The Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio

WARNING: There’s maths on this page.

The Golden Ratio is this number 1.6180339887…. (also known as phi) this value is an approximation since the decimals keep going on and on forever. If you keep dividing a rectangle into the ratio 1: 1.618 (I’ve truncated the number because I find typing numbers to infinity tiresome) then you get this pattern:

Portrait Painting System

Portrait Painting System

I’m no expert but I think if you’re painting someone’s picture it should at least bare a slight resemblance to what they look like, otherwise what’s the point, it could be anyone. So I have a system and I’ve given it a fancy name:

The Nine Dot System

The nine dot system is just an easy way of getting started. It uses the fact that, in most cases, when a person is looking right at you their eyes are the same width, and the distance between their eyes is also this width.

Confusing Art Terms

Confusing Art Terms

I am constantly confused by art writing when the writers/artists refer to hues, intensities, values, tones, saturation etc. So I’ve written down, as best I can, the definitions. The reason I say ‘the best I can’ is because it’s obvious other people are equally as confused out there, so exact definitions are hard to come by.

Let’s start with an easy one:

Hue

This is just the name of a colour e.g. red, blue, green, it sounds more technical than it is so use it when you want to sound clever.

Glazing and scumbling

Glazing and scumbling

Thought I’d clear up in my mind the difference between glazing and scumbling.

Glazing is a layer of semi-transparent paint laid over another painted surface so the original colours still show through. It is usually dark over light. To make the layer transparent the paint is usually diluted with medium like linseed oil.

It’s a wet over dry process, so before putting another glaze on top you must wait for the previous layer to dry completely. You need to be patient if creating a painting with a lot of glazes.

Fat over lean

Fat over lean

Fat over lean is the major rule of oil painting so I thought I’d better look into it a little. It turns out it’s quite simple, and I like that.

Fatness is oiliness. The more oil you add to a colour the fatter it becomes, it’s as simple as that. Forget about thickness we’re only talking oiliness.

Paint straight out of a tube has a certain amount of oil in it, add a bit of solvent and the paint becomes leaner, add a bit of linseed oil (or other oil) and the paint becomes fatter.

Permanence, Lightfastness and Transparency

Permanence, Lightfastness and Transparency

I think it’s pretty useful to know the transparency of a colour because I quite like the glazing idea. Several thin glazes that modify the colours beneath them, but don’t completely hide them, give the painting a sort of depth and make it a little more interesting.

So I’ve listed which of my colours are transparent or opaque. In the process I’ve learnt a bit about permanence and lightfastness.