Using Multiple Diagonal Design for a Composition: Part III

Last week I went into detail about two other notan drawings and how I used the diagonal composition. The scene was the same plein air scene but each painting is from different sketches of that scene. In the last of the series, I see how echoing the diagonal works as well as how adding another design element, the three spot and "L", works to make the composition more elaborate.


5x7 pastel on etching paper

Here the distant block of color maintains the diagonal but the separation of the three main objects make this variation in this mini series start to resemble the three spot design or probably the Elle shape is more prominent in front of the diagonal of the atmospheric line of trees in the distance. The "L" design has replaced the diagonal of the main large and small masses — compared to previous paintings in the series. Here the elle acts as separation of the three repeated diagonals -- two in the foreground, and one in the background. Note, the diagonals are echos but not exactly at the same angle and the odd number "3" seems to add interest.


The Notan Hints

The light spot in front of the line of trees became a source of interest for me and how I could get the light to play from a source diagonally and echo the original diagonal composition begun in the first of these three in this series. The spot ultimately became a point of interest after blocking in the larges masses.



By the time I picked the color scheme and rubbed in the darks and lights, this painting appeared nearly complete at this early stage. The color harmony played well with one another even at this early start. The light spot in the foreground showed itself to me even more. From the blocked in color I started to see a bit of up hill swoop --almost as though the fence line of trees were raised suddenly as the foreground reached the middle ground.


What I Learned

  • A series from the same scene, experimenting with designs, pays off when working small

  • There's familiarity with the same scene when working in mini series of color that notans cant give me by themselves

  • A strong definition of darks and lights in the early stages helps me imagine my next steps

  • Mini series are a good way to test ideas and to see if I want to take an idea large scale



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Avon Waters
Modern Artist