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Re: hard edge painting


Date: Wed Mar 21 2001 - 06:28:06 PST

In a message dated 03/16/2001 11:45:02 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

> I've used hard edge for years, so if you're interested I have several more
> variations, but would  love some of yours=

For many years now I have used the paintings of Richard Diebencorn as a
starting point to have my students create abstracted and nonobjective
paintings.  I use Diebencorn because he seemed to get his ideas from the
things around him such as landscapes or interiors that when pushed to the
extreme of stylization became a composition in the nonobjective mode of

We make finders with newsprint that are already in ratios of 2 x 3, 3 x 4, or
4x 5.  After looking in magazines preferably architecture or interior design
oriented, place the finders to look for a composition that has all the
principles of design but will be reduced to only lines and shapes.

Next make the composition bigger keeping the ratio the same, such as
2 x 3 = 12" x 18", 3 x 4 = 12" x 16 ," and 4 x 5 = 12" x 15 ".  They redraw
from what they see and in doing so abstract it even more so that they can
hardly see the original structure but it has become a good design.

After this they create a value pattern in pencil using four values black,
dark gray,middle light gray and white.  The value pattern is important to
relate to the color schemes that they will be creating.  They learn 8 color
(compliment, double compliment, split-compliment, analogous, three analogous
plus a compliment, triad, monochromatic, and related palette) and by using
the color wheel they descried on one.  

On a chart of small squares they try to experiment with as many variations of
that color scheme that they can.  Eventually they cut out ten squares that
are a smooth gradation of color values from almost black to almost white.
 They mix these colors again and save a quantity in small cups with lids
(sample cups).

By looking at the value pattern and the colors mixed they select the colors
that match the values in the sketch and use removable tape to make hard edge
paintings.  We also use gradations and sponge textures to give variety.  I
know that Diebencorn was not a hard edge painter but we didn't set out to
copy him just get a composition.  I use Stella or others for hard edge

This year (right now) I have some that want to be more painterly with this
and I like that so they are doing it that way.  This has been a good piece to
use in A.P. and I can refer to hard edge and color schemes later.

Ken Schwab
San Jose ,CA