Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Back To The Drawing Board

I know you have heard the saying back to the drawing board, well that is exactly what I'm doing, drawing! When I was in high school, our instructor gave us a grade each semester for keeping a sketchbook. I literally Aced that project. I drew my classmates, teachers, desks, tables, books, trees outside, but very rarely took the notes for class!

I have been reading Edgar Payne's Outsde Composition. Here is an exerpt on how cave men started out:

Long before houses were built, primitive man not only sought to express himself pictorially, but realized also the need for receptive appreciation. Therefore he left visible records on the walls of caves and in the sheltered crevices of cliffs. In his relaxation from struggles with wild animals and his enemies, the prehistoric artist responded to natural instincts which called for needs beyond shelter and sustenance. With his crude tools and limited knowledge, he had ample opportunity to exercise his ingenuity; and so in order to better his expression he set about devising new tools and other innovations. He sought orchres and carbons to fill in his crude outline drawings, then soon began to practice simple shading, modeling and relating objects.

At first the early pictorialist knew little of organization or combining several ideas to express a larger one and usually depicted one item for each idea. Later he found that by relating the objects drawn, broader ideas could be revealed. If a wild boar, deer or buffalo were pictured, each carried the idea of that animal, but if a man with a spear were added, the relation produced broader significance. Combining several items to convey a message then became, probably one of the first general principles in art. As time went on other elementary factors were developed.

Through the ages, subsequent artists kept up the progression by new ideas, new principles and new modes of expression thus the institution of art has been maintained by virtue of the talent, innovations and accomplishments of all contributing artists.(taken from Composition of Outdoor Painting, Edgar Payne.)

This book should be a must in every artists library. He gives you the tools for good composition in your painting. Here is a list of the principle forms or stems of composition in his book:

The Steelyard, The Balance Scale, The Circle or O, The S or Compound Curve, The Pyramid or Triangle, The Cross, The Radiating Line, The Ell or Rectangular, The Suspended Steelyard, The Three Spot, The Group Mass, The Diagonal Line, The Tunnel, The Silhouette, The Pattern. Now if you want to know what each one means, LOL you'll have to check out his book at a local library or purchase it from

When looking this book up on Amazon, I know one of the distributors to be reputable. It is Wilcox Gallery. This gallery belongs to Jim Wilcox, who I might add designed the outdoor Soltek easel. He is a very good artist in his own right and you will enjoy reading up on him. Check out his gallery at


Susan Roux said...

Very interesting post. I'll have to look for this book. Thank you and happy drawing!

Julie Ford Oliver said...

I own this book and use it for my landscape teaching. I also recommend Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting. (Amazon)
It sounds you are using your time in a positive way, Sharlette. Good for you. The artist's path is not an easy one for sure but I see you determined to conquer the roadblocks as they inevitably come along.
I am looking forward to seeing your future masterpieces.

Sharlette White said...

Julie I ordered Carlson's Guide tonight. I am so thankful for you and Susan and also Mary Maxim for always leaving your positive comments! You keep my spirits up.. It is very frustrating at times, but I am smart enough to know that drawing and composition is the key to every good painting and I truly feel that the painting will come around when I get those basics back down. I plan on buying a few more sketchbooks so I will have one at both of our houses, my car, my daughters and my sons house, that way there is no excuse! Happy Holidays to you both.

Julie Ford Oliver said...

I am checking to see how you are doing with your "back to the drawing board."
It is not like you to be gone for so long.Need any help?

Md Abdur Razzak said...

Nice post,thanks for sharing
best hanging baskets