Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Art Rules


Yesterday I listened to a lecture where a professional artist said "You can't paint a landscape without showing the horizon or the sky. Any painting without at least some sky will be oppressive. Stay away from it."



That made me want to go outside and try an experiment to see if I could create a feeling of openness and freedom without showing the horizon or the sky.

I also thought of Sargent's famous Alps paintings, which often don't have any sky. Have you questioned any art rules that you were taught and found them to be untrue for you.?

26 comments:

David Webb said...

Mmm, I haven't heard that before. I often paint the rocky coastal scenery of South Devon where I live (UK) and, if I'm sitting at the top, my view of the rocks below often excludes the sky.

jeff jordan said...

Learn the rules and then break them at will, as needed….

Krystal said...

Seems weird to me...
After all, Monet is wordly known for his Nympheas where horizon were oblitared.
I find many of this paintings peaceful and quite. Your attempt with this ocean works well to me...
But well, it is only my feeling.

ghostvillage1 said...

I believe that Is the light the thing that dictates air and atmosphere not if the sky Is in the picture.

DamianJ said...

The English landscape painter David Curtis doesn't seem to be held back by that particular 'rule', to no detriment, nor was Sorolla.

I recall being informed 'never use black paint' and then relishing the pleasure of finding it useful.

hypnopoodles said...

I agree with the comments about Monet, Sargent, and David Curtis, clearly you don't have to show the sky or horizon to have a feeling of openness, it might be a helpful rule of thumb though if you were trying to go for an oppressive feeling

In your painting James, I'm having a little trouble reading the distance/aerial perspective, I suspect that's due to it being a fairly sparse water scene without many indicative cues.

Great post!

A Colonel of Truth said...

Upon hearing someone is a "professional" or "expert," walking (and painting) in the opposite direction is prudent.

Sheridan said...

I found 3 good examples of what you are looking for in this book I have on pages 41,97, and really good one on 195. The book is titled "Color and Light a Guide for the Realist Painter", you may have heard of it ; )

Warren JB said...

I think I break Colonel's rule by visiting this blog. ;) But as it is, I think I need a few more rules under my belt before breaking any.

Mark Martel said...

I don't always arrange my palette the same way, or lay out a full range of pigments. I like to grab a few colors at random and work out color schemes from them.

When I do go full spectrum I lay them out in either direction, but I like to 'wrap' the end color on both sides.

Going the other way, I never heard of the rule of thirds until studying film composition and now use it at times. However I've learned to distrust the golden ratio from you, Jim.

One I'm still trying to use more is Greg Manchess' dictum, 'you can use any color as long as you get the values right.'

GJ said...

George Inness frequently plonks a tree right there in the middle, just where we're told not to. Go George!

Linda said...

"There are no rules", except, perhaps the rule that there are no rules...

timothy bollenbaugh said...

Liberating, soaring, uplifting, calming, easing...the water, the pelican's flight...no sense of suppression or oppression...near grey yet bright. Choice of subject weighs in heavily in compositional or any other concerns.

Tim

bollent@wwu.edu

René PleinAir said...

Couldn't he mean air instead of sky?

Montreal Artlive said...

One thing I've been told --and all of us have, I'm sure-- is to quickly lay in your colours in a blocky fashion in order ''to get rid of the white of the canvas'' or whatever colour/ground you're working on with little care for the drawing. I always wondered what's the problem with a blank canvas, why the rush ? Who's afraid of the blank canvas ? Who's afraid of the blank page ? Needless to say it never worked for me as I wasted precious time re-figuring things out. I like to take my time, finding solutions, one by one or in multiples. We all slide up and down the analytic/intuitive scale, while we do need to play around to discover if something works or not, we benefit from taking our time to think and plan. I'm now studying painting with someone who has a different approach, more methodical although with a good dose of intuition as well. I find it suits me better to think things through before committing. And also my instructor's advice is proving true: you waste less time shooting in the dark hoping for something good to happen. But that's just how it works for me. To each his own.
BTW James, superb painting of the seagul hovering over the ocean, just enough for a good composition in terms of shapes and contrast. Thanks for sharing. Best.

David King said...

I prefer to think of the rules as "guidelines" I try to remember them and consider them when I am painting, but if I feel the painting is better served by ignoring a guideline I disregard it. I think it is helpful to learn the "rules" and keep them in mind, just don't let them "rule" over you.

caddisman said...

One rule I try to follow: It helps to have the expression somewhat established mentally before putting brush to canvas (or any other medium): as you just demonstrated, James. Nice pelican take-off.

Bill

Bob said...

The foreground rocks in the lower right of your picture makes it perk, as does the water's reflections.

Robert said...

I think the only "rule" in art is that the picture has to be interesting. Even more than being beautiful or aesthetically pleasing, I think the most important thing is that a picture be interesting. Putting the sky in a picture is often times a good way to make an interesting picture, but sure a picture can be interesting without the sky in it or without a lot of things that are often times called mandatory in a picture. I think an artist needs to be honest with themselves about whether a picture is interesting or not. Sometimes putting in compositional rules makes a painting interesting, but sometimes doing the opposite and leaving out so call mandatory compositional things is exactly what makes a picture interesting. But I think that's the only real rule in art, that the picture is interesting.

Rebekah said...

I think this painting is amazing! I want to follow the bird into the light/sunset. I love the story it tells. It was nice meeting you today at the convention. My 2 year old daughter is going to love the dinosaur you sketched in my book. Dinosaurs are her favorite animals. :)

Marina Marinopoulos said...

It has been proven time and again, there are no rules in art! Love your painting, btw.

jytte said...

I think the artist could not draw the horizont line straight LOL

Matthieu Kiriyama said...

Awesome painting! No rule in art except the ones you choose for yourself.

Robert Bissett said...

There are no rules in art and here they are. Plus, for every art rule the opposite is also valid...as you have demonstrated.

Rich said...

"Horizonless"

...wouldn't it be a category in itself?

A preclusion hinting at some inner art-state, including multiple synchronized hidden horizons perhaps;-)

wings said...

There is no such thing as a "rule" for illustration.