There are cases where a painting looks great, neat and is technically impressive, however, something seems to be off. It’s not breathtaking and doesn’t draw your eyes back to it. The most likely cause is a weak and poorly structured composition.
This concept is multifaceted and can be explored in depth; it includes both the idea behind it and the form of its embodiment, from the format to the details and the texture of the materials used. Without a doubt it encompasses layout - being able to correctly and harmoniously arrange the objects on the paper.
Composition is a skill that must be studied and developed, there are three main principles of composition.
A rule of thirds or “a rule of thumb”.
This guideline proposes that the image is divided into three parts and that 1/3 or 2/3 of the painting become the highlight. This is where the main object or the skyline is placed.
A golden ratio
This is the magical spiral used by the greats such as Da Vinci, Raphael, Rembrandt and many more to make their paintings as aesthetically pleasing as possible.
They consciously used the proportions of the Golden ratio (1: 1,62) and now their works are considered to be the high standard.
Where does this ration come from? It routes back to the sequence of numbers so that each number is the sum of the two preceding ones, starting from 0 and 1. This sequence is called Fibonacci sequence. As this sequence is infinite, there was introduced φ , which is equal to 1,618.
Line of beauty
Also known as the S-shaped curved line, it’s often used to create dynamic and at the same time harmonic composition. For this the S-shaped framework is placed vertically.
If interested, you could read a book of an English painter WIlliam Hogarth “Line of beauty”, which is devote to this S-shaped curve line.
There is one more method of composition - “simplifications of forms”
. Any composition can be seen roughly as the layout of the stains of paint. Imagine, that you’re squinting at the painting. Everything becomes blurred however, you can still see all the main objects, but in a simplified way - in the form of stains.
The most effective layouts for successful composition are:
X - The elements of the painting are located in the middle and at the point where the diagonals cross. I.e. x-like shape.
Y - The stain is reminiscent of this Russian letter.
C - The painting has a stain in the shape of a semicircle.
O - A round, circular stain is observed.
L - Everything is clear, we can see two perpendicular lines.
We would also like to draw your attention to the types of composition depending on the points of focus which will make your work magnetising.
Composition can be more central - weighted or unsymmetrical leaning more towards either the right or left. It can also be dynamic (located where diagonals intersect) and static (stressing the horizontal accents). In the composition a silhouette can become the focus or the focus can be viewed as a tunnel or a cross. However, all these structures won’t work without considering the points of focus.
One point of focus
All of the painting supports one point, which is located on the main object, where you want to attract attention. Judging by the place where the point of focus is located, you should choose the corresponding technique, which would increase the magnetism of the object.
Multiple points of focus
Either there are many points and all of them are equally important, or there is one main point and the others are given less importance. The secondary points can be created with the use of contrasting light techniques, blurring, or the positioning of the objects with respect to the certain methods, such as the rule of thirds.
Now you can see how important the composition in creating a successful piece of art.
Here are 4 tips to help you build your ideal composition:
1️⃣ Practice a lot, become inspired by the beauty of nature.
2️⃣ Analyze the works of other artists. Study the pieces of the great masters, which make you feel excited, fascinated, inspired.
3️⃣ Increase your awareness of the compositional techniques used. Try to create your own sketches, see the paintings from a different perspectives, trying to detect which method of composition was applied.
4️⃣ Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, they are an integral part of the learning process.
Join our courses and learn to build the composition under the guidance of experienced instructors.