Series of Art Create Learning Opportunities

I find creating art in series both rewarding and a great learning tool.

The above 8x10 on homemade ground is the first of a series that I started last week and will post at least three of in the coming week before moving on to a different composition design. What will follow will be my explorations from one thumbnail drawing. After this one took off in an unexpected direction, I want to keep working from the same thumbnail and ultimately reach my objective that this first painting did not address.

What continues to keep bringing me back to this sketch is the energy of the curved line. There's a broad sweeping reversed shaped "C" that moves from the lower left, to the right then back to the upper left. It's such a strong motion and energy that moves my eyes through this sketch that I started out trying to duplicate that energy.

Expect the Unexpected When Transferring a Notan to a Canvas

But the muse had a different idea. The C-curve is a relative of the S and compound curve that Edgar Payne sets out as a common design for artists to use. Here, it definitely jumped off the notan sketchbook page and grabbed me. While it did transfer to the finished image at the top of this post, the finished painting took some unexpected turns not seen in this sketch.

After blocking the notan design into darks and lights using my planned color selection, I saw not only the curved line composition design from the drawing, but radiating lines began to emerge. I decided to run with the idea of radiating lines and make the light peaking around the clump of trees on a knoll the center of interest.

While the curved line of the notan becomes a bit more segmented and doesn't have the energy as I set out to duplicate, the radiating lines in combination with the "C" curve help move the eye around again and again. The "C" curve keeps bringing the eye out and the lines keep bringing the eye back into the golden cloud and light source. While a surprise, it was one of those accidents I decided not to fight. The high energy curve can wait. A lesson of the series. I am still drawn to the energy curve in the sketch but now I want to see what else comes from this little sketch before I move on. A series lets me do that.

What I Learned

  • Let the muse be the muse and see where a painting goes

  • A thumbnail can unexpectedly spawn more than one painting -- be ready for it

  • Series of small works let me quickly work through ideas and go on to larger versions or abandon the idea for a larger work

  • Series allow me to explore color combinations, which I'll share in the coming posts about this drawing

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