Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Notes: The Poster

The poster is a geometric simplification of the value structure of your image. Each form is built up of myriad gradations, which can be difficult to comprehend. The poster simplifies these gradations made up of hundreds or thousands of steps of value into a much smaller and more manageable number of steps. How many steps is up to the artist, and can be quite flexible depending on subject matter and the technique being used.

The idea is to ignore the gradations at first and instead focus on the patterns that the gradations are making. Is it a smooth transition from light to dark? Does it get gradually darker most of the way and then suddenly shift more quickly at the end? Does it shift from dark to light and back to dark? How do all these shifts correspond to the contour?

Thinking of what the gradations are doing and putting them down in steps allows us to analyze the progression of values without worrying about the technique of making the smooth gradations. There are all sorts of ways to make the gradations later, but it's important to understand what's happening in them first.

Back in Action

For the past several months I've been studying at the Art Students League in NYC. I was fortunate enough to study painting with Mary Beth McKenzie for six months, from whom I learned a lot. Unfortunately, while a lot of what I learned is in my hands, a lot of it has slipped from my head. When I switched over to Michael Grimaldi's class in November, I started trying to make more of an effort to write things down as I made connections, had new ideas, or heard something useful from the teacher or a fellow student. At first I was writing things down on post-its, but I developed a solid talent for losing them shortly after making them. Around Thanksgiving, my wife Aileen and I took the plunge and got ourselves some iPhones. I started writing down notes on the iPhone and have managed not to lose them (so far).

I figured I'd start a series of posts describing the various notes I made to myself. Some ideas have quickly become obsolete, and others are interesting thoughts but don't quite fully make sense yet. A few seem to be promising ideas that need further exploration. Still others are reinforcements of things I already knew (or thought I knew, anyway).

Perhaps by sharing them I'll spark ideas in someone else, or at least chronicle what's going through my head as I work and learn- for the benefit of me or someone else.