Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Adding Zing to Your Composition

(Alert; horizontal and vertical lines) "Anhinga in Paradise" 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas

Since the composition of an artwork is critical to the overall success of a painting, I’m adding a few more helpful tips. There are essentially three basic types of composition; each creating a different effect: Sedate, Alert, and Dynamic. Your choice will determine how your audience feels when they view your painting.

Sedate compositions focus on horizontal planes and lines; typical of pastoral scenes and calm seas. This type of composition lends a certain peace and stillness to the composition

(Sedate; horizontal lines) "Seashells by the Seashore" acrylic on panel 8 x 10
.Alert compositions arouse our emotions and stimulate energy through predominantly vertical lines amidst horizontal planes. Waves on a wild sea, for instance create a tremendous amount of energy contrasting with the receding smooth outflow of water. Mountains erupting from horizontal planes of farmland create push and pull contrast and energy.

(Alert; diagonal, vertical lines) "Prayer Circles" 18 x 24 acrylic on canvas

Dynamic compositions go a step further, creating interest, unease, and energy through diagonal lines and shapes. This can be done in many ways, including bending sails in the wind, making a surreal painting of leaning buildings, or simply bending grasses and flowers heavy with blooms.

(Dynamic diagonal lines and imposing shapes) "India Rising -- the Lost" 18 x 24 mixed media

Tips for enhancing the integrity of your painting:
Preserve the authenticity of your brush strokes. When applying paint: put it down, leave it be. Deliberate brush strokes give your painting a feeling of authority and professionalism.

Don’t skimp on paint. Beginners often paint timidly; applying too little paint until there are few indications that the paint was applied with a brush at all. Use enough paint so that your painting benefits from the full color and light of the pigment used. 

(Horizontal, vertical, & diagonal lines) "An Open Book" 16 x 20 mixed media SOLD (prints available)
Style determines color and line preferences and how you apply paint. Some artists like a smooth finish, especially on portraits. Others like to see color separation and brush work. The more you work with different types of paint and techniques; you’ll find the method that suits your style and taste.