Simplify your lines and values
Shows how he starts with a simple but strong mono image to ensure effective composition
Robh Ruppel starts with a simple mono image.
veryone’s approach to painting is different, but there are a few universal truths in art making. Having a clear idea of what your painting is about and understanding how shapes, design and composition tell that story should never be overlooked in favour of technique.
I always try to develop a design that works. I used to paint in the field all day, then come back, look over what I’d done and realise that most of the time I’d recorded accurately what was in front of me but it was no great composition. The pieces lacked a strong supporting idea. It was like recording great dialogue on a film set, but having no overall storyline.
So I set about establishing a process that worked for me, to address what I perceived as my weak point. The simplest
Esolution was to see if I had an idea worth painting before I invested time and effort into something that couldn’t be improved after visualising the initial concept.
Great design works in only a few values, much as a compelling story can be summarised in a few sentences. So I looked to the great designers of history, from Caravaggio, Wyeth and Frazetta to cinematographers I admire such as Roger Deakins and Conrad Hall. All their compositions have a main idea and parts that support the idea. To that end, the first thing I need before devoting time to a piece is to lay down a good design, idea or composition. The fastest way to do that is to work in mono and if the result isn’t compelling in its abstract form, dynamic or interesting, then it’s best to try another location, rework the design or go home.