California artist Myrna Wacknov recently started a weekly blog painting challenge which intrigued me enough that I finally jumped in. Her challenge goes something like this:
First you select a photo reference to work from - one you LIKE a lot.
Next, you randomly (without looking) select one of the seven elements of design - line, texture, shape, size, direction, color or value.
Then, randomly select one compositional design motif to use to design the painting. These include a vertical or horizontal compositional design, or a cruciform shape, or a pyramid shape, a bridge shape, a 'T' shape, or an overall pattern, a checkerboard pattern, a spiral, a radial design, frame-in-frame, or medallion shape, etc. There are many to choose from, depending on what you read. Marianne K. Brown's book called "Watercolor by Design" teaches about them extensively, and Gerald Brommer does a great job explaining various design compositions in some of his books.
The final thing to do before painting is to select one color to mix somehow throughout every bit of the painting. Myrna calls this the mother color.
Once these four selections are made, the challenge is to paint a picture and make your selected element be obviously dominant in the selected compositon. Each week, a new painting is completed, using the very same photo reference, but selecting a new element, a new design composition, and a new mother color.
I like doing this so much that I am passing Myrna's challenge on to my classes with a few variations to the challenge, (with her permission and blessing.) So far, everyone's really enjoying the challenge, as well as discovering that they are no longer in their comfort zone.
The painting posted to the right is Week Two for me. I randomly selected LINE as the element to dominate the painting and CHECKERBOARD as the design composition, with TRANSPARENT PYRROL ORANGE as the mother color. It was challenging and fulfilling to play with the concept, especially with the conflict that line and checkerboard together presented. I think the line here needs to be more dominant and broken so that shape doesn't play such an important role in this painting. I may have to break out the Caran d'Ache crayons for some more line work, and I'm already looking forward to the next painting.
Week One (left side) incorporates the same composition as the YUPO demo done on Friday night. My Week One's selections were VALUE, VERTICAL DESIGN, & RAW SIENNA, easy ones to handle because I use them a lot.
Each painting is 11 x 15" on Arches 140#CP. You can see the reference photo which I'll continue to use at the end of yesterday's post. And, no, I do not ever get tired of painting from the same photo, especially with all the diversity that's happening with this challenge.
To see Myrna's blogspot and website, check the side bar info on the right of this blog, titled, "PLACES I VISIT." Thank you so much, Myrna, for so freely sharing, teaching, and encouraging others. You are an inspiration!


Michelle Himes said...

I love the way you combined line and the checkerboard pattern - it makes a lively painting. I think it's pretty obvious that line is the element that you are emphasizing just the way it is. Myrna's project is spreading - glad to see that you have decided play along too. Some really interesting art work is being created with this project.

V....Vaughan said...

I am so glad you took the time to comment on my work. I have spent the past 1/2 hour looking at yours....you are an AMAZING artist...I love the light in your paintings....and the variety....and the FUN you are having!...sorry to make this comment, here, but I couldn't find your e-mail address :)
God Bless You and your wonderful work!

Suzanne said...

Thanks for taking the time to construct the demo — it's wonderful. What's that blue color you're using on the head and pants of middle figure against the transparent pyrol orange in the first frame?

Sandy - Monday, January 21st, marks my three month anniversary posting daily paintings. Come by Landscape into Art for a special mention and My Great Day for a party favor.

Sandy Maudlin said...

Thank you so much for posting. Michelle, I liked your colorful plant on Myrna's blog a lot. It is good.
And V, YOU are an excellent artist. I loved your paintings.
Suzanne, I think I used mostly Lunar Blue which is atually a mixture (which I rarely use) of Phthalo blue and Lunar Black, fro daniel Smith Co in Seattle. I love Lunar Blue and think you would too, in your landscapes. It granulates awesomely. I'll check your blog tomorrow. Can't wait. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your blog.