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.”
"James Cowman's user's guide on composition and Dynamic Symmetry, in particular, was one of the greatest milestones on my journey of becoming a better artist. Dynamicsymmetryart.com is undoubtedly the best resource on the subject out there, which I keep recommending to anyone interested in taking their compositions to a new level. It shocks me that even otherwise excellent artists today often know nothing about these old systems and rely mostly on their intuition to create their compositions. It's time that artists rediscover and revive the lost knowledge of the old masters and bring art back to its former glory. Jame's user's guide is a unique and invaluable resource in this effort." - Storm Engineer
"Jim offers something that is almost impossible to find online: a truly one-of-a-kind resource. His information about Dynamic Symmetry is meticulously researched and comes from a place of knowledge and genuine interest, not sales, as so many educational sites do. Reading his surprisingly accessible work has helped me to grow artistically in a deliberate and satisfying way. I return to Dynamic Symmetry Art regularly and always learn something new." - Rebecca Isenhart
"The information provided in The Art of Composition: A Dynamic Symmetry User's Guide for the Modern Artist has been a tremendous resource for me as an artist and photographer. My photography work has improved tremendously, and all of my clients agree! I'll continue to share this user's guide with all of my peers and other creative artists." - Zine Massey
"I just graduated from the BFA in Graphic Design at the Federal University of Pernambuco, in Brazil, and one of the chapters of my monograph was about composition. As a motion designer, the proper layout of elements is a very important phase in my creative process, so any tool that helps with making decisions on that is very valuable. What I love about your studies is that it's full of images and resources, it's a gold mine in my opinion. Thanks for providing so much information at an affordable price." - Eveline Falcão
"The Art of Composition: A Dynamic Symmetry User's Guide for the Modern Artist deserves to be a physical book in Barnes & Noble & on my coffee table!" - Elliot McGucken
"The Art of Composition: A Dynamic Symmetry User's Guide for the Modern Artist is, without a doubt, one of the most comprehensive e-books ever written on the topic of design in art. Whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced art/photography student, this user's guide is indispensable. I recommend it to all of my artists and photographers and have it linked to my website The Artist Angle." - Jennifer Finley "Though I am not a newcomer to photography, I am far from being a professional. So too, it has only been in the past few months that I discovered dynamicsymmetryart.com. I was transformed from being concerned with camera equipment, f-stops, shutter speed, ISO to considering how I would apply the principles of classical art training to my photography.
As I began reading about the old world masters, including da Vinci, Degas, Rembrandt, and Renoir, I learned that Dynamic Symmetry structurally changed paintings from being passive to active and dynamic. Furthermore, I didn’t realize that a small, yet renowned, group of photographers were well known for using Dynamic Symmetry in their photographs of city life and people. My journey began by reading. The Dynamic Symmetry Art website has numerous resources that gave me a crash course in art and composition. I had to learn about the visual properties of different kinds of rectangles and how each can be divided into compositional elements. Then I began using the Dynamic Symmetry grid overlays in Lightroom to analyze and crop my photos. I have found dynamicsymmetryart.com extremely beneficial, and it has contributed immensely with my efforts to improve as a photographer. Thank you for your commitment to art and art education." - Warren Wish
"With the passing of Myron Barnstone, we lost a great resource on the application of the Rectangles of the Masters and the Golden Section in creating art. But the website dynamicsymmetryart.com is carrying on that work Myron so thoroughly believed in and taught. Dynamic Symmetry can be used in the simplest of ways as well as being infinitely complex if one desires. Great minds such as Leonardo da Vinci recognized the power that this compositional tool offers. Dynamicsymmetryart.com is an amazing reference for artists who are open to exploring the benefits of using Dynamic Symmetry in their work. It applies to all the arts and resonates at a primal level of understanding harmony and beauty. Much thanks to James Cowman for his dedication to furthering this information to the public." - Master Artist and Teacher, Dot Bunn, Red Stone Farm Studio