Sunday, March 13, 2016
Learning about Notan with Mitch Albala
Well, I have been a blogging slacker! But, in my defense, I have been pretty busy since getting back from Costa Rica. I have been taking classes and teaching classes, and trying to keep caught up with everything in between.
In February, I took a two day workshop with landscape painter Mitch Albala. The focus was on exploring composition through the Japanese principles of notan. We did lots and lots of composition studies in simple black marker, worked up to gray scale marker sketches and finally did a small value study in acrylic. I noticed that my best sketches looked very abstract - I had to stop thinking about the "what" that I was drawing.
Drawing notans is somewhat addictive, but MUCH harder when you don't have a master peering over your shoulder and suggesting you crop that shape a little more, or make this one a little bigger. I will be posting more of them soon, but anyone who finds this intriguing should get their hands on a copy of Mitch's book, Landcape Painting. The section on notan is short, but once you get it, you can clearly see how it works in all his paintings.