Design in Deerfield
Arthur Wesley Dow and Designing Nature
Arts and Crafts artisans benefited from the ideas and advice of prominent American art teacher and author Arthur Wesley Dow, who encouraged his students to remember that, "a picture...may be said to be in its beginning actually a pattern of lines."1
Dow argued that composition should be the artist's first concern, and that "Nature will not teach...composition."2 To assist students in learning how to compose a picture, Dow offered exercise "No. 34" in his popular and frequently reprinted design textbook Composition, first published in 1899. Dow's drawing for the exercise illustrates how nature might "be translated into terms of art."3 "Looking out from a grove," he elaborated, "we notice that the trees, vertical straight lines, cut horizontal lines,--an arrangement in Opposition and Repetition making a pattern in rectangular spaces."4 It is the artist's duty to transform that natural tendency into a pleasing composition.
- Arthur Wesley Dow, Composition; A series of Exercises in Art Structure For the Use of Students and Teachers, 1899, 44.
- Ibid, 45.
© Don's Java boutique
Arthur Wesley Dow, Illustration from Composition; A series of Exercises in Art Structure For the Use of Students and Teachers, 1899.
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