundamentals by Ocvirk, Bone, et.al.

Ann Buckner said...

I am enjoying your blogs, the artwork and the information. Marc Hanson is also one of my favorite landscape painters so I enjoyed your discussion of rhythms and could relate to it in his painting. When I viewed his painting I found my interest to be in the upper half and was wishing for a "little" something to break up the expanse of the bottom half, that would lead me to the more detailed areas. When I view the foreground I think of calm, with little movement. I hope these comments aren't considered "bad taste" because I enjoy his work so much. It is more of a pondering of your information on rhythm and what I saw when I viewed his painting.

Dianne Mize said...

Ann, your comments are thoughtful and insightful. If Marc had not opened the question of his composition in "Carriage House", I would not have cited it, but I, too, am a real admirer of Marc's work. And most of the time, Marc's compositions are unquestionable. Certainly your comments are NOT in "bad taste," rather are constructive and reflective. Thanks, Ann.

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