Saturday, August 2, 2014

Planning a Composition

I just attended the exhibit, "Marian Greenwood in Tennessee" at the UT Downtown Gallery. The centerpiece is the mural, "History of Tennessee" (1955).
"The History of Tennessee," hanging at the UT Downtown Gallery
Aren't these colors fabulous? Oil on linen. 
The mural itself is an impressive achievement. What really fascinated me, though, was the amount of planning Greenwood put into the painting. The exhibit displayed many of her sketches, some in charcoal, some pencil, some colored, etc. She re-worked the composition and the colors. Some things she knew from the start, like that in the center would be a couple square dancing. At one point she considered having Native Americans at each side (there aren't any in the final version). The center woman's dress might have ended up being much duller, according to one drawing.

I wish this exhibit would stay open during the semester so that writing students could attend and think about the importance of planning and why one might not choose to run with the first idea one has. With painting, little revision is possible and so planning becomes all the more important. But even in writing, the more work we spend planning, the less we have to revise.

Here are some of Greenwood's sketches:

1 comment: