Deliberate Design with Catherine Hearding

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In a two-day workshop (February 23-24, 2013) Catherine Hearding led participants through the elements and principles of design with the goal to organize the composition of a painting before jumping in.HeardingWorkshop5

Catherine encouraged artists to review the principles of design each time they start a painting: line, value, shape, color, space, texture, and form. These are the visual tools used to compose and design the painting. The artist should write down the main concept before beginning. This concept will be based on at least one of the elements.

HeardingWorkshop9The principles of design tell us how to use the tools (elements of design) in organizing the composition: proportion/scale, unity/variety, contrast, rhythm/repetition, balance, emphasis, dominance.HeardingWorkshop1

Catherine directed participants to crop out an interesting design in one of their reference photos.  Then, using tracing paper and black marker, block out the pattern of darks. The next step is to paint a black and white value study of the composition, using at least three values. Only after working out the design approach is it time to paint.

After reviewing the importance of negative space in creating the composition, she directed an exercise in painting the dark spaces between shapes.

HeardingWorkshop3Finally, it is important for artists to learn how to critique their own paintings using the principles of design.