Picture making is all about design, and the aim of this book is to help artists of all levels bypass the common design mistakes and use the Golden Rules of painting to fast-track the learning process. Robert Lovett emphasizes the essential skill of recognizing a subject in the first place, and then shows multiple ways of translating what is seen onto the paper in a dynamic way. This means arranging shapes, colours and tones using Robert Lovett's helpful, no-nonsense methods. Lovett encourages people to plan their paintings ...
Picture making is all about design, and the aim of this book is to help artists of all levels bypass the common design mistakes and use the Golden Rules of painting to fast-track the learning process. Robert Lovett emphasizes the essential skill of recognizing a subject in the first place, and then shows multiple ways of translating what is seen onto the paper in a dynamic way. This means arranging shapes, colours and tones using Robert Lovett's helpful, no-nonsense methods. Lovett encourages people to plan their paintings using tried-and-true design principles of line, shape, tone, size, colour, texture, direction, unity, contrast, dominance, repetition, alternation, harmony, gradation, and balance. Each demonstration has an objective, a list of techniques, the design principles to be used.
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This book is packed with beautiful artwork examples as well as outstanding lessons. It is an an excellent tool for learning about planning a painting and factors that influence a strong vs weak design. The books stated goal is to help artists avoid common design errors and "learn the 15 things that comprise the 'how' and 'why' of design. Beginning with a subject and it's sketch, Lovett teaches the steps of designing the painting and "arranging the marks, shapes, colors and tones." The book is filled with vivid illustrations and step-by-step demonstrations.
After a brief chapter on materials, Chapter 2 teaches "the how and why of design--the 15 things you should know, explained and illustrated." Then, the 7 Tools of Design are explained--line, shape, tonal value, size, color, texture, and direction. The "why" encompasses 8 things--unity, contrast, dominance, repetition, alternation, harmony, gradation, balance.
Lovett takes several beautiful and varied paintings and explains the tools of design in each that give it strength, unity, and interest. The tools of design for each painting are explained, and then the "design plan" of each is explained---the marks on the paper, and how those marks will be arranged--example:--unity, contrast, dominance, repetition, alternation, harmony, gradation, balance. Lovett then goes on to explain how contrast can be the layout, but making one tone, value, shape, etc more dominant than the other can create unity.
HE then takes different paintings and explains the "main arrangement" of the design (ex: unity, contrast, etc.) He shows such examples as using a dominantly wet-wet method in a painting, but then saving the center of interest to be painted with sharper, dry, crisp edges to contrast. Also, the harmony of color, gradation of colors from the top to bottom of painting and using contrast of light to make it a well-designed painting
PART 3 of the book is on "Training Yourself to Plan Your Painting". It begins with Chapter 3 on "Seizing the essence of your subject with sketches."---choosing subjects, choosing the best light, choosing to draw, choosing total recall. Next--Painting on Location---the factors the interfere with concentration and the need to "simplify the subject." Lovett states, "You must learn to see the subject as simple masses of tonal value.." Lovett encourages the reader to try to draw small subjects directly in watercolor without any preliminary pencil work as a training tool.
Lovett teaches about what the painter needs to study about the subject he plans to paint---the direction of light, the viewpoint, the lack of detail, the different shapes, the scale, the color and tone. Each of these is explained with a small example painting
Chapter 4 is about Planning the picture--how you want it to look when it is finished--the arrangement of light and tonal values and how to make a tonal value plan, color plan--what will be the dominant color, where to place a small patch of complementary color, what color would harmonize the dominant color, etc.. He explains "a simple way to select a harmonious color scheme". Lovett shows a photo of a scene and then illustrates a tonal drawing of it, then how he uses different color sketches to change the mood.
Next--"Plan your attack"---choosing paper, wet-wet, dry brush, edges, tonal value arrangement, etc., each with examples of his work to make a point.
Next--Lovett demonstrates how he sets the tonal key with the first wash and follows with further steps of making contrast of tone and color
Chapter 5 is "Designing with Perspective" where he explains how to establish the vanishing point, basic principles of perspective. Lovett then shows a series of stepped demonstrations of paintings of buildings in Venice. Lovett explains how he uses perspective and planning ahead to draw the eye to a certain part of the painting.
Lovett's book explains further on how different elements of a painting contributes to the whole, and demonstrates what happens when design elements are removed from a painting. Next 6 Step-by-Step demonstrations are given, each with a clearly stated objective of the the demonstration, the technique used (ex: wet on dry), the tools and arrangements in action, materials the artist used including pallette, brushes, paper. Each demonstration covers a different strategy (ex: " Placing Color in the Area of Most Interest"...."Designing with Color Temperature and Line"...etc. These beautiful paintings are done of scenes in Italy and Wales.
Chapter 7 is "Designing for Mountains and Rivers", where Lovett again gives Step-by-Step demonstrations with a clearly organized objective, techniques, tools (ex: repetition, shape, color contrast, balance, value) used, and materials used. In the mountain scene of New Zealand, Lovett explains how the repeating triangular shapes of the mountains is what caught his eye, aside from the overall breathtaking scene..
Next, a River painting demonstration. Later in the book, Designing Seascapes, harbors, and boats. Then, Designing still life and interiors--all with demonstrations and clear objectives, and tools and arrangements used to make it a strong design.
Chapter 10 is about Designing figures and animals, and step-by-step demonstrations are also given.
This is a wonderful book--one of the best I have seen on composition. The artwork throughout is breathtaking. It is well-organized and easy to follow. It is a book that you will probably want to keep. Outstanding.
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