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Old 01-22-2013, 10:20 AM   #247
Tom Edgerton Tom Edgerton is offline
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Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 819
I took a workshop in which the mantra was "tools, not rules." That's very useful to remember.

I speak of the Golden Section to my students, as it's just one of many explanations for why your eye might tend to go here and not there. But it's a principle, nothing more. I have a friend who also teaches, and he beats his students over the head with it beyond the point of usefulness. When you believe that a painting that honors the Golden Section is by definition better than one that doesn't, then that's where the discussion goes off the rails. There are many more factors that come into play. Mr. Loomis' discussion of tonal organization is a case in point (thanks, Richard! this is a HUGE link).

Very early in my career, I had the good fortune of having Daniel Greene look at one of my paintings for half a minute. When I queried him about whether I should have done a particular thing (a vignetted area), he said, "Probably not, but you got away with it." That's always stuck with me. Theory aside, a painting either works well or not.

We need a few hip-pocket principles to approach problems in the work. If you're going camping, don't forget your flashlight. But the point of going is to go someplace new and have fun. I think that's part of what Mike and Mr. Gurney are saying, and I agree.
"The dream drives the action."
--Thomas Berry, 1999
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