A few weekends ago we visited my daughter in her new apartment in Brooklyn. She suggested we head over to the Brooklyn Museum and see what was there. I immediately homed in on a Georgia O’Keefe exhibit which was well worth the small entrance fee. The show called “Living Modern”, focused on the evolution of Georgia as artist, painter and fashionista. She was spare in a very elegant way, as evidenced by her clothing. Fashion students definitely need to see this show.
Some paintings were there that I had never seen. Photographs of her as well. But there was something that really caught my eye. She was very interested in Japanese style and woodblock prints. A book there displayed the words “NOTAN” on the corner of a chapter page. “Notan” is the art of sketching the darkest areas of a photograph, so that an artist can determine the blackest tones of a painting before they begin. Many artists who fail to do this can get lost before they begin. I learned this from a Mary Gilkerson, a landscape painter in North Carolina, who I discovered on Pinterest. In one of her blog posts, she taught us the term “Notan”, and when I repeated it in a painting class the next day, no one had heard of it.
So, here, randomly at a Brooklyn Museum exhibit, on a book, I see this word, and it blows my mind. Anyway, check out the exhibit if you can. You will be rewarded in ways you would not expect!