Week 3 - “Harmonic Armature” | Why Do I Need Perspective?

Week 3

 Hi, everybody! “Hi, Doctor Nick!” (any ‘Simpsons’ fans?) Ok, well now that I've shown you all how much of a nerd I am, let's proceed! I am entering into my 4th week here at LAAFA and I feel more and more confident in the sleepless nights and countless hours of work I have been investing in this. Six more weeks and I will be done with my first quarter! Wow, how time flies *tear. I can only imagine how fast this whole year will end up going by. But let's “focus on the now” as Dr. Phil would say (he's a real doctor guys, I swear it!) and dive into this past wonderful week at the Atelier that dwelleth in Van Nuys.

 In the last few blogs I have written, I think what runs as a repetitive theme are a sort of re-occurring silver lining experiences that lift me to cloud nine and give me the wings to make it through the week. Fluffy stories of inspiration are not what I am trying to promote up in here! I think when there becomes a reliance upon the “emotional high” of a person in order to march through a metaphorical wilderness, you have placed a reliance upon metaphorical cheap gas (if I charge a dollar for every metaphor I use, I would be metaphorically rich!). I continue at LAAFA, because LAAFA is darn good for me. Even at times when it is hard, and oh my do I sometimes want to press the snooze button on my alarm, this program is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. In the same way an athlete trains when it's raining, when he is sick, when the monotonous becomes even more monotonous; he presses through because the greatness of the end result far outweighs the current hardship.

 But I do feel it is worthy to note these notable rekindlings of passion that I do experience, because in some way, things that are beautiful in themselves will present refreshment in an experiential sense. And that is exactly what happened when I, a downcast lad, stopped Noah Buchanan in the hallway last Thursday to ask him for advice. The night before, I was YouTube-ing videos on 3-point perspective for the sake of review, when I stumbled upon a video of an artist of notoriety giving a talk about how perspective is useless in art. He demonstrated a very easy approach to implementing perspective into artwork but argued against an extensive study of it. I was greatly discouraged by this, being an impressionable lad I began thinking that maybe this artist was right. Maybe I didn't need to be in a perspective class and I could potentially spend my time in a more constructive manner. 

Perspective Class with Jon Messer

I knew this was false, it had to be false. If I am learning perspective at LAAFA, then there is a good reason. But of course I have to toss and turn about it, cry a little bit (not really...well maybe just a little tear) scream, rant, wonder, ponder, think there yonder (okay I'll stop) before I actually go to the faculty and ask someone why the importance for the tool of perspective to be in my artist belt.

 So I catch Noah in the hallway and I sheepishly proceed to ask him “h..hey Noah um..Noah, do we like, um have to know *cough uhh perspective and ..stuff.” He graciously smiled and pulled me over to the dry board to show me something that will later blow my mind. He immediately answered my question by introducing  me to the “Harmonic Armature.” Basically, the Harmonic Armature is a relationship between numbers (specifically, proportions) and sensory perceptions that are pleasing to our ears and our eyes. In a word, we respond positively to intervals of one third, one quarter, one half, two thirds and three quarters. Noah proceeded to show me how this diagram would be placed under the under painting in order that a composition could then have structural purpose in sensory impact of the viewer (a method used by some of the most famous classical artists, used in some of the most famous classical paintings). The Harmonic Armature gives the artist the license then to become more than an artist and more as a composer. As a composer, the artist can now compose subject matter on the numeric proportions of the grid in order that favorable sensory experiences would then occur in the viewer. 

Noah Buchanan's Drawing

As Noah explained this to me I was in awe, but I was waiting for when the perspective element was to come in. He went on to further explain that with the painting divided into one thirds, one quarter, one half, two thirds, and three quarters using lines; those lines can also act as the horizon lines that we use in perspective (bam, mind blown) in order that we can implement perfect perspective into harmonic armature. In other words, not only can a painting now have the intelligence of proper distal proportions, but also those distal proportions can sing in perfect harmony to the senses; satisfying intellect and feeling.

When Noah concluded, my love for art went down about 10 elevator levels. To be able to fully understand that the curriculum that I am now involved in would enable me to create paintings that would equate to a beautifully composed sonnet or a timeless melody is just so wonderfully pleasing. I'm so thankful for Noah for taking the time to show me that art is so much more than paint splattered on a canvas. What I am doing here is important, and I can say that in confidence, because I know I am being trained for greatness. Every lesson, every hour spent, every class, all leads to a prize that is at the end of the road. And boy after understanding the Harmonic Armature and how vital of a tool perspective is in enhancing it, I sat in perspective class that Thursday evening with not a doubt in my mind.

And YouTube, if you are reading this, stop confusing me with challenging videos of art theory and post more hilarious videos of grandparents rapping. Thank you.

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