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Art Fundamentals - Chapter 1

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Date Added: 10th June 2014
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Composition is the first word on the best artists' lips when they start an image. But what is composition? It's basically the layout of elements and a visual vocabulary that leads your eyes around an image and makes it interesting. It's the first crucial step in making your image interesting from the get go. No detail, fancy colors, lighting or action will substitute composition. Even though composition theory has rules that have been used for hundreds of years, you can always find new and interesting ways to apply them to your compositions. Try to think outside of the box. I'm going to take you through a quick guide into composition and see where it leads us, and what we discover along the way.

The Ancient Greeks used the golden rectangle that had divine proportions .The golden rectangle is a rectangle that has sides which are approximately at a ratio of 1:1.618. By using these proportions you get a very balanced and pleasing composition, with a strong focal point. The divine proportions appear in many life forms, including humans (Fig.01).

Fig. 01

Derived from the golden rectangle is the Rule of Thirds, which was adapted to cope with a wider range of aspect ratios. By dividing you frame into three equal parts from each side you create four power points where the lines intersect each other (Fig.02). For example, the image "Under A Rock" uses the principles of the rule of thirds, by having the converging lines create focal points. You can see the main focal point is the building (A). Then I added secondary focus points near the converging lines: the windmill farm in the far background (D) and the actual rock structure, which has a great deal of importance in the concept and which runs along two other intersections (B and C).


If you have a vertical frame, the rule of thirds can also be applied. In the image "Queen of Candasce" I placed the flying ship very close to the converging line (Fig.03).

Fig. 03

continued on next page >

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Rocku on Sat, 12 July 2014 3:44am
Exelente. Muchas gracias.
Ademir Silva Gomes on Tue, 10 June 2014 5:01pm
Good tips, will help a lot in my paintings from now on. Thanks for sharing.
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