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or Graham's other years:1999 - 2001 - 2003 - 2004 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2013 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016

Graham Scandrett "Demo/Practicals", 26 Nov & 3 Dec 2004

Graham's two Friday nights each started with a lecture/demo, after which we all started making pictures based on it (and on his enormous selection of sample photo's).
The first Friday's topic was "Using Landscapes". After a brief detour into the patterns of natural spirals (e.g. sunflower heads and fir cones) and ancient Greek architecture (e.g. the Parthenon), all of which are based on the Fibonacci numbers 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 etc (each is the sum of the previous two) he pointed out that the ratio of successive ones tends toward 1.618, i.e. to the "Golded Section" that looks so pleasing to the eye and is often said to define where you should put the interesting parts of a picture.

However, his main message was that rules are made to be broken and that you should make your own decisions about composition, particularly if you are using a photo as a primary source. For example:
  1. What made you choose the scene in the first place? Is this what you are going to show in the picture?
  2. What is going to be the focus of the picture?
  3. Do you want the eye to go to the focus or to take a tour of other significant features?
  4. Where should the horizon be? Golden Section???
  5. What features lead the eye about the picture? How can they be changed to lead towards the focus?
  6. What features (Verticals? Breaks in a wall?) can stop the eye leaving the picture or give access to a new area?
  7. Can you create interest by leading the eye behind something?
  8. Where can "rhythm" be created: curves, lines, interesting shapes etc?
  9. Finally, where are the edges of the picture (what shape of mount/frame)?

Then there is the question of colour-composition. Pity we ran out of time.

The second Friday's topic was "Using Figures". Graham suggested that in landscape paintings the basic composition was much constrained by the scene being depicted. In paintings using figures, composition had historically come first and the people were placed to suit.

Many examples followed, showing groups of figures fitted within circles or triangles (Raphael, Botticelli etc.) and with limbs distorted to take the attention where you want it (e.g. Titian). Advantage can be taken of voluminous clothing to carry the eye where no limb can reach. Attention can even be directed by the way the people in the painting are reacting to each other. Background should also be created to help the general composition (lines to bounce the eye back into the picture). Even if the pose itself has to be preserved the size and position of each figure can be changed.

As in the first week, we then set to, using our own photos or some chosen from Graham's ample collection. No time to complete anything but some interesting sketches appeared by the end of the evening.

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or Graham's other years:1999 - 2001 - 2003 - 2004 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2013 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016

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