translating notan

S15 L2- Translating Notan: Expanding Shadow Fields


Using as her subject a vase of sunflowers and the expanded notan from Lesson 1, Dianne demonstrates how to translate the shadow fields into color.


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Series 15:  Translating Notan

S15 L2 Expanding Shadow Fields – Download

translating notan

Finding and building a notan according to shadows and lights gives a visually accurate and potentially creative design. Translating notan into color brings it to life.

In this lesson, S15L2  Expanding Shadow Fields of the TRANSLATING NOTAN series, using as her subject a vase of sunflowers and the expanded notan from Lesson 1, Dianne demonstrates translating notan shadow fields into color.

 Notan is a Japanese word meaning dark/light, a concept both philosophical and functional, centering on the unity of opposites. As a design principal this principle finds balance and unity between dark and light.
In visual art, we can find notan in the shadow and light construct, a solid approach for forming the value design for composing paintings. This series explores ways to achieve explore this concept with value and hue variations.

Among Dianne’s passions about painting and teaching painting is how composing principles can expand creative freedom if the artist transcends the “rule” idea and instead, transforms the principle into a tool that opens creative doors.  Exploring notan is one portal for doing just that.

Arthur Wesley Dow’s book, Composition, gives a history through the 19th century.  Dorr Bothwell and Marlys Mayfield present an exploration as a design principle in their book, Notan:  The Dark-Light Principle of Design.  On Dianne’s YouTube channel, take a look at her Quick Tip #44 and  #2 .


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