An Old Dog for a New Trick

There’s a new premium channel “teaser” program on cable on which you can watch a pilot episode of a new series.  On one of the channels is a series call Da Vinci’s Demons about Leonardo Da Vinci.  I watched about half of it.  It would be a perfect pastime for a nasty cold.

The visuals are captivating, the writing—meh.  What I liked, however, was watching the depiction of Leonardo “seeing” the underlying structure of what’s in the streets of Florence or the fields of Tuscany.  Through the magic of television everything from the dome of the Duomo to the wing of a bird could be studied.

As we know, paintings have underlying structures too and those structures provide a critical path for the viewer. Observing and practicing what makes the successful building blocks of the picture plane and how those blocks interact together is what makes composition come instinctively. Just like Leonardo we will idnetify the underlying structure of the whole and see if it can be improved.

Bring an old painting that you’ve deemed unsuccessful.  Make it something you’re not attached to.

Because we’re going to marry a composition exercise with color practice—leave your paints at home except for: black; white; Paynes grey & yellow ochre.

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