Thursday, 13 December 2012


Composition is just a fancy word for how elements are arrange within a scene. Sound simple? Yes it does. But putting it in practice is a different story.

Now on the surface this might not sound that important when creating a picture/painting, and you might hastily  think that super awesome rendering skills with a pencil is something way more important than this silly “composition”. But after seeing a wide range of the good, the bad and the ugly of a good few pictures I can say composition is very important.

Good composition keeps the viewers attention, and surely that’s what the artist wants. They want all their years of hard work to master their abilities and art to be appreciated. Or they just want them to buy it, yeah maybes it’s that - the  more they look at it , generally the more they like it, so they’re more likely to buy it. Money makes the world go round and all…

Composition can be put into several categories/rules, these are :


These rules are not something you can ‘just get’ and apply awesomeness to all your paintings. It takes time to learn them, understand them, and apply them correctly. Analysing paintings from the masters to see what they did and why will help you progress at a quicker pace. And as a side benefit you’ll also start to appreciate art more too.  For instance I’ve seen a few paintings I liked when I was younger, like “Composition with Red Blue Yellow”, and some I just thought “Really? That’s art?!” aka the works of Piet Mondrian . But I never knew why, but now that I understand the techniques, like the golden rectangle, I can see the hard work and thought process behind these paintings, making me appreciate them more.

An hour lecture changed my opinion of this from WTF?! to Woah

A bit of researching of good vs. bad composition threw up some interesting reads. A good link I found was here  (It has other pages which are worth a read, but the link deals with just composition) It goes through what makes a particular image bad, and how changing something very minor has a major impact, compositionally. Another golden link

 After a bit of more of an understanding of composition from research and a lecture I tried to put some of these techniques into my latest digital paint of Bradgate. The painting is finished, but at a later date when I have time I would like to revisit it.

I’ve listed the points in the painting below on the compositional techniques ive put and noticed in the painting:

A – There are a series of swooping lines which guide the users eye to the vanishing point, such as the brick walls and the line of trees with fencing.

B – Gives the viewer a sense of depth, trees were not this uniform in real life, but to get a better sense of depth I used artistic license to arrange these trees more uniformly.

C - I’ve made a tonal gradient from dark in the bottom right to light in the top left

D - There are different focal points across the image, such as the stone bridge in the bottom left and the tress to the right, disappearing into the vanishing point. All of these points keeps the viewers eyes wondering around the image (not aimlessly though) making it interesting.

When selecting what picture I wanted to paint I wanted my gut instinct/artistic eye make the judgement of which one had the best composition. It’s hard to explain, but when looking at pictures/paintings with bad composition it feels like your eyes are straining, I guess this is your brain trying to recognise patterns within the picture but cant. On the flip side you get a fuzzy feeling when you look at something nice. So when I get that feeling, I go for it. That is why I selected the above painting rather than the other 200 photos I took at Bradgate.

As I get further and further into this course and learn more about it I will be able create/arrange images to really sell my artwork more than at the moment.

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