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Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday's Art Challenge: Change Your Horizon

'Marsh Study I'             6x6          pastel               ©Karen Margulis
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I am always looking for a challenge. I am committed to getting in some painting time everyday even if it is just for a quick study. Sometimes I show up but I am fresh out of painting ideas. That is when I try to challenge myself with self imposed assignments. The challenges give me something to focus on and I always learn something new.

I'm sure I am not the only artist out there with the problem of what to paint next...so I'd like to devote each Friday's blog post to an art challenge.  I will issue a challenge that you can explore using the medium of your choice.  This week's challenge is a compositional consideration we often overlook:

Changing the placement of the horizon can change the feel of a landscape painting. 

'Marsh Study V'         4.5 x 8.5             panoramic format
 Choosing the placement of the horizon is one of the first decisions I make. I ask myself what is most important to my concept....is is a painting about the sky? Or is it about the earth or what's happening on the ground? I try to avoid putting the horizon in the middle.  Another important consideration is making sure that I have unequal divisions of space.

The format  of the paper is also a very important choice.....landscape, portrait square and panoramic all create different energy. Just because I am painting a landscape doesn't mean the horizontal format is the best choice.

So how do we know what will be the best choice?  Thumbnail sketches help us see the possibilities. I took it a step further and did some small quick color studies. These studies will help me decide which composition is worth doing larger.

CHALLENGE: Take a simple subject and do several small studies. Change the placement of the horizon....low, high and middle. Try zooming into the scene and find an intimate composition. Try the same subject in a different format.  The possibilities add up to a lot of potential paintings!
Feel free to use my photo below. How many paintings can you make with simple changes to format and horizon? Tip: these are quick studies. Set a timer and work no longer than 15 minutes on each one.

If you decide to take on the challenge feel free to share your finished pastel paintings in my Facebook group 'Pastel Challenge Group'.

The reference photo for these studies

I used the Terry Ludwig Plein Air landscape set for my studies.
Painting notes: 6x6 paintings are on black Artagain paper. All studies available in my etsy shop. click here

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

Oh wow! I love this! Thanks for the lesson and the photo reference. You've given me something cool to do today for my 30 in 30 and the reference uses the colors in my new little Terry Ludwig 14 Best Loved Basics, which is my side challenge. I have been looking for something to do with my new supplies, the right reference for those pastels and the happy stash of 10 pieces of coarse 400 grit Uart!

So I'll do the challenge and pick one of them and use the Uart and do a cool painting!

What I can do for thumbnails is use hard pastels on sketch paper but pick out ones the same colors as the Ludwigs, or close, so that I've got square sticks to a smaller scale. That will make the color studies truer to the final painting.

I'm still too chicken to use good Uart for tiny color studies though, since the painting itself will be 9 x 12" the studies will probably be 3 x 4" to have same aspect ratio as the paper I'm planning for.

It also made me laugh because the little painting I did last night to make up lost day in my 30 in 30, I changed the horizon by eliminating it. I changed perspective on a coral reef scene from angling across it to the blue distance to looking straight down the way a snorkeler would. I also moved the corals around to create a better design.

No Horizon is one. But your photo doesn't really lend itself to that, though I could get it by doing a pure skyscape without any distracting land or trees element. This is awesome! Actally I could get that if I just included a bird, it would work and make sense and that'd be one really pretty sky to put a bird in..