Visual Music and Poetry is a way of looking at works of art using a basic model that takes into account both the abstract and representational aspects of a painting. Both of these elements are critical to the enjoyment of a painting, and ensures you create a masterpiece. In this model a painting consists of visual music combined with visual poetry. Most master paintings incorporate a mix of both.
The poetry of a painting is what you are trying to communicate to the viewer through your painting, and the emotion that you want to elicit from the viewer. It is what you as an artist are trying to say, or what the painting is about. Good paintings keep this simple: they are focused, as this painting is focused on the beauty of poppies in the spring. Generally the painting will need to have some degree of representation in order to carry its message. However there is a wide range of possibilities from almost pure abstraction, in which the image bears no direct resemblance to any recognisable subject, to pure naturalism in which the artist has made the image as close as possible to the actual appearance of the subject.
The music of a painting is its sensuous, non-intellectual part. It derives from the physiological pleasure the human brain gets from making visual order out of the visual chaos of nature. The artist translates nature’s complexity into a rhythm of simpler shapes, colors, and values and at the same time creates color harmony from the kaleidoscope of often inharmonious colors that are found in nature. This is done by selectively choosing what to paint and by using the appropriate colors to achieve that harmony. This painting’s music is created by a red, blue green complementary color harmony and a contrast between high saturation reds and low saturation green grays.
To learn more
To learn more about how to critique a master painting for visual music and poetry and about how to create an interesting concept for paintings see Workshops B and H of the Virtual Art Academy® Apprentice Program.
Comments from Barry’s Virtual Art Academy students
The equivalent of a 4 year art education at a fraction of the cost
This is a great course for anyone who is serious about improving their painting. I have been a student here for several years. When I am finished, I will have the equivalent of a 4 year art education at a fraction of the cost. I can do the lessons anywhere and at my own pace. Before I took this course, I could copy a photo given enough time. Now I have the thrill of standing in the landscape and painting not only what I see but what I feel in the moment.