The Internet is full of art tips like “how to paint an apple”, “how to paint a portrait” and so on but I realized there are few art tutorials regarding the composition in art, visual art or, particularly , how to organize the elements of the painting subject.
The art composition rules are an important key of fine arts. Fail the composition and the painting is failed, too, no mater how well you have transposed your idea on the canvas.
A well composed painting will better convey the artist’s statement. An work of fine art as a whole come to life by ordering and organizing the elements used by the artist in the painting or any other fine arts according to some schemes, ideas or art composition rules.
The artistic composition is the goals that develops in the highest level the creative ability of an artists. This is the result of the knowledge of the Art. One has to study the painting composition very well, in which an idea , an artistic goal, gets together previous divergent attempts in order to accomplish a true work of fine art and, at the same time, to facilitate the understanding of that artwork.
No mater how the painting composition was done, it must respect the art composition principles
- order – disorder
- equilibrium or balance
- symmetry – asymmetry
- the center of interest or the focal point of the artwork
- golden section or similar
Well, in simple words, a well composed painting is that work of art that is ruined if a new element is added in or taken out of the painting. It will pleased the eyes of the onlooker in the highest possible grade.
I bet there are many artists to say that this rules put the artist’s creativity in a cage. Well, it’s wrong!
These rules are studied and thoroughly studied, applied on exercises until they become part of the artist himself than, when in front of the easel , the creativity is free to lay on the canvas and the artist wouldn’t think at those compositional rules just like the sportsmen who study tactics and theory don’t think at them in the wild action of the game but they “apply the rules” naturally.
Art is emotions exposed so if the primary concern of the artist when in front of the easel is the compositional schema or who knows what calculations to get don’t know what ratio between an apple and a pot 🙂 then his/her finished painting will reflect those cold calculations, only..
Intense study and exercise are the key to get the benefits of both the free creativity and rules of the art composition.
So now, a bit of theory of art composition. For more, buy a book! This book is a good choice for the study of composition in art. (I’ll add later the link to sorry for now)
The compositional schema – the essence of the composition:
The compositional schema is based on some lines of force on which all the other elements of the painting composition are fitted on.
These are some examples of compositional schemes: horizontal lines, vertical lines, single diagonal line, double diagonal, spiral, rectangle, square, triangle, diamond and circle.
Each scheme best fits to some distinct painting subjects. As this subjects can be static painting subjects or dynamic subjects, it’s generally wrong to conceive a dynamic painting subject on a static compositional schema or vice versa.
Making use of the compositional schema can lead to pattern repetitiveness if that’s not structural part of the painting subject, yet it can facilitate the art creation.
A static subject can be conceived by using the elements of the composition in art as fallow:
- lines : horizontals, verticals, straight lines, right angles
- shapes : squares, rectangles, triangles that stands on the base
- colors : which stay in the same level when juxtaposed
A still life painting is a static subject by excellence but there are more painting static subjects.
The old master Girgione Barbarelli da Castelfranco (known as Giorgione) 1477 (78?) – 1510, had created a equilibrated static composition with the help of verticals and horizontals in his “Pastoral concert”
A dynamic subject is well transposed on the canvas by using the compositional elements as fallow:
- lines: curved, reclined, broken, acute angles
- shapes: triangles standing in the vertex, reclined square and other dynamic lines
- colors: used according to the thermodynamic effect or that appear closer or further because of the value differences (light colors vs dark colors)
A great example of a painting having a dynamic subject is the “Derby at Epsom” of the famous artist Theodor Gericault (1781 – 1824)
Studding the composition in art can be quite boring but exercising it would bring to the artist great benefits. Well learning of the art composition rules creates a solid base in order to create a masterpiece of fine art, no matter if is about the abstract art or representational art. ..and..
Hey! How to broke the rules if you don’t know them! Deliberately and carefully braking slightly some rules can bring expressiveness to the painting composition.