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Journal sielwolf's Journal: Just Bought a Cadillac 8

11/01/2006 Throw Some D's

Class was yesterday. Only two others showed up. Of course only one student has been there all five classes. Seems odd to me: we only have ten classes. Missing one is basically throwing 25 bucks away.

This was our second OpArt piece. I had no real plan coming in on it. I knew I didn't want to be the guy at next week's critique who said "I only did one". Of course considering that all but two of us have missed one or more of the three classes we spent on this I got a feeling that it might not turn out that way.

But the last one I finished on 10/24/2006 I had a plan. This? No plan other than "Still gotta do squares but fuck setting up that 1" squares with 1/2" offset" and "Maybe earthtones". So I went with a dark blue, a crimson, a burnt sienna and light brown. In a way it forms a shaded RYB triumvirate but *meh* I went with just a normal 1" grid. Originally I thought of using the light brown as a base and then having a selected group of squares drop red shadows of uneven length. I didn't mask this and so the results where weak. Also the light brown was not a good choice as a base. To light, too middling. It is neither dark nor light nor warm nor cool. Maybe as an accent but not as a base.

That kind of led this piece to a series of midcourse corrections.

So I then masked off the random assortment of squares to then drop a mix of the dark blue and burnt sienna. Well one thing by mixing I found was the red root of the burnt sienna. So when mixed with the blue you got this very verdant green. A lucky mistake visible in the lower right. Also I had dropped a base of white down on the masked over squares so I could get interesting sharp changes in tone. That's what got that squares so aquatic in the middle lower left.

But the background still stunk. It was too light. Too atonal. Removing my masking I had these neat squares set on crap. It was the family heirloom vase on the card table in the dining room. A bad look.

So I had to do something. For some reason I stood next to my mix of light brown and crimson. I wanted something interesting and my hope was by repeating the steps I did in the last mask and paint I could get some interesting results. So I masked off the blue/sienna and several others and then went to town dipping heavily into the crimson and ended up with the product above.

I think I would have been better if I would have used more red- try to shift away the primary color from light brown. I do like how the shades of light brown sort of interlock on the left. Maybe mixing the light brown with white was a bad choice. It moves the image off in a poor direction. But this seems more like a hail mary than anything else. The result is adequate. Just shows you what planning does for you. Ok, I did have the very rough margins of a plan, but said plan needed more working. It was all theme and no conclusions or measures of effectiveness.

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Just Bought a Cadillac

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  • and i don't think i ever came out and admitted liking your work simulated annealing, but i also like that piece. i don't like taping things off myself, but i'm not against it as an institution if it used to make something interesting.

    what i like about this new one is the contrast of textures. you have the squares, but the actual painting is very loose. (i know you know how you did it, i'm just describing what i like.) i also happen to like primary colors. again, it's something that can be an easy out,
    • Thx. I was also thinking I might have been too sparse with the Burnt Sienna. It's only in its most uncut form in the lower right and a little elsewhere. Again that's one problem with masking: it relies on your memory to get an account of how much of the paint you're putting down is going to remain. Your suggestion of red is probably pretty accurate. Red as a color has a lot more texture to it and even at the same tone as the light brown probably would have offered a more interesting contrast.

      Of course
      • by subgeek ( 263292 ) *
        this is long and rambling and only sort of related to the topic at hand.

        something i've been thinking more about recently is the overall value (dark/light, not worth) of a painting. we spend a lot of time thinking about colors, but not always about value and saturation. sometimes there's a purpose to making everything the same value. op art even focused on this on occastion. i recently visited the andy warhol museum in pittsburgh. there were some paintings there of text on a color backgound where the te
        • Saturation is an interesting point and can be found in a lot of more modern styles, even those that eschew a lot of shading and tone theory. Graphic design is one, mostly because of the necessity of minimalism (and so color theory choices can be just as big to a brand as anything else). But even expressionism and impressionism are interesting to look at. Impressionism had a lot of interesting color work, yet even some of the big names have pieces that are less interesting because of palette choice. The
          • by subgeek ( 263292 ) *
            It's fascinating how one application of colors by one hand can come out vibrant while another can confuse the viewer and have them thinking "Ok, what am I looking at?"

            i think monet created great examples of both. i like to think that the washed out ones without a point as his training ground for the ones that did.

            as for kandinsky, i think a lot of it was his choice to leave so much white. it sometimes made his look like colors on white rather than colors working together.

            of course, any "rules" can be brok
            • by subgeek ( 263292 ) *
              i left a word out there at the end of the monet paragraph, but i'm hoping you can figure it out anyway.
          • by subgeek ( 263292 ) *
            and as i'm thinking about this i am having another thought. styles that eschew shading and tone theory actually use it in non-classical ways, but i'd say still use the concept of value (tint/shade) even if it is the effect produced by its absence. it really gets back to what i said before about following or breaking rules not mattering as much as using the technique to support the idea of the work.
            • Supporting the idea I think is the heart of the matter. So often you look at something and it "feels" rote. A lot of time you can say it is something like "oh, he's a Caravaggisti" or "she was schooled in the style of Degas" and how its an imitation of an original style. But probably in that same transition there is also the lack of direction. The idea isn't theirs so they don't know what to support. Where the source artist said "here I want to focus on _________" the other guy had no end point. And w

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