top of page

Reasons to do a Notan Study

It was great fun choosing the sites for my plein air workshop here in Harpswell, Maine.. The week before the workshop began, I went to each location at high tide and then again at low tide to do some preparatory work. I am especially fond of low tide because of the colors and reflections on the wet mud and sand.

Notan studies are very helpful in composing a strong design, and I thought it would be interesting to show you the actual scene, and the accompanying notan. Deciding what to include, the focus of your painting and simplifying the complexity is the first step to a successful painting.

The study in my sketch book above shows the edge of an inlet, lined with rocks and simplified patterns of reflections. The photo below shows a section of the actual scene. You can see that I've eliminated the treelike, and focused on the rock and water patterns.

Here is a notan study of the scene below. You can see that I have minimized the sharp "V" in the center of the scene, thereby allowing the eye to move around the painting.

.I find that the Notan study really helps make a strong design. It isn't always easy to do, but it forces you to make decisions that are necessary. Adding the mid-tone values onto the notan gives you three of the values for your painting. Five values is all you need, especially in plein air work. I encourage you to add notan studies to your repertoire of skills. You will be glad you did!I'd be glad to hear any comments; just send me an email. Happy Painting!


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page