Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Art Critique by Bud Edmondson

At the November Membership Association meeting for RRAA, the program that followed the business meeting portion was a critique of your artwork done by Bud Edmondson. Each member was asked to bring in a piece of their work for critiquing. Each painting or artwork was given a good 2 minutes in review.
Even though I did not bring anything in, I learned a lot about how I approached my art compositions and why some were more successful than others.
When Bud critiques, he looks for five things. He doesn't have to have any partiality towards a particular style of art in order to critique successfully. Here's my notes (I hope they're not too cryptic) from that night:

Five things assessed in each piece of work: 1) drawing 2) composition and design 3) values 4) color 5) edges

In respect to edges, sometimes they are too hard and sometimes they are too soft in the subject matter.
The center of interest in the composition should have the strongest value and contrast.
Do not put the horizon line and focal point of the composition dead center in the picture plane.
Atmospheric perspective is achieved by changes in value and have subordinate values and color.
Never (repeat never) use green right out of the tube for trees.
Avoid making the foreground subject matter overpowering. You need to provide a way within the image for the viewer to look past the foreground.
Remember that values can change and shift from side to side in the picture plane (and should in most cases).
Avoid having the same values throughout the painting. Values can be used to bring focus to the subject matter. The sky is always the lightest value.
A color can appear to be darker than what it is by making the subject next to it a lighter value.
Your darkest darks should be in the foreground.
A composition can get problematic and 'stiff' if the subject matter has equal space around it. Decide to make the subject higher or lower in the picture plane.
Shadows are a darker value of whatever it is cast upon. For example, a shadow cast on concrete should be of a darker value of that concrete.
I already have a few books on color theory. In light of this art critique session, I decided to seek out something more relevant. "Color in Contemprary Painting-Integrating Practice and Theory" by Charles LeClair is perhaps the most relevant book I've seen in regards to this topic. I highly recommend it. Since I work in multiple mediums, I also sought out a book specific to photography and composition. "The Photographer's Eye" by Michael Freeman is spot-on and I highly recommend it. More detailed descriptions of these books can be found at Amazon.com

Santa Raffle

These are hand carved Santa's donated by artist Marilyn Meuret. Raffle tickets were sold at the Rio Rancho Arts and Crafts Fair on November 22nd at the Sabana Grande Recreation Center.

Marilyn's hand carved work is intricate, full of life and character and well executed. I dont' know if you've ever tried your hand at carving something from wood with hand tools. It is not an easy task in coaxing life out of a block of wood and translating it into something warm and humorous as Marilyn does. And, she does it well!

So, YOU can be the proud owner of one or both of these wonderful Santas. Just purchase one or many raffle tickets. Proceeds for this raffle will go towards building the Education/Scholarship Fund for RRAA. It is part of our community outreach effort (artists reaching out through art).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Branding and Fireflies

I have been working with Nina Baldwin and Paula Scott to apply a new logo to RRAA, and to create a branding that reflects RRAA, and it is a task that is giving me pause. The goal of branding an organization is to create something constant in everything you show that reflects what you are. Yet, to me, art is an every changing expression of the people creating it, the people viewing it and the society in which it is being viewed. So how can I presume to design something that reflects – constantly – a group whose existence is based on an ever changing process of creation?
I was thinking this over this last night as I looked out over the mesas. I flashed back to my life in the north east when I used to spend hours catching fireflies. You might see a single firefly flicker for a second and then disappear. You knew they were there, but you had to be so patient and search to find them. Every kid had an old mason jar with a perforated lid for catching them, and it would take all evening. But once there were ten or twenty or more in the glass jar you could suddenly see them all. They all flickered in their own time, but the light shared illuminated all of them, and created the most beautiful display. You held them there for just a bit then opened the jar to let them fly off in a flurry of magic and light. That is what branding an art organization should do. It should be the mason jar that for a moment brings all the light and magic together to make every artist shine brighter than they can alone.