Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Power of Shapes

                                    Kaaterskill Falls

In this painting of Kaaterskill Falls in the Catskills, it was important to design the shape of the waterfall carefully while staying true to the actual scene.  So I designed the shape of the falls first.  I needed to be mindful of keeping that shape clear. The way to do that, I decided, was to eliminate many of the "stripes"  indicating the rocks underneath the falling water.  This was especially important in the larger fall on the left.  Leaving the white untouched maintained the integrity of the shape.  Suggesting the hidden rocks there would have broken up the shape. 

Another decision was important to the composition.  I included the tree trunks in the left foreground to keep the viewer from wandering off the page.  I kept the background simple.  On the right, I broke up the tree shape with a lighter shape within it.  The temptation might have been to indicate more tree trunks there.  But the light shape already did its job by pointing back to the falls, and without the details of more trunks, the shape was kept in the background.  

Restricting the details within a shape keeps the design in tact.  Remember to keep focusing on the shapes and to limit the details to only those that come in aid of the overall composition.

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