Day 18 of notans

Notan_Studies_Jul_25_2019
Notan sketches of a pond and trees

I’m working on a study for my online course with Matt Smith — or put another way, I’m overthinking and over preparing for the study. Today’s notan sketches remind me to work from large and abstract to smaller and detailed. When I look at these sketches they don’t really look like “things”, which is exciting because it’s allowing me to look for the dark/light harmony more. Quieting the left side of my brain that wants to label things is definitely an ongoing practice! Getting back into gesture sketches would help, and I think continuing to include notan sketches in my painting process will help.

With only a few more days of this focused practice project left, I’m starting to think about how to incorporate notans into my workflow. I’m really enjoy how simple it is to make them on the iPad with Procreate! And using a timer prevents me from getting fixated on one solution before exploring others which I like.


Focused practice project parameters: complete 100 landscape notans. 3 minutes per notan, 5 notans per session, 20 sessions to reach 100.


Day 17 of notans

Notan_Studies_Jul_24_2019
Notan study of trees along the edge of a field

I had taken the photo that these notan sketches are based on one evening earlier this summer, when dark clouds were starting to roll in and create drama with the sky and light on the trees and field. There were intense orange- and yellow-greens from the evening sunlight, and with the purplish-grey of the sky it was a really interesting color combination. I played up the darkness of the sky in some of these to accent that edge between the sunlight trees and relatively dark sky.

This one would make a great study in creating color harmony with a palette made of split complements yellow-green/red-violet and yellow-orange/blue violet.


Focused practice project parameters: complete 100 landscape notans. 3 minutes per notan, 5 notans per session, 20 sessions to reach 100.


Day 16 of notans

Notan_Studies_Jul_23_2019
Notan sketches of trees in the park

I’m interested in the challenge of making a grouping of trees into an interesting pattern of light and dark shapes. So for this set of notans I explored enhancing the diagonal paths that I saw suggested in the photo. There’s also a nice rhythm of the tree shapes moving into the distance that I like. This scene would make a great study in subtle shifts of color intensity and temperature since the subject itself isn’t super dynamic.


Focused practice project parameters: complete 100 landscape notans. 3 minutes per notan, 5 notans per session, 20 sessions to reach 100.


Day 15 of notans

Notan_Studies_Jul_22_2019
Notan sketches of a farm structure at a local park

The late afternoon sun was creating some interesting shadows in this scene that I thought would work well for a notan study. I like the combination of structured form (the building) and organic form (the trees), along with the linear perspective lines of the shadows raking across the foreground. It was fun to play with the scale and placement of the structure — if I were doing these sketches on-site instead of from a photo I’d have even more information at my disposal for the placement and surrounding elements.


Focused practice project parameters: complete 100 landscape notans. 3 minutes per notan, 5 notans per session, 20 sessions to reach 100.


Day 14 of notans

Notan_Studies_Jul_21_2019
Notan sketches of a grouping of trees

I was curious to see what would happen if I chose a reference photo with overhanging tree branches in the foreground. I like how it activates the sky area, but I’m not sure whether it would actually read as foreground leaves in a painting. Another option would be to turn those shapes in the sky to clouds and blue sky.

I love how doing these notan explorations is helping me see the potential for completely changing elements into something that will make a stronger composition. I find it more difficult to make that leap when looking at photographic reference. But by removing the color and focusing on simplified shapes, it makes it easier to imagine other ideas in place of the specific subject in front of me.


Focused practice project parameters: complete 100 landscape notans. 3 minutes per notan, 5 notans per session, 20 sessions to reach 100.