Monday, June 20, 2011

Old Master Design I

Today was the first day of my first in-person workshop. I'm still grinning ear to ear.

Let me begin by presenting this article by Koo Schadler, a fine prelude to course content. From this comes a sense that great masterpieces are most made of great design.

The first design principle presented was the limited palette of primaries, black, and white. The primaries may be split into co-primaries, a warm and cool version of each. Continuing, there is a preponderance of low chroma with small bits of high chroma. Also, lots of neutrals.

A hands-on exercise in acrylics (the medium of choice for all this week's exercises) of making neutrals by mixing primaries with complementaries, brown, black, gray, and white helped tie theory and lecture to hand and eye. "Killing chroma" was the motto.

The second design principle introduced warm versus cool relationships as large-area visual opposites. This was not to get mired in detail but to pick out the overt masses of relative warmth and coolness.

A hands-on exercise had us painting onto clear acrylic above an old masters image. Blue for cool, orange for warm.

Please understand that this is a very roughed out version of today's incredibly rich presentations. Koo is as kind as she is fascinating--completely giving of her knowledge and obviously brilliant on her subject.

At this time, I feel that if I had a day between each day of coursework that I could better present the material, but there's no down time. I may be expanding here on these workshops long after they have finished. In the meantime, I am having an absolute blast!


  1. Sounds absolutely wonderful John. Keep on posting about what you are doing.

  2. Oh Judith, it is all so wonderfully incredible. More soon...