Different Words Same Idea

oil painting of eye of golden scaled dragon with spines by christine mitzukI had a great conversation with another artist about the different ways we think about the same picture construction tools or methods. He thinks in terms of carving form out of space. I currently think in terms of building up form from the flat surface. They seem to be the same tools, just viewed from different mindsets. Or maybe they really are different but share a similar intent.

Here are some of the things we touched on. I've grouped the terms by their general use/goal.

  • line, shape, contour
  • soft edge, hard edge
  • value, tone, light, dark
  • color, temperature, intensity, dullness
  • placement, composition
  • perspective, size, scale, overlap
  • volume, form
  • structure

My thought is that it would be great to be conscious of which tool and which mindset I might use at various stages of a project, so maybe checking in with the process at various points would help in achieving that. I think keeping in mind what my aim is for a picture could help in choosing how I phrase my thinking: will I be sculpting the form out of the flat surface, or assembling tonal puzzle pieces and then build upon that, or something else? Or maybe that will interrupt the "flow". We shall see.

I'm interested in how other folks think about picture making. Would you like to share your thoughts?