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Understanding Composition...

Composition is all about the balance and dynamics within a picture. It is a vast and fascinating subject.

A Good composition is one of the most important parts of aspects of image making process. When a planned composition works it captivates the viewers' attention and provides clues to the meaning of the artwork.

If you impulses to inspired by a particular subject, you a story to tell in your artwork. Your story doesn't have to be arranged in details. For instance; the story you want to tell about a landscape is your dream place has visioned for yourself when you get retired... You are planning purposeful arrangement of lines, shapes, values, illumination, texture and colours within the borders.

Before making any progress in this session, we should start to think of the placement and framing of the elements within as it is an essential consideration of any composition.

There are four main important elements we should consider; Placing shapes, Space and Figure & Ground and Proportion.

1. Placing Shapes: When we frame a picture or painting it just becomes something more than just a sketch. The edges of the rectangle create a visual tension, which makes the placement of shapes within the rectangle very important.

2. Space: This time we are focusing on space as depth and dimension. Space in a composition can refer to perception or illusion of dimensional space created by perspective or layering.

3. Figure & Ground: One element may simply in front of another (figure and ground relationship) Or, the scale of differences suggests that one of the object is in the foreground and other is further back. For instance; overlapping objects suggest depth when one form overlaps another.

4. Proportion: The amount of space allocated to the various components of a painting.

5. Emphasising Focal Point : A painting becomes much more interesting when it has a focal point; a specific area you want your viewers to focus. For instance; ina landscape painting, it maybe one specific tree or tree.

Keep in mind that you can choose more than one area of focal points in our painting if it helps us express our message in our subject matter. After we choose our main point we can use many devices and techniques for that focal point.

Here is some simple tips;

Use the rule of thirds, Emphasize your main subject, Accentuate a point of interest in your foreground, Always place your focal point off centre of your composition, Use diagonal/curve lines, Reflect the beauty of nature such as adding water reflection, Use contrasting elements which can create visual tension.

We can create a great sense of harmony and unity in our composition. There are ways several ways to create harmony and unity in our composition by;

1. Use the medium in a consistent manner

2. Simplifying, shapes, subjects, colours, etc.

3. Using a consistent style.

4. Making sure the artwork appears finished partly.

5. Ensuring that each part works and makes sense with the others.

We use basic elements of art (line, shape, texture, form, colour, space, scale ) and organise and compose them according to principles of art( balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, pattern, rhythm, unity) and other elements of composition to give a panting structure.

Let's look at some use of composition in a picture plane;

Curve Lines: Simple curve leads the eye into the picture. Such a composition device should be placed in the composition if it looked balanced and graceful.

"Tahiti and Picnic", Gauguin

The Golden Ratio: Since ancient times, artists and architects have followed a mathematical 'golden' ratio that indicates the pleasing division of a space- about six tenths.

So the horizontal division in this composition below comes six tenths down the picture and focal point (the tree) is placed at six tenths along that line. The golden section is a great shortcut to instantly gratifying compositions.

A Frame Within Frame: Many compositions are based on bold geometric shapes. They are often not immediately visible, but they also be very much a feature of a picture plane. One such device presents a subject through or within a frame like structure within the picture. They may draw the eye into the picture and it may feel voyeuristic.

Frames Work; including natural frames inside your images is an excellent way to create something stunning.

Diagonals: