Wednesday, April 13

Back to Basics: Painting Spheres, Cylinders & Cones

(Learning about Shapes in My Acrylic)
I ran across an early acrylic of mine the other day, and it reminded me of when I was learning to use some of the most basic elements in painting, that is, a sphere, a cylinder, and a cone.

Then I remembered that one of my favorite artist’s quotes, which is also one of the sections over there in the right-hand column of the blog, was from Paul Cezanne, who said, “See nature in terms of the cone, the cylinder, and the sphere."

These, along with the cube in all its forms, are the three-dimensional shapes and objects we use, or should use, when we draw or paint objects—we’re always using them (except in the case of some abstract paintings).

That’s why it’s important to recognize them and to understand their properties and nature.

Why are these shapes “important?” Well, if you know where your light source is coming from, and you can also recognize these shapes in the objects you’re painting, then you will be able to paint them more correctly (and did I mention more easily?).

These shapes have volume, they take up space. They have areas of light and shadow on them. They can cast their own shadow. They can also reflect light. See? It’s not so easy.

You should learn to see these shapes in your motifs. Recognize a tree branch as a cylinder, and you’re half-way home to being able to model it as you paint. The same goes for trees or flowers as cylinders, and heads in portraits as spheres.

If you study them and know how they act and react, your paintings will be the better for it.

Happy Painting!

1 comment:

  1. hi Byrne, I am an art teacher. I studied art and did a special project on Paul Cezanne, so I remember that quote, the whole world is made up of those forms I looked and looked for the quote because I remember it from @ 30 years ago and finally I searched with the right words and came upon this blog. Jen