Oh, yes, there were photos, but the key was what makes up a photograph. This means the history of painting was pulled in, with landscape paintings from the Renaissance and later being used as examples for composition, light, and action. While this may be obvious to a landscape artist, it was rather an eye-opener to hear someone say what I have thought – like the little girl in The Emperor’s New Clothes, I needed someone else to point things out to me that I already knew.
The value of this is revisitation to the elements which create drama or visual excitement in a painting. Triangular shapes. Repeated patterns. Contrast in color. Nuance of light. Light on dark. Dark on light. S curves. Z curves. Diagonals. Soft versus hard. Graphic versus romantic. Close focus. Distant focus. Foreground. Background.
One thing that stood out was pointing out that art is planned. Thinking about it, it is. The artist pulls together what they know from experience and theory, and create something. While the results may not be exactly as anticipated, the elements of composition and light and contrast are often considered before work is begun. This means preliminary drawing, value studies, whatever. In short, a bit of conscientious effort before will pay off later – and art emerges, not a lucky accident.
Definitely a thought-provoking workshop.