Friday, January 22, 2016

Vignette

I use vignettes all the time when I want to work quickly. No time to waste just the important stuff. It requires I only go for the essence...no messing around with unnecessary stuff. 

So what exactly is a "Vignette"? The way I was taught is: The vignette is a small, unfinished watercolor that is simply defined.

Here are some guidelines: 

(1) The sketch is small, postcard size 5x7, 6x9 inches.

(2) Sketch does not extend into any of the corners. 

(3) The design should touch the sides at least once but need not touch all 4 sides. 

(4) The composition is the cruciform. 

What is a Cruciform? A cruciform is created when dominate vertical and horizontal shapes intersect. Where these shapes converge it is an ideal place for establishing your center of interest. The intersection is off center both vertically and horizontally. Care should be taken not to have the intersection in the dead center of the paper. The corners are simplified creating negative space.

Here's an example. The photo shows how I eliminate what's not important and simplify the scene. 

Happy Sketching!
Brenda

29 comments:

  1. What a wonderful piece of advice. I'm just in the process to begin an on-line painting course, having dabbled before with aquarelle at a local art class, which no longer exists where I live in rural France. I've been following your blog for some time , and love the loose way you paint. So I'll start again with vignette size sketches first, When I went to my art classes I was always daunted by the huge piece of paper I was given, thinking I had to fill in every bit of the paper. Thank you Brenda.

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    1. Barbara, Glad the info was helpful. You're very welcome! ~Happy Sketching!

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  2. Thank you! Very useful post! I love your style.

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  3. That is so great! At first you would think, 'what an interesting building - but look at the surroundings, ugh'. But you have really made it into a beautiful watercolour vignette.
    Lynne

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  4. I agree with the above comments, Brenda. Learning to distill the painting is a challenge but I see that it allows the focal point to be better expressed. Love your loose method of painting and will give this a go on small vignettes. I like that you gave the parameters which will help with the design of a smaller, more focal study. Thank you.

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  5. I love both of these vignettes, Brenda, especially the blue house. And I appreciate that you included a photograph with the white buildings. It's so helpful to see what you chose to include, or not, in the painting.

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    1. Yes! Leave all the other "stuff" out and focus on what's important.

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  6. Brenda, will continue to enjoy your style of watercoloring. Keeps me going!!!

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  7. Thank you, Brenda!! Excellent succinct suggestions for the quick but powerful sketch. Both of your sketches demonstrate your suggestions beautifully. Quite an inspiration!

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  8. :) thank you Brenda
    when you speak about sizes, is it in centimeters or inches?

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  9. Brenda, Awesome job as usual! I love the side by side with the picture and the watercolor. It really shows what you focused on. Now, I have to learn to do likewise - which is not so easy - LOL! I know that you are a spiritual person as am I. I can't help but think that this approach works across life as a whole. Focus on the important things, the beautiful things and in the Words of Paul the apostle (which are God inspired): "8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Your paintings and your graciousness embody this Scripture! Many, many blessings! Mary Ann Jordan

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  10. Great post! It's very helpful!

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  11. Lovely piece of advise. Great learning. Thank you so much.

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  12. I learned new things from this post! I have tried doing sketches on 5x7's but I haven't tried following the rules of a vignette. I should try it next time. Lovely artwork, as usual, Brenda. Thanks for sharing.

    Connie
    http://artjournalingph.blogspot.com

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  13. So much information in this post. I thank you for sharing.

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  14. Thank you for shearing this. I allways have trouble leaving the ugly things out. Now a have a guide (and permission) to do so.

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  15. Hi Brenda, just came across your work from a video on stillman & birn sketchbook on parkablogs.com, which lead me to your site. Those sketches of yours are not sketches to me but wonderful artwork on its own. Really love your work. Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing your wonderful gift.

    Abdul

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    1. It's nice to know you like my work. And it's always nice to know when your work is appreciated whether to sketch, drawing we're painting.

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  16. Very nice, Brenda! I have always loved vignettes. And thank you for the good explanation of vignettes. I'm going to get started!

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