October 9th, 2011
A great way to start any painting session is to make thumbnail sketches. Whatever subject you have in mind or in view demands a composition. Composition is the arrangement of shapes within a format. The shapes you draw are positive shapes. The shapes created by the spaces between the lined shapes you draw become the negative shapes. Imagine your positive shapes are collage pieces. As you move the (positive shape) pieces around you are dynamically changing the negative shapes! So you can see how important negative shapes are - they are the first design element to consider in creating an interesting composition.
Thumbnails get their name from their size - perhaps as small as your thumb but usually for me between about 1 x 2 and 2 x 3 inches. To begin - Draw vertical (portrait) and horizontal (landscape) rectangles on sketch paper. Then make quick sketches of your subject capturing the dominant positive shapes in these small formats. Draw up a page of them until you can determine your best starting point for arranging shapes before you begin working with paint.
This exercise not only provides a good starting point but also calms your mind and allows you to transition more readily into creative work.
Let me know how this works for you!
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