Ideas I share with my students

Always edit from wealth, never from poverty;

The two strongest contrasts on the page are value (light and dark) and temperature (warm and cool).

Bring up the whole page at the same time.

Build up a vocabulary of mark-making, so you can pick and choose.  Know what you can do with your mediums and tools. Can you think of at least 10 things you can do with each one?

Remember you are always dividing the surface with 3 to 5 main shapes.  You want to work big shapes, medium shapes, and last of all small shapes.

When editing give yourself choices by choosing something transparent or translucent first. You can always opaque it out. Some of those choices would be transparency, translucency, scumbling, dragging the brush, pattern, screen, etc.

Think space – what is your space? 

Simple compositions: grid, organic grid, S curves, the rule of thirds, use the edges to hold the planes, H’s with high or low crossbars, frame, bands.  No belly buttons – try not to end shapes on the arises. 

Think about the scale of your shapes – think father, mother, baby or babies.   

Push and pull space by color, contrast, texture, detail, positive and negative space.  How are your shapes related – do they lock in edges? 

Negative spaces should be as beautiful or more beautiful than positive spaces.

Avoid shortcuts!

You’re either green and growing or ripe and rotting.

A great painting allows the eye to travel through the page or image in many different ways – how many ways can your painting be read?

Think of your drawings and paintings as having a woven surface.

Seek out the best teachers. Visit museums to see the best artists. Read about them. Look at their work and see if you can see how it was put together. What is the idea behind it? \Whatever is used is never lost. Repetition of shape can be a unifying element in any work of art.

Make a variety of soft and hard edges.

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