Welcome to Compose. There's lots of stuff here, all about composing paintings.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Understanding Intensity in Color

Color contains three attributes:  hue, its location in the spectrum;  value, how much light or dark it holds, and intensity (also called chroma) or the saturation of hue within the color.

Look at this graphic.  The colors are full saturated even though one hue merges into another.   
 Fully saturated means the hue is not neutralized by a complement.  The hues closest to the center are darker in value, but they remain as saturated as their lighter versions close at the edge.  All these hues are at their highest intensity.

Here's the same example with some of the saturation taken away or neutralized, each having a bit of its complement mixed into it.

The hues remain the same, but the intensity is slightly lowered, a bit more neutralized.

And here it is again with all the hues totally neutralized.  Notice that with the hues totally neutralized they disappear and the intensity is gone, but the values remain.  
So, why is this important to a painter?

Being aware of the complexities of color and knowing how to manipulate them opens up for the painter an abundance of options so that the ability to see nuances increases both in observing and in making decisions.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

An Argument for Principles of Composition

We live in an era of artists rebelling against boundaries.  It's nothing new-- questioning boundaries is a driving force that keeps humans evolving.  But too often a principle gets mislabeled as a boundary and consequently gets abandoned, to the detriment of the artist.

There are artists among us who consider composition principles boundaries.  These folks complain that if they spend their energy concentrating on the principles while painting, they'd give up.  And some argue that principles serve only to inhibit the creative process.  They complain that they're not interested in making great works of art, just finding some joy in life.  They just want to paint and not be bothered with having to think about it.

A boundary is a wall or a line of demarcation.  It's intention is to define two sides of a place or thing or to limit access.  It's purpose is to divide.

A principle is a fundamental of how something works.  Its function is to hold something together, not to limit or divide.

To reject learning and using principles of composition is to limit the scope of ones creative potential.  The boundary is not the principle itself, rather the projection we place on it when we make assumptions about it rather than to take the effort to explore its possibilities.