Priceless Advice: A Personal Email From Myron Barnstone
A student having troubles finding her way with design reached out to Myron Barnstone for help. He offered up some priceless advice that is almost a recipe for comprehending and applying these masterful design techniques.
"My experience of analyzing the dynamic and vigorous figure drawings by master artists has convinced me that those drawings were the final result of careful studies, refined and formalized on the golden section on light tables or through the use of sheets of tracing paper. Such precision is unlikely to be achieved in a single, direct drawing from the live model. Particularly, those drawings signed and outlined within a Dynamic Symmetry rectangle. The design integrity seen in masterworks often was the result of a studio effort. Apprentices employed to take a master's drawing and reorganize it on grids of combinations or stacked rectangles. Picasso's youthful drawings show the simplicity of his application of the Golden Section system.
My collection of DVDs provide the information required to understand the sophisticated methods of master draftsmen application of the Golden Section to their work. From Michelangelo to Zuniga, Raphael to Freud, they all refined their work with this system of organization and ordering of their work.
Once you have mastered this method, your analysis of their work constitutes the intimate conversation you can have with every master draftsman. You have paid your dues and have won acceptance into that esoteric guild. To achieve this, you must study Hambidge, Bouleau, and every grand master who ever put pencil or pen to paper.
If all it took to become a respected draftsman were to copy what one saw, no intelligent individual would trouble to draw. The tradition of drawing is demanding, it requires training that years ago took a decade under the training offered by a master to his apprentices. The guild system required of a student such training before they could open a studio and take on apprentices. And the guilds were tyrannical and ruled with an iron gauntlet. These studios understood that the Golden Section was a secret system, and they kept it secret until relatively recent times. Gyka on the Geometry of Art and Life, along with Jay Hambidge are good places to start your studies. After that, spend your life analyzing great drawings, painting, sculpture, pottery, and architecture. Great fun. It's an education.
The very best you can do is to use a rectangle gauge to determine the particular rectangle a master used to design a work. On tracing paper construct the full grid with color-coded lines for the GS grid on one sheet - the rebated squares on another, the radiating lines and parallel intervals, dominant diagonals, horizontals, verticals and the compass swings employed in a design.
Buy the Painter's Secret Geometry, Gykas' Geometry of Art and Life, Durer's Geometry of Figure Drawing, and go on-line to see my books in the bibliography section to stock your library. If you have done the assignments from my DVDs, you have the information and experiences that you need. If you have not done my homework, you are yet to pay your dues. Good luck.”
To download a free PDF copy of "The Art of Composition: A Dynamic Symmetry User's Guide for the Modern Artist," click here.